As we recognize the signs of the times, one of those end times spiritual signs is the onset of war. (Dr. David Reagan has even written a whole new book on the subject titled 9 Wars of the End Times.) The Gospel of Matthew records Jesus saying, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed” (Matthew 24:6).
Nationwide Nuclear Test
When one hears of war, it is hard not to be alarmed. Russia held a nationwide nuclear test in October 2023. Likewise, a national test went out across the United States in the same month. Both nations performed these safety tests in case of a nuclear attack.
Israel At War
Then there’s what occurred this past Saturday, October 7th between Israel and Hamas. Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel, and Israel responded with overwhelming force. Will this new fighting continue, and will it expand to the north with Hezbollah in Lebanon? Many experts say that Iran is behind the curtain because they do not want to see Israel and Saudi Arabia enter an agreement. Before what took place this past weekend in Gaza with Hamas, the Jerusalem Post reported there was already tension and some military action by Israel with Lebanon on their northern border.
When it comes to military conflicts, Scripture separates one-time conflicts from actual war. For example, the Battle of Jericho was a one-time conflict, but the Israelites centuries later waged a war against the invading Babylonians. When Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of war, He spoke of nations engaging in military conflicts, such as the 1967 war between Israel and a coalition of Arab states, mainly Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.
The British newspaper The Guardian reported that the Ukrainian government asked the United States to conduct missile strikes on drone factories in Iran and Syria last month. Ukraine’s leadership publicly said to the effect, “If you won’t do that, provide us with the weapons, and we will.” The Guardian reported at this year’s G7 Summit in Japan that the Ukrainians claimed that Iranian manufacturers in Iran and Syria build kamikaze drones used by Russian forces, which contain Western components. Japan’s Prime Minister, who hosted the G7 gathering, said his goal is for “a world without nuclear weapons.”
I’m not sure that goal is going to be achieved. CNN presented satellite footage showing increased nuclear testing for Russia, China, and the United States. We are now living in a time when Zechariah 14 is something we can understand.
During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther wrote two commentaries on Zechariah, one in Latin and the other in German. He did not include the book’s last chapter in either commentary because he could not understand it. He said what chapter 14 prophesied had historically never happened and he could not see it coming to fruition in the future, mainly because Israel had been a dormant nation for over fifteen hundred years at that time. He could not fathom nations going to war against Jerusalem.
The minor prophet wrote these graphic words: “Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. It will come about in that day that a great panic from the Lord will fall on them, and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another” (Zechariah 14:12-13).
Note “their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.” Unlike Martin Luther, we live in a time where we can see how that graphic description fits the aftermath of a nuclear attack.
The world stage seems to be getting set for the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. The United States is selling military jets to Vietnam, North Korea is threatening nuclear war, and Iran has gained enough enrichment to build their own nuclear weapons. It has repeatedly and fiercely been said that they wish to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The former president of Iran would come to the yearly United Nations General Session in New York City and boldly say his country’s goal is to wipe Israel out as a nation. What I do not think he realized he was doing was quoting Scripture! Psalm 83:4 says, “They (a coalition of nations against Israel) say, ‘Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!’”
End times alliances continue to be formed: Russia with Iran. Russia with Turkey. Syria with Iran. Even China and Syria are forming a strategic partnership.
War is Taking Place in America
War is taking place in America as well. It’s a different type of war happening on our streets. Retail chains such as Target and CVS are closing stores because of violence and theft. Rite Way recently announced closing five hundred stores because of robbery and violence.
According to the National Retail Foundation, retail theft has increased by 26.5% since 2022, causing businesses like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Nike, Chase, and Walmart to close locations or limit hours. Last week, the NRF reported that Target was bracing to lose half a billion dollars this year because of rising theft.
Nordstrom, Whole Foods, and other big chains said they were abandoning San Francisco because of changing conditions and their employee safety concerns. The New York Post reported Walmart will close its last two stores in crime-plagued Portland, Oregon. According to a report by the National Retail Federation, Dollar Tree plans to remove goods like men’s underwear, an item most prone to retail theft, from its stores.
CNN Business has reported that organized crime rings in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Houston target retail inventories, causing more financial loss. Recently, in the middle of the day, on a Saturday afternoon, a “mob of criminals” stole more than $300,000 worth of merchandise from the Westfield Topanga Shopping Center in Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Burbank, Glendale, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica, police have formed a task force, in conjunction with the FBI, to target incidents where groups of three to forty people arrive in a caravan of cars, jump out at the valet stop, have a getaway driver waiting. Then, these groups strike at high-end stores, such as Gucci, and can often leave with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.
Home Depot, Lowe’s, Dollar Tree, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Ulta have all raised concerns about safety and theft. Retailers are now stocking items such as deodorant and shampoo in plexiglass cages. Giant Food is removing all national labels from its beauty and health aisles in the District of Columbia. Walmart, Whole Foods, Nike, Kroger, Nordstrom, Old Navy, and Target all close stores in major urban areas. Retail stores are pulling out of cities such as San Francisco, Portland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, and D.C.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matthew 14:6-8).
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!