Wilfred Hahn ((Eternal
recently reviewed in this Signs of the Times column was the prophecy of
“earthquakes in divers places” (Matthew 24:7, KJV). Our conclusions with
respect to their likely timing did trigger quite a few responses from
readers. As such, we endeavored to publish a more in-depth study on the
Bible’s portrayal and usage of earthquakes. It is an interesting subject.
For instance, did you know that the earthquakes mentioned in the Olivet
Discourse (Matthew 24) are not the same as the 5 major earthquake events
mentioned in the Revelation? Look for these articles in the Midnight Call issues of July and August, where they will appear first.
In the Olivet prophecies there are named several other
phenomena. When the disciples asked Christ, “When shall these things be?” He
said the following:
““And ye shall
hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these
things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and
pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning
of sorrows.” (Matthew 24: 6-8, KJV)
All three accounts of the Olivet Discourse or portions
thereof (span style="mso-font-kerning:14.0pt">found in Matthew 24, Mark 13
and Luke 21) confirm the occurrence of earthquakes, war, rumors of war,
pestilences and nations rising against nations and kingdoms against
kingdoms. Crucially, we observe that war-related events figure very
prominently. But just when will these times of strife occur?
Before answering this question, we
must first outline two important points: To begin, it is essential to note
Christ clearly partitions his prophecies into three separate time periods:
1. That which is before the “end” comes (“the end is not yet”); 2. the
beginning of the end, which is referred to as the “beginning of sorrows”
(Matthew 24:8, Mark 13:8, Luke 21:9); and 3. the time that comes thereafter
(events described from Matthew 24:9 and Mark 13:9 onwards).
These periods correspond to the time leading up to the
Tribulation Period, the first half of the Tribulation (42 months) and the
next 42 months, often referred to as the Great Tribulation.
Next, we must therefore notice that
“war” is mentioned in two different contexts: Firstly, these occur as the
“hearing of wars and rumors of wars” before the end comes (namely, before
the Tribulation period starts) and also as “nation rising against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom” during the time of sorrows, this being at a
later time during the first part of the Tribulation.
Just what is the difference between
“hearing of wars, and rumors of wars” and the advent of “nation rising
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”? Moreover, if wars always
occurred down through history, just when do wars now become markers of the
time before the Tribulation is to start? This all seems puzzling.
The main distinction that we can draw
between the two periods is that in the first stage, wars and rumors thereof
are mainly only being heard about. There obviously are wars and strife
occurring, whether between individual countries or alliances, but these are
mainly the subject of “hearing.” That suggests a period where international
news has become the norm. At any one period of time, more people are hearing
about wars than there are countries and people actually participating in
them. Moreover, there is likely a higher frequency of the “rumors of war.”
Later, during the first half of the
Tribulation, the situation changes markedly. Now, the general condition is
that nations and kingdoms are rising against each other. These wars no
longer need to be mostly “heard” about or reported because they are
occurring everywhere, involving the entire world. This corresponds with the
period of the second seal when the rider on the red horse takes peace away
from the world. “And
there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that
sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one
another: and there was given unto him a great sword” (Revelation 6:4).
It appears reasonable to conclude that the general state of
all the nations of the world at that time will be “war.”
Obviously, the world has not yet
entered the Tribulation period. While our newspapers around the world today
are full of “rumors of war,” a general state of war involving the majority
of nations does not yet exist.
But, can we deduce that “rumors of
war” today are increasing, thereby signifying that the time before the
Tribulation is ever shorter? A recent study of this topic indeed concludes
that the incidence of war has been steadily rising worldwide, at least over
the last 130 years or so. Published by Mark Harrison and Nikolaus Wolf of
the University of Warwick
and Humboldt University, respectively, the conclusion
of this study is contrary to that of many other such studies in recent
While the authors state that “many
indicators of interstate conflict have been flat or declining for decades or
longer […] there has been a steady upward trend in the number of bilateral
conflicts over 130 years.” The chart on the front page of this issue of
EVR has been reproduced from this study and shows bilateral wars
increasing by an average rate of 2% per annum during this period.
Why is their conclusion so different?
The analysts count conflicts between pairs of nations, not only wars that
may involve multiple nations. As an example, World War II,
will have accounted for many dozens of bilateral conflicts as nations
declared wars against many others separately. The main reason, however, that
wars have increased is because of the growth in the number of sovereign
nations over the period of study (from 50 to more than 180). With the
emergence of a globalized media industry, “rumors of war” have surely
increased as no other time.
World affairs we observe today very
much meet the condition of “hearing of wars and rumors of wars.” Not only
are there today many more nations in the world that can have spats and
taunts against each other, there is also a rising incidence of actual wars
as well as a media explosion.
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Wilfred J. Hahn
is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst,
research director for a major Wall Street investment bank, and head of Canada country’s largest global
investment operation, his writings focus on the endtime roles of money,
economics and globalization. He has been quoted around the world and his
writings reproduced in numerous other publications and languages. His 2002
book The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free accurately anticipated
and prepared its readers for the Global Financial Crisis. His newest book,
Global Financial Apocalypse Prophesied: Preserving true riches in an age
of deception and trouble, looks further into the future.