Trend # 5 - Biotech and Global Pestilence
Drug-resistant strains of diseases once thought to be eradicated are again threatening our society, and the threat of germ warfare has brought to the forefront long-forgotten diseases like the plague, anthrax, and smallpox.
"Germ warfare" is in many ways more frightening than conventional warfare, since the symptoms of the disease may be delayed for several days, facilitating the safe escape of the perpetrators. Contagion then spreads throughout the population, infecting an ever-increasing number of people. Treatments are illusive and uncertain because of the logistics involved with triage, quarantines, and limited vaccine supplies.
For example, under suitable weather conditions, cruise missiles could deliver anthrax with a casualty rate comparable to that of the lethal fallout from a ground-burst nuclear weapon.1 In a 1993 study by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, aircraft dissemination of 100 kg of anthrax as an aerosol cloud over Washington D.C. on a clear and calm night would result in 1-3 million deaths (this is 300 times the fatalities from a similar release of 10 times the amount of sarin gas)!
Researchers at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah found that biological weapons-on a weight-for-weight basis-were inherently more lethal than chemical weapons and could provide broader coverage per pound of payload.
Genetic engineering is a potentially dangerous area that we are watching closely. When researchers create deadly diseases for biological weapons purposes, they take precautions to make sure the diseases remain in their control. However, genetic engineers may not appreciate the danger involved in their work and may not take the same precautions. Instead of large government labs, genetic research takes place in small, intensely competitive laboratories with few regulatory or procedural disciplines: scientists who are involved in shuffling DNA or molecular breeding can create countless reformatted strains within minutes without knowing whether deadly ones are in the batch or not.
Serious moral issues will also need to be decided with respect to the ultimate in genetic engineering-human cloning. When does tampering with an embryo become murder? Is it acceptable to clone a baby to save another child's life? When does human life begin? How will clones impact our society? Can a human clone become saved? What are the prophetic implications? What does the Bible say about these issues?
Trend # 6 - The Struggle for Jerusalem
Our next trend is the Struggle for Jerusalem. The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seen by most as the greatest threat to global stability and security.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
We have to remember that Israel's future has been "written in advance" and her destiny is distinct from the Church: Romans 9, 10, 11 emphases her destiny and Revelation 6 - 19 details the "70th Week" of Daniel 9. Since 1948, Israel has been regathered back in the land, as per Ezekiel 37, et al. But the world has sided with the Palestinians in their false claim to the land. This is the fundamental myth - the concept of "Palestinians"-and one that did not exist until about 1948, when the Arabs of what until then was Palestine wanted to differentiate themselves from the Jews. Until then, the Jews were the Palestinians. There was the Palestinian Brigade of Jewish volunteers in the British World War II Army, the Palestinian Symphony Orchestra (all Jews), The Palestine Post, etc.
"The Arabs, who now call themselves Palestinians, do so in order to persuade a misinformed world that they are a distinct nationality and that Palestine is their ancestral homeland. But, of course, they are no distinct nationality at all. They are entirely the same-in language, customs, and tribal ties-as the Arabs of Syria, Jordan, and beyond. There is no more difference between the Palestinians and the other Arabs of those countries than there is between, say, the citizens of Minnesota and of Wisconsin. What's more, many of the Palestinians, or their immediate ancestors, came to the area attracted by the prosperity created by the Jews, in what previously had been pretty much of a wasteland."2
The ongoing conflict in the Middle East continues to have far-reaching effects. Polls show that a vast majority of European Union citizens see Israel as the leading threat to world peace, more so than even North Korea or Iran. It is possible the U.S. may face overwhelming pressure from its foreign allies over the coming months to pull back from its support of Israel.
In light of this, it is important for us to remember the promise that God made to Abraham when He said:
I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee will all families of the earth be blessed.
Trend # 7 - The Magog Invasion
Trend #7 is the Magog Invasion, profiled in Ezekiel 38 and 39. The ancient people of Magog are commonly believed to have been the ancestors of the modern-day Russians. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of an invasion of Israel by Russia, which has not yet been fulfilled (see map).
Many respected scholars disagree as to when the invasion will take place in relation to other Biblical prophecies, but most all agree that God will directly intervene and rescue Israel from a nuclear attack. So what could cause Russia to come against the tiny nation of Israel? This question has puzzled Bible scholars for centuries. However, recent developments in the Middle East have given credence to this long-awaited prophecy.
Russia has been aligning herself with Israel's enemies-Iran, Libya, and Syria-by supplying them with needed technology and equipment for their weapons programs. And future relations with the rebuilt Iraq could also affect Russia's position towards Israel. Russia is owed at least $7 billion in Soviet-era debt by Baghdad and is seeking to protect lucrative contracts signed by Russian companies to develop Iraq's oil industry. Russia may negotiate with the new Iraqi government to write off some of Iraq's pre-war debts while still protecting Russia's interests.
With their vast natural resources and the lifting of UN sanctions, Iraq has the potential to be a future force in the Mid-East. Whatever form the new Iraqi government will take, Islam will still be that country's official religion, and Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders are not likely to radically change their current view of Israel. Russia was among those who supported Saddam Hussein's regime and were given oil contracts in exchange. Documents discovered in the Iraqi Oil Ministry revealed the names of some 270 prominent individuals, political parties, and corporations in 47 countries who were given Iraqi oil contracts worth millions of dollars. They were conducted under the auspices of the United Nations' "oil-for-food" program, which was designed to allow Iraq to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian goods. But the deals were in violation of UN sanctions.
The single biggest set of contracts were given to the Russian government and Russian political figures: more than 1.3 billion barrels in all-including 92 million barrels to individual officials in the office of President Vladimir Putin.
The Magog Invasion also emphasizes the participating role of Meshech and Tubal , which were major cities of ancient Anatolia, from which the modern state of Turkey was formed. Although presently pro-West, one can readily anticipate a refocusing towards the Islamic East if Turkey loses its bid for EU membership. It is the only "ally" on the list that is not yet in place to fit the Biblical scenario. Once they are, the Magog Invasion could be imminent.
Next month, we'll complete our update of the ten Strategic Trends with Trend #8, Global Government; Trend #9, Ecumenical Religion, and Trend #10, America's Challenge. If you don't want to wait, get the briefing today on audio, video, DVD, and download.