Are We on the Brink of World War?

By Shenalyn Page | Posted November 20, 2023

Is the world on the brink of World War III?

Last month, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) told Congress that China’s continuing efforts to overturn the international rules-based order and its increasingly capable military are America’s top defense challenges.

Tensions have grown between the two superpowers as China has made significant enhancements to its military power and cut off communication between its armed forces and the U.S. military. The DOD estimates that the Chinese now have more than 500 operational nuclear warheads and are developing new intercontinental ballistic missiles. China has also upped its military activity around the island of Taiwan.

In the Middle East, war rages as Israel seeks to oust Hamas from Gaza. Civilians on both sides are suffering intensely in the fight. Israel claims that Hamas has a network of tunnels beneath the Al-Shifa hospital; Hamas denies it. In the north, Russia and Ukraine continue to fight in a war that has already gone on for nearly two years.

World War III?

The conflict in Ukraine and the war between Israel and Hamas are drawing clear battlelines between the world’s superpowers. The United States and its allies are in support of Israel and Ukraine, while China and Russia support Hamas.

An immediate threat of war with China seems to have been averted after President Biden’s meeting with China’s Xi Jinping last week. The two leaders emerged from their first face-to-face meeting in a year “vowing to stabilize their fraught relationship and showcasing modest agreements to combat illegal fentanyl and re-establish military communications,” reported Time magazine.

Biden reported that the men agreed that if either of them had a concern, they “should pick up the phone and call one another, and we’ll take the call. That’s important progress.”

Yet, has war been averted in the long term? Beyond the physical battles taking place, there is a simultaneous war taking place online: “Iran, Russia, and, to a lesser degree, China have used state media and the world’s major social networking platforms to support Hamas and undercut Israel, while denigrating Israel’s principal ally, the United States,” reports the New York Times. “The deluge of online propaganda and disinformation is larger than anything seen before, according to government officials and independent researchers—a reflection of the world’s geopolitical division.”

American author Joseph Epstein believes that “war has already begun. Washington may be in denial, but Russia, China, and Iran are openly at war with the United States. This is not an all-out war but a decentralized one with seemingly unconnected fronts that span across continents. It is fought in a hybrid style, meaning both with tanks and planes and with disinformation campaigns, political interference, and cyberwarfare. The strategy blurs the lines between war and peace and combatants and civilians. It puts a lot of extra fog in the ‘fog of war.’”

Unswerving Allegiance

As followers of Jesus Christ, how should we respond to the rising threat of war?

We can be thankful that Jesus gave us clear guidance for facing the “fog” of the last days, counsel found in Luke 21 and Matthew 24. “By your patience possess your souls,” He says in Luke 21:19. The word “patience” is translated from the Greek word hypomonē, which means “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”

Jesus highlighted three characteristics of those who serve Him with unswerving allegiance in the last days: 

Dedication to Truth: We must first know exactly Who we serve and why we serve Him. Jesus knew that the last days would be fraught with intentional disinformation and spiritual deepfakes. There has never been a time when deception was as glamorous or widespread as it is today. That is why He cautioned those of us who live in the last days, “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:4). As Christians, we must be on guard against deception in every form.

Courage in the Face of Fear: Jesus tells us that we must look our fear in the face and choose the courage that comes from knowing that we are fighting for the winning side. “When you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately” (Luke 21:9).

Live Like Christ: Jesus also urges us to live lives of holiness. We must be aware of the times and be in tune with our Savior. We are to be people of deep prayer and earnest action. “Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighted down with carousing, drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that Day come upon you unexpectedly. … Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34, 36).

Live Like the World Is Ending

We cannot live like those who do not know Christ. We are privileged to know the joyous hope of the soon-coming Savior. Millions in this world desperately need to know the hope that only Jesus can give. The wars in the Middle East and Europe and the threat of war with China should be urgent reminders of that.

Are we praying earnestly for those who are hurting? Are we sharing the hope of the gospel with everyone we meet? Are we investing our money in God’s work so that the truth can flash like lightning around the world?

How would you spend your time if World War III suddenly started and you knew that Jesus was coming in a year? Wouldn’t it radically change how you invest your time and money? Wouldn’t it adjust your priorities and turn your to-do list upside down?

That is how God is calling us to live today—with unswerving allegiance to our heavenly Commander and absolute devotion to finishing His work on Earth.

Learn how to live with courage by listening to Pastor Doug Batchelor’s sermon on the Mighty Men of God. 

Shenalyn Page
Shenalyn Page is a homeschool mom and a writer for Amazing Facts International. She loves telling stories of God’s leading in people’s lives.

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