These Times

Current Events in the Light of Bible Prophecy | Vol. 28 No. 5 | Jul-Aug 2018

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These Times
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Volume 29 No. 1

EARTHQUAKES, TSUNAMIS, AND TYPHOONS

During the month of September, Southeast Asia was hit by a string of disasters that left cities in ruins and claimed the lives of thousands.

Typhoon Mangkhut swept through the northeastern Philippines as a category 5 storm, the strongest storm of 2018 with winds at 165 miles per hour, leaving devastation, death, and destruction from storm surges and mud slides in its wake. As it slammed into Hong Kong, it was “downgraded” to a category 4 storm—nonetheless shattering glass on high-rise complexes, flooding streets with storm surges, uprooting massive trees, and leaving the city without power for days. Other countries in the region were also impacted heavily by the vicious storm.

A week later, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Sulawesi Island, in the Indonesian archipelago, followed by a 10-foot tsunami. An estimated 1.6 million people who will feel the economic toll for years. The death toll continues to rise as buildings that collapsed and sank into the liquefied sand have yet to be dug out and mudslides have swallowed villages. The number of deaths are feared to be above 5,000. 

Certainly nature is groaning under the weight of sin, destruction, and misery she must daily witness. See Rom. 8:22. Jesus is calling each heart to prepare for His soon return, after which there will no longer be typhoons, tsunamis, and earthquakes. “String of disasters exacts heavy damage, human toll in Asia,” The Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com, Oct. 1, 2018.

GERMANY SET TO ALLOW THIRD GENDER OPTION

Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court stated last year that unless a third gender was an optional classification, distinctions between sexes should be done away with completely. In light of this, the German court is progressing on a measure to make available an option entitled “diverse.”

Precipitating this change is a case in which a woman born with only one X chromosome attempted to change her status to “inter/diverse” or “diverse.”  After a three-year legal battle and medical documentation supporting the plaintiff’s claim, the decision moves on.  A final decision will require parliamentary approval.

Some people, such as the center-left minister for families, call this legal recognition an “important step,” while others still believe it’s not enough.  In a joint statement, Green Party lawmakers Sven Lehmann and Monika Lazar stated that a doctor’s certificate shouldn’t be required, but that the choice should be self-determined and open to all.  

In other parts of the world, similar changes have taken place. Austria has ruled that citizens may be allowed to make that choice if they desire to do so.  In parts of Canada and the United States, the option of non-binary is available.

It is important to note that while the terms transgender and non-binary differ in meaning, in recent years they have been placed in tandem in political discourse. Get ready to see more of this as people continue to postulate that they should be allowed to differentiate themselves by gender as they please. 

Gender fluidity is the ultimate rebellion against the Creator who said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…male and female created he them.” Gen. 1:26, 29. “Germany Set to Allow 3rd Gender Option on Birth Certificates…” Christian Post, www.christianpost.com, Aug. 18, 2018. 

HUMAN ZOOS

The release of a recent documentary about human exhibits in the 19th and 20th centuries is sure to surprise and horrify. One unforgettable story from Human Zoos features Ota Benga, an African Pygmy man, who in 1906 was displayed as “the missing link” in the primate section of the Bronx Zoo. The purpose of the display was to educate the public on the theory of evolution, which placed those of African decent closer to the apes than other races. 

At the time, racism and Darwinism were intertwined, and proponents of the latter didn’t hesitate to voice unfavorable opinions of those lower on the “Darwinist hierarchy.”

Humans were exhibited in world exhibitions, in traveling circuses, and in permanent enclosures such as zoos like the Bronx. Whole families and villages were transported from Australia, Africa, the Far East, Egypt, and the American Wild West and displayed in native costumes in enclosures designed to look like their homes and lands. Some were treated well. Most were exploited, their handlers making money by the entertainment value of their dancing, crafts, religious rituals, and music. Others died without ever seeing their homelands again. Many were heckled and jeered by the crowds of well-dressed Europeans and Americans who saw them as “primitive savages.” 

While supporters of Darwinism would like to ignore this ignoble past, looking at other human beings as less than human is a part of its heritage. Rampant Western Colonialism, the Holocaust, eugenics, and in some instances, the racial tensions still felt today were all justified in part by social Darwinism.

God counts all His earthly children of great value.  He knows us before we are born. Our racial distinctions are no barrier to His love and grace (see Jer. 1:5, Gal. 3:28, 29).  Yet when people turn from Him, or choose to deny His very existence, they open themselves to dangerous ways of thinking about individuals and about humanity as a whole. “On a Grim Anniversary, Shocking Documentary Human Zoos Now Available on Amazon,” Evolution News, www.evolutionnews.com, Sept. 8, 2018.

HARD TIMES FOR THE PAPACY

Two days into a trip meant to mend a serious rift between the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Ireland, Pope Francis was faced with a 7,000-word letter calling for his resignation.

The letter was written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former chief Vatican diplomat in the United States—a powerful man with powerful allies, and a possible score to settle with the pontiff. (Francis fired him in 2015 when Viganò tried to sabotage his efforts to soften up the Catholic church’s image with gays). The letter alleges that the actions of disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (including abuse of an altar boy and forcing young clerics of his church into sexual relationships) were already known to the pope, years before his suspension in June of this year. Calling it an “extremely dramatic moment” for the church, Viganò states the pope “must acknowledge his mistakes…[and] set an example” for other church officials by resigning.

While acknowledging that high-ranking church officials have been silent on issues of abuse, Francis has remained quiet on the accusations against himself, saying he would not speak on it.

These charges come at an ill opportune time for Francis, as he attempts to make conciliatory gestures toward Ireland after the shocking revelation of decades of widespread clerical cover-up of sexual abuse and the discovery of mass graves of children’s remains at a care home for unmarried women. 

The Bible speaks of a time when the church that has claimed to be the representative of God on earth, who has politically intertwined herself through treaties, secret agreements, and cover-ups, will be publicly exposed and judged. See Revelation chapter 18. Could we be nearing this time? “Pope Francis in Ireland: Call for Resignation Further Clouds Visit,” The New York Times, www.nytimes.com, Aug. 26, 2018.

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Other Articles

Life Lines, Vol. 29 No. 1

– E-ciggaretes, fighting an epidemic
– 10-hour window to health
– Reduce your risk of dementia with fiber
– A little bit of exercise goes a long way

These Times, Vol. 24 No. 1

– Fukushima’s ongoing nuclear crisis
– “100-year floods” may become more frequent
– Dead popes to be declared saints
– No “safe” place left

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