As Jesus stated in His end times discourse, known as the Olivet Discourse - He told us that we'd see significant warfare during the last generation and He also noted that we'd be hearing "rumors of war" as well. We've been consistently hearing about the various "rumors of war" recently: Russia marching south (towards Israel) and threatening both Georgia and Ukraine, China threatening war with Taiwan, Israel threatening Iran, Iran threatening Israel, Pakistan's fight against the Taliban increasing with control of their nukes in the balance, and on and on the list goes.
This week, North Korea is in focus. Because South Korea has joined an international group imposing sanctions on North Korea, in turn, North Korea is threatening war with South Korea, (read here). At the same time, Russia has issued a warning over this, calling it a "dangerous brinkmanship, a war of nerves" that must stop.
Additionally, the U.S. is being threatened (read here), as North Korea restarts their weapons grade nuclear plant. Quotes from this news article include the following:
"The North's military said in a statement that it will respond with 'immediate, strong military measures' against any attempt to stop and search North Korean ships under the Proliferation Security Initiative. The statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, also said the regime no longer considers itself bound by the armistice that ended the Korean War."
"It also said it cannot guarentee safety for South Korean and U.S. navy ships sailing near the disputed western Korean sea border."
Interestingly, but not surprising - we see the following headline "Iran missile experts in North Korea to help with rocket launch", As usual, Iran is in the middle of things, further stirring the pot. It appears that Iran is working closely with North Korea in their missile development program.
Japan, perhaps more concerned than any other nation, has implemented the following as a result:
"As tensions increase ahead of the rocket launch, Japan's Air Self-Defense Force began deploying units capable of shooting down a rocket to the northern prefectures of Akita and Iwate...On Friday Tokyo gave its military the green light to shoot down any incoming North Korean rockets"
At the same time, still under the category of "Rumors of war", we see that Iran has also sent warships (six) into international waters (read here). Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, quoted by the ISNA news agency stated "Iran has dispached six...warships to international waters and the Guld of Aden in an historically unprecedented move by the Iranian Navy...and is indicative of the country's high military capability in confronting any foreign threat on the country's shores."
The world is unwittingly preparing for the most massive period of warfare ever experienced on earth. During the Tribulation, the world will see warfare occur in ways that have never been seen before. In the first few judgments of Revelation, we see a fourth of the world engaged in warfare, followed by massive death and destruction (Revelation 6:8), and then, just a little later in the Tribulation, one third of the earth will be burned as it goes up in flames (Revelation 8:6-12).
Jesus knew that His bride, the Church, would witness the build-up and preparation for the coming wars. That is why He added these comforting words in the context of these building rumors of war:
"You will hear of wars and rumors of war, BUT SEE TO IT THAT YOU ARE NOT ALARMED. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come." (emphasis mine - Matthew 24:6)
How awesome, that we worship a God that loves us enough to give us a template of what is to come. He gave us all of the signs around us, so that we would know what to expect. He gave us this information to comfort us during these troubling times.
He also told us something even more comforting during these times:
"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28)
Comforting words indeed.