ISIS continues its bloody war of attrition against innocent people across the world. The Syrian civil war enters its fifth year, sparking a dire refugee crisis. Rising tensions between Russia and NATO put the world even more on edge.
As usual, there are plenty of terrible things going on in the world. Aside from having massive import to countless millions of affected civilians and nearly every country on the globe, it’s also more fearmongering prophecy porn for the COG to latch onto and declare the end times as nigh.
There are indeed some outside of the COG’s bubble crazy who believe the board is being set for further chaos and potentially World War Three. The American presidential election is also of extreme interest to international politics aficionados for its definite eventual impact on global stability going forward -- Donald Trump being the GOP nominee is definitely going to cause a further frenzy of speculation around global catastrophe.
But none of those global war scenarios align with traditional COG expectations of what the next major conflict is going to look like.
Decades of Armstrong’s interpretations of Biblical prophecy have driven a very narrow set of predictions from members and ministers alike over the decades. COG members watch only for specific events: a “King of the South” and “King of the North” at each other’s throats, “Israel” – meaning in this case the Jewish state, United Kingdom and United States – “falling together,” a powerful Beast Power rising in Europe with the Catholic church as the head, and so on and so fourth. COG and XCOG readers alike know the song and dance.
But events – while increasingly dire -- aren’t going in that direction.
For one thing, the European Union, the inception of which was heralded by the COG as a grand prophetic fulfillment, is weakening and facing crisis along economic, social and political lines. The Syrian refugee crisis is fraying at an already fragile European alliance that has relied on open borders to function. So that scraps a united European Beast Power in our present day international theater.
Europe, as most agree, has becoming increasingly secular, far more than the United States. Pope Francis might be a celebrity across the world, but the idea that Europe would rally around any religious leader is extraordinarily improbable.
The COG believes it has found its “King of the South” several times, from the Ayatollah, to Osama bin Laden and now ISIL’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The crown keeps shifting from one Islamic terrorist to another, but the whole idea is based on the erroneous, Islamaphobic belief that any of these hideous terrorists are representative of the two billion other Muslims on Earth. They are not kings in the Middle East or among Muslims, but criminals being battled by the true proxy rulers of the region -- the United States, Russia, Europe and China. The whole region is a shooting gallery of foreign interests bombing rocks into sand.
If anything, the real power to watch is the Russian Federation, which rarely gets much attention from the COG anymore. The cults have always been far more about Nazis and Muslims as the harbingers of the world’s end. But the United States, despite the Berlin Wall’s fall, is still battling the Cold War against Russia that might erupt into greater conflict down the road.
If World War Three is possible, it will come down to escalating tensions between Russia and NATO. The Turks downing a Russian warplane, a crisis in Estonia, a frozen conflict in the Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea and similar bold confrontations initiated by or in direct provocation of Vladimir Putin could push the world closed to war with a country avowing a tactical nuclear-first doctrine of warfare.
World War Three might be nigh, but the COG won’t see it coming.
Modern warfare is nothing like the million-man armies of Gog and Magog marching upon Megiddo. The recent frenzied conflicts that have rocked the region from Afghanistan to Iraq to Syria have given us a glimpse of future warfare, one driven by drones, small special forces, precision bombing, air superiority and cyber attacks.
Things are better today than they’ve ever been in the world for the 75 percent of all humans to ever exist. Believe it or not, we are perhaps living in the most peaceful time in human history. But it’s on a knife’s edge until we move past the degrading forces of religious superstition, greed and bloodlust. When there are religious crazies clamoring for – or even trying to trigger – the world’s end, peace can only ever be relative.
The COG and ISIS are not the only fundamentalists wishing for the world’s end. The Christian fundamentalists of old changed their label to Evangelicals some time ago and are a vast sociopolitical force in the United States who are trying to push is inch by inch toward the brink.
We have to stop wanting Apocalypse for its looming threat to truly fade away.