A reader recently noted that many prophecies throughout the Bible only affect Israel and its people. The reader asked if this trend carried over to the Book of Revelation or if the Book of Revelation and the signs we are watching for are broader than that.
I think this is a good question to attempt to address because my views are based on an assumption that people should monitor events around the world and not just the Middle East; although watching the Middle East is important too since it’s an area of instability and an area where a lot of Bible prophecy is going to be fulfilled. I think it’s good to take a step back today and explain why I pay attention to global events instead of solely focusing on events in the Middle East.
I believe the birth pangs signs mentioned in the Olivet Discourse are global in nature rather than localized to the Middle East. Christ seemed to describe events and trends on a broad scale when He spoke about nations rising up against nations, kingdom rising up against kingdom, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, etc. In fact He made it clear that at least earthquakes would take place in “divers places” (diverse places). “Divers places” implies that they will take place in many different areas-not just the Middle East.
(5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (6) And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (7) For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (8) All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matt 24:5-8)
If the birth pangs signs were meant to be localized to a certain area of the world Christ would have made it clear. Instead He emphasized to us to not be afraid of the events we hear about because they must happen, but the end is not yet (Matt 24:6).
I also think we are supposed to look globally for the occurrence of birth pang signs because people notice global events today. We live in an interconnected world where we hear speculation about North Korea and South Korea being on the brink of war and hear about violence in response to high food prices and shortages in Tunisia and Algeria. It’s difficult for me to believe that we are supposed to ignore global events at a time when global events dominate news headlines. The Bible probably would have made it clear if we are supposed to ignore global events.
I believe the prophecies in the Book of Revelation also have a broader impact than just affecting the Middle East-I believe they have the potential to impact the entire world at that time. The primary reason is that many of the prophecies in Revelation apply to the entire Earth. Below is just a small sample of the prophecies in Revelation that impact the entire Earth.
The red horse removes peace from the earth.
(3) And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. (4) And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” (Rev 6:3-4)
Death and Hell will have power over a fourth part of the earth. This could either apply geographically or demographically. I believe it is unlikely that a fourth part of the earth applies to a specific geographic area since Antichrist will dominate the entire Earth at that time. I believe it’s far likelier that their power applies demographically.
(7) And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. (8) And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” (Rev 6:7-8)
The fifth trumpet locusts torment people on Earth who don’t have the seal of God on their foreheads
(3) And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. (4) And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.” (Rev 9:3-4)
The False Prophet requires everyone on Earth to get the Mark of the Beast on their right hand or their forehead.
(14) And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. (15) And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (16) And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (17) And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev 13:14-17)
The global nature of the events in the sample above suggest that the prophecies in the Book of Revelation are not restricted to a certain area of the world. The Book of Revelation is much broader than that.
Again, it is wise to watch the Middle East because it is an area of instability and is the area where many Bible prophecies will be fulfilled, particularly the confirmation of the seven year treaty. However, it’s also wise to watch what’s going on in the world around us because the world is currently being prepared for the start of the seventieth week of Daniel (the seven year period what most people call the “tribulation”) and there are many events prophesied in the Book of Revelation that will impact the world.