Insight on the News
Kohoutek a Sign?
● Since mid-December earth’s inhabitants have been fascinated by the rare appearance of the comet Kohoutek. To many it is a display of awesome celestial beauty. Others see in it a fulfillment of Luke 21:11, where Jesus foretold “fearful sights and from heaven great signs” at the “conclusion of the system of things.” They remember Jewish historian Josephus’ report that before the end of the Jewish system in 70 C.E. “a star stood over the City [Jerusalem], very like a broadsword, and a comet that remained a whole year.” Is Kohoutek a sign for our day?
True, those viewing all comets as “evil omens” may be frightened by Kohoutek. But astronomy enables most persons to know that this comet neither threatens our planet nor is more significant than Halley’s comet, which visits earth’s vicinity every seventy-six years.
What, then, of Jesus’ words about “fearful sights and from heaven great signs”? Do well-informed persons feel fear because of things they now see in the heavens? Yes. What is fear-inspiring is the potential for war that man-made satellites imply. Nearly 50 percent of the satellites launched serve military purposes.
Such “fearful sights” are seen not only in “outer space” but also in the immediate “heavens” of our atmosphere, where modern militarists hurl intercontinental missiles. When armed with nuclear warheads these can rain instant death on millions of persons. It is these things, with the fear that they generate, that fulfill part of Jesus’ prophecy.
Peace Through Law
● This decade has heard much of a “thaw” in the cold war, of détente and pacts for halting the arms race. How strong really is the movement toward genuine peace?
London’s Institute for Strategic Studies in a recent report informs us that more, not fewer, weapons are being made. And at the World Conference on World Peace Through Law, speaker C. S. Rhyne said that, even with the U.N., “we have no peace.” The reason? He answered: “We have no peace, my friends, because form and structure do not substitute for substance. Without the will to follow the road to peace, all the institutions in the world are useless.”
“World Peace Through Law”—yes, but whose law and enforced by what government? Most nations today have compulsory war training. None have compulsory peace training.
The Bible at Isaiah 2:2-4, however, foretells many people turning to divine government and that to them God’s “law will go forth.” The effect among them is that “nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” The means for enforcing that law throughout all the earth is the kingdom of God’s Son. Those seeking peace hypocritically and not through God’s law are due for removal by that kingdom in the near future.—1 Thess. 5:3.
● Agricultural analysts increasingly warn of severe food shortages coming on a worldwide scale. What prospects are there of escaping hunger?
Many take comfort in recent good harvests in some major countries. But one good season is not enough. In the U.S., the world’s leading food producer, there are no more grain reserves in storage. Food science professor Georg Borgstrom says: “People are still convinced that some great technological trick will solve the problem.” But “green revolutions,” “miracle rice” and “wonder wheat” have not brought the solution.
Some may try to cope individually by storing up food against future famine possibilities. How much security does this give? If electrical power fails, what happens to frozen foods? And if conditions got dire enough, would not those holding large supplies become prime targets of hunger-crazed people?
The Bible foretold food shortages as part of the sign of our times. (Matt. 24:3, 7, 21; Rev. 6:1-8) More than this, in the coming “great tribulation,” opposers of God’s kingdom may seek forcibly to place his servants in starvation conditions. The safety of true Christians will lie, not in stored supplies, but in God’s care. They can join the prophet in saying confidently: ‘Though the terraces themselves may actually produce no food, yet, as for me, I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.’—Hab. 3:17, 18; Rev. 7:9, 10, 14.