Wars and Rumors of War (Ukraine)
Matthew 24:6 -- And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
What does it mean that there will be wars and rumors of wars before the end times?
In part of His response to the disciples’ question, “Tell us . . . what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3), Jesus responded,
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6).
Because of Jesus’ words in this passage, whenever there is an explosion of conflict, especially in the vicinity of Israel, many people begin to wonder if the new war is a sign of the end times.
If only people would read the rest of Matthew 24:6—“. . . See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet” (emphasis added).
Understanding Jesus’ statement about “wars and rumors of wars” to mean that warfare is a sign of the end times is the exact opposite of what He intended.
Jesus was instructing us to not allow wars or rumors of wars to alarm or concern us, because “the end is not yet.”
Similarly, Jesus spoke of false Christs (Matthew 24:5), famines, and earthquakes (Matthew 24:7), warning that “all these are the beginning of the birth pains” (Matthew 24:8).
Sadly, all of the things Jesus pointed to as not necessarily being signs of the end times are precisely the things most people look at as signs of the end times.
Now, this is not to say that wars and rumors of wars are completely unrelated to the end times. When the Bible speaks of the end times, it describes some intense warfare. But Jesus’ point seems to be that there always has been war, and, until He establishes peace in the Millennial Kingdom, there will always be war. Therefore, wars and rumors of war are not reliable predictors for the end times.
Whether it is a civil war in Africa, strife between Israel and its neighbors, or the war on terror, or an impending war in Ukraine, no actual specific conflict today is necessarily a sign that the end times are imminent.
No matter what wars and rumors of war are going on around us, our mission is the same, and it just so happens that the mission is what Jesus says is a reliable predictor of the end times,
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14, emphasis added).
State Department Tells Families of U.S. Diplomats in Ukraine to Leave
Some U.S. Embassy staff members also have been authorized to depart
The State Department instructed the families of U.S. diplomats in Ukraine to leave the country and authorized some embassy staff members to also depart, while the Biden administration considers sending several thousand troops to Europe amid a Russian military buildup.
The State Department decision, announced Sunday, comes as U.S. officials have warned that an attack could come at any time.
As part of its announcement, the State Department is also recommending that all U.S. citizens in Ukraine consider leaving now. The U.S. Embassy won’t be in a position to help Americans depart the country if a Russian attack is under way, senior State Department officials said.
President Biden said last week that he expects that Russian PresidentVladimir Putin will move on Ukraine in some way. U.S. and Russian officials have also agreed to continue their negotiations, so the timing and scope of any potential Russian military action remains unclear.
Mr. Biden met Saturday at Camp David with his national-security team to discuss the Russian military threat to Ukraine and efforts by the U.S. and its allies to deter an attack. National-security adviser Jake Sullivan and White House counselor Steve Ricchetti participated in person, while other national-security officials joined by video.
Mr. Biden has repeatedly warned that the U.S. and its allies will strengthen their forces on the eastern flank of North Atlantic Treaty Organization members closest to Russia, if Russian forces invade Ukraine.
“We’re going to actually increase troop presence in Poland, in Romania, et cetera, if in fact he moves because we have a sacred obligation in Article 5 to defend those countries. They are part of NATO,” Mr. Biden said last week. Mr. Biden was referring to a provision of NATO’s founding treaty that provides for collective defense.
Among the options currently under consideration is sending several thousand troops before a possible Russian attack, according to U.S. officials. If decided, such forces might not go to Poland, Romania or other eastern flank countries right away but could be positioned initially in another European country, according to some options under discussion.
The military rationale for sending the troops soon would be to get them in position so they could be quickly mobilized in the event of Russian aggression against Ukraine. Biden administration officials, however, are also wary of providing Russia with a pretext to attack Ukraine and don’t want to signal that Washington has given up all hope of a diplomatic solution with Moscow over Ukraine.