The cross is the center of the world's history; the incarnation of Christ and the crucifixion of our Lord are the pivot round which all the events of the ages revolve. The testimony of Christ was the spirit of prophecy, and the growing power of Jesus is the spirit of history. Alexander Maclaren
Even before the creation of our reality, before the age of men and angels, a sovereign God looked down through the passageway of time and determined to Himself, the why and how to perfectly orchestrate the plan of redemption for mankind.
Thus, the universe in its totality, mankind’s shared history, the ever-persistent now, and the unknown future, are all equally foreknown to God. Nothing is hidden from Him. He is perfectly in control. He is perfectly in command of every molecule that floats through our existence. He knows every star by name. He knows the goings-on of every sparrow. He knows how many hairs we have on our heads. He knows the number of every hair of every head that has ever lived. He upholds the foundations of reality by His sheer willpower, without exhausting an ounce of effort. Nothing escapes His knowledge. No power, ruler, authority, prince, king, angel, demon, or ‘titan of industry,’ can bring anything to pass without His permission.
Even more incredible, is that God knows all this while still allowing free will.
He orchestrates events as such that His word, never returns void. What He has foreordained, will come to pass, even with men and angels acting after their own desires. The only thing I am aware of that God forgets is our sins when we come to Him for forgiveness. At that point, He casts our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He is all-knowing, yet, even knowing the worst of us, has chosen us for Himself while we were still enemies of the Cross (Rom. 5:8-10). We are not only chosen but are become living stones precious to God (1 Peter 2:3-5). Lewis Sperry Chafer once said anyone can devise a plan by which good people may go to Heaven. Only God can devise a plan whereby sinners, who are His enemies, can go to Heaven.
Such is the greatness, perfectness, and unfathomable depths of our God’s mercy, sovereignty, justice, grace, holiness, wrath, and love. We (as a human race) know more about the seemingly infinite characteristics of outer space than we do about God. We only even know who God is, by what Scripture states, and yet, even words on paper cannot do justice to who God really is. As holy as some of us think we are, what would it be like to be in His presence? Most of us would consider the prophet Isaiah to be a very holy man, and yet, all he could muster was woe is me, for I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. (Isaiah 6:5)
Most of us would consider the Apostles (minus Judas) to be godly men. The Apostle John, having personally known Jesus, the Incarnate God, and even having been an eyewitness to Him glorified both in the Transfiguration (Matthew 17) as well as His post-Calvary appearances (John 20-21), fell as dead when seeing Christ in His true form (Revelation 1:17). Needless to say, our knowledge of Him, and even our personal encounters with the Holy Spirit, cannot fully prepare us for what lies ahead.
As far as man has advanced in knowledge, in every academic and technological arena we have at our disposal, we still cannot fathom the unsearchable riches of His grace. As the Apostle Paul recorded, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). It is simply too much for finite man, to fully wrap our minds around an infinite God.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute that performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology, and culture. Most think tanks are non-governmental organizations, but some are semi-autonomous agencies within government or are associated with particular political parties or businesses. Think-tank funding often includes a combination of millionaire donations and individual contributions, with many also accepting government grants.
Think tanks publish articles, studies or even draft legislation on particular matters of policy or society. This information is then readily used by governments, businesses, media organizations, social movements or other interest groups as part of their goals. Think tanks range from those associated with highly academic or scholarly activities to those that are overtly ideological and pushing for particular policy, with widely differing quality of research among them. Later generations of think tanks have tended to be more ideologically oriented. (Source: Wikipedia)
Throughout the ebb and flow of ages and empires, there have always been the cottage industries of intelligence. These are they who make their bread by predicting the world to come. In ancient times, they were called astronomers, magicians, and soothsayers. Later, there were called ‘wise men’ and royal advisors. These days, they are called think tanks, strategists, planners, and analysts. In fact, we have (at least in this modern era) created a shadow government dedicated to trading in intelligence. They attempt to predict the world to come, primarily, by studying the world that was, and observing the world that is, to predict and then shape the world to come. As of 2020, there are roughly 6,066 think tanks in the world (most of which are located in the United States).
Recently, a friend gave me a copy of the National Intelligence Council's report titled Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World. They publish one of these every four years and have done so going back as far as 1997. From their foreword:
A central component of the project has been our conversations with the world outside our security gates. We benefited greatly from ongoing conversations with esteemed academics and researchers across a range of disciplines, anchoring our study in the latest theories and data. We also broadened our contacts to hear diverse perspectives, ranging from high school students in Washington DC to civil society organizations in Africa, to business leaders in Asia, to foresight practitioners in Europe and Asia, to environmental groups in South America. These discussions offered us new ideas and expertise, challenged our assumptions, and helped us to identify and understand our biases and blind spots. (Source:https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/GlobalTrends_2040.pdf) [Emphasis mine]
The NIC's assessment then bucketed the global issues into five key themes (summarized):
1. Global Challenges- catastrophic climate change, disease, financial crises, and technology disruptions
2. Fragmentation- increased connectivity is increasingly dividing and fragmenting communities, states, and the international system
3. Disequilibrium- an increasing mismatch between challenges and needs, and the systems and organization in place to deal with them
4. Contestation- increased fracturing due to increased identity affiliations
5. Adaptation- events are forcing states and state actors to adapt to the changing environment (they cite climate change as an example)
At the end of this 156-page document, they then list their five prediction scenarios. The work in its entirety, as a human endeavor, is impressive. However, despite their unpretentious claims of broadening their contacts to hear diverse perspectives in order to identify their blind spots and challenge their assumptions, this 156-page document makes no mention of God, nor any of the geopolitical predictions the Bible makes. In fact, there is no mention of bible prophecy at all or even religion for that matter. When religion is mentioned, it is only referenced as a demographic. Interestingly, even their demographics have Christianity declining around the world.
But why is that?
Religion (or lack of it) is very often the catalyst for why nations, state actors, NGOs, and terrorist groups do what they do. Communism, for example, was the bane of the 20th century and catalyst for the forty-year Cold War. Communism is rooted in atheism, which replaces God with the state as the highest "divine" entity. When you endear those godlike powers to men, it has the tendency in almost every instance, to corrupt them and enable them to believe they are in fact, divine (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Tito, Franco, Ceaușescu, Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, etc). Even communism's ugly brother, fascism, has seen its share of ideological tyrants (e.g., Mussolini, Hitler, Stojadinović). In Hitler's Nazi eschatology, he both promised and then attempted to usher in a thousand-year Aryan Reich, dragging the world into a second global war in the process.
Both the Sunni and Shia revolutions in 1979, wanted a revival of a global Islamic Caliphate. What followed was decades of terrorism, civil unrest, and warfare across the Middle East. This same desire for Islamic domination has been revived in Turkey in 2001, with the Tayyip Erdogan cementing his iron-fisted control over the nation where the US has several military bases. Even today, Al Qaeda, Iran, and ISIS base their actions on the belief that they can bring about the end of the world by creating the conditions necessary for the Mahdi to return. In fact, it would be impossible to dismiss the reality that their actions are not only consistent with their beliefs, but are driven by them.
And yet this document does so without a passing glance.
I thought they wanted to be unbiased? I thought they wanted to challenge their assumptions? Instead, they regurgitate the same old politically correct tripe of unprovable man-caused climate change, "challenges" of burgeoning technologies, and diseases.
Now, I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. I am, however, an observer of the times in which I live. I also have the revelation of God in His Word, the Bible, as well as the Holy Spirit to guide me in how to understand His word. Thus, like the days of Elijah on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:20-40), let us compare their predictions, against what the Bible predicts, and see which will come to pass. To date, Scripture’s track record for accurately predicting future events is still sitting comfortably at 100%.
Mind you, our adversary, the Devil, is powerful. In the order of created beings, he is below God, but above man in regards to intellect, experience, strength, wisdom, beauty, and pretty much every other category. He has but only to break a single prophecy in the Bible (and there are hundreds upon hundreds) to break the infallibility of the Word of God. And despite his best efforts, God still holds his leash.
Nevertheless, here are the respected, trusted, and esteemed NIC’s five most likely scenarios for how they see the world by 2040: (Source: https://www.dni.gov/index.php/gt2040-media-and-downloads) I’ve taken the liberty to underline key phrases as are germane to the discussion.
1. Renaissances of Democracies
Open, democratic systems proved better able to foster scientific research and technological innovation, catalyzing an economic boom. Strong economic growth, in turn, enabled democracies to meet many domestic needs, address global challenges, and counter rivals.
The combination of better service provision and anticorruption efforts helped restore public trust in institutions and eventually mended many fractured societies. Strong differences in public preferences and beliefs remained but these were worked out democratically.
US leadership proved central to multilateral coordination and focus on global challenges, building on established alliances and international institutions. A revival in the EU and the United Kingdom, spurred on by technological innovation and economic growth, was key to broader success.
Over time, the combination of severe repression, stalled economic growth, and mounting demographic pressures undermined established authoritarian regimes in China and Russia, making them less predictable and more aggressive in their neighborhoods.
2. A World Adrift
This is a directionless world in which international rules of behavior are no longer followed, global cooperation is limited, and technology fails to provide solutions.
China’s increasingly aggressive moves in Asia elevates the risk of armed conflict with other regional powers, especially over critical resources. In contrast, developing countries with large unemployed youthful populations feel compelled to appease Chinese demands in hopes of securing much-needed investment and aid.
Regional powers and non-state actors, including corporations, have more influence over domains like cyber, space, and other technologies, but they lack the power to dominate the system.
Weakened rules and lack of multilateral cooperation leave the world more vulnerable to individual hackers, terrorists, and criminal groups. Belligerents feel emboldened to pursue their goals with force, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.
Large global problems, particularly climate change and health challenges, fester as states lack incentives to pursue collective actions and instead apply a patchwork of mismatched approaches. Nonetheless, some states, companies, and private organizations use the freedom to discover novel ways to enhance human health and worker productivity and to experiment with new approaches to economic development and governance
3. Competitive Coexistences
The US-China rivalry and other state-to-state relations are channeled into competition for markets, resources, and brand reputation within mutually accepted rules in these areas. Publics rally around their governments in the competition, tempering societal fragmentation.
Strengthened economic interdependence lowers the risk of the major powers pursuing armed conflict; most of them engage in influence operations, corporate espionage, and cyber-attacks that allow them to achieve goals without risking destructive wars.
The central security challenge is how to keep the geopolitical competition between the United States and China from undermining the economic cooperation upon which their prosperity and the global economy depend.
Long-term stability remains at risk from growing climate challenges that were ignored in favor of near-term economic gains; technological innovations and economic prosperity have lulled leaders into believing that they can put off making hard choices on climate change.
4. Separate Silos
Separating economies has dire consequences, including massive financial losses for countries and corporations, as supply chains fracture, markets are lost, and once lucrative sectors, like travel and tourism, decline. The resulting economies are less vulnerable to future supply chain disruptions but also less efficient.
Larger countries with abundant resources, few nearby enemies, and defensible borders, such as the United States and Canada, are better able to adapt than most others. The focus on self-sufficiency makes some states more resilient even as others founder.
To maintain domestic stability in this world, states adopt mixed political models combining elements of democracy and authoritarianism, increasing surveillance and potentially repression. Many states turn to exclusionary forms of nationalism to unify majority populations against perceived foreign enemies.
Unable to attract talent globally or sustain international collaboration, technological innovation atrophies. Wealthy countries begin to compensate by shifting resources to domestic education.
International organizations and collective action to tackle climate change, healthcare disparities, and poverty falter. Countries independently adapt to the catastrophic impacts, significantly increasing the incentive for risky solutions.
Focused on internal security, the world’s larger militaries avoid direct armed conflict. Rival blocs compete for control over scarce resources, leading to smaller wars or other means of diverting attention from domestic problems and rallying public support against foreign enemies. Nuclear weapons proliferate.
5. Tragedy and Mobilization
An existential threat catalyzes a bottom-up social movement that transforms multilateral cooperation, disrupts economic incentives, and offers nonstate actors greater influence.
Major power competition among individual states is rechanneled to address more pressing global challenges; the geopolitical hierarchy is reshuffled, creating once unlikely partnerships between progressive European political parties and the Chinese Communist Party.
Europe takes the lead in promoting sustainable development, while China adopts and promotes new energy technologies.
Countries beholden to fossil fuel industries are the slowest to get on board with the global revolution, creating a global backlash to their leadership, products, and brands. The second-and third-order implications of the new political movements create long-term challenges for their economies.
With broad popular support, NGOs, multilateral organizations, and activist groups have unprecedented ability to influence standards, marshal resources, hold violators accountable, and prod states to act. In some cases, global priorities take precedence over national interests.
I don't know about you, but reading these, sort of reminds me of reading Nostradamus. Throw a bunch of stuff against the wall, and see what sticks. However, let us review their key themes (those mentioned repeatedly) and take note of what they (the NIC) really view as important.
Finding a solution (ie., more taxes and more governmental control) for climate change (note they have dropped the more descriptive adjectives of global warming/cooling, for the ambiguous and ever-evolving climate change)
Nationalism is bad, or, less preferred with greater risks
Fossil fuels are bad
Globalism or internationalism is good
Bottom-up activism (street protests, riots, etc.) are necessary to invoke change at the state-level
A revival of Europe (this one is actually correct- ala the revived Roman Empire 2.0)
Not mentioned here, but echoed heavily in the rest of the brief, is the promotion of LGTBQ and reproductive rights as critical to the success of the human race
Pastor Ken Ortize once said, and I will repeat here for the sake of the common-sense challenged:
“If something is not true, then it’s not real. And if it’s not real, then it doesn’t work.”
These NIC predictions (going back to 1997) are part of the deep-state propaganda they drum up every four years to scare (or steer) the next administration into taking on their globalist agenda. These problems, while almost entirely government-created scenarios are not true problems, thus, are not real, and thus, they don't work.
Again, none of these scenarios really get at the heart of what ails mankind; they are like putting bandaids on bullet holes. Until you treat the internal damage, dressing it up on the outside is a moot point. Man is fallen and sinful. In this state, man (all of mankind) only ever seeks after their own hearts' desires and thus becomes corrupt.
Granted, I might be more sensitive to this seeming slight (NIC's dismissal of God) than others, but it irks me to no end that the "experts" (who get paid to give their opinions) routinely attempt to delve into the only domain man cannot know, and do so without the input from the only One who can. The one true God, Yahweh, the I AM, of the Bible, who upholds our universe together by His sheer will, is not factored into these "experts" thinking at all.
Now ask yourself, why that is?
Let us set aside our beliefs and ideological differences for a second. Let us pretend we had a time machine, and a book that accurately predicted future events; now wouldn’t that be the most valuable book ever written?
It would without question.
In the 1989 movie Back to the Future II, Marty McFly’s arch-nemesis, Biff/Griff Tannen, gets ahold of a Grays Sports Almanac, which has the complete sports statistics for the years 1950-2000. Future Griff (circa 2015) retrieves this almanac from a trashcan and is able to steal Doc Brown’s time machine to go back in time to 1955, to provide himself with an alternate future timeline with all of this valuable information. This of course makes him insanely wealthy and corrupt, and he uses it to secure his power over the town of Hill Valley.
Gray’s is not a real almanac (i.e., it was created for the movie) but there are many like it in real life. Imagine if you went back in time, and had one of those sports almanacs that recorded the wins and losses of every major sports game for half a century. That would be a gambler’s dream. Now, let us apply this fictional movie scenario to real life.
Think tanks, analysts, planners, strategists, and so forth, would all love to have their own crystal ball. Their reputation depends on them accurately predicting the most likely geopolitical scenarios to come to pass. Having reviewed most of these reports for years now, they, almost always, apply the broad “shotgun blast” method of predicting things and hoping to hit something approach. This is not to say they get everything wrong. When you shotgun blast predictions, you are bound to have some hits. But when we look back over the major events for just the past several decades, none of the major events like 9/11, Iraq-Afghanistan conflicts, 2008 Mortgage crisis, the revival of nationalism (the Trump effect), COVID-19 global economic shutdown, etc., are ever clearly predicted. They aren't even accurately articulated when they are happening at the moment (e.g., moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty, Abraham Accords, etc.). These guys' accuracy ratings are even below that of political pollsters.
However, the reason they get things wrong so often is that they refuse to acknowledge their blind spots and biases. All of us have a Bible at our disposal, a book that has accurately predicted events since the 14th-century BC. Yet, the “professionals” refuse to accept it because it is not politically correct.
Author's note: Political correctness was created under the guise of Cultural Marxism in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. Marxism (as a system) is atheistic in nature, and thus, dismisses God out of hand for ideological purposes. We can all see historically, how successful and wonderful Marxism has been over the past century and a half (with only 200,000,000+ murdered by their governments). <Sarcasm Intended>
For over two thousand years, the Bible has accurately predicted thousands of events. From the naming of kings, to the rise and fall of five kingdoms who would shape the ancient (and future) world. The Bible records the coming of the Messiah; His birth, life, ministry, miracles, death, and resurrection. It even records how and why He would die. The Bible accurately predicted the nation of Israel's deliverance (Egypt), travails (wandering), success (Saul, David, Solomon), its conquest (Assyria, Babylon, and Rome), as well as its national resurrection (1948). Furthermore, the Bible predicts in the last days, the world will be divided under the leadership of ten kings, who will then submit themselves to one ruler (the Antichrist). This Antichrist will then force everyone on earth, on pain of death, to either take his mark or be beheaded (Rev. 13).
These experts refuse to accept objective truth, at the very moment in time, when the geopolitical/economic/technological conditions on the ground are happening. This ironically is juxtaposed with a society consumed with the spirit of Antichrist. They are blinded, and cannot even bring themselves to acknowledge their own blindness, because of pride. Now, I’m certain, many people labored months, pouring untold gallons of their own sweat-equity into their document. However, their work is all for naught and will be wrong (as usual).
Here is what the Bible states will actually happen
1. Israel would be resurrected as a nation after a nearly two-millennia diaspora and reclaim Jerusalem as their capital (Deut. 4:31, 30:1-10, Isa. 11:11-12, 66:8-9, Ezek. 36:22-24, Amos 9:14-15, Zech. 12:2-3, Matt. 24:15, Luke 21:24)
2. A world increasingly deteriorating morally and spiritually leading to increased lawlessness, wars/rumors of wars, and men's heart waxing cold against God (Matt. 24:3-14, 2 Tim. 3:1-7, 2 Peter 3:3-9)
3. A world buckling under its own problems (Earthquakes, pestilences, rumors of war, human conflict, signs in the sun, moon, and stars), all the while knowledge and travel is increasing, adding to man's potential for pretending nothing is wrong and adopting a false normalcy bias (Dan. 12:4, Luke 17:26-29, 1 Thess. 5:1-9)
4. A world increasingly becoming God-hating and Christ-rejecting- while embracing paganism, secularism, ecumenicalism, satanism, and pantheism, even the last days' Christian church would become lukewarm and ineffective (1 John 2:18, 4:3, 2 John 1:7, Romans 1:18-32, Rev. 3:14-22)
5. A world caught off guard by a divinely predicted and appointed, rescue operation known as the Rapture of the Church (John 14:1-3, 1 Thess. 4:13-5:9; 1 Cor 15:51-56, Revelation 3:10)
6. A world at war with no mention of a super nation like the United States anywhere to be found in Scripture, should be sending up red flags to all these think tanks, but they aren't (Gog-Magog coalition, Red Horse- global conflict) (Ezekiel 38-39, Rev. 6:3-4)
7. A world thrown into chaos, and then united by crisis, divides itself into ten regions, who then is taken over by one man (Dan. 2:42-45, Rev. 6:1-2, 13, 17)
8. A world subjugated by 21 divinely appointed judgments (Rev. 6-18) which ultimately destroys all the oceans, trees, rivers, and even the sky; all enemies vanquished and conquered by a returning and victorious Jesus Christ (Zech. 12, 14, Rev. 19)
9. The true, new world order with Christ Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords restores the earth back to its former state of paradise (Isaiah 2, Revelation 20)
All of history before the Cross led to the One whom it would bear. All of history since points back to His victory by conquering death and hell. In His triumph, He has promised to return and has given us His Holy Spirit and His Word to see that day approaching. Because God is ever-faithful until the end, we can trust His plan and know true peace. He has promised us that we who are watching, would not be caught unawares.
The world at the present regards us born-again believers as rubes, brutes, ignorant, and foolish for worshipping a God we cannot see. However, we who know Him and have a personal relationship with Him, know the power of God to change lives and to change us from the inside out. This is something no human religion, philosophy, ideology, or otherwise, could ever do. Furthermore, even we who hold close to the prophetic promises, are viewed as the lowest of the low, because we dared have faith in a plan of redemption clearly articulated in the world's most perfect book.
We have the trusted eyewitnesses (the patriarchs, prophets, apostles), who, often at the pain of death, swore with dying breaths of their allegiance to our God and to our Lord Jesus Christ. These men were instructed to put together, by divine inspiration, a book no human(s) could ever do on their own accord, accurately predicting hundreds of events years, decades, and even centuries into the future with perfect fulfillment.
This is why we don't need the NIC to play God. This is why we don't need a 156-page document produced every four years with untold millions of hours and taxpayer dollars poured into it to see what direction the world is going. This is why you don't need the United Nations to promote their godless agendas (2020, 2030, etc.) to save the planet. This is why you don't need the media to repeatedly drive you into a frenzy over their constant doomsday predictions. You just need Jesus. Once you know Him, only then can you know and understand His plans for the future as detailed extensively in the Bible.
In closing, God foreknew man's potential to amass great knowledge (Gen. 11:6), and in that knowledge, become prideful and abandon their need for Him (Prov. 16:18). Playing against that pride, God chose those things enlightened men would find foolish, to accomplish His perfect plan.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in theLord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31