Christians face an amazing opportunity during a time many on earth are calling the new normal.
My prayer is that the first five parts of this special series have been helpful to you and your family in considering both the greatness of God and His Sovereignty over all things in the universe.
What I’d like to do in this sixth part of the series is share some observations as a journalist and Christian that may help us see this new normal from a different perspective.
I became a Christian in 1971 after spending several years as an atheist. I found studying the Bible fascinating and had the opportunity to attend Bible College for several years. It was during one of the classes that we studied the dates of Jesus’ birth, the beginning of His earthly ministry, and His death, resurrection and ascension. Scholars didn’t always agree on the exact dates, but I learned that the timeframe was basically this –
- 6-4 BC — Jesus’ birth (based on biblical and historical data)
- 26-27 AD — Jesus’ ministry began (based on biblical and historical data)
- 30-33 AD – Jesus died, rose again and ascended to Heaven (based on biblical and historical data)
Knowing the approximate dates, I realized I might live to see the 2,000th anniversary of Jesus’ ministry on earth. With that in mind, I looked at 2030 as a possible year for the anniversary of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I wondered in the 1970s what life would be like in 2030 and how Christians might celebrate the anniversary. Now, in 2020, the next decade is looking clearer – especially as we deal with a global pandemic.
That date, 2030, was somewhere in the back of my mind when I heard these words on a newscast in January of 2019 —
“Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up and we’re like: The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?” Ocasio-Cortez told Coates. “This is the war — this is our World War II.”Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Women’s Unity Rally, New York City, January 19, 2019
I did some quick math and realized that the congresswoman was talking about the world coming to an end between 2030 and 2031 “if” we didn’t address climate change immediately.
United States Senator Bernie Sanders mentioned the year 2030 multiple times during his campaign for President when he talked about the Green New Deal. Sanders and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez announced The Green New Deal for public housing together in November 2019.
Climate change has been addressed for many years, but people elected to national office in a position to address the country through legislation and the news media talking about the year 2030 caught my attention.
I remember reporting about climate change in the late 1960s and 70s when some research showed the world was experiencing a cooling trend while other research showed a warming trend. Some scientists believed we might be headed toward another ice age, while other scientists believed the world would get warmer. I was a journalist, not a scientist, so my job was to report the findings and talk with scientists on both sides of the story.
Discussions of a warming planet increased among scientists during the 1980s and Congress passed and President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Global Change Research Act of 1990. It mandated that the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) report to Congress and the President no less than every four years. One of their stated purposes was to analyze “current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and project major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years.”
So, when did 2030 become the “end of the world” scenario for congressional leaders if Congress wanted reporting to continue through at least 2090? Did some new scientific information become available later that would pinpoint the exact year of the earth’s extinction? Good question.
One way to find out is to read through the National Climate Change Assessments mandated by the USGCRP.
- First National Climate Assessment
- Second National Climate Assessment
- Third National Climate Assessment
- Fourth National Climate Assessment
One interesting note from the Fourth National Climate Assessment (2017) is this –
“Annual average temperature over the contiguous United States has increased by 1.8°F (1.0°C) for the period 1901–2016; over the next few decades (2021–2050), annual average temperatures are expected to rise by about 2.5°F for the United States, relative to the recent past (average from 1976–2005), under all plausible future climate scenarios.”Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, B. DeAngelo, S. Doherty, K. Hayhoe, R. Horton, J.P. Kossin, P.C. Taylor, A.M. Waple, and C.P. Weaver, 2017: Executive summary. In: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 12-34, doi: 10.7930/J0DJ5CTG.
Notice that scientists in 2017 were predicting what might happen from 2021-2050. Scientific charts included in the reports went as far into the future as 2101 with warnings about projected global temperatures. That’s 81 years from now.
While the climate assessments from the national reports contain serious concerns from scientists, none of them warned that the world would end in 2030. So, why would Rep. Ocasio-Cortez present that as a truth-claim on camera for the media to report?
Interestingly, the CIA has a report in its online library, copyrighted in 2003, about 2030 being the year of global catastrophe. The report (really a book) is titled The 2030 Spike: Countdown To Global Catastrophe (Colin Mason, Earthscan, 2003).
“The decade from 2030 will see a remarkable and dangerous confluence of world events and trends – a spike on the graph paper of life that will influence humanity for good or ill as never before. Combating the worst effects of this will require urgent action, informed by the clearest possible understanding of where we are now and where we might go.”Chapter 1, The Drivers
What did the author of the paper see in 2003 that would make the world such a “remarkable and dangerous” place? Some of the drivers mentioned are –
- Running Out of Fuel
- Population and Poverty
- Working Online
- Information Overload
- The Dilemma of the Cities
- One World
Does any of that sound familiar?
Here’s what Colin Mason wrote in the chapter about One World –
“Nevertheless, the steady advance of the 2030 drivers will sharpen the alternatives for the big powers – to become self sufficient, heavily armed fortresses, or to undertake serious engagement with the problems of the planet as a whole. The point then arises that if the drivers proceed unchecked, no ‘fortress’ nation, no matter how wealthy and well armed, will be able to protect itself against the consequences of say, extreme global warming or major contamination and a ‘winter’ resulting from large scale nuclear conflict or extensive air pollution. Readjustment of their policies at that point would surely prove expensive, painful and perhaps unsuccessful. A general worldview is needed now … If a comprehensive world authority could be achieved – even approached – before 2030, the trauma of the transitional stage could be greatly reduced. Such an authority might coordinate global standards for working conditions, wages, ecology, productive capacity and the use of energy; evolve a world law, running a world police to enforce that law and to control war, ‘rogue’ states and terrorism; and, not least, provide a check on the unfettered and less than responsible economic power of the multinationals. Perhaps we might give it a name, a little more specific and pointed than the United Nations – Oneworld.”Chapter 6, pp 53-54
Interesting. A “one-world” government that would have the authority to –
- coordinate global standards for working conditions, wages, ecology, productive capacity and the use of energy
- evolve a world law, running a world police to enforce that law and to control war, ‘rogue’ states and terrorism
- provide a check on the unfettered and less than responsible economic power of the multinationals
Imagine for a moment what kinds of changes would have to take place on earth for any government to have that kind of absolute power to rule the world – a “comprehensive world authority.”
The Washington Post published an opinion column titled “Ocasio-Cortez says the world will end in 12 years. She is absolutely right.” Many scientists have cited 2030 as “the year when climate changes become irreversible.” (Union of Concerned Scientists, April 9, 2020) Thus, the perceived need to do something now so that doesn’t happen. Some point to the 2018 global warming report from the IPCC as to why 2030 is viewed as being a pivotal year.
The bottom line of the concerns is this –
“To keep warming under 1.5°C, countries will have to cut global CO2 emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by around 2050, the report found, re-affirming previous conclusions about the need to end fossil fuel burning.”Inside Climate News, October 8, 2018
“What we know is that unabated climate change will really transform our world into something that is unrecognizable,” Kelly Levin, a senior associate at the World Resources Institute’s climate program, told Business Insider. That transformation has already begun. The last few years saw record-breaking temperatures, catastrophic and bizarre storms, and unprecedented ice melt. That’s all likely to get worse by 2030.”What Climate Change Will Look Like Over The Next Decade, Business Insider, November 22, 2019
Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn – CNN, October 8, 2018
“Why 2030? The world’s top climate scientists have told us we have a ten-year window to make rapid reductions in the carbon pollution causing global warming in order to hold the warming to the low end of under 3 degrees F. If we don’t, we will severely destabilize the global climate, leading to extreme weather, droughts, floods and sea-level rise that will be increasingly hard for humans to manage.”SolveClimateBy2030.org
The United Nations established the Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development On September 25, 2015. You can read the UN resolution here. Interesting that the UN selected the year 2030 as the year to meet their 17 goals and 169 targets. Here’s how they explain their purpose.
“This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.”UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The 17 Goals for all countries in the world by 2030 include:
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice and strong institutions
- Partnerships for the goals
How will the United Nations implement this plan?
“We reaffirm our strong commitment to the full implementation of this new Agenda. We recognize that we will not be able to achieve our ambitious Goals and targets without a revitalized and enhanced Global Partnership and comparably ambitious means of implementation. The revitalized Global Partnership will facilitate an intensive global engagement in support of implementation of all the goals and targets, bringing together Governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors and mobilizing all available resources. The Agenda’s Goals and targets deal with the means required to realise our collective ambitions.”
“We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. We resolve also to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities.”United Nations Population Fund
Notice the UN emphasis on Global Partnership. That emphasis is repeated across the recommendations of government and private groups focused on solving climate change by 2030. The idea of a centralized global government with tremendous power is essential to the success of their plans.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also plays an important role in the 2030 Agenda called Immunization Agenda 2030: A Global Strategy to Leave No One Behind.
I could share many more governmental, scientific and media reports to demonstrate that 2030 is a year of special significance. However, I hope these are enough to convince you that world leaders view 2030 in a very special way.
So do Christians.
Jesus and 2030
No human being knows when Jesus will return from Heaven to earth. He will return when His current Work is complete. Jesus is building His Church and when He’s finished with that He will return to earth to deliver Israel and judge the world –
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”Romans 11:25-27
“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”Revelation 19:15
As we’ve pointed out in previous parts of this series, Jesus and His apostles have given us many clues to what the world would be like just prior to His return. One of them hearkens back to one of the most devastating events in human history. Remember that “Son of Man” is another identification for Jesus Christ –
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”Matthew 24:36-39
Jesus also told His disciples about something He called the great tribulation that would occur prior to His return. That’s another clue –
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened … ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”Matthew 24:21-22, 29-31
As we look at the many clues Jesus and His apostles gave us, we know the time is getting shorter. Even the leaders of this world know things are not looking good, but are they turning to God for answers to their problems? No. They are looking to their own physical and mental abilities and strengths. The world has left God out of the conversation. Just like the days of Noah.
The New Normal
So, here we are – living in the new normal. What will the next ten years bring our way? Things have changed so much in our world that we can’t be sure about the next ten months .. or even the next ten weeks. However, we don’t need to know. Why? Because God knows. God knows the future. He knows your future and my future. He knows what tomorrow will bring. That’s why Jesus told His disciples not to worry about tomorrow. Today has enough challenges of its own. God will take care of our tomorrow.
Please know that I am not suggesting or even hinting that Jesus may return around the time of the 2,000th anniversary of His death, resurrection and ascension. What I am suggesting is that we are nearing the end of the age.
The disciples asked Jesus – “when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” It’s a legitimate question, but Jesus wanted them to focus on the work He had for them to do before His return –
“It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”Acts 1:7-8
I leave you with some wise advice about what we should be doing as members of the Church our Lord is building. May we heed these words and do the Lord’s work while we can.
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”Romans 13:8-14
“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”1 Peter 4:7-11
- Daniel 9
- Matthew 16 & 24 – 25
- Mark 13
- Luke 21
- John 14
- Acts 1
- Romans 11
- 1 Thessalonians 4 – 5
- 2 Thessalonians 1 – 2
- Titus 2
- James 5
- 1 Peter 4
- 2 Peter 3
- Jude 1
- Revelation 1 – 22
- Can Christians Prosper In The ‘New Normal’? (free download)
- God’s Judgment: How It Works (free download)
- One Judge: God On His Throne (free download)
- The Great Reveal: Our Epic Journey Through Time, Space & Eternity, Part One (free download)
- The Great Reveal: Our Epic Journey Through Time, Space & Eternity, Part Two (free download)
- The Great Reveal: Our Epic Journey Through Time, Space & Eternity, Part Three (free download)
- The Victory Is Ours! (free download)
- The Fear of the Lord – The Key to Everything (free download)
- The Gathering – In the Dispensation of the Fullness of the Times (free download)
- Could the Coronavirus be setting the stage for the Rise of the Antichrist? by Dr. Edward Hindson
- Coronavirus and the Second Coming of Christ by Dr. John Piper
- Is the Coronavirus in Bible Prophecy? Six lessons to learn from the pandemic by Dr. David Jeremiah
- Coronavirus – Mother Nature’s Revenge? by Mark McGee
- The Return of Christ: Reflections from the Acts 1:11 Conference (Edited by David Allen and Steve Lemke, B&H Publishing Group, 2012
- The Second Coming: Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age (Dr. John McArthur, Crossway Books, 1999)
- The Book of Signs: 31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse (Dr. David Jeremiah, Thomas Nelson, 2019)
- 15 Future Events That Will Shake the World (Dr. Edward Hindson, Harvest House Publishers, 2014)
- Be Ready: Living in Light of Christ’s Return (NT Commentary: 1 & 2 Thessalonians) (Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe, David C Cook; New edition, 2010)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.