Exactly a century ago the world was booming. Globalization was all the rage, with the European empires dominating the globe. It seemed like scientific progress would never end, with peace and prosperity for all.
Then, suddenly, it all came crashing down. The repercussions are still with us to this day.
The dramatic turning point was an assassination in the Balkan city of Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914, arguably the most significant event of the century. The Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were shot and killed by Serbian nationalists. This event triggered off World War One. Within weeks the world was at war and stock markets would take years to recover, if they recovered at all (Russia’s new government simply abolished the capitalist system – others were to follow suit).
Four great empires collapsed in the wake of World War I. Two others continued but fell apart after World War II, which, in turn, was a consequence of WWI. Could the American empire collapse in the wake of a serious conflict, triggered by an event thousands of miles away?
Most people in 1914 had likely never heard of Sarajevo (most people even now!). Just as an unexpected event in an obscure part of the world led to history’s most monumental conflict, with ripples that still continue, a sudden, dramatic development could change the world today.
Could Pyongyang be the trigger?
At the time of writing, North Korea is increasingly belligerent, threatening South Korea, the US, and Japan. The hermit kingdom, as its often called, has nuclear missiles which can reach an estimated thousand miles – meaning it could easily hit South Korea, killing millions, Japan, and even Alaska. The capital of South Korea, Seoul, is a short distance from the border. The North has the world’s fourth biggest military. An invasion of South Korea would involve US troops immediately. A significant percentage of American troops would be killed if the North begins by using its nuclear missiles.
Of course, such a move would be suicidal on the part of the North – but the new young head of state, Kim Jong Un, is clearly irrational and paranoid, two character traits that often afflict dictators. The communist monarchy that rules North Korea (Kim is the third generation member of the family to rule) is totally out of touch with reality, a consequence of its self-imposed isolation.
Bible prophecy does not mention any great conflict in the region of the Koreas. The focus of prophecy remains the Middle East. Talking of events that will take place before His second coming, Jesus Christ said: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” (Luke 21:20)
Daniel 11:40 talks of an end-time clash between the kings of the North and of the South, two powers north and south of Jerusalem. North Korea is decidedly east.
However, it should be noted that the United States, still the world’s greatest military power at this time, is not mentioned in events to take place at the very end. This suggests a major set-back for the US sometime between now and the events prophesied in Luke and Daniel. A war In the Far East could be that major set-back.
Even if limited, it would have potentially disastrous economic consequences. South Korea is one of the world’s major economies. Japan is the third greatest economy. Any attack that involved either (plus the US) would have major repercussions on economies and stock markets around the world. The loss of tens of thousands of US troops in South Korea would also be devastating for the US.
War may not happen. Whenever North Korea makes threatening noises as it is doing now, it’s likely there is some internal conflict that is being worked out. Maybe Mr. Kim is showing his military that he really is in charge? Maybe there is growing fear of losing control? The number one priority of the regime always has been, is, and will always be, self-preservation. Maybe they are just paranoid because of a recent UN vote imposing greater sanctions. Who knows? Without a free press in the country itself, we may never know.
While North Korea is not a focus of prophecy, events on the Korean peninsular could still have an impact on the world just as they did sixty years ago during the Korean War. It should be remembered that the conflict then did not result in any victory or defeat – it ended as a draw, with no power gaining the victory.
In any conflict now, likely nobody would win and everybody would lose.