Repeated incidents involving aggressive actions by Chinese and Russian warplanes toward American military planes and ships is causing great concern that the situation could potentially escalate and draw the countries into war! In a developing situation which we have been keeping you updated on (See PNL Oct. and Dec. 2015), tensions between the United States and the nations of China and Russia have been increasing. Recently, China ordered the U.S. to end its surveillance patrols – which occur in international waters – around the contested South China Sea near the region of the Paracel and Spratley Islands chains. As evidence of the serious aggression of the Chinese, the Pentagon has recently acknowledged that two Chinese J-11 fighter jets “buzzed” a U.S. EP-3 military reconnaissance plane by flying within 50 feet of the U.S. aircraft in an “unsafe manner.” Air Force Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, leader of the U.S. Air Combat Command, indicates this as an observable trend on the part of Beijing. Carlisle noted, “Their expansion into the Paracels and the Spratleys is so they can declare it and then have the capability to enforce it, where they can do intercepts.” He added, “They are doing it outside of what could be consider the norms.”
Similar behavior has been exhibited by the Russian military recently as two Russian warplanes buzzed a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea in what a defense official called a “simulated attack profile.” As reported by a senior U.S. defense official to several major news agencies, The USS Donald Cook was conducting flight operations when two Russian Su-24 attack aircraft approached at an “unsafe” speed and altitude and buzzed the Navy destroyer as the helicopter was taking off from the destroyer’s flight deck. The Russian jets came within 1,000 yards of the destroyer, flying just 100 feet above the water. The defense official reported that the next day, a Russian jet flew within only 30 feet of the destroyer in one of at least twenty passes over the ship, ignoring repeated radio calls from the Navy destroyer. However, this is not the first such incident between Russian planes and this U.S. Navy destroyer. In April 2014, as the USS Donald Cook was in the Black Sea, Russian jets buzzed the destroyer in a similar provocative fashion. Similarly, doubtlessly in a move of intentional irony, on July 4th, as Americans were celebrating Independence Day, two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers were intercepted by U.S. Air Force F-15s 39 miles off the coast of Mendocino, California.
This type of military aggression is frightening and troublesome but it should not be totally unexpected. The Bible makes it clear that there will be at least one more major – perhaps even “world” – war that will occur in the future as the last days approach. Consider Jesus’ dire warning in Matthew chapter 24 where He teaches that there will be “wars and rumors of wars … For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes” (Matthew 24:6-7 ESV). Likewise, the beloved apostle John was shown a vision of a future war as he received the Book of Revelation. Beginning in Revelation chapter six – which I believe records the events of the beginning of the Tribulation period – John recorded what he was shown concerning the future. The unmistakable event of war is found in chapter six, and continues to be a part of the unfolding events of human history until Christ returns in chapter nineteen (Revelation 6:2; 4; 11:7; 12:7;
13:4, 7; 16:14; 17:14; 19:11; 19:19-21).
While the exact timing of these events – whether they occur during first or second half the Tribulation period, etc. – is debated by sincere believers, it is obvious that Jesus indicates that a major world-wide war will occur in the future. Such posturing by the Chinese and Russian militaries could very well be a precursor to such a major world war as each of these nations has serious economic and political concerns they need to address. Sadly, all too often war is the only means by which unregenerate world leaders feel they can correct their difficulties. As such, we should be in serious prayer for this situation.
Pray that these situations would not escalate into a major war. Pray that key leaders of China and Russia would come to know Christ as their savior and realize that He alone is the only answer to the situations faced by their nations. Pray also for key leaders of the United States to come to a saving knowledge of Christ as well. Pray that Jesus will be exalted in international affairs as the true Prince of Peace.