Friday, December 21, 2012

Prophecy and News round up

Well, the world hasn't ended. The Mayan Apocalypse (so far) seems to have been a bust. So what other news is happening in the world? What news is there that the bible indicates would be happening in the last days? Here is a survey of headlines that in my opinion rise to the top in prophetic importance.

The economy is important to keep a watch on. It's not only important because we're participants in the economy, and not only because we are affected by the economy, but because the economy will completely fail and be taken over by the antichrist.

Revelation 6 and Revelation 13 show this. As an institution God set up, trade, commerce, finances, and money, as with all things on earth, it will be completely corrupted. The last 7 years of the Tribulation will be a time when sin saturates everything, completely. This includes the economy.

Revelation 6:5-6, "When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”

The symbolism of the scales are explained by Barnes Notes:
"Scales or balances are the emblems of justice or equity (compare Job 31:6; Psalm 62:9; Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11); and when joined with symbols that denote the sale of grain and fruit by weight, become the symbol of scarcity. Thus, "bread by weight" Leviticus 26:26 denotes scarcity. So in Ezekiel 4:16, "And they shall eat bread by weight." The use of balances here as a symbol would signify that something was to be accurately and carefully weighed out."
Bread will cost a day's wage. This indicates scarcity and/or hyperinflation. There will still be luxuries like oil and wine for the rich to buy, which indicates that some will be super-rich. It seems there will be a a huge gap in the rich and the poor. Revelation 18 shows us that the merchants lament their trade when Babylon falls, and what they lament are luxuries. A healthy trade in wealth-items had been going on all the while the poor starve for lack of bread. That gap is widening now.

ECONOMY

Retailers Hammered by Winter Storm ‘Draco’
"When I was running other people's money, I had a rule: If a retailer blames the weather for bad results, sell the stock. Good merchants understand climate volatility and plan accordingly. No exceptions were made and no excuses were accepted. That is until now. The winter storm that shutdown most flights in and out of O'Hare yesterday and is threatening to do the same to most of the eastern seaboard over the next two days comes at an inconceivably horrible time for retailers. Draco, as the storm is being called, may not be of historic magnitude in terms of storms but it will go down in history for U.S. merchants."

With retail trade as tenuous as it is already, a several day loss at the only time of year people feel free to spend money to excess, and even to spend money they don't have, is a drastic problem.

Greek austerity – it's just like aftermath of World War Two
"In the Greek mountain town of Kastoria, less than an hour from the Albanian border, Kostas Tsitskos (88) can't afford fuel to heat his home against the winter's cold. So he and his son live in a single bedroom, warmed by a small electric heater. When temperatures fall below freezing, Tsitskos spends most of his time in his bedroom and rarely leaves the house, he said. For meals, he and his son move the electrical heater to the kitchen. ... The household price for heating oil in Greece reached €1,266 per 1,000 litres in the second quarter of this year, surging 48pc from a year earlier, according to the International Energy Agency. The same quantity cost €861 in the UK and €790 in New York. ... Tsitskos has relatives in Astoria, New York, who have considered returning to Greece to retire and he cautions them to stay in the US. He would leave if he could afford it, he said. "I was expecting a different type of life," he said. "There's nothing that makes me happy. I'm living just to live."

Angelos Tzortzinis/Bloomberg
Caption: Greece Austerity Diet Risks 1930s-Style Depression. Wage and pension cuts have heightened tensions in Athens and other Greek cities as the economy shrivels and an anti-foreigner party flaunting a swastika-like insignia won 18 seats in Parliament.

Imagine how eagerly the people will embrace any leader who comes forward with a solution to their lack. By the time the antichrist comes, and the economy will have worsened (fiscal cliff, anyone?) imagine how they will clamor to do what he proposes...

And if you know your history, the aftermath of WWII bore the beginnings of the European Union. The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a six-nation international organization serving to unify democratic countries of Europe during the Cold War and create the foundation for the modern-day European Union. It was first proposed in 1950. In other words, scarcity brings union. People look toward each other when things get tough. This will be fulfilled ultimately in the ten nation conglomerate of Daniel 7:7.

RUSSIA

Next is Russia. I included news about them because they will figure prominently in the Gog-Magog alliance prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39. They are a protector nation and ally of Syria and Iran, nations which (among others) attack Israel in the last days. This attack is what God uses to supernaturally show Himself in the earth and thus bring Israel back to Him in covenant. So we watch Russia... and its leader.

Vladimir Putin goes on offensive against US
"Vladimir Putin signalled his support for a controversial new law that would ban American citizens from adopting Russian orphans as he issued a fierce verbal attack on the United States. Mr Putin said that despite Americans being "up to their ears in a certain substance" made up of their own problems, they still insisted on highlighting Russia's ills. "Why does one country consider itself entitled to spread its jurisdiction to the entire world?" he said in his characteristic rapid-fire delivery. "Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo – people are kept in prison for years without being charged, they walk around in shackles like in the Middle Ages. "They have legalised torture inside their own country."

The jackals are skulking closer to the wounded carcass that is America, eh?

SYRIA

Next: we watch Syria because of the prophecy in Isaiah 17 that Damascus will be destroyed and its environs devastated and depopulated. The verse at 14 seems to indicate that the destruction will happen quickly, even overnight. I can't imagine many weapons that will depopulate a place faster than either chemical weapons, or nukes.

Syria fires more Scud missiles as refugee projections climb
"The head of NATO condemned the Syrian government's return to firing Scud-type missiles yesterday, saying they were "acts of a desperate regime approaching collapse."

Syria's chemical weapons transported towards Lebanon
"Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has moved some of his chemical weapons arsenal in the direction of Lebanon. If one reads between the lines of a report written by David Ignatius this week in The Washington Post, it is not hard to make the jump between that trip and the possibility of such trucks --- or missiles carrying warheads with their contents -- crossing the border."

WEATHER

Crazy weather! It was another year of incredible weather extremes. The disasters that have occurred in America are unprecedented in US history during 2012. There were 11 billion-dollar weather disasters that hit the U.S., a figure exceeded only by the fourteen disasters during the previous year of 2011. But 2012 cost us more. Wow.

Remember in past posts, I mention the superlatives. Bad weather in and of itself is NOT an indicator of the nearness of the time, but when weather keeps getting worse, and worse, and worse, topping itself, it is an indicator. When meteorologists use superlatives like "biggest storm" or "most vicious in a hundred years," etc, that is an indicator. God ordains each thing that happens on earth (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 11:36), and He controls the weather. If a weather event isn't ordained directly by His hand, then He has allowed it to occur as a natural course of the effects of sin's decay on the world. Either way, as we get closer to the time, the weather will be increasingly haywire.

With this next news piece, we have news of a once in ten years storm, which compared to recent storms and also the mythological Mayan apocalypse, barely rates a 'pffft'. I'd mentioned before that we were running out of superlatives to describe the unprecedented weather events, and now it seems the ability to describe them has subsided to not even being bothered unless it is of unimaginable size or impact. In other words, a few years ago, a ten-year storm would be big news. Nowadays it isn't.

Not-quite-apocalyptic storms hit Israel
"Sure, the Water Authority says the weather system is a once-in-a-decade event, but it's not the end of the world. Though no once-in-a-civilization, earth-wrecking storms surfaced, the Israel Water Authority said the severity of Friday's storms represented one of the most significant winter weather events of the past decade. Over 100 ml of water fell in some towns in the North, and the Kinneret lake rose some 6 cm, Army Radio reported."

Storm lashes Northeast with wind, rain; thousands of flights disrupted
"With Christmas around the corner and winter officially arriving Friday, travel headaches brought on by the first big storm of the season continued -- with disruptions now plaguing Northeast airports due to wind and rain after the Midwest was socked Thursday."
Johnston Iowa

Ukraine and Russia hit by extreme cold snap and heavy snow
"Cold weather has killed 37 people in Ukraine so far this month as temperatures reached minus 23 Celsius in parts of the former Soviet republic. Night temperatures are expected to drop to -28C (-18F) in northern, central and eastern Ukraine this week. The cold snap followed heavy snowfall which left some areas covered with as much as 53 cm (21 inches) of snow. Cars were blocked for 18 kilometres (11 miles) overnight on Saturday on the main road between the capital Kiev and Lviv, officials said."

A woman looks through an icy window in a bus in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, on Friday

Cold snap claims nearly 200 lives in Russia, Eastern Europe
"MOSCOW: A vicious cold snap across Russia and Eastern Europe has claimed nearly 200 lives, officials figures showed today, as forecasters warned it would last until Christmas Eve. In Russia, the cold has killed two people in the past 24 hours, the Ria-Novosti agency reported, citing medical sources, bringing the total number of deaths over the past week to 56. The freeze had also left 371 people in hospital. Thermometers have been stuck below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) in Moscow — and below minus 50 degrees (minus 58 F) in some parts of Siberia — for a week."

Ouch. I really feel for those folks.

VOLCANOES

Volcanoes are becoming more active. The undersea Pacific Ring of Fire is also becoming more active. It should be noted that Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano is a constantly active one. However, the next volcano that is listed in the news, Russia's Kamchatka, is not.

Ecuador's rumbling Tungurahua volcano spews more hot rock from crater
"QUITO, Ecuador – The Tungurahua volcano in central Ecuador keeps spewing gas, ash and red-hot rock, forcing hundreds to evacuate from their homes. The country's Geophysical Institute says incandescent rock shot from the crater of the 16,479-foot (5,023-meter) high mountain fell about half a mile (a kilometer) down its flanks. Explosions early Wednesday rattled windows 9 miles (14 kilometers) away, while rain-borne ash has been falling to the southwest of the crater."

Russian volcano erupts - video
"A volcano in Russia's far eastern Kamchatka peninsula, which has been dormant since the 1970s, erupts, spewing lava and sending clouds of ash into the air. A crack about 5km long appeared on the slope of Plosky Tolbachik. The lava poured into a river valley, destroying a volcanologist research base and a tourist campsite, both of which were empty at the time."


Geology Professor Erik Klemetti reports in his eruption update for December 17, 2012, "Across the globe in Indonesia, Lokon has also been keeping active with numerous explosions, like this one from earlier today. That same brief Reuters report claims that Lokon has experienced over 800 explosions over the last 6 months, an impressive number to say the least. The plumes from the explosions are reaching 3-4 km / 11-14,000 feet. Lokon is joined by Paluweh in this week’s Global Volcanism Program Weekly Volcanic Activity Report and another 6 volcanoes are on Orange Alert status according to PVMBG."

Guatemala’s Pacaya Volcano spits ash, gases
"GUATEMALA CITY – Pacaya Volcano, located 47 kilometers south of the capital, has had increased activity in recent days with ash and gas being released into the air, said the Institute of Volcanology (Insivumeh). On Wednesday, the institute issued a preventive alert and recommended the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conrad) to keep monitoring the 2,500-meter-tall volcano, located between the departments of Guatemala City and Escuintla. “The activity yesterday [Tuesday] was a manifestation of reactivation, so people should be aware of developments in coming days,” Insivumeh experts said."

Here is The Atlantic's "2012: the Year in Volcanic Activity" with some really great photos. They write,
"Out of an estimated 1,500 active volcanoes around the world, 50 or so erupt every year, spewing steam, ash, toxic gases, and lava. In 2012, active volcanoes included Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego, New Zealand's Tongariro, Russia's Plosky Tolbachik, Chile's Puyehue, Italy's Etna, and a new island appearing in the Red Sea. In Hawaii, Kilauea continues to send lava flowing toward the sea, and locals living near Mexico's Popocatepetl continued to deal with ashfalls. Collected below are scenes from the wide variety of volcanic activity on Earth over the past year."

That "50 or so" per year is not correct. It hasn't been correct for a while. You'll see the data soon. I am preparing my annual year-end report in numbers of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, etc. It is called "by the Numbers" and it will be up in a day or so.

MYSTERY BOOMS/SKY NOISES

Who knows what those weird noises are?! They have been occurring for several years. The reports come from credible sources. When they occur, official government agencies deal with numerous calls and then make statements. YouTube and other video recordings capture the noise and they are posted on the internet for all to hear. I've written about them before, several times. I've speculated they may be leak-over from spiritual battles in the heavenlies. The roar of invading host, as it were. They may be something related to Jeremiah 25:31 --

"A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD."

Or they may be something we can't comprehend. In any case, they are still happening.

The weird sky noises continue to happen and when they do, they continue to baffle. It isn't quarry work and it isn't earthquakes. Those have been ruled out. And no military activity as taking place either. Those are the three main culprits that cause loud noises like these, and they have been ruled out.

Columbia County (GA) Booms Continue To Baffle Community
"Columbia County residents are stumped over the origin of a mysterious series of loud, wall-rattling booms that have been shaking their eardrums -and homes- several times over the last few weeks."

PESTILENCE

Luke 21:11 says that there will be pestilences as a sign of the end time. Pestilences are a contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating.

Whooping Cough on the dramatic rise: Maine cases tripled
"Reported cases of whooping cough in Maine more than tripled this year, in line with a national trend that resulted in the worst year of pertussis infection in the United States in more than 50 years."

source
Vermont is experiencing an outbreak too. Their cases this year have doubled over the previous next highest year of number of cases.

Pertussis outbreak has state encouraging vaccinations for adults and children
"Vermont is experiencing the most severe outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, in documented history. While state numbers show the vaccine’s inefficacy in the Green Mountain State, top health officials say there’s no better solution. The 568 cases the state has so far recorded this year are double the previous high of 283 cases set in 1997."

In the UK, cases have doubled.

Whooping cough outbreak continues but cases have dropped.
"The biggest outbreak of whooping cough for 20 years is continuing but experts said cases have dipped slightly. The number of new cases recorded in November dropped for the first time in 18 months, but experts warned that the disease does usually die down in winter and it may not mean the outbreak has peaked. ... So far this year there have been a total of 8,819 cases, higher than in any year since the 1990s."

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The point of posts like these is three fold, mainly. First, we recognize God's sovereignty in all things. the news headlines may say that there is travel "chaos" but in heaven there is no chaos. God is in control of each and every thing, including our lives. God is a mighty rock in a weary land!

Secondly, He said He will come again and take us to where He is. This is known as the rapture. All believers who are dead will be resurrected into glorified new bodies, and we who are alive will be taken up with them into the air where we will meet Him in the clouds. This will be a real event. It is not a theory. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54.)

So then, if He will come back a time we do not expect, how will we live from day to day? In expectation? Do we long for Him? Do we know the signs, or are we looking at life signs and not spiritual signs, much to our shame and rebuke? (Matthew 16:1-4).

Third, we take comfort in these words! He will return and right all things! He will hold us close and wipe our tears. He is the Good Shepherd who takes care of His sheep. He will install us in His fields, to lay down in good pasture, with still waters. Heed the words of David:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. (Psalm 23:1-4)
Whether He is near on His day of the rapture or He is near because he is indwelling us, He is near! Call on the mightiest name in the universe, your friend, Jesus.

 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18). Look for Him and live for Him. Selah

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