US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
The world has many moving parts. Here is what I have been watching lately (and a few observations):
Iran: The Iran deal will inject Iran, with an estimated $150 billion within the next 18 months. Iran can use many of these billions-plus in funds, and send some of that money to either Syria, Hamas or Hezbollah. Hezbollah (enemy of Israel) receives one billion dollars per year from Iran, that figure will grow significantly. Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt fear Iran. Prime minister Netanyahu said on NBC News’ “ Meet the Press”—“A Middle East crisscrossed with nuclear trip wires is a nightmare for the world”… “I think this deal is a dream deal for Iran, and it’s a nightmare deal for the world.”
“A lot of the Gulf countries feel they are being thrown under the bus,” said Mishaal al-Gergawi, managing director of the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi and a prominent Emirati political commentator. “The Gulf thought it was in a monogamous relationship with the West, and now it realizes it’s being cheated on because the U.S. was in an open relationship with it.”
China: is experiencing a panic, a rapid deceleration in economic activity is causing both private and foreign capital to exit the country—is this a temporary panic or a longer-term angst that will cause a severe correction in world stock markets? The belief is that the Chinese economy is slowing—causing a plunge in commodity prices (iron ore, palladium, oil and gold). If the Chinese economy is slowing this impacts America companies who sell goods in China, hurting profits.
World Banks: printing massive amounts of money: Japan, China, and Europe are printing, and printing, and printing a lot of money. In doing this– these nations are devaluing their currencies. This has helped the dollar go higher and the Euro to fall by 30%.
Cracks in the European Union: The Greek crisis is causing division in Europe. Germany is being perceived by some, as a bit of a bully as it is the force to reckon with when dealing with European problems. The following is from Stratfor.com:
More recently, the economic crisis weakened the French economy and, as a result, France’s political influence. Meanwhile, it enhanced Germany’s role as the main decision-maker in Europe. France is still the main military force in continental Europe and has been particularly active abroad in recent years, as exemplified by its interventions in Northern and Central Africa. But Paris is concerned about its weakened political influence in EU affairs. Today, many of the most important decisions in Europe are made in Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt.
These changing dynamics were clear during the Eurogroup negotiations on the Greek crisis. Berlin won the backing of fellow Central and Northern European nations, including the Netherlands, Finland, Slovakia and the Baltic states, most of which are part of Germany’s supply chain and all of which have strong trade ties with the Germans. But for historical reasons, Germany is a reluctant hegemon.
European Unemployment continues to cause stress in Europe. Germany has survived the recession quite well, but other nations, including France, are struggling, this is causing resentment between Eurozone member states:
And of course there is Russia, but that subject will have to wait for a future blog.
Always keep in mind that watching world news and reading prophecies from the Bible, should encourage repentance, and drawing closer to God. We are not in the prediction business. Prophecy should lead to a sense of personal urgency and deep personal change:
“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house … Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33-37).
“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man”—Luke 21:36.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama presented two very different views of the future following the announcement of a nuclear deal with Iran.
The President is optimistic; Israelis are devastated that their closet ally (America) has been so easily “fooled” by the Iranians. The Obama administration expects the Iran deal to usher in an era of enhanced stability in the Middle East. Netanyahu warns that, “Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves.”
One Saudi diplomat described the accord, which offers a gradual lifting of international sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program, as “extremely dangerous.” One of the Saudi princes said: “Iran is already a disruptive player in various nations throughout the Arab world, whether it’s Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, or Bahrain,” –and America is backing down in the Middle East yet again—It is showing a weak and tired hand—Iran will move in to fill the vacuum left by America’s timidity and fatigue.
There is very little interest on the part of the United States to engage in a military confrontation in the Persian Gulf—all players in the Middle East see this. The Obama administration wants America to have a smaller footprint in the Middle East—The Iran deal does just that.
With the collapse of Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and America leaving the Middle East—there are now major pockets of chaos expanding throughout the region. Washington’s policies have left a vacuum, Muslim visionaries and fanatics—from Sunni jihadists to militant Shiites—have filled the void THAT AMERICA HAS LEFT —all with the vision of grabbing power as they seek to control millions of people. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s brutal Islamic State caliphate is now taking on the Iranian mullahs, who themselves want to re-establish a “greater Iran.” The Iran agreement will only escalate the chaos that is resurgent in the Middle East.
Netanyahu stated, “In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide. The deal means: Iran will receive roughly $100 billion in frozen assets overseas immediately after adoption of a Security Council JCPOA resolution.
In Israel, one of the world’s most chaotic democracies, politicians rarely agree on anything. Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. writes, “which is why their reaction to the nuclear arms deal with Iran is definitely unique. For the first time in living memory, virtually all Israelis – left, right, religious, secular, Arabs, Jews – are together calling the deal disastrous.”
Will Congress approve this agreement? As Charles Krauthammer writes, Whatever Congress ultimately does, it won’t matter because the legal underpinning for the entire international sanctions regime against Iran will have been dismantled at the Security Council. Ten years of painstakingly constructed international sanctions will vanish overnight, irretrievably. Even if Congress rejects the agreement, do you think the Europeans, the Chinese or the Russians will reinstate sanctions? The result: The United States is left isolated while the rest of the world does thriving business with Iran.
The agreement with Iran seems to me so very naïve. It reminds me of the lying spirit that swayed King Ahab as recorded in 1 Kings 22. In 1 Kings 22 we are told of a council of war between the kings of Israel and Judah. Treacherous King Ahab and the good Jewish King Jehoshaphat were planning war against Syria to regain land that Israel had lost. At the council God’s prophet Micaiah was brought before the two kings, he revealed an insightful vision from the throne of God and how the world of angels and demons can sway world leaders.
Micaiah viewed God sitting on His throne and the spiritual host of heaven around Him. “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him [Ahab].’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets’” (verses 21-22). God was allowing Ahab to be persuaded by his advisors (influenced by a lying spirit) to engage in a battle that would lead to Ahab’s death.
The lesson for us is that at times lying demonic spirits work through government advisors [types of false prophets] to prevail upon leaders to make foolish decisions. The Bible tells us there is a parallel world where demons seek to confuse and influence world leaders. With this in mind I cannot help but to wonder if demon spirits were involved in the sequence of discussions that lead to the agreement with Iran. I think so.
When I first heard that the Supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, the scripture that came to mind is, “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”—Jeremiah 17:9. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the redefinition of marriage seals the end of America—It is not an exaggeration to say America’s fate is sealed. Only God can define marriage. The decision of the five Supreme Court justices who favor same-sex marriage was an act of utter arrogance and rebellion against God’s designed order.
Isaiah 1:10 casts our leaders today as leaders of “Sodom”. Sodom is a word that expresses moral depravity, complacency and hatred of God’s standards and definition of good and evil. Many of our politicians, media elites and even some church leaders approve of a lifestyle that totally abandons the instruction that came from God.
It is no surprise to see the Supreme Court put their stamp of approval on marriage between two men or two women. A nation that legalizes abortion and attaches no shame to “living together” relationships, out-of-wedlock births and yawns at a divorce rate that is the highest in the world is not about to suddenly stand up and say no to the evil of same-sex marriage.
Not all of the justices agreed with the decision: “These justices know [those who favor same sex marriage],” dissenting Justice Scalia said, “they know that an institution [marriage] as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, [same-sex marriage] cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry.”
Justice Samuel Alito added, “as far as I’m aware, until the end of the 20th century, there was never a nation or a culture that recognized marriage between two people of the same sex.” There was not any society, prior to the Netherlands in 2001, that permitted same¬-sex marriage.
When Emperor Nero temporarily legalized same-sex marriage, Roman citizens opposed his foolishness. The Roman historian, Tacitus, claims that when Nero “went through a formal wedding ceremony with one of the perverts named Pythagorus”, the act inflamed general public anger toward Nero and eventually led to his forced suicide (Annals 15.37). In the 1960s, society was pressured to accept all kinds of immoral sexual relationships between men and women. Now the pressure is to accept, as healthy, the perversion of homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage.
Marriage is not to be defined by man. The definition of marriage is God’s prerogative only, “God created man in His image; in the Divine image he created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Gen. 1:28-29). Jesus Christ defines marriage as only between a man and a woman: “From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7). Genesis plainly teaches how God punished Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of homosexuality: “The Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah. He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil.” (Gen. 19:24-25).
What is most outrageous is that same-sex “marriage” ignores a child’s best interests. And same-sex “marriage” serves to endorse the whole homosexual lifestyle in all its bisexual and transgender forms. Jeremiah 5:9 speaks of God’s anger when seeing our nation’s quick embrace of sexual sin, Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?
Democracy in Europe is a fragile thing. Eventually, in the not too distant future, we will see a tyrant come to power in Europe and democratic Europe will give way to a dictatorship. At first this man will appear reasonable and appealing, but soon after garnering support from other European leaders he will pursue an expansionist agenda. His dictatorship will encompass much of Europe; in a blitzkrieg like strike he will move troops into the Middle East fighting against and subduing a Middle East leader labeled as the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43).
Satan uses tyrants, dictators, and evil men to massacre millions. Below is a brief list of tyrants who have killed massive numbers of men, women and children [taken from the Daily Mail website]. A future European dictator will be responsible for the deaths of multiple millions as well—but for now notice the death toll at the hands of history’s tyrants:
1 MAO ZEDONG
China (1949-76) Regime Communist Victims 60 million
China’s so-called ‘Great Helmsman’ was in fact the greatest mass murderer in history. Most of his victims were his fellow Chinese, murdered as ‘landlords’ after the communist takeover, starved in his misnamed ‘Great Leap Forward’ of 1958-61, or killed and tortured in labour camps in the Cultural Revolution of the Sixties. Mao’s rule, with its economic mismanagement and continual political upheavals, also spelled poverty for most of China’s untold millions. The country embraced capitalism long after his death.
2 JOSEPH STALIN
Soviet Union (1929-53) Regime Communist Victims 40 million
Lenin’s paranoid successor was the runner-up to Mao in the mass-murder stakes. Stalin imposed a deliberate famine on Ukraine, killed millions of the wealthier peasants – or ‘kulaks’ – as he forced them off their land, and purged his own party, shooting thousands and sending millions more to work as slaves and perish in the Gulag.
3 ADOLF HITLER
Germany (1933-45) Regime Nazi dictatorship Victims 30 million
The horror of Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship lies in the uniqueness of his most notorious crime, the Holocaust, which stands alone in the annals of inhuman cruelty. It was carried out under the cover of World War II, a conflict Hitler pursued with the goal of obtaining ‘Lebensraum’. The war ended up costing millions of lives, leaving Europe devastated and his Third Reich in ruins.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2091670/Hitler-Stalin-The-murderous-regimes-world.html#ixzz3d0ePvTTw
Historian Michael Rank says Genghis Khan and his descendants triggered 40 million deaths during the period of the Mongol invasions which took place in the 13th century, making him one of the deadliest dictators in history. However, with only one-seventh of the world population in the 13th century as there is now, that figure would equal 350 million today, which is more than half the population of Europe. Furthermore, the Lushan Rebellion in eight-century China killed 36 million. This figure equals approximately over 500 million today. Rank, see History’s Worst Dictators: A Short Guide to the Most Brutal Rulers, From Emperor Nero to Ivan the Terrible (Kindle Locations 805-809).
The future reveals another “Hitler” type figure will dominate Europe. Notice in Revelation 13 the subject of the Beast transitions from speaking of the revived Roman Empire [European power] as a “beast” to speaking of the political and military dictator of that empire as being the “beast” (verses 4-8). This dictator is also referred to in Revelation 17:12-13. Many people call him the future Antichrist. The Bible calls him the “Beast”—dictator.
Here are some details the Bible tell us concerning this despot based upon previous figures of history—especially mirroring Antiochus Epiphanies of ancient Syria who persecuted the Jews.
He may come from a German speaking nation (Isaiah 10:5-11).
He will understand mysterious/sinister things (Daniel 8:23).
He will pull the world into world war (Daniel 8:24).
He will be deceitful and break a treaty (Daniel 11:23-24).
He will make changes, impacting God’s appointed days of worship (Daniel 7:25; 11:37-38).
He will rise up unexpectedly (Daniel 8:23-24; 11:21-24).
He will be considered to be a man bringing peace (Daniel 8:25; 11:21-24).
He will come to an agreement with the Catholic Church. (Revelation 13:3-4; 17:1-11).
He will establish himself in Jerusalem near the beginning of his reign (Daniel 11:31; Luke 21:24).
He will be the leader of the resurrected Holy Roman Empire (Revelation 13:3,12).
He will help spread a counterfeit Christianity around the world (Revelation 13:3-17).
He will attack the English peoples, including the USA (Daniel 11:39; Ezekiel 5:1-4).
He will be against to those that keep the Sabbath (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:17; Revelation 13:16-17).
The world will prosper under his system for a short time (Daniel 11:39; Revelation 18:9-19).
He will attack Muslims [King of the South], and move troops into Israel– (Daniel 11:40-43).
Christ will kill him near Jerusalem (Revelation 19:19-20).
Who is this European leader—we do not know, but we are watching European politics closely. We must not rush to a conclusion when watching Europe and its politicians…but neither should we be asleep to what is happening on the Continent. I continue to read the European papers and have recently returned from a European trip. More later, in a future Blog, pertaining to this end-time dictator.
Russian leader Putin meets with German leader Angela Merkel in Berlin
I remind you that we watch Europe because it is a FLASHPOINT of global tensions—an area of prophetic importance. A future European power will wage world war once again–it will happen in the near future– very possibly in the lifetimes of most of you reading this blog.
The map of Europe over the past 1000 years has not changed much. Nations in Europe have long painful memories that make trust and forgiveness highly unlikely. As a result, Europe has been a place where wars continually flare and metastasize. Estimates of death vary, but most experts believe that nearly 100 Million people died around the world between 1914 and 1945, due to world wars and the concomitant effects of war, which include starvation, disease, famine and devastating ethnic purges. Europe was the flashpoint for these massive casualties. But why is Europe so prone to war?
Crowded with nations, it is also crowded with people. As hard is it may be to believe, you will find that Europe has more people per square kilometer than does Asia. Europe is a patchwork of small and large nations. According German researchers Pan and Pfeil there are 87 distinct peoples of Europe; including Russia, Europe boasts a population of 780 million people. The 28 nations that make up the European Union–this Union of nations in Europe has 24 official languages. If ever there was a location on earth that could be called ‘Babylon’, it would be Europe.
Map of European languages
No other combination of nations matches the Bible’s warning of a final revival of the Roman Empire, a prophecy in the book of Daniel describes this mix of ethnic groups and nations of Europe—“Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay ”(Daniel 2:41-43). Such a symbolic mixture of iron and clay is Europe’s many national, economic, cultural, religious and ethnic differences. But all these differences have created distrust, hatred and nationalistic tendencies—our nation is better than your nation. The continent is dominated by old grudges and unhealed wounds that go back hundreds of years.
George Friedman in his book FLASHPOINTS gives us this observation concerning why the European Union came into being:
The most important question in the world is whether conflict and war have actually been banished or whether this is merely an interlude, a seductive illusion. Europe is the single most prosperous region in the world. Its GDP collectively is greater than that of the United States. It touches Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Another series of wars would change not only Europe, but the world. The answer to the question of whether Europe has overcome not only the thirty- one years, but the long millennia of conflict that preceded it, is at the center of any consideration of the future. That’s the reason I’ve written this book. In many ways this is the subject that has shaped my life and thoughts. I was born in Hungary in 1949 to parents born in 1912 and 1914. My family was shaped in the horrors and terrors of Europe, not only in the thirty- one years (the period of time from 1914 to 1945—World War 1 & 2), but in their aftermath. We left Europe because my parents were convinced that there was a deep corruption in the European soul that could be hidden for a while but would always show itself eventually.
Those who lived through the thirty- one years then had to live through the Cold War, where the decision of war and peace, the decision that would determine if they lived or died, would be made in Moscow and Washington. That there was no war in Europe is worth considering later, but as the threat receded the European commitment was that the thirty- one years never be repeated. Europeans ceded their empire, their power, even in some ways their significance, to the principle that they should never again experience the horror of those years nor live on its precipice as they did in the Cold War. The institution created to ban their nightmares was the European Union. Its intent was to bond European nations so closely together in such a prosperous enterprise that no nation would have any reason to break the peace or fear another. Friedman, George (2015-01-27). Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe . Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Europe does not want to see a repeat of the great World Wars—wars that ravaged their continent, killed their young men and destroyed 6 million Jews. With this in mind the survival of the European Union is a high priority to many of the leaders in Europe.
The European financial crisis can destabilize the world. What happens between Greece and Germany, for example, could send large waves of uncertainty throughout Europe—a Greek exit will cause the world stock markets to spasm. People do not want to see their retirement accounts take a nose-dive, nor do they want to see their home values collapse because of financial instability that emanates from Europe.
Why is Germany important? Germany is the political and economic hub of Europe. Germany has the fourth-largest economy in the world. It receives over 50 percent of its income from exports, half of which went to the European free trade zone. Germany is Europe’s major creditor. Southern Europe is Europe’s major debtor (this would include Greece). The Germans insisted on austerity to address Europe’s massive debt problem. International institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, agreed with Germany’s solution for Europe—stop spending money on social programs—and fire more state workers.
This austerity approach to southern Europe’s financial troubles has created resentment—Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy have seen a significant rise of anger towards Germany… because of the tighten your belt approach Germany has imposed upon these nations. The old attitudes of mistrust and resentment are once again rising in Europe. Trust between nations is deteriorating. This can lead to a fragmentation of the 28 nations of Europe called the EU (European Union). If this occurs, at the very least, you will see a swoon in the world stock exchanges. Why– Because, stock markets hate uncertainty.
Germany has intense interest in having the European Union (EU) survive. Remember, Germany is dependent on exports—it exports much to EU member states. Yet it is Germany that must lead Europe through the economic crisis. “Germany must do everything it can to discipline the European Union without motivating its members to leave”—George Friedman of Stratfor. This is an almost impossible challenge for Germany.
And then there is Russia…Germany and eastern European nations such as Poland and Romania are concerned about Russian advances into Ukraine. An increasing number of European nations fear that NATO cannot or will not defend them, and that America is shying away from conflicts around the globe—whom can Europe trust to defend against an aggressive Russia? We will address that topic in a future blog.