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?