World Watch Today

Oil Wars

Steven LeBlanc

12222014

The rumor is–America and Saudi Arabia are actually working together to bring down the price of oil–the reason– to hurt Vladimir Putin. The Saudis gain more market share when the price of oil goes lower (which is true), and America benefits as Russia’s economy takes a heavy hit due to reduced oil revenue (a case of geopolitical weakness on the part of Russia).

But the above is actually a distorted view, the truth is– America and the Saudis are not collaborating on the price of oil—they are actually competing against each other, a three-way oil war is going on between Saudi Arabia, the United States and Russia. All these nations are competing against one another. Russia leads the world in oil production, followed closely by Saudi Arabia and just ahead of the United States.

Energy pundits say there is little doubt that OPEC is looking to drive new producers with higher costs — in particular North American shale companies — out of the market. Technological breakthroughs have unlocked shale resources in the United States and raised daily US oil output by more than 40 percent since 2006, but at a production cost which can be three times that of extracting Saudi oil.

What changed?

The American shale revolution created an America that went from being a big consumer of Saudi oil to becoming a major exporter of Natural gas liquids and condensates, and we are importing far less oil from Saudi Arabia, and other OPEC nations. Our newfound ability to export oil and natural gas liquids hurts Russia, Saudi Arabia and OPEC. This has created tension between the Saudis and America.

Both Saudi Arabia and Russia need revenue from the sale of oil and natural gas. It seems they have no intention of curbing production. This means there is plenty of oil available on the world oil markets—this oversupply is driving down the price of oil, and the price of gasoline at the gas station. How low will the price of oil go—hard to tell.

And now this just in…Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it would not cut output to prop up oil markets even if non-OPEC nations did so, in one of the toughest signals yet that the world’s top petroleum exporter plans to ride out the market’s biggest slump in years—Reuters.

Where does Russia stand in this oil fight?

Russia’s currency, the ruble, has fallen by over 30% in 2014. As bad as that is, it makes Russian oil and natural gas even more attractive to European and Chinese buyers. Russia will not cut production and will continue to increase its market share in Asia. Just take a look at the monster energy deal between Russia and China that was reported during the November APEC [Asia Pacific Economic Conference]. Like Saudi Arabia, Russia needs the money. We may see lower oil prices for some months.

Wars and rumors of wars [see Matthew 24:6], but in a way you may not initially appreciate, make no mistake about it—this is a war, but not a war using tanks and troops but an energy war. Russia and Saudi Arabia are in an energy war with each other over market share, and both are competing with US shale. Throw in rising political tensions—the US wishing to do economic damage to Russia, Russia determined to stand its ground on Ukraine, the Saudis angry over US foreign policy in the Middle East, mostly because America’s newfound softness toward Iran—and you have a mass of shocking cross-currents.

Another factor impacting markets… Weak demand in China — where the economy is slowing after decades of spectacular growth — is likely to continue, said Bassam Fattouh, director of the independent Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Competition for Asian markets has meanwhile grown, he said, after the production increase in the United States allowed it to reduce or stop crude imports from the Middle East, West Africa and Latin America. “That has created a shift in oil trade flows,” he said.

Oversupply, lower demand and the stronger US dollar have all contributed to pushing down oil prices, which have dropped 50 percent since June to around $60 a barrel. The world economy promises more surprises in 2015!

The Coming...Great Abomination

12 12 2014

Christ specifically WARNS that we must understand this disturbing future prophetic event…

Jesus Christ describes this abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15-20. Beginning in verse 15 we read: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ [a vile image], spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place… then let those who are in Judea [today known as the modern state of Israel] flee to the mountains.” The people in Judea are instructed, when they see this terrible abomination of desolation, to flee to the mountains.

Also, Luke 21:20 states, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near”.

Christ’s stern warning about an “abomination of desolation” means, literally, “the abomination of the desolater”. An “abomination” is something God hates, and comes from the Hebrew word shakaz, for an idol–something, or someone who is worshiped in place of the true God. Prophecy is clear– Jerusalem is again to be surrounded by armies (Zechariah 12:2) and an idol– some type of image, will be set up in a holy place.

Notice Jesus Christ urges those who are in Judea to quickly flee when this desecration takes place. “Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes” (Matthew 24:17-18). So dire is Christ’s warning, that if you linger and wait, it will be too late to escape destruction. Christ also warns–“But woe to those who are pregnant and to those with nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath [God’s people will be keeping the Sabbath] (verses 19–20).

The key to understanding this warning is to understand what Daniel wrote in his prophetic book. The mention of the abomination of desolation is taken from the book of Daniel. They shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation (Daniel 11:31). This describes a complete desecration of the temple, prefigured by Antiochus Epiphanies.

Now we take a look at the model, template or blueprint of history to see more clearly this future end-time event regarding the “Abomination”.

Some 160 years before the First Coming of Christ (168/167 BC), a Greek, Syrian king named Antiochus Epiphanes came to power he did great harm to the Jewish nation—all Jews of Christ day knew about this man— as far as the Jews were concerned he was the Hitler of that era.

Antiochus Epiphanes was a despicable, cruel king of the Northern Seleucid (Syiran) dynasty (Daniel 8:9-14). He came to the throne when his brother Seleucus was murdered and a son of the dead king (Demetrius 1 Soter) who might succeed him, was held hostage in Rome, Antiochus took advantage of the leadership vacuum, to take control of Syria. Soon afterwards, Antiochus developed an alliance with an Egyptian ruler named Ptolemy VI Philometer. Using this alliance (feigning friendship), he then moved to gain greater power in Egypt. Using deceit and subterfuge, Antiochus then made a play to take over Egypt—with a small force of people (Daniel 11:23), he conquered much of Egypt, including Memphis all the way down to Alexandria.

It was during this time period that the Jews began to rebel under the rule of Antiochus. Antiochus controlled the Holy Land and was determined to force the Jews to obey his laws.

The Abomination

The apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees, although not Scripture, reveals the history of the period:

“The king then issued a proclamation to his whole kingdom that all were to become a single people, each nation renouncing its particular customs. All the gentiles conformed to the king’s decree, and many Israelites chose to accept his religion, sacrificing to idols and profaning the Sabbath.”

“The king also sent edicts by messenger to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, directing them to adopt customs foreign to the country, banning burnt offerings, sacrifices and libations from the sanctuary, profaning Sabbaths and feasts, defiling the sanctuary and everything holy, building altars, shrines and temples for idols, … so that they should forget the Law and revoke all observance of it. Anyone not obeying the king’s command was to be put to death” (1 Maccabees 1:41, 44-50, New Jerusalem Bible). Punishment was swift and vicious. Women who had had their sons circumcised were killed and their babies hung around their necks (verses 60-61). Anyone continuing in faithful obedience to God’s law was executed (verses 62-64).

Antiochus then set-up a bearded image of the pagan deity [Zeus] upon the Temple altar. Greek soldiers and their lovers performed licentious heathen rites in the very Temple courts. Swine were sacrificed on the altar.

Josephus also explains how Antiochus profaned the altar. “Now Antiochus was not satisfied either with his unexpected taking the city, or with its pillage, or with the great slaughter he had made there… he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of their country, and to keep their infants uncircumcised, and to sacrifice swine’s flesh upon the altar” (Wars of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 1, Sections 1–2).
Antiochus further profaned the temple. He erected a statue of Zeus in the temple and directed everyone to worship it.

This abomination, referred to in chapters 8 and 11 of Daniel’s prophecy, was a model of an end-time event. This is what Jesus meant when he said: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains”

In the near future sacrifices will again be instituted before Christ’s return, (Daniel 12:9-13) describes the abomination of desolation as occurring at “the time of the end.” Once again sacrifices will be initiated at Jerusalem; armies again will surround Jerusalem, and the sacrifices will be cut off—this time for 1,290 days.

An End Time “Antiochus”

A powerful leader will play a pivotal role in end-time events. He will be against God’s laws and will persecute those who keep the Commandments of God. Antiochus Epiphanes, who engineered the original abomination of desolation, is the forerunner of this end-time Dictator. “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up…” (Daniel 12:11); clearly there will be daily sacrifices once again being performed on the Temple Mount!

Jesus encouraged His followers to “watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). We watch Israel, anticipating the time when:

• Leaders in Israel moves to reintroduce daily sacrifices.
• The rise of a European Dictator who will move troops into the Middle East (Daniel 11:40-44).
• Geopolitical events that will lead to armies amassing around Israel and Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2; Luke 21:20).

Steven LeBlanc

Anti Jewish salute (quenelle) in Brussels

12012014a

The leader of “Debout Les Belges!,” far-right lawmaker Laurent Louis (C) perform the ‘quenelle’ gesture ahead of the anti-Semitic congress, “First European Conference of Dissidence”, organised by Chamber member Laurent Louis in Anderlecht, outside Brussels.

I continually monitor European response to Jews living in various European cities, and what I am seeing is not good.  Hatred of Jews is on the rise in Europe.  Seventy years after the Holocaust, Jews no longer feel safe.  Anti-Semitism in Western Europe is “the worst since World War II”, according to the international Jewish Agency.

After the fight in Gaza—this past summer, anti-Semites across Europe started attacking the continent’s Jews under the pretext of protesting Israel’s politics. The Gaza war is over but the attacks continue. The hard truth is life is not going to get better for Jews living in Europe. High unemployment, the result of economic recession, and the continued arrival of hundreds and thousands of Muslim immigrants from Africa and the Middle East can only mean the continued persecution of shrinking Jewish communities in France, Belgium the Netherlands and Sweden.

The rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, along with the success of European fascist parties (France’s National Front, Greece’s neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, Hungary’s Jobbik Party, among others) in the recent European parliamentary elections, has provoked European Jews to leave the continent –where Six Million European Jews were murdered during WWII.

12012014b

Nearly a third of European Jews now consider emigration because they do not feel safe in their home country.  Europe’s Jews are now heading to Israel, London, the United States, and Canada

Here are some of the latest incidents of anti-Jewish hatred:

A senior Jobbik MP (Hungary), called for a list to be made of Hungarian Jews, especially those working in Parliament or for the government, as Jews posed a “national security risk”
Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city, is one of the most unsettling places in Europe for Jews. Anti-Semitic attacks have tripled.
In recent months eight synagogues in France have been attacked.
This summer, chants of “Heil Hitler” and “Oh Jew, you will die” could be heard from an Algerian crowd in London.
Anti-Semitic attacks nearly doubled in France in the first seven months of 2014.  France’s Jewish population is the third largest in the world after Israel and the United States.

Across Europe Jewish communities are investing in security infrastructure and boosting protection.

Jewish hatred will gain momentum, cresting as Christ returns to bring the nations of the world, including the Jewish people, to repentance.

Regarding Jesus Christ and the Jews at the very end time, Zechariah says of the people of Judah, “Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” They will finally realize what God meant through David in prophesying, “They pierced My hands and My feet” (Psalm 22:16)—that is, the nailing of the Messiah to the cross as part of His atoning suffering and death. They will at last recognize that Jesus Christ was indeed the true Messiah—that the very One they worshipped as God was made flesh and that His flesh was pierced with scourge, thorns, nails and spear for the sake of their sins and those of all humanity.

Zechariah 12:10: “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn”.

Steven LeBlanc

Germany at odds with Europe...And the rise of right wing Europe

Steven LeBlanc

Germany is often described as a “reluctant hegemon,” a powerful nation that dominates Europe. This role is not something Germans are comfortable with; they much prefer to blend in as opposed to standing out in any political way. Germany admires the role Switzerland plays—a wealthy nation that keeps a low political profile.

Why is Germany afraid of the spotlight–Because the memories of Nazism are still too fresh, and many Germans simply do not want to be seen as “politically” powerful; to be politically powerful could lead to other European nations (their trading partners) viewing them as potential bullies—a label German leadership wants to avoid at all costs!

The conundrum is Germany finds itself at the center of Europe and once again it is forced to navigate another great European recession. German leader Angela Merkel believes it is in Germany’s best interest to see that the European Union remains united—she does not want to see a dismantling of the Union. Why? Because Germany does most of its trade with fellow European Union nations, a European Union split—would be very bad for the German economy, which relies heavily on German exports.

Strong dislike of Germany within Europe

Germany is not well liked within Europe on account of its attempt to impose a strong working culture and German thriftiness on the rest of the Eurozone. The German solution to the Eurozone’s ailing economies has been to impose bailouts for Europe’s worst-off economies, demanding stiff reforms designed to drive down wages to increase competitiveness. Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece have taken the tough German medicine (which has made them angry with Germany), yet the medicine is working! These nations are pulling out of recession and their economies are growing, but unemployment is still very high (For example, unemployment in Spain is at 25 percent).

Pressure is now being brought to bear upon Germany by the United States, France and Italy to stimulate the economy. These nations are taking turns to criticize German policies and urging it to spend more, both within its own borders and across the Eurozone. Germany hates the practice of expansion of credit and “throwing around” money. Germany abhors debt… But France, Italy and America believe Europe’s stagnant economies–stems from a lack of demand, do to the impotence or inability to spend thus depressing both the private and public sectors. They want to increase money supply, Germany could not disagree more it still has memories of horrific inflation from the 1920s. Germany is very much against printing more money to solve Europe’s problems. What is the European tug of war?

Spend your way out of the recession or attack debt with austerity…this is the disagreement between Germany and much of Europe including America. Chancellor Angela Merkel stands by her image as the “Heidelberg Housewife,” comparing national economies to households in which one cannot live beyond their means. The problem is most European nations have been living beyond their means for decades, and don’t want to tighten their belts.

Incoming European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed plans to raise an investment fund in Europe that could be used to stimulate demand. This solution met resistance from Germany. Europe’s battleground will revolve around whether German austerity (Government spending cuts) continues or will stimulus hawks (Italy, France and America) prevail forcing Germany to spend and print money.

Economic recession is once again plaguing Europe—this is leading to a rise in popularity of right wing parties (watch the above video).

We watch Europe closely because the Bible tells us that in the future a European –centered “beast” power is the final resurrection of the Roman Empire, one of the four great gentile empires of Daniels’ vision (Daniel 7)—it will be the final manifestation of the empire that fights Christ as His return (Revelation 17:12-14).

This European-centered “beast” power, as the Bible defines it, is the final resurrection of the Roman Empire, one of the four great gentile empires of Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7) that have largely dominated civilization through the centuries—and will again rise just before Christ’s return.

Revelation 17 gives us more details about this coming superpower: “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour [a prophetic reference to a short time] as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb [Jesus], and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings . . .” (verses 12-14).

America's Sins-update

11 15 2014

“Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?”—Jeremiah 5:29

According to a new study from Johns Hopkins University, 57 percent of mothers between 26 and 31 are unmarried when their child is born.
37% of pastors said viewing pornography was a “current struggle.”
1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
America has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the world.
America produces 80% of the world’s pornography.
The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world by far.
The United States has the highest rate of illegal drug use on the entire globe.
Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.
Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
CHILD PROSTITUTION–At least 100,000 children are used as prostitutes each year as part of the $9.8 billion U.S. sex trafficking industry, according to a new report from anti-trafficking group Shared Hope International. Victims on average are between the ages of 12 and 14
Disrespect for Marriage: In fact, the United States has one of the highest levels of both marriage and divorce of any Western nation,. The percentage of people who are projected to marry—close to 90 percent—is higher than elsewhere. Yet the United States has the highest divorce rate in the Western world, higher even than vanguard countries such as Sweden. At current rates, over half of all American marriages would end in divorce. In addition, Americans’ cohabiting (living-together) relationships end more quickly—American families are different —we are a people who engage in frequent marriage, frequent divorce, more short-term cohabiting relationships. —, Americans step on and off the carousel of intimate partnerships (by which I mean marriages and cohabiting relationships) more often. Cherlin, Andrew J. (2009-04-10). The Marriage-Go-Round (p. 5). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Fifty percent of Christian men and 20% of Christian women say they occasionally or often view pornography. And the most popular day of the week for viewing porn is Sunday.
32 States have legalized Same-Sex marriage.

-Steven LeBlanc

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