World Watch Today

MIXED SIGNALS on Iran

Steven LeBlanc

Prime Minister Netanyahu said he and Mr. Obama have a “common assessment” that it will take Iran about one year to make a nuclear bomb if it decides to do so. He said Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium, a key ingredient of such a bomb, is a separate matter.

The comment, “that is a separate matter” most likely means the Prime Minister and the President do not agree on how to exactly draw a line with Iran. The two leaders see sharply different timetables for potentially taking military action. President Obama said Iran was at least a year away from developing a nuclear bomb, while Netanyahu warned that the Islamic Republic must be stopped soon. The American view is that an Iranian nuclear weapon is not imminent and Iran’s ultimate ability to build a deliverable weapon is questionable.

The Israeli prime minister said he believes that if Iran “gets through” the enrichment process, it will reach an “immunity zone” – a reference to a position in which military action would not be able to stop it. It is doubtful the President agrees with Mr. Netanyahu’s “immunity zone” abstraction.

Always remember a passage found in Proverbs concerning God’s sovereignty. Proverbs 21:1 states: The king’s heart is in the hand of God as the watercourses: He turneth it whithersoever he will.

Will God move America to strike Iran; Will God move Israel to launch a pre-emptive strike? Or will God allow the spirit world to ignite a war in the Middle East in 2013?

The Bible exposes that there are unseen spirit wars going on that impact world events. The “prince of the kingdom of Persia [Iran]” (Daniel 10 verse 13; see verse 20) and the “prince of Greece” (verse 20) are spirit leaders over these empires under the Supreme demon, Satan the Devil. Jesus states, Satan is the “ruler of this world” (see John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). And within his demonic realm are various ranks of power—”forces and authorities and…rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world” (Ephesians 6:12,). In Daniel 10:13 of the “kings of Persia” (plural)—evidently demonic kings under the leading prince of Persia, himself subject to Satan.

One certainty is that Mr. Netanyahu will press the President to act on Iran as there is little time left as far as Israel is concerned. And never forget that there is a parallel spirit world that influences human leaders.

Why Cyprus is Important

Steven LeBlanc

Most people in America have little interest in the tiny Island nation of Cyprus—they should be very interested—here’s why:

People all over Europe are asking could this happen in our country? Cyprus sent jitters through the financial markets earlier this week as it spoke of imposing a tax on bank accounts as part of an agreement to be bailed out by the German led European Union. The thought is that those who have under 100,000 euros in their accounts will be taxed 6.75%, while those above that figure will be taxed almost 10%.

Fear and outrage spread through the economically weak nations of Europe. If you were to lose 10% of all your bank savings because your government had to be bailed out by foreigners you would be worried as well, wouldn’t you?

There are 3 reasons what happens in Cyprus is important:

1. Weaker European nations [Italy, Spain, Portugal & Greece] citizens are thinking, “could this happen to our deposits where we live”—possibly sending a panic through Europe as people could rush to draw out money from their banks.
2. The “tax the depositors” initiative is blamed on Germany—increasingly you see Europeans blaming Angela Merkel—German Chancellor for austerity measures that are seen as being harmful—imposed upon them by the Germany led EU.
3. Cyprus has a massive natural gas field off its coast—Russia is angry with Germany and is moving to secure its position as Europe’s biggest energy power—a very powerful position to be in when dealing with the European Union. Europe is heavily dependent upon Russian natural gas. Russia is posing as “friend rescuer” of Cyprus.

Also, Russians keep tens of billions of dollars in the Cypriot banks. Though the tax has just been rejected in Cyprus’ parliament, Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin are angry by this attempt [as he sees it] of the European Union to punish Russian bank holders.

Gazprom [Russian owned energy company] – the world’s largest producer of natural gas – has offered to bail out the Bank of Cyprus in exchange for exploration rights of a natural gas field off the coast of Cyprus—one of the largest natural gas deposits in the world. There is up to US$400-billion worth of gas to be tapped under Cypriot waters, according to experts interviewed by Reuters.

So strange that such a small country can have a potentially drastic impact on the world’s financial markets.

Most Americans are not that interested in Europe—that is a tragic mistake because one day the entire world will be astounded when it sees a revived European centered Roman Empire dominate Europe and much of the world. “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” Its power will affect the whole earth—Revelation 13:3

President Obama to visit Israel this week...

Steven LeBlanc

The above video is a good representation of the frustration some Israeli leaders have expressed concerning President Obama waiting so long to visit Israel.

The President will arrive in Israel on March 20th and has scheduled hours of meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, President Shimon Peres, Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad and King Abdullah of Jordan. The President will also make visits to Yad Vashem, The Israel Museum and Har Herzl, where he will lay a wreath on the burial sites of slain premier Yitzhak Rabin and Zionist father Theodor Herzl.

The Israeli public is angry with the President—because it took him over 4 years to visit Israel—America’s staunchest ally in the Middle East. Prime Minister Netanyahu plans to address Israel’s biggest concern with the President: Iran getting a nuclear weapon.

It is clear that Mr. Netanyahu wants to deal with the Iranian threat this year and not wait any longer. The end time prophecy found in Genesis 49 reflects the approach of end time Israel, and expresses the desire of Prime Minister Netanyahu to deal with Iran—Israel’s greatest enemy today [Genesis 49:8-9]:

Judah, …your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; … You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?

What We Know About Pope Francis...

Steven LeBlanc

Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a 76 year old Jesuit intellectual who is the new Pope [266th Pope]. Here is what we know about him:

•First non-European Pope elected in over 1000 years.
•Born in Argentina, Pope Francis is the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the first Jesuit. He was born in December 1936 [76 years of age] in Buenos Aires, of Italian descent.
•For decades, he has lived with only one functioning lung, although he is said to be in good health.
•Francesca Ambrogetti, who co-authored a biography of him, said, “His lifestyle is sober and austere,” “That’s the way he lives. He travels on the underground, the bus, when he goes to Rome he flies economy class.”
•He appeals to both Church conservatives and reformers, being seen as orthodox on moral issues like women priests, gay marriage and contraception [against all of these]. Yet he strongly supports the poor and those who live in the 3rd world.
•His Most Famous quote: “The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”
•First pontiff to adopt the name of Francis, the rich young man from Assisi who renounced wealth and founded the Franciscan order of friars in 1290.
•He is expected to clean up the Roman Curia, which is saturated with corruption. The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See– the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church.

We continue to watch the most powerful church in the world—a church system that appears to be Christian but is a counterfeit:

“And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5).

Italy's Resentment of Germany

Steven LeBlanc

The dust is still settling after the recent Italian elections. Germany’s leaders do not like what they see coming out of Italy. The elections there have revealed a country that is extremely unstable, a nation that is becoming increasingly anti-German. Germany now fears that instability in Italy could rattle international markets and ignite a possible contagion among the rest of the Eurozone.

Josef Janning, of the German Council on Foreign Relations, said the outcome was very disappointing for Berlin whose biggest hope before the election had been that “the outcome will yield a mandate for further reform policy”.

Why should we care about what is happening in Italy? It is simple: Italy’s bond market is enormous; making it too big to fail and too big to rescue. If Italy leaves the Eurozone or defaults on its debt Europe will panic driving the world financial markets into hysteria.

Bloomberg financial service reports that Italy’s bond market is the third largest in the world at $2.1 (USD) trillion in outstanding debt, behind the US and Japan with $11.2 trillion and $10.1 trillion in debt each. Italy has been experiencing its worst recession since the 1930’s, and enraged by German led austerity programs, the Italians voted for change. Almost 30% of the popular vote went to Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister who had been plagued by scandal and lawsuits for his entire term. 25% voted for a former comedian, Beppe Grillo.

With Grillo and Berlusconi’s faces painted white with red noses, the mass circulation German newspaper daily Bild asked, “Will these Italian political clowns destroy the euro?”

The shocking support of the Five Star Movement and Silvio Berlusconi’s strong showing in the recent election exposed just how much anti-German sentiment exists in the country. The Five Star Movement led by comedian Beppe Grillo is very much opposed to the austerity solution Germany has proposed to fix the Eurozone crisis. As many as two-thirds of Italians rejected the whole Idea of a reform agenda. Berlusconi and Grillo have both criticized German leadership— these days criticism of Germany goes over well in Italy. In effect the Italian elections sent a message to Germany: “we do not want you leading Europe”.

Italians increasingly resent the German approach to “their” problem. That approach is to cut government spending and press for central oversight over nations whose economies are in trouble [which would include Italy]. This means Germany has a big say in how much money is lent to nations who are drowning in debt [Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy].

After nearly two decades of prosperity, the European fiscal mess is threatening the European Union’s survival. Germany is the leading economic power in the European Union and has assumed leadership during the crisis. After all Germany has the biggest and most robust economy in Europe and therefore has been dictating to weaker nations such as Ireland, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy what actions they must take in order to continue to receive debt refinancing to keep their economies afloat. This relationship of servant to lender is breeding bitterness and contempt—the borrower is slave to the lender—Proverbs 22:7.

Germany is the second-largest exporter in the world. It exports to many countries, but its biggest export market is Europe. Germany needs the European Union to remain intact for its economy to thrive. The birth of the Euro aided German exports. A fractured, economically depressed Europe means Germany losses its best market for exports. Also remember, a divided Europe threatens the world economy as the European Union is the world’s largest trading partner—bigger than the United States or China.

Scripture tell us that another revival of the Roman Empire is to come immediately prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Revelation 17 tells us that a final union of 10 kings (leaders) will come together and “will make war with the Lamb [Jesus Christ, at His return]” (verses 12-14). We believe history and prophecy make clear that this end-time Beast power is a European power—with German as the dominant nation. That is why what happens in Europe matters. We continue to watch German activity within the European Union.

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