In the history of storms hitting America, Hurricane Sandy was unique. Meteorologists said it had no known precedent: Three separate storms collided, producing a megastorm that slammed a 1,000-mile stretch of America’s eastern seaboard. It was described as a “perfect storm,” a “Frankenstorm,” the “storm of the century.”
Its timing amplified the damage: The hurricane-force tidal surge coincided with monthly high tides, causing record floods that swamped flood barriers. Water inundated homes and wiped out roads, infrastructure and whole coastal communities. In New York and New Jersey, flooded subway systems were severely damaged. Hospitals became unusable. Schools closed. Airlines cancelled over 13,000 flights. Amtrak stopped all East Coast services. The governor of Connecticut shut down all state highways. Whole states got bombarded with several feet of snow.
In one way or another, 50 million people felt the fury of Sandy. Yet as ugly as the storm was, the human aftermath was even uglier. It was this “fourth stormfront” that added a particularly unnerving atmosphere to this “storm of the century.”
The Whirlwind After the Storm
After “natural” catastrophes, why do Americans turn on themselves? In Japan, after the massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, there was hardly a mention of looting. We heard more of survival and a nation coming together to rebuild.
America has those stories too. But they pale in comparison to the egregious breakdown in law and order.
The water was barely starting to recede when looting started. With no lights, cameras or alarms, people just couldn’t wait to get out and get stuff.
Already-devastated communities became playgrounds for rampaging mobs, stealing whatever they could lay their hands on. Stores along both sides of a two-mile stretch of Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island were completely emptied. Liquor shops, convenience stores, equipment rentals, electronics emporiums, clothing outlets and grocery markets were pillaged.
But people weren’t just turning on corporate America. Looters went up and down streets breaking into homes—sometimes ones that were still occupied. They stole generators being used to keep people warm. They siphoned gasoline. They stole emergency lights. They stole water-soaked possessions right off front lawns.
They dressed as utility and rescue workers, pretending to help victims—then beating and robbing them.
Citizens attacked actual utility workers who worked to restore electricity. Police had to spend precious manpower protecting electricity workers from people angry that their electricity wasn’t restored faster.
Who Is Responsible for You?
Then there was the blaming and complaining.
Those stranded in areas without electricity, water and gas sounded off in front of reporters. They complained that the Red Cross had abandoned them, that fema took too long to bring help, that the state was too slow to provide food, water and generators for everyone.
One visibly emotional man told reporters that the conditions of the temporary bathrooms the government had set up were disgusting. Another man complained that the temporary housing provided by the government was too crowded. There were no showers, the bunk beds were too small, and the rooms felt like cattle cars, he said. A woman said the wait to get rationed gasoline was terrible. Another complained the government didn’t provide enough charging stations for cell phones.
Don’t look for gratitude among this rabble—you won’t find much.
It seemed like half the complaining was about things the government did supply! There was plenty of real suffering in the wake of Sandy. But how much of it could have been avoided had complainers taken even a modicum of personal responsibility for their lives—and not simply expected the government to take care of them?
People had more than a week to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. And many of the loudest critics were in areas that had mandatory evacuation orders a full day before the storm hit. They chose to live on a beach, and one of the biggest storms in history was headed straight toward them. What did they think would happen?
In July, a study conducted by the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation found that 55 percent of Americans believe that if a disaster strikes, the government will come to their rescue. Forty-four percent of adults don’t own a first-aid kit. Almost 50 percent have no emergency supplies set aside in case of a catastrophe. More than half of people surveyed said they did not have even a three-day supply of food and water in their homes.
No wonder post-Sandy New York and New Jersey were such a mess. And Sandy was only a Category 1 storm.
New York, especially, should have been prepared. Hurricane Irene struck only two years ago. But back then, the Feds picked up most of the bill too—75 percent of the reconstruction costs. Perhaps people became complacent, assuming that since the government would take care of things, they didn’t need to take any preparatory measures themselves.
At one time, America was well known for its culture of hard work, self-sufficiency, and taking personal responsibility. Disasters such as these show just how far from that ideal the nation has fallen.
And that is going to be a big problem.
Take a look at the number of billion-dollar disasters we’ve been facing. In 2000, there were two. In 2005, there were five. In 2011 there were 14. In 2012, there were 11 as of November, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The trend is definitely heading up—and fast. New Orleans, New York and New Jersey are only the beginning.
But as superstorm Sandy proved, Americans are not prepared.
After looking at Sandy—and remembering Katrina—one wonders how quickly America would revert into something out of the Congo or Rwanda if there weren’t police and National Guard on the streets.
What will happen if one day there are no police? What if our society really does break down like the self-sufficiency survivalist types and rogue economic analysts say it will?
There’s something you need to know: That is exactly what is about to happen. The Trumpet can tell you that dogmatically, not because we can predict weather patterns or economic forces or even societal trends, but because we know that the Bible, which has accurately predicted past events, will accurately predict future ones.
In the Bible, God says that He is the one who blessed our nation (which descended from ancient Israel) with wealth and prominence. But we have obviously turned away from Him. Because of our sins, God is removing the blessings He gave us and is punishing us for hating Him. Your Bible is full of specific prophecies that relate to this. Many of them are specifically about environmental disasters.
Those disasters are about to get worse. A lot worse. And judging by Katrina and Sandy, so will the man-made human nature disasters that come in their wake.
Is There a Solution?
America has a lot of questions that need answers. How do you fix people so devoid of common decency? How do you change people who are out to take all they can? How do you convince people that they—not the government—are responsible for providing for themselves, their families and their community? How do you teach gratitude? How do you fix a society that should be working together to rebuild from a horrible disaster, but instead attacks itself? How do you convince people to live a way of life based on give, not get?
It’s not better meteorology or more organized disaster relief or more government aid that we need. What we need is for each of us to change. It has to start with you and me. We have to want to change.
Do you think that right now Americans are ready to repent?
Sadly, that is the furthest thing from most of our minds. It takes suffering a superstorm for the concept of God to even enter our minds. For us to acknowledge that God exists, that the Bible is His Word, that He gave us our blessings, that we have sinned against Him and that we must repent—that’s going to take, unfortunately, a lotmore suffering.
Yet there’s hope in that. This is exactly what God is doing as He allows disasters like Hurricane Sandy to strike. He is speaking to carnal, godless people in the only language they understand: force. Until people make real, permanent changes in their lives, they are going to have to live through more hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes and floods and droughts. They will necessarily have to endure destruction that intensifies beyond their breaking points.
That might sound depressing, but if you understand your Bible—and you know God—you know there is inspiring hope in the midst of that tragedy. It is more tragic for people to live and die rejecting and hating God than it is to suffer these disasters and then turn to Him!
God doesn’t want to see us suffer. He doesn’t want us preying on each other during adversity. He wants us to live happy lives of purpose, prosperity, fulfillment and happy families, happy communities and happy nations. This bright future is what America has to look forward to. It’ll take superstorms like you’ve never seen before. But once He finally breaks our pride, humbles us and brings us to His wonderful way of life, our nation will experience peace, prosperity—beautiful weather—like you wouldn’t believe even if it were told you. That’s in the Bible too.
If can-kicking were a sport, EU leaders would be world champions.
November 27, 2012
Eurozone leaders and the International Monetary Fund (imf) reached yet another agreement to save Greece in the early hours of November 27, after a 13-hour meeting. Like previous agreements, this one has no chance of solving the problems in Greece, let alone in the rest of the euro. It’s yet another Band-Aid—but Germany hopes it will postpone tough decisions until after its 2013 elections.
Last week, eurozone leaders met and failed to agree on a way forward. According to Spiegel Online, the “unpleasant haggling that ensued was something even long-serving Brussels officials had rarely experienced.”
“Whenever an idea was proposed, the representative of one country or another had an objection,” it wrote.
But the biggest obstacle was a fundamental fallout between Germany and the imf. The imf demanded eurozone lenders forgive some of the debt Greece owes them. Germany claimed it would be illegal to keep lending money to Greece at the same time it is writing off other debt. However, that hasn’t stopped Germany before. The more likely reason is that Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t want to tell German taxpayers that they must take a loss on the Greek loans right before an election.
This week’s deal is a messy compromise, even by EU standards. Germany got its way, for now. Nations will not have to write off Greek debt. Instead, they will charge Greece a lower interest rate on loans in the first bailout package. They will delay collecting some of the interest on the second bailout. The European Central Bank will give Greece the €11 billion in profit it has made in the process of propping up Greek bonds. And some Greek bonds will be bought back. That hodgepodge of measures satisfied the imf, and Greece will receive its bailout money once it’s been approved by national parliaments. The imf will release its money once the Greek bond buy-back has been completed.
“We think that Greece will eventually need a much larger debt relief, but any agreement on this is unlikely to happen before German elections next fall,” said Tullia Bucco of UniCredit Research.
Another major flaw of the agreement is that it will only succeed if Greece’s economy soon begins growing rapidly, the way Greece’s creditors predict it will. Their predictions are pure wishful thinking. As this post from Zero Hedge demonstrates, the troika of lenders are predicting that Greece has been on the brink of growth for years.
This agreement also makes things worse for the eurozone’s other indebted states. Spain and Italy will be borrowing money in order to lend to Greece, just as they’re doing now, except they’ll be charging Greece a lower interest rate than the rate they pay to borrow the money in the first place.
Ahead of the meeting, Der Spiegel predicted the agreement would postpone the problems for merely a matter of months. “But whatever the Euro Group decides to do now, it will not last until the German parliamentary election in September 2013, as Merkel and Schäuble would like,” it wrote. “One senior official involved in the talks ventured a sober prognosis: ‘In the spring, we’ll have to revisit this junk again.’”
This isn’t the only can EU leaders have booted down the road. The chief economist at the World Bank, Kaushik Basu, predicted that the €1 trillion the European Central Bank (ecb) used to prop up eurozone banks last winter will come back to haunt the world in 2014 and 2015. The ecb gave the money to the bank in the form of three-year loans. When those loans are due back, “we’re going to get another big rocking of the global economy,” Basu said.
“I don’t think the ecb had any other choice,” he said. “But when you bought time, you have to do things with the time you bought, otherwise the crisis will come back. And there’s a danger of that.”
That is all most of the EU’s responses to the euro crisis have been doing—buying time. Europe still needs a revolution to solve the contradictions within the single currency. At the moment, the eurozone is halfway to becoming a superstate. It can either move forward, or fall apart. But its current situation is unsustainable. Watch for the eurozone crisis to eventually force EU leaders to create a superstate.
Rebel forces backed by al Qaeda and the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood took a major step toward their planned conquest of Syria this past Monday.
The insurgents virtually cut off all roads to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo from neighboring Raqqa province by taking full control over the Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates River. The Assad regime must now rely solely on the Damascus-Aleppo highway to reinforce its troops in the embattled northern stronghold.
Now that the rebels hold sway over a wide expanse of territory in north-central Syria, many analysts are predicting that President Bashar Assad may have to soon withdraw his troops and his stockpiles of chemical weapons to the mountainous region adjacent the Mediterranean Sea.
Such a development—if it occurs—would effectively divide Syria into a Shiite-dominated, coastal mini-state and a Sunni-dominated, inland constituency.
Considering that Assad is a stalwart ally of Iran, there are many powers in this world that would love to see the above described scenario come to fruition.
Already, according to media reports, Turkey is preparing to officially request that nato station surface-to-air missiles along its southwestern border with Syria. The German government has already made clear its approval of this request and is considering sending a contingent of up to 170 Bundeswehr personnel to operate these missiles.
Although the stated purpose of this surface-to-air missile system is to protect Turkey from Syrian combat jets and missiles, the system could also be used to establish a no-fly zone over Syrian territory. Such a no-fly zone would be exactly what the rebels need to wrestle the Syrian interior away from Assad, thus depriving Iran of a valuable ally and strengthening German influence in the Middle East.
According to news analysts at German News Information Services GmbH, one of the leading figures in the Syrian opposition is Riad Seif, who as far back as the 1990s had maintained contact to Berlin’s foreign policy establishment. This news service also reports that Seif is involved in the activities of a multinational “working group” on the transformation of the Syrian economy, directed from an office in the German foreign ministry.
It was Seif who nominated Moaz al Khatib as the new chair of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces during the recent negotiations for the creation of a government in exile in Qatar. It should also be noted that al Khatib is generally described in German media as a moderate member of an influential family dedicated to cultivating Damascene traditions.
On a more sober note, however, critics point out that al Khatib has publicly expressed sympathy for Yusuf al Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the man who praised Adolf Hitler as an instrument of Allah used to call down divine punishment upon the Jewish people.
Both Iran and Russia, however, have condemned the German-led nato initiative to supply Turkey with surface-to-air missiles. The mullahs in Tehran, of course, want to preserve Assad’s rule so they can continue to count on Syrian support in their war against Israel and the West. Russia is also trying to maintain the status quo in Syria; Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin hierarchy have leased the Port of Tartus from Bashar Assad in order to give the Russian Navy enhanced access to the Mediterranean Sea.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia is neutral in the Syrian conflict and is only condemning Turkey’s request for surface-to-air missiles out of concern about escalating violence. The truth, though, is that Russia has been funneling cash and arms to the Assad regime for years. In fact, the economy of the Assad regime was close to unraveling this past summer when a Syrian government plane ferried in what flight records describe as more than 200 tons of bank notes from Moscow.
So with Russia funneling cash to the Assad regime and Germany giving politico-military support to the rebels, the entire Syrian civil war can be viewed as a proxy war between Moscow and Berlin.
Germany is diligently working to draw Syria into an anti-Iranian alliance of Arab nations that will ultimately help Berlin unseat Tehran as the dominant power in the Middle East.
For almost two decades the Trumpet has been explaining that biblical prophecy shows that Syria (along with other traditional Sunni Arab states like Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) will ally with a German-led revival of the Holy Roman Empire.
This German-led alliance of Sunni Arab states will strike Iran and its terrorist proxies—before going on to fulfill its dream of destroying the Jewish state called Israel. Read the cover story of the September edition of the Trumpet magazine for a full description of the modern-day identities of the Arab nations prophesied to ally with Germany. Then read editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s recent editorial “Egypt Unites With Iran and Fulfills a Bible Prophecy” to understand which modern-day nations will ally with Iran.
Both of these end-time alliances are almost complete. The leaders in the Kremlin are shrewd enough to see this even without the benefit of Bible prophecy. Vladimir Putin and his Chinese allies will not sit idly by and watch as Germany prepares to take over the Middle East. Russia and China vetoed the UN resolution imposing sanctions on Syria and have outspokenly condemned European support for the Syrian rebels.
As Germany and the European Union ignore these warnings, Russia and China will continue to enhance military cooperation. Once Germany completes its conquest of the Middle East, the proxy war will be superseded by full-out military conflict!
There is another biblical prophecy in Daniel 11 that foretells of a time immediately after the German-led “king of the north” conquers the Middle East. At this time, “tidings out of the east and out of the north” shall trouble this king and he “shall go forth with great fury to destroy” these powers. Yet in this war, “he shall come to his end, and none shall help him”!
This prophecy is about an end-of-the-end-time clash between a recently victorious United States of Europe and an enraged Russo-Chinese confederation. So bloody will be this last clash of powers that Jesus Christ Himself will have to return to Earth to stop it and ensure the survival of humanity.
News reports coming out of Syria this week are pointing toward both the most dreadful and the most wonderful events in human history!
In sheer size and scope, a hurricane is the most devastating storm man can face. The combination of rain, wind and flooding over an extended period of time leaves a wake of large-scale destruction. Hurricane Sandy is a catastrophic example. Several million lost power, water and heat. With fuel shortages, transportation delays, destroyed homes, interruptions in work and battered cities, an estimated 50 million people over 24 states felt the effect of just this one storm.
Where was God in all of this? Couldn’t He have stopped the storm?
Violent storms aren’t a coincidence or an effect of man-made causes. God allows these storms. These so-called natural disasters are biblical. God prophesied these catastrophes in the Bible; He even warns us that they will increase. And He tells us why He is allowing them.
America has rejected God. You can read Hosea 1:9 and 4:6 to see what happens as a result. Because we have turned away from Him, God is removing the blessings and the protection that He once gave us (Hosea 2:8-9). He has revealed that the nation is so anti-God that it has passed the point of no return. You can read about this sobering judgment in our free booklet Lamentations: The Point of No Return.
But God does show us how we—individually—can weather the coming storms.
As He concluded His famous “sermon on the mount,” Jesus Christ talked about a violent, hurricane-like storm. He said anyone who heard His sayings and did them was like a wise man who built his house on a rock and could thus withstand a violent storm. But anyone who heard but didn’t do what Christ said was like a fool who built on sand, and whose house would be destroyed in the violent weather (Matthew 7:24-27).
No one escapes the storm, but those who hear Christ’s sayings and do them endure the devastation. The doers of God’s Word have their homes—their lives—built on a rock! (James 1:22-25).
How can we build our lives on that rock? Jesus showed us in that same sermon. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19).
How do we weather the coming storms? By obeying God’s law!
God’s law is a law of love (Romans 13:10). It consists of love toward God and love toward our fellow man (Matthew 22:35-40).
During His sermon, Jesus went into detail about the relationship we need with God. This is the relationship we were meant to have with our Creator. Christ taught that God is our Father and we are His children. He taught us to love and worship God, to exercise living faith, and to trust God for our needs no matter the physical conditions. He taught us that there can’t be anyone or anything more important than God in our lives. Doing so breaks God’s law of love, and we suffer when we allow that. When we sin, God can’t be near us, so when the rain and wind and flooding comes, we can’t hold up.
In that same message, Christ also taught us to love our neighbor. He taught that God’s law of love governs the human relationships we share. He explained how God’s law should govern not just our deeds and our words, but even our thoughts. What is the attitude and intent in our relationships? Do we want to help others or hurt them? Do we want to give or take? Are we treating others the way we would want to be treated? Do we see their needs and seek to fulfill those needs? (Matthew 25:32-45). Are we willing to sacrifice to help others?
These are God’s laws of love, and these are the words God expects us to live by (Matthew 4:4). When we choose to do these words—to love God and to love our neighbor—then the structure of our lives is strengthened, and our footing is secure.
God’s laws are unchangeable and eternal, and they lead to a happy, prosperous life even in a world of turmoil and devastation. Hurricane Sandy and the continued suffering shows us how much we need God, and how much we need His law of love to guide us (Psalm 119:105).
“As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation” (Proverbs 10:25). Those who reject God’s laws can’t endure the storm. But the righteous, those who build their lives on God’s law, don’t just have an everlasting foundation: They are an everlasting foundation! By being doers of the word, the righteous become a foundation that God will build on forever!
Greater storms are coming. Not all will be literal storms. But the rains, the winds and the floods will come. How important it is that we build our lives on God’s law and be an everlasting foundation.
Israeli Intelligence: Sudan a Core Part of Iran’s Terror Network
ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images
Iran quickly moves to resupply Hamas, via Sudan and with help from Eritrea.
November 26, 2012
Iran is preparing a shipment of missiles to send to Gaza via Sudan, the Sunday Times reported on November 25, citing anonymous Israeli defense and intelligence sources. Satellite photos showed the shipment being prepared while Israel and Hamas agreed a ceasefire last week.
Not only is Iran sending more Fajr-5 rockets, the missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but the paper also reported it is sending Shahab-3 missiles, which could reach Israel directly from Sudan.
“With a lot of effort, Iran has skilfully built a strategic arm pointing at Israel from the south,” the Times quoted an Israeli source as saying. It also reported that Israel believes Iran is building a new weapons factory in Sudan to replace the one Israel destroyed last month.
The Farj-5 rockets are to be dismantled and smuggled through Egypt and across the Gaza border through tunnels.
Eritrea is also part of Iran’s network. An Israeli source said, “We believe that Iranian warships based in Eritrea will escort the cargo ship once it has entered the Red Sea.”
Israel said it planned to destroy the shipment.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has pointed to Iran’s ambition to control the Red Sea as a key part of its grand strategy. Already it has a “strategic arm” in Sudan and warships based in Eritrea. It has close links to terrorist groups in Yemen. Its hold over the Red Sea is already strong.
At the moment, Iran is using this control to ship weapons to attack Israel. As its hold on the region strengthens, the pressure on Israel will grow. It can also use its hold over this vital trade route as a weapon against America and Europe. It has already threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz to intimidate the West.