U.S. Drought Persists

U.S. Drought Persists

CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture/flickr

According to USA Today, “The catastrophic drought across the central usa shows no signs of abating as the nation enters the final full month of winter and moves toward spring.

“Parts of every state west of the Mississippi River except for Washington are enduring drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a government website that is updated weekly.

“The forecast for extended dry conditions means more crop and livestock losses for farmers, higher food prices for consumers, and water shortages. Last year, the drought caused $35 billion in losses, according to reinsurance firm Aon Benfield.

“Climatologist Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center says there is ‘strong potential’ for significant impacts early this summer as the drought continues in the Midwest and central and northern Plains.

“The relative lack of winter in back-to-back years will place a much greater emphasis on the need for well-above-normal spring rains if the region is to have any real chance of shaking this drought, Svoboda said” (February 1).

Svoboda is right. What is needed across the central United States—and across the whole planet, for that matter—is rainfall in the right places, at the right times and in the proper amount. But that is going to be increasingly rare in the months and years just ahead—and for reasons most people would not expect.

What Causes Drought?

Due to awesome advancements in scientific technology in recent years, meteorologists have gained better understanding of the physical factors involved in producing certain weather patterns that lead to severe droughts, floods or other catastrophes. Yet they admit they don’t know exactly why major global-impacting weather forces, such as high-altitude jet streams or powerful ocean currents, shift as they do.

Scientific theories and hypotheses abound. Who hasn’t heard of “global warming,” the “greenhouse effect” and “climate change”? It seems everyone is talking about it these days. Even U.S. President Obama addressed the topic during his second inaugural address, and used biblical language to promise action against the problem.

But the fact is, man cannot control climate change. Only a Supreme Being—the great Creator God—can and does govern the weather.

In our technologically advanced age, most forget or ignore the spiritual dimension behind weather upsets. Millions go about their lives with little or no concern for what the Creator of the universe is doing and what His purposes are for mankind. They fail to check into what is plainly revealed about this subject in the world’s best-selling book, the Holy Bible.

The Bible tells us that the Creator has set in motion specific spiritual and physical laws that direct life here on terra firma. Presently, Almighty God is allowing man to develop his own ways of living, which are contrary to God’s beneficent laws, and to reap the natural consequences that result from those ways—consequences that include weather upsets. You can easily prove this for yourself by studying the facts laid out in our free publication Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?

According to the Bible, the great Creator normally sends “rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). But sometimes He intervenes through the weather to extend both blessings and correction (Job 37:11-13) or to warn nations of their sins: “Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour [clouds]; stormy wind fulfilling his word” (Psalm 148:8).

Meteorologists and weathermen generally don’t tell you that. They don’t explain that wrong ways of living—wrong lifestyles, morality and thinking—and chaotic weather are related. This website has stood out as one of the few voices proclaiming this fact.

The truth is, one of the ways God punishes nations is to shut off their water supplies: “Take heed [lest] the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly …” (Deuteronomy 11:16-17).

Numerous passages of Scripture reveal the spiritual reasons why many droughts and weather disasters are allowed to occur. Long ago, God foretold in His Word that because of society’s mounting sins—crime, divorce, plummeting moral standards and total ingratitude to Him for the blessings bestowed upon our nations (including pure, abundant water)—we will see the day when the taps run dry (Amos 4:6-8).

To a rebellious, stiff-necked and self-willed people, God thunders: “[T]hou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain …” (Jeremiah 3:2-3; also Isaiah 5:2, 6).

God, in His great purpose, may also allow Satan the devil—the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)—to have a role in producing catastrophic weather, for man’s ultimate learning (see Job 1).

Beyond skyrocketing grocery prices, extreme weather upsets (Amos 4:7), crop blight (verse 9) and destructive insects and animals (Deuteronomy 28:39, 42) will eventually result in ruined harvests on a massive scale (Ezekiel 5:16). Biblical prophecies indicate that land will be stripped of its life-giving humus and rich topsoil—and indeed because of urban sprawl, greed, over-farming and other man-made factors, this has already occurred in many places across the globe.

God says the heaven above us will be as iron and the earth as brass (Leviticus 26:19). It is going to get so bad that America’s 1930s Dust Bowl will look like a walk in the park. (For more information, read our article “Is a ‘Mega-Drought’ on the Way?”)

The Creator promises, “[Y]our land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me [still], and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins …. And I will bring a sword upon you …” (Leviticus 26:20-21, 25). And, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Because of man’s escalating evils, enemy invasion—and mega-death wrought by biological, chemical and nuclear wmds—will follow the drought and pestilence. Not only will U.S. citizens be affected, so too will Britons and inhabitants of many other nations. (Download a free copy of our publication The United States and Britain in Prophecy for further proof.)

Forecast: No More Droughts

That is the bad news. But the good news is this: With God, such punishment is correction for our good—not revenge (Ezekiel 33:11). Our merciful Creator desires that humans live in health and prosperity (John 10:10; 3 John 2). He longs to see us repent and obey Him so He may deliver us. He yearns to bring about worldwide peace, safety and health. God Almighty wants to lavish greater prosperity and blessings upon His people than ever before—and ultimately offer us spiritual salvation and eternal life.

Our Maker promises to provide blessings, including rain, to those who obey Him: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit” (Leviticus 26:3-4).

Some are convinced that biblical passages such as these are merely hyperbole. But you can prove that these are in fact real prophecies that shall come to pass. God says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

Throughout His inspired Word, God promises sweeping reforms everywhere in the just, verdant utopian age He says will soon erupt on this Earth.

When Almighty God sends Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom over all nations, one of the top priorities of God’s perfect government will be to completely redevelop and shape the Earth into an Eden-like paradise.

Imagine it: As the nations learn to submit to God’s government, they will no longer be cursed with drought. Gentle rains will fall in the appropriate seasons (Ezekiel 34:26) and in the right balance (Psalm 65:9-13). Accessible, pure water will abound. Complicated man-made irrigation systems and huge dams will become obsolete. Water wars will cease. Bumper crops will proliferate the Earth. Food prices will drop; everyone everywhere will have plenty to eat.

To many, this wonderful World Tomorrow seems far-fetched and unattainable. And it absolutely is—in the hands of man. With God, however, nothing is impossible.

Take a final look at what God promises in the times just ahead of us: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains [artesian wells] in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water” (Isaiah 41:17-18).

Thank God that someday soon America’s drought problems—in fact, all the world’s problems—will at last be solved.

French Assembly Passes Homosexual ‘Marriage’ Bill

France’s lower house of parliament approved a bill on Tuesday to legalize homosexual “marriage” and allow same-sex couples to adopt children. The French National Assembly approved the measure in a 329-to-229 vote.

France’s upper house must also approve the bill, and it is expected to do so in April. Both houses of the legislature are controlled by Socialists and their allies. If the bill becomes law, by spring France will join about a dozen other nations that allow same-sex “marriage.”

Several hundred activists gathered outside the National Assembly in Paris on Tuesday evening to protest the bill, which is called “Marriage for All.” Most French support legalizing homosexual “marriage,” but fewer do so when children are involved.

In recent months, the Catholic Church has spoken out against same-sex “marriage.” In November, the Vatican said it would never stop fighting attempts to “erase” heterosexual marriage. Referring to homosexual “marriage,” Pope Benedict xvi said in December that Western society is in a “crisis that threatens it to its foundations.”

Watch for the Catholic Church to use disagreement over this issue as an opportunity to draw in massive amounts of believers. For more on this subject, read “The Power of Religion.”

China Eclipses U.S. in World Trade

China Eclipses U.S. in World Trade

Trey Ratcliff/flickr

Does this mean the yuan will soon depose the dollar?

China overtook the United States last year to become the world’s biggest trading nation as measured in exports and imports of goods, ending America’s postwar trade dominance, according to the latest official annual data released by the two countries.

The U.S.’s total imports and exports for 2012 stood at $3.82 trillion, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s report released last Friday. China’s total trade for the same year hit $3.87 trillion.

This is not China’s first significant economic victory. Back in 2009, Beijing overtook Berlin to become the world’s largest exporter. In 2010, China eclipsed the U.S. to become the world’s thirstiest energy consumer, a milestone that reflected both China’s extraordinary economic growth and its multiplying clout as an industrial giant.

But the U.S. is not yet overthrown.

The U.S. economy is still double the size of China’s, with a gross domestic product in 2011 of about $15 trillion, compared to China’s $7.3 trillion for that year.

Still, it was China that reported a 2012 trade surplus of about $231.1 billion. For the same year, the spend-today-worry-tomorrow U.S. reported a total trade deficit of $727.9 billion. This colossal deficit weighs heavily on the U.S., and is only expected to grow larger in the years ahead.

China’s Commerce Ministry came out on Wednesday saying the earlier reports were wrong due to use of differing systems of measurement, and that the U.S. is still slightly ahead of China in international trade.

Nevertheless, China’s economic might is rapidly growing. Its mushrooming influence threatens to unsettle regional trading blocs as it becomes the most important commercial partner for nations not only in Asia and Europe, but also in distant countries like Brazil, where the U.S. has played second fiddle to Beijing since 2009.

“For so many countries around the world, China is becoming rapidly the most important bilateral trade partner,” said Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs’s asset management division.

China’s economic ascendancy also has near-term implications for the dollar as go-to currency for the pricing of tradeable goods. As China’s economic power grows, and as global dissatisfaction with the U.S. economy/debt/dollar increases, the influence of the yuan will multiply. But it actually will be the European currency—not the yuan—that will depose the U.S. dollar.

At present, European leaders are not unified in the handling of their financial crises. In the absence of strong central leadership, they bicker and debate. They dither and prevaricate. The result is an unstable euro that the world isn’t yet prepared to invest its financial faith in. But the dithering and hesitation is injecting European leaders with a desire for an unflinching leader willing to take the drastic action necessary to rectify the Continent’s fiscal ailments. This rising desire will prompt these policymakers to cede national sovereignty over to a central EU leader who will take blitzkrieg action in every facet of European affairs. When this leader takes the reins, the European currency will rapidly replace the dollar—and obliterate it.

To understand more, read “The End of the Dollar System.”

U.S. and EU Plan to Create ‘an Economic NATO’

U.S. and EU Plan to Create ‘an Economic NATO’

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America looks to Europe to stimulate its economy.

America will attempt to negotiate a free trade deal with the European Union, U.S. President Barack Obama announced during his State of the Union address on February 12. The next day, EU leaders published a joint statement with Mr. Obama announcing that the two blocs “will each initiate the internal procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”

Before negotiations can begin, the United States needs to notify Congress, and the EU needs approval from its member states. Each plans to have this completed by the end of June.

The potential economic gains from such a deal are huge. It would add 0.5 percent to the annual growth of the EU’s economy by 2027—that’s an extra €86 billion (us$115 billion) a year—according to estimates recently referred to by the EU. For the U.S., the benefit would be 0.4 percent—or $87 billion (€65 billion).

But the deal that America and Europe envision encompasses far more than removing tariffs on each other’s products. They want to harmonize regulations and even address differences in intellectual property and labor laws.

The end goal would be that a car, for example, produced in the U.S. would not have to undergo any significant modifications in order to conform to the EU’s safety standards, and vice versa. This would significantly lower the cost of selling goods in the other trade bloc.

The agreement would be so far reaching that it has been referred to as “an economic nato.” European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, said that “this negotiation will set the standard—not only for our future bilateral trade and investment, including regulatory issues, but also for the development of global trade rules” at a press conference on February 13 (emphasis added throughout).

If the EU and the U.S. adopt the common rules, they will be setting the standard for the whole world. With such a huge chunk of the global economy conforming to one standard, it would be hard for the rest of the world not to follow. If Europe gains the upper hand in its negotiations with the U.S., it will be setting the standard for the world.

But a successful agreement is not a forgone conclusion. Harmonizing regulation means months of painstaking negotiation, while entrenched lobby groups of farmers, lawyers and businesses try to bend the rules in their favor.

But even if the two blocs fail, this renewed push toward a free trade deal demonstrates a subtle change in course in America’s foreign policy. It is investing more of its hope and trust in Europe. Both U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen have called for European nations to improve their militaries and play a more active role in the world, to take the burden off America. America is looking to Europe to solve its military problems. And now it’s looking to Europe to solve its economic problems too.

America can see its global power failing. Its solution: look to Europe for help. To understand why this is a terrible idea, see Trumpet columnist Brad Macdonald’s recent article, “U.S. Vice President Dotes on Germany, Europe.”

Pope Benedict Resigns—Now What?

Looking Eastward: Turkey’s Bluffing Game

Looking Eastward: Turkey’s Bluffing Game

ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images

Will Turkey be able to force itself into the EU?

Chances are Turkey will never join the European Union. For one, it espouses the wrong religion. For another, Bible prophecy indicates it just won’t happen. But that doesn’t mean it will ally with the EU’s main opposition bloc, China and Russia, through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (sco) either.

On January 25, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that he thought Turkey should consider looking east for allies instead of to the Western European powers. Europe has been stringing Turkey along with the carrot of EU member status since Oct. 3, 2005, when, alongside Croatia, Turkey began accession talks.

“We are not the ones that are undecided; the European Union is. Whereas if they would just reveal their true intentions to us, we would be at ease. … The European Union needs to stop stalling us. … We told [Russia], if you say come, we will come,” said Erdoğan in an interview printed in the Turkish newspaper Sabah (translation from Pravda).

Turkey’s turn toward Russia and China is no more than a bluff. Turkey intends to pressure the European Union into speeding the process of EU membership along. It has been seven years since talks began, after all. Croatia, which started dialogue with the EU at the same time, is now on track to become an EU member state in just a few months. Does Turkey feel a little left out? It is sending a clear message to the West by casting its eyes eastward. Is Europe ready to give up the possibility of influence over the crucial sea gates of the Bosporus and Dardanelles which Turkey controls? Will the EU risk losing the prospect of influence over that crucial gateway to the Black Sea?

Croatia may not have much to offer the EU in the way of economic production. As of last year, the nation had a negative gdp growth rate of -1.1 percent and an unemployment rate of 19 percent. A fifth of the population lives below the poverty line. On paper, it doesn’t look like a great acquisition for the Union. What Croatia can offer is a strategic deep-water port in Rijeka on the Adriatic Sea and the Danube River port of Vukovar. Back in 2006, Croatia began an extensive upgrade of the transport infrastructure that was intended to make its waterways the “fastest inland route from Asia to Central Europe,” according to a Stratfor analysis from February of the same year. Another factor influencing Croatia’s bid to join the EU is the fact that it’s 87.8 percent Roman Catholic.

Why doesn’t the European Union want to bring Turkey into the fold? It is stronger economically than Croatia. Its gdp of over $783 billion grew at a real rate of 3 percent last year, 2012 unemployment was 9 percent and its budget deficit was only 2.6 percent, a little more than half of Croatia’s. And with a labor force some 25 times the size of Croatia’s, there is a greater potential for industrial capacity and productivity.

“Still, for every obstacle Turkey hurdles, the EU throws up another. Since 1987, when Turkey applied for full membership, 15 other states have cut to the front of the line and been accepted: Austria, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania,” Joel Hilliker wrote in the November/December 2007 Philadelphia Trumpet. “The Turks have watched the Union swell from 12 states to 27, while they remain peering through the window from the outside.”

As bad as Turkey has wanted in, why has it been blocked at every turn by the EU? The answer is simple: religion.

“The fundamentally Roman Catholic continent simply has no intention of incorporating 70 million Muslims in one swoop. And Turkey—with its Ottoman history, which at one time threatened Catholicism’s very existence—has particularly negative associations in European minds. As Bernard Lewis expresses it, ‘[T]here is still a reserve of mistrust, and even at times of hostility [toward Turks], with roots deep in the European Christian past’ (From Babel to Dragomans)” (ibid). Compare Turkey to Croatia—where Croatia is majority Catholic, Turkey is 99.8 percent Muslim.

Simply put, Turkey is too Muslim to ever integrate into the EU. Christianity (read Catholicism) and Islam just don’t mix. You only need to read a history book to prove that fact.

What does that mean? Because it won’t be accepted by the EU, will it be accepted by the sco?

The answer: still no.

The sco may have made Turkey a dialogue partner, and may go as far as to let it be an observer state, but it will never gain full membership in that group of nations either.

One reason is Turkey’s place in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (nato). Turkey has been part of nato since 1952. nato is comprised of nations with a certain level of democratic government, with major world players like the United States, Germany, the UK and France. Notably missing from the list of members are the powerful Eastern nations like Russia, China and Japan. Much like the impasse of religion, there is the obstacle of governmental ideologies between the sco and nato. Stratfor’s chief analyst Robert D. Kaplan said of the sco: “The Shanghai Cooperation Council is actually a very soft anti-Western, anti-democratic grouping that shows the world that there’s this vast tract of Eurasia that rejects Western moralism, Western universalism …. And it’s basically the tool of a Moscow-Beijing, a Russian-Chinese alliance.” The two organizations are ideologically at odds, and Turkey cannot belong to nato, and support what it represents, as well as be a part of a Sino-Russian-dominated alliance that holds “anti-Western, anti-democratic” principles.

The nail in the coffin that denies Turkey’s ticket to sco membership lies in the prophecy contained in Psalm 83, where Edom (the modern-day region of Turkey) is named among a confederacy of Middle Eastern nations that are against the king of the south (Iran and its cronies) and are tied with Assur (Assyria, or Germany).

Daniel 11:44 talks about Germany being troubled by tidings from the north and east (modern-day Russia and China); the rising power of the Eastern nations is part of what helps to solidify the German-led European power. If Turkey is to be a part of the pro-Germany, pro-Europe Middle Eastern alliance, it would not be joined to the Asian powers. That rules out membership in the sco.

Turkey is a valuable strategic asset that Europe won’t want to let slip away. The EU may never allow the Muslim nation to fully integrate into the European Union. It will recognize Prime Minister Erdoğan’s recent statements as the bluff that they are. The EU has been successfully stringing Turkey along since 2005, and there is no reason for that to change.

For more information on the prophetic fulfillment of the Psalm 83 alliance, read “A Mystery Alliance,” Chapter 2 of The King of the South by Gerald Flurry. If you want to know more about the rise of Russia and China, read Russia and China in Prophecy.