Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Apr 19, 2010

Icelandic Volcano Spreads Chaos Across Europe

A volcanic eruption in Iceland has blanketed much of Europe in a vast ash cloud. The volcanic ash, drifting between twenty thousand and thirty-six thousand feet, has left tens of thousands of travelers stranded around the globe. Airports across Europe are in lock-down mode.

The eruption has caused Europe to experience the greatest disruption in air travel in all of aviation history. For nearly a week now, there has been average of sixteen thousand canceled flights each day. The financial cost for carriers is about $200 million a day, the International Air Transport Association estimates. The flight delays from 9/11 only lasted three days. This disruption may go on for months.

Volcanic ash contains tiny particles of glass and pulverized rock that can clog jet engines. In 1982, a British Airways jumbo jet lost power in all four engines when it flew into an ash cloud over Indonesia, gliding towards the ground before it was able to restart two engines.

The volcano causing all the trouble is under the Ejfjallajokull glacier, Iceland 's fifth largest glacier. It has erupted five times since Iceland was settled in the ninth century.

Europe's problems could just be at the beginning stage. Scientists say history has proved that when the Ejfjallajokull volcano erupts, the nearby volcano Katla normally follows. When Katla last blew, in the nineteenth century, it remained active for twelve months.

Iceland's volcanoes are ranked as some of the most deadly in the world. Because they sit on a spreading fault that is over a hot spot, they tend to be very explosive in nature, producing large amounts of toxic gas.

Laki is a legendary Icelandic volcano, which had a huge eruption in 1783. The volcano caused nationwide damage when it spectacularly exploded, killing more than 50 percent of the livestock population in Iceland at the time due to the clouds of poisonous fluorine and sulfur dioxide. The resulting famine killed 25 percent of the population.

The after-effects were felt all over the world. Many died from gas poisoning in the British Isles seven hundred miles to the south.

Clouds of aerosols built up, causing a cooling effect on the whole northern hemisphere and killing more than eight thousand people in Britain in the following winter. In North America, the winter of 1784 was the longest and one of the coldest on record. There was a record amount of snow in New Jersey, the Mississippi River froze at New Orleans, and there was ice in the Gulf of Mexico.

Laki even had a negative impact on food production. After the eruption, crop yields fell in western Europe and famine spread. Some historians even linked the eruption to the French Revolution.

There is no immediate indication that the current volcanic activity will lead to the types of calamity experienced after the 1783 eruption. However, this is not a year to place any trust in historic averages.

If you read last week's observation that prophetic activity is picking up, you would know that we are in uncharted territory. This year had already received its multi-decade quota for earthquakes.

In our "Rapture Talk" audio broadcast for April 12, Terry and I predicted that the pace of prophecy fulfillment would seem to indicate that another major earthquake event would occur before the end of the year. Two days later, one struck China. According to some reports, the death toll from the 7.1-magnitude earthquake could reach ten thousand.

It is amazing to live in a time when the signs of the last days have become a regular occurrence. "Mother Nature" has gone crazy, and yet most people take these events in stride. Because it has always been part of man’s nature to speculate about the root cause of calamity, the sudden silence would seem indicate a spirit of delusion is at work here.

Jesus said the day of His return would be marked by a lack of awareness. Because the "think-not hour" is so unique to our time, I consider it to be one the greatest signs of the times. The level of apathy in the face of major Bible prophecy activity has become so extreme, it seems logical for me to conclude that the Rapture must be very near.

"And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew 16:3).

-- Todd

Jews, Christians Seen as Major World Problem

Prophetic truth emerged during the past week as developing news with Israel and America at its center. An undercurrent of growing dislike for those who hold to biblical literalness at the same time continues to flow and spread within circles of government--but more about that in due course.

The prophet Zechariah's ancient prediction that Israel and Jerusalem will be a heavy stone of burden that will, in effect, rupture nations of the world who try to lift them out of their place where God has set them seems on the brink of fulfillment. One news report correctly assesses that no other city on the planet but Jerusalem would make world news headlines for wrangling over whether and where housing construction will take place. What possible difference could such decisions reached within a small city government anywhere else in the world make to international leaderships at the highest levels?

Yet God's words through Zechariah seem front and center while consternation among the nations grows: "And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it" (Zech. 12:3).

The news story I mention sums up, in specific terms, Jerusalem's unique position among cities this way: News items that would not make it past the local editor’s desk in a neighborhood weekly become international news headlines when they concern Jerusalem–and this week it happened twice again. Army Radio reported that the Jerusalem Municipality is planning to approve the construction of a synagogue and other public buildings in the Gilo neighborhood, and the item was quickly picked up by AFP, Yahoo.com, and other world media sites.

In addition, it is also being widely reported that after braving budgetary obstacles, the municipality plans to resume its policy of razing selected illegal structures.

Both of these normative city government activities are an affront to U.S. President Barack Obama, who has been publicly pressuring Israel–specifically, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu–to cease both of these activities. In fact, officials in the U.S. administration have even suggested that Obama publicly announce American support for a new Palestinian state in, inter alia, all or most of eastern Jerusalem. Obama is reportedly “waiting for the right time” to do so." (Hillel Fendel, "Jerusalem Construction and Demolition Back in the News," IsraelNationalNews.com, 4/13/10)

Anger toward the Jewish state by the man who currently holds what is usually considered the most powerful office in the world is finally causing great concern among the liberal Jewish leaders in the United States--and particularly from a former mayor of New York City, who traditionally has been a blazing proponent for most all Democrat Party ideology.

Edward Koch, one of the best known Jewish leaders in America for many years, and a liberal Democrat who served as mayor of New York City, wrote recently that he is distraught over President Obama's hateful treatment of Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, while embracing Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, who has threatened to join with the Taliban if America doesn't stop making demands on him.

I weep today because my president, Barack Obama, in a few weeks has changed the relationship between the U.S. and Israel from that of closest of allies to one in which there is an absence of trust on both sides. The contrast between how the president and his administration deals with Israel and how it has decided to deal with the Karzai administration in Afghanistan is striking...

[Israel,] our closest ally — the one with the special relationship with the U.S., has been demeaned and slandered, held responsible by the administration for our problems in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. The plan I suspect is to so weaken the resolve of the Jewish state and its leaders that it will be much easier to impose on Israel an American plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leaving Israel's needs for security and defensible borders in the lurch. (Ed Koch, "A Dangerous Silence," Jewish World Review, 4/13/10)

Now, to get back to the earlier-mentioned undercurrent of growing dislike for those who hold to biblical literalness: Troubling developments are afoot in this nation. It seems the only intolerance that is allowed is intolerance of anyone who puts forth the message of God's Word from the perspective that the Bible is to be taken literally.

There is an insidious lumping-together being perpetrated by those who demand that we all be tolerant, but hold themselves to no such restriction. Jews who believe Israel has the God-given right to exist, with Jerusalem as its capital, are not to be tolerated. Christians who believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God, and that Jesus is the only way to redemption and is coming back during a war called Armageddon, are not to be tolerated. These two groups are in the process of being marginalized by the would-be masters of this nation and the world.

Chuck Baldwin, a pastor and columnist whose articles sometimes appear in the "Newest Articles" section of raptureready.com, made the recent observation that a United States Army officer responsible for disseminating information in an official capacity attacks those military officers who consider biblical prophecy to be taken as literal.

Baldwin gave the officer's words :

First, millennial thought and its policy implications may create strategic transparency that affords adversaries an advantage in decision-making. Second, an understanding of American millennial thinking may provide adversaries with the means to manipulate American policy and subsequent action. Third, the enemy may exploit American millennialism to increase the fragility of and even disrupt coalitions. Fourth, adversaries may exploit American millennialism to demoralize or TERRORIZE joint forces and the American people. By recognizing these potential vulnerabilities, military leaders and planners may TAKE ACTION NOW to mitigate the effects. (Maj. Brian L. Stuckert, "Strategic Implications of American Millennialism," p. 2, emphasis added; quoted in Chuck Balwin, "Army Report Says Chrsitians Threaten U.S. Foreign Policy," News with Views, 4/14/10)

Baldwin wrote that Maj. Stuckert, when using the term "millennial thought," means eschatological doctrine--thinking that involves the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Baldwin infers--and I agree--that Stuckert is saying that a literal interpretation of the Bible in this sense is dangerous and that action should be taken against those who believe this way.

Baldwin writes:

This is...a report written by an active duty Army major [who is now stationed in Afghanistan, I am told] for one of America's war colleges. Before analyzing this report, here are some questions to ponder. Whose brainchild was this report? Did the major select the topic himself or did a superior assign it to him? To whom exactly was the report distributed? How was the report used? What are the interconnections between this report and the MIAC and Department of Homeland Security reports that draw similar conclusions? And perhaps the biggest question is, What does this report portend for government action in the future? (ibid.)

Jesus' words ring true in these closing days of this age of grace:

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. (John 15:18-23)