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

4 Jul, 2011

The Coming Oil Price Shock

In a surprising move, the United States and the International Energy Agency agreed to release some of their emergency reserves of oil in an attempt to cut the high market price of oil.

The plan calls for the release of some 60 million barrels of oil from reserves--half of that from the United States. Since global daily demand for oil is 88.0 million barrels, the release will only have a limited impact on the price of oil.

The official reason for the release was the loss of 1.5 million barrels of Libyan production, but that’s been going on since February. It seems rather slow timing for them to take five months to respond.

There have only been two other times when such collective action has been taken: during the Gulf War in 1991, and in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina damaged offshore oil rigs, pipelines, and refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

The real reason for the move is more likely growing concern over Saudi Arabia’s ability to ramp up production to its new, 10-million-barrel-per-day target. The oil giant has not produced that much oil since the early 1970s. Oddly enough, the only country capable of producing oil at that rate is Russia.

The vain attempt by leaders to keep oil prices down demonstrates a failure to recognize that oil prices are only going one way, and that is up. Increasing demand and dwindling supplies paint an ugly picture for the future.

Renewable energy is a very sexy term today, but wind and solar power will never amount to anything. Their kilowatt-hour cost is more than triple that of oil. At best, renewable energy will only be able to satisfy 5 percent of our needs.

The recent disaster in Japan has placed a dark cloud over nuclear energy. Germany has announced plans to shut down its seventeen nuclear power plants. Switzerland also has approved a plan to forgo building new plants. Even if nuclear energy came back into favor, it would take at least a decade to build any new nuclear plants.

The oil supply and demand fundamentals show an accident waiting to happen. The EIA projects that total world oil consumption will grow by 1.7 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011, primarily because of higher electricity generation in China, Japan, and the Middle East.

Projected world consumption will rise by 1.6 million bbl/d in 2012. Projected supply from non-OPEC countries increases by an average of about 0.6 million bbl/d in 2011 and 0.5 million bbl/d in 2012. (http://www.eia.gov/steo/)

A key factor to the increased demand for oil is China. Its economy has been growing at a relentless pace. Since it has very little domestic production, it has to import nearly all of the oil it consumes. China is very close to overtaking Japan as the world's largest importer of Middle East crude oil.

Another way China is helping to tighten the supply of oil is by using a finance arm  to buy up reserves. It has made numerous investments in oil production. Every time another investment is finalized, all future production will head straight to Chinese refineries.

China has even been eyeing Canada's oil sand reserves. Sinopec, a Chinese state-controlled oil company, has bankrolled a $5.5 billion plan to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific Coast province of British Columbia .

The only positive news on the energy front is natural gas. Engineers have developed a new method of extracting gas from shale deposits. There isn't enough new natural gas for us to run our cars on this energy source. It just means that homes that use gas for heating will have a few more decades of use.

Sometime in the next few years, we are going to reach a point that production falls behind demand. The resulting spike in the price of crude will put the Middle East into focus. The recent rise in oil has put OPEC on track to have its first year with $1 trillion in revenue.

It is easy see to petroleum as the catalyst behind much of end-time Bible prophecy. The late John F. Walvoord wrote the book, Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis. Despite the book being published in 1974, it has not lost its relevance to current events. You can't get away from the basic truth that when the supply of black gold begins to decline, the nations of the world will begin to fight over who gets access to that oil.

Relief may soon be coming to oil-consuming nations in the form of conservation. When the Rapture takes place, millions of Christians will leave behind their gas-guzzling vehicles. The Antichrist can requisition my Ford Edge for his traveling needs. I'll leave the keys on the kitchen table.

-- Todd

Restraining Evil

When looking at the black-and-white films the Allies shot within the Nazi death camps following victory over Hitler’s Germany in World War II, it is difficult to comprehend that evil had the tethers of restraint during the time of that horrendous regime. The images of walking skeletons that were the Jewish “survivors” of those camps remain etched in the memory of anyone who has seen those videos.

The same level of pictorial record doesn’t exist for the genocidal rampages inflicted on their own people by Josef Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and the murderers of the other despotic regimes in modern times. However, eyewitness accounts and some photographic evidence make it hard to fathom that those beastly tyrants were restrained in their butchery.

The Bible nonetheless bears witness that God the Holy Spirit governs the consciences of human beings. In biblically prophetic terms, this truth is most evident in Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

Paul the apostle was saying in this prophecy that evil was at work in a big way even at the time he was writing the letter. Still, the Holy Spirit would continue to restrain that evil until the Holy Spirit removes as restrainer of evil. Then all hell will break loose as the Antichrist is revealed. The spirit of Antichrist is already present in the world–and was manifest even during John’s day (read 1 John 4:1-3). The mystery of iniquity about which Paul prophesied and this spirit of Antichrist are intertwined and interlinked in the ancient web of lawlessness we call evil.

Jesus foretold what will happen once the restrainer (the Holy Spirit) removes from governing the wickedness that is in the hearts and minds of people of the post-Rapture world: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

The Lord prophesied just how bad things would become: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

God will shorten the days of that time of great Tribulation, because if He let things go on to their ultimate conclusion, without the return of Christ, every being of flesh and blood on the planet would be destroyed. Such is the mystery of iniquity that exists today, and will become exponentially worse once the restraint on evil is no longer in place. Then, the ultimately evolved man–as evolution would have it—will step to the forefront of fallen human history. Antichrist will inflict horrors on the people of earth in ways Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and the rest of history’s madmen could not have even imagined. His regime will be the most bloodthirsty of all time.

Lawlessness is everywhere we look today. Whether considering the Middle East and the riotous rebellions, the unions of Greece who threaten to destroy all civility because of the austerity measures being voted, or thinking on America and the unbridled thievery of youth groups known now as flashmobs, the evil the Bible deems the mystery of iniquity is swelling like a great caldera that is about to explode across the world.

A large number of youths attacked pedestrians in an area of Philadelphia, PA, Saturday, July 25, sending people to the hospital with broken limbs and other injuries. Such is becoming the way of many youth gangs in the larger cities around America.

In some cities, the new lawless group activity is something called mobsnatching or mobgrabbing, in which the youngsters, ages 11 to 19, first organize their next hit online, then quickly rendezvous near their next victim-merchant. They rush into the store, begin grabbing anything they can, and bolt out the door before any of the hapless store personnel knows what has hit them.

The youth, particularly within the inner cities, have been taught by cultural inculcation that they have been held down by the affluent, so their actions are justified. It is no more than simply–the inference is--Robin Hood robbing the evil sheriff of Nottingham.

Can there be much doubt that if they will commit such bold acts now, when the Holy Spirit is no longer restraining such evil thinking and actions, America will quickly become a hellish existence in which anything goes? There are growing concerns that a breakdown of society within the U.S. is inevitable. Such concerns were voiced earlier this year by–of all sources—a Russian diplomat. Imagine! The Russians are worried about America becoming a tyrant state because of the signs of coming anarchy.

Former CIA official Philip Giraldi said the following about a law that the Obama administration is trying to get through Congress to combat people who oppose government, or who act in terroristic ways, such as is the case of the flashmobocracy that is developing.

The mainstream media has made no effort to inform the public of the impending Violent Radicalization and Home-grown Terrorism Prevention Act. The Act, which was sponsored by Congresswoman Jane Harman of California, was passed in the House by an overwhelming 405 to 6 vote on October 24 and is now awaiting approval by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which is headed by Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

Harman’s bill contends that the United States will soon have to deal with home grown terrorists and that something must be done to anticipate and neutralize the problem… Harman’s bill does not spell out terrorist behavior and leaves it up to the Commission [which will govern the implementation of the bill] itself to identify what is terrorism and what isn’t. ("Obama Wants to Jail Americans with New Law," Europe Union Times, 1/9/11, Thanks to Jonathan Stettin)

It is almost as if the U.S. federal governmental powers that be have taken Paul’s 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 passage to heart. It seems they anticipate a time when draconian measures will become necessary to restrain the evil that is coming. Antichrist’s restraint will be even more draconian, but his own evil will far surpass all other iniquity of history, the Bible foretells.