Current Events

Israel Celebrates 60 Years

With much fanfare, the state of Israel has this week marked its 60th year of existence as a nation. However, the enemies of Israel continue to threaten this small nation. The Associated Press stated in an article on May 13 the following:

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that Israel is dying and that its 60th anniversary celebrations are an attempt to prevent its ‘annihilation.’

“He spoke hours after President Bush arrived in Israel for the anniversary celebrations.

“‘The Zionist (Israeli) regime is dying,’ said Ahmadinejad during a speech in northern Iran. ‘The criminals assume that by holding celebrations … they can save the sinister Zionist regime from death and annihilation.'”

Coinciding with the arrival of US president, George Bush, Palestinians remained defiant. Reuters, May 15, 2008, ran this headline: “Palestinians mark Israel’s 60th angry and split.” The article commented about the angry mood of Israel’s waring neighbors:

“Protests highlighted the plight of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, 4.5 million of whom now live in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, or further afield, many in grim camps.

“In Ramallah, school children walked the flag-lined streets in black t-shirts that read ‘1948’ on the back and ‘Not for Sale’ on the front. Some held old, rusty metal keys of homes their families were expelled from or fled.

“Thousands of black balloons, denoting each day since Israel was established on May 15, 1948, were released above the West Bank. Organisers hope they will darken the sky over Jerusalem for Bush, who will mark the Jewish state’s founding with a congratulatory speech to parliament.”

Bush’s Middle East Prophecy?

President Bush may have inadvertently made statements in line with Bible prophecy on his most recent trip to Israel to celebrate the 6oth anniversary of the state.

Bloomberg (5/15/08) stated, “President George W. Bush said the Palestinians ‘will have the homeland they have long dreamed of’ — without saying when — in a speech to Israel’s parliament prophesying a peaceful Middle East 60 years from now.

“Bush gave no timeframe for the establishment of such a state, which earlier in his presidency he pledged would be born before he leaves office next January.

“Focused on the distant future rather than the current state of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Bush predicted in the next 60 years, a new Middle East will take shape that will be ‘characterized by a new period of tolerance and integration.'”

We are definitely looking forward to the time when peace will come to the Middle East…hopefully it will be much sooner than 60 years and it will come in a manner other than outlined by man.  For more information on the developments soon to happen, have a look at our booklet entitled, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord” which addresses this and other related subjects.

Coming–A European Army

The EUObserver reported on May 8:
“Germany’s foreign minister [and possibly the Social Democratic Party’s candidate for the next German Chancellor] Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has indicated he would like to see a European army established… German daily Tagespiegel reported Mr Steinmeier as referring to the fact that the EU’s new treaty, currently undergoing ratification across the European Union, allows for the possibility of a group of member states to ‘move ahead’ in defence policy. He noted that from Berlin’s point of view, France is the key partner for this. Mr Steinmeier said he had already spoken with his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, on concrete steps to improve common areas in the military field… The end result of a consolidation of military capacities must be a European army, said Mr Steinmeier…

“At the same conference, other leading politicians from the Social Democratic party – which currently forms part of the governing coalition with the Christian Democrats in Germany – also spoke out in favour of the idea. Former defence minister and head of the SPD group Peter Struck said: ‘There will still be opposition to the idea of a European army as there once was against the single currency, the euro…’

“The German politicians’ comments appear to be in line with the views of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has in the past made several statements on the need for common European defence. The French president has more recently not been so vocal on the issue. This is being seen as a deliberate ploy not to upset the EU treaty ratification process, particularly in neutral Ireland – the only country to have a referendum on the charter and where military issues are highly sensitive with the electorate… But Mr Sarkozy is expected to return to the issue in the second half of this year, during his stint at the EU helm.

“The EU treaty, which has to be ratified by all 27 countries to come into force, allows for a group of member states who are politically willing to go forward to structured cooperation in defence.”

Deutsche Welle added on May 8:
“In today’s world, many believe, an EU military force can tackle problems national armies cannot… The SPD laid out its arguments for a common armed force and its suggestions toward moving its military in the same direction that Europe did with its currency. Money is one principle reason for the move, proponents of a joint fighting force say, adding that running 27 different militaries with 27 different sets of equipment represents an enormous waste of resources… the 27 members of the European Union spent 201 billion euros ($308 billion) on defense in 2007, second only to the 491 billion euros spent by the United States. However, the cumulative effect of these expenditures is lessened because of the duplication of capacities in individual national militaries… The European army has a good deal of support among German and European leaders.”
Many may not think that a European Army could be a problem. And from a human standpoint, a concerted unified fight against terrorism may sound feasible. However, the future of the world looks grim, once Europe is fully united. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Successful Ecumenical Dialogue Continues

VIS reported on May 9:
“This morning the Pope received… Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. He then met with the bishops in the patriarch’s delegation who were from many diverse countries. At noon in the Clementine Hall, the [pope] presided over the celebration of the Middle Hour (hora media), which was attended by Karekin II,  the Armenian bishops, and a group of faithful apostolic Armenians from a number of countries in the East and West… Benedict XVI emphasized that in ecumenical dialogue ‘important progress has been made in clarifying the doctrinal controversies that have traditionally divided us, particularly over questions of Christology. During the last five years, much has been achieved by the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, of which the Catholicosate of All Armenians is a full member’… [The pope] added that ‘we pray that its activity will bring us closer to full and visible communion, and that the day will come when our unity in faith makes possible a common celebration of the Eucharist…'”
Why does this cause concern–or does it? Isn’t ecumenical dialogue and religious unification something to be desired? Humanly speaking, perhaps–but God does not see like man sees. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Deadly Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease in China

CNN reported on May 9:
“The death toll from China’s outbreak of hand-foot-mouth disease has risen to 32 — all of them children… Authorities reported 24,934 cases of the disease on Thursday — a 25 percent increase from a day earlier. The official count of infections has increased dramatically in recent days, since an order issued late last week by the Ministry of Health mandating that all cases be reported… The deaths are blamed on enterovirus 71, or EV-71, one of the most common causes of HFMD… HFMD is not related to foot-and-mouth disease, which affects farm animals. HFMD can be caused by a number of intestinal viruses, of which EV-71 and Coxsackie A16 are among the most common.

“In mild cases, EV-71 causes cold-like symptoms, diarrhea, and sores on the hands, feet and mouth. Severe cases can cause fluid to accumulate on the brain, resulting in polio-like paralysis and death. There is NO TREATMENT for severe EV-71 infections NOR DOES A VACCINE EXIST. Adults with well-developed immune systems can usually fend off the virus, but children are particularly vulnerable to it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Public health officials expect the number of cases to peak this summer, since the disease thrives in warm weather. The virus is a concern for Chinese officials as the nation prepares to host the Summer Olympic Games starting August 8. A large outbreak of HFMD occurred in Taiwan in 1998 with 78 deaths, and smaller outbreaks recurred there in 2000 and 2001, according to the CDC.”

Man-Made Disaster in Burma

The Sun reported on May 9:
“The death toll in cyclone-ravaged Burma could hit 500,000 – more than TWICE the total killed by the Boxing Day Tsunami… Sources said 200,000 people were already dead or dying. But the figure could rise to HALF A MILLION through disease and hunger if the nation’s hardline army rulers continue to block aid for the devastated lowlands of the Irrawaddy Delta. That would dwarf the 230,000 deaths across South East Asia in the 2004 catastrophe.

“Nyo Ohn Myint, of exiled opposition party The National League for Democracy, told The Sun at a border crisis centre: ‘Much of this will be a man-made disaster, caused by the military regime. The bodies need to be collected and burnt as soon as possible or disease will claim many more lives. But the government has organised nothing and its 400,000 soldiers are doing nothing while undistributed aid piles up. ‘They are hoping bodies will be washed out to sea so the final count is smaller – but it could kill half a million people within a matter of weeks. The world must know what is going on.’”

EU Condemns Violence in Beirut

Deutsche Welle reported on May 10:
“The European Union strongly condemned the fierce outbreak of violence in Beirut and voiced support for the Lebanese government, the EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Friday night… Radical Shiite group Hezbollah and allies took control of broad parts of Beirut on Friday, laid siege to areas that included government buildings and clashed with security forces…
“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier phoned Lebanese Premier Fouad Seniora on Friday to express his concern at what he termed ‘the escalation of violence. I urgently call on all parties to withdraw their armed factions, lay down their weapons and recognise the Lebanese state’s exclusive right to use force,’ Steinmeier said in a statement. ‘The developments of the last few days have shown that a resolution to the political conflict in Lebanon cannot wait any longer.’… With the escalation of violence this week, Lebanon has seen the the worst sectarian bloodshed since the 1975-1990 civil war.”

“Russia Is Not Threatening Anyone”?

The New York Times wrote on May 10:
“Nuclear missile launchers and columns of tanks rolled through Red Square on Friday in a display of martial hardware not seen since the Soviet Union’s waning days. The parade… marked the 63rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, which is observed in Russia as Victory Day, a solemn state holiday… The Kremlin’s decision to parade its military hardware has been a subject of competing interpretations, viewed variously as symbolic confirmation of Russia’s pride, or aggressiveness, as a marketing show of Russian arms, and as a nationalistic festival ordered by Mr. Putin, for Mr. Putin.

“Mr. Putin insisted earlier in the week that the parade should not be viewed as ‘saber rattling.’ ‘It is not a warlike gesture,’ he said. ‘Russia is not threatening anyone.’ But it followed a year during which the Kremlin asserted its case against what it regarded as reckless American foreign policies. Mr. Putin has strongly protested an American-led plan to install a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. As tensions rose, Russia’s aging strategic bombers conducted international patrols, entered British airspace and approached American carrier groups on the high seas.

“Russian state-controlled television stations have featured extensive coverage of small-scale exercises of Russia’s navy, and of supposedly new weapons systems. Mr. Putin, who firmly opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq five years ago, also endorsed a doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against threats to Russian soil… The United States expressed no alarm over the parade.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 9:
“For the first time since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow has put on an arms parade to celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany. Russians are impressed with the military show of strength, but in Eastern Europe the parade has reawakened old fears… it seemed as if Russia was searching for its future in the past. European diplomats spoke privately of ‘the wrong signal.’…
“It will take a while to judge if Russia did itself any favors in terms of foreign policy. Its biggest problem is not the West, but its relationship with the countries of the former Warsaw Pact in Eastern Europe and the states that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Poland and tiny Lithuania are now blocking the start of negotiations between Russia and the European Union on a new partnership agreement, while Georgia has been delaying Russia’s long overdue accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“And it is in these countries that parades that ape the style of the former Communist power are viewed with horror… In countries such as Georgia, the show of strength in Moscow will probably increase rather than decrease the determination to seek protection by joining the Western defence alliance NATO. But most Russians approved of the demonstration of military strength…

“According to aviation expert Ruslan Puchow, ‘Many of the weapon systems which were on display [during the parade] are more often sold abroad than given to our army.’ That is why the respected business newspaper Vedomosti ran a story on the parade with the derisive headline ‘Parade for Export.’ Comments from Washington were particularly sneering, if not entirely inaccurate.”

It may perhaps come as a surprise to some, but it is the future United States of Europe–and not so much the United States of America–which will look at Russia as a threat. And it will be Europe which will act and respond forcefully to that perceived threat. We read in Daniel 11:44: “But news from the east and the north [an area north-east of Jerusalem, referring to nations such as Russia, China, India, and Japan] shall trouble him [the soon-coming military leader of a United Europe]; therefore he shall go out [or try to invade those countries] with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.”

Vatican: It’s OK to Believe in Aliens

After persecuting Galileo nearly 400 years ago in a clash between religion and science, the pendulum has now swung too far in the opposite direction.  According to the AP on May 13th, 2008:

“Believing that the universe may contain alien life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican’s chief astronomer said in an interview published Tuesday.

“The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

“In the interview by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion ‘doesn’t contradict our faith’ because aliens would still be God’s creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like ‘putting limits’ on God’s creative freedom, he said.

“The Vatican Observatory has been at the forefront of efforts to bridge the gap between religion and science. Its scientist-clerics have generated top-notch research and its meteorite collection is considered one of the world’s best.”

The Bible is clear that there are no extraterrestrial beings or aliens, but rather there are demons posing as such.  These “fallen” beings, once a part of the angelic realm, are no doubt taking advantage of this fact.  For more information on this please see our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”

7.9 Earthquake Slams China

On May 15, 2008, Reuters reports, “The death toll from China’s massive earthquake could reach more than 50,000, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday, quoting rescue headquarters.

“Already some 20,000 are confirmed dead as a result of Monday’s 7.9 magnitude quake, but tens of thousands more remain buried in rubble in areas of the worst-hit province of Sichuan that rescuers are only just beginning to reach.”

While the Chinese look for possible survivors, another Reuters article dated the same day speaks to other impending danger:

“Thousands of Chinese troops have rushed to plug cracks in a massive dam, amid fears that the city of Dujiangyan and much of the Chengdu Plain would be swamped by floods.

“The Zipingpu dam, above Dujiangyan, which has a population of 600,000, was at one stage on Wednesday in an ‘extremely dangerous state’ with cracks more than 10 centimetres long. The Water Resources Ministry later said it was stable for the time being.

“Some 391 reservoirs, two of them major bodies, were in ‘dangerous situations’ across five provinces, including Sichuan which was the worst hit, officials of the National Development and Reform Commission were quoted as saying. Tulong dam, north of Dujiangyan on the Min River, was said to be near collapse. Its destruction would have a knock-on effect on a series of dams and power stations downstream, officials said.

“Experts said these dams, around the Longmen Shan fault, may have damage that could cause them to fail even weeks in the future.”
This powerful earthquake follows on the heels of the punishing Cyclone Nargis which has caused the death of tens of thousands in Myanmar. The aftermath of both of these terrible disasters pose only added problems with disease and starvation looming in Myanmar and grueling living conditions in the heavily destroyed counties of China. Jesus Christ warned that at the end of the age there would be shocking and catastrophic occurrences.

As prophesied in Matthew 24:7-9, earthquakes like this will precede the Great Tribulation and is one of several telltale signs that we are in the end-time.  Listen to Norbert Link speak on another prophesied event of Matthew 24 in our most recent StandingWatch programs, “Famine in the USA” and “Food Shortage in the USA.”

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