More Tension in the Middle East!
Following the abduction of an Israeli soldier–the first since 1994, Israel has mounted a massive show of force to free this 19 year old combatant. BBC News reported on June 28:
“Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would not hesitate to ‘carry out extreme action’ to free the captured soldier but said Israel did not want to re-take control of Gaza.”
In an article from the Chicago Tribune on June 28, by Joel Greenburg, the seriousness of this confrontation was highlighted:
“Israel readied forces to enter the northern Gaza Strip early Thursday and rounded up Hamas government officials in the West Bank, stepping up its response to the abduction of one of its soldiers by Palestinian militants.”
The article continued: “About 750,000 people in the Gaza Strip were left without electricity and many lacked running water, officials said, after an air strike on the territory’s only power station cut the electricity supply and crippled water pumps. Engineers said repairs of the station could take as long as six months.”
“…Mustafa Barghouti, a member of parliament and a physician, said that the cut off of electricity, which engineers said affected 65 percent of the Gaza Strip, would cause serious hardship.
” ‘What will we do for medications that need to be preserved, what will we do for hospitals that need electricity, what will we do for schools, for people who have no electricity now in their houses and probably will not have water supply?’ Barghouti said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. television. ‘This collective punishment will only aggravate people and enhance violence.’ “
The entire Middle East is now a cauldron of boiling problems! Iran continues to defy the world as it deftly ignores pleas and threats from Western nations to stop its nuclear program. Iraq is infested with an insurgency of implacable violence despite the best efforts of coalition forces led by the world’s current “Super Power”–the United States. However, Bible prophecy points to Jerusalem and the land of Israel as the contested focal point of world powers in the near future. Even now, developments are setting the stage for the dramatic culmination of these prophesied events. Be sure to view our insightful StandingWatch commentary that explains the news of our day in the light of Bible prophecy–available at www.standingwatch.org and presented by Evangelist Norbert Link.
Christianity Spreading in China
On June 27, the Rocky Mountain News published an article by Nicholas Kristof (The New York Times) that reported about a rapid change happening in China:
“Christianity is booming as never before in China, and some giddy followers say China could eventually have hundreds of millions of Christians–perhaps more than any other country in the world.”
The article continued: “This boom in religion, particularly Christianity but also including the Bahai faith and various cults like Falun Gong, reflects a spiritual yearning among many Chinese. While China has official Catholic and Protestant churches, the fastest-growing churches are the underground ones–usually evangelical without any specific denomination–that are independent of the government. The total number of Chinese Christians today probably exceeds 40 million, and some estimates go far higher.”
In the turbulent times ahead, Biblical prophecy reveals that the whole world will embrace a global religion. To understand how nations–great and small–will follow the lead of a powerful and charismatic religious leader, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”
Anglican Church Split in Two!
Following several years of highly publicized controversial differences within the Anglican Church over such issues as ordaining a gay bishop, ordaining women and performing same-sex marriages, some now recognize that the compromises are tearing the 77 million strong church apart. The following excerpts appeared in the “Daily Mail” on June 19, 2006:
“Efforts to prevent a schism in the Anglican Communion are now futile as it has become virtually ‘two religions’, a leading Church of England bishop claimed in an interview published today.”
Continuing from the article: “…Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, said the division between liberals and conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Communion was now so profound that a compromise was impossible.
” ‘Nobody wants a split, but if you think you have virtually two religions in a single Church, something has got to give some time,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.”
Additionally, a related article, by Laurie Goodstein and Neela Banerjee, appeared in the New York Times on June 28:
“In a defining moment in the Anglican Communion’s civil war over homosexuality, the Archbishop of Canterbury proposed a plan yesterday that could force the Episcopal Church in the United States either to renounce gay bishops and same-sex unions or to give up full membership in the Communion.”
Continuing to quote from the article: “The archbishop wrote, ‘No member church can make significant decisions unilaterally and still expect this to make no difference to how it is regarded in the fellowship.’ “
The battle is between conservative and liberal members and what is permitted among those who call themselves “Christian.” The following comment from the article places the blame: “The conservatives have insisted all along that it is the American church that destabilized the Anglican ship and should be pushed overboard if it will not relent.”
In an AP report by medical writer Lauran Neergaard on June 27, the dangers faced by nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke were cited from a surgeon general’s report:
“Breathing any amount of someone else’s tobacco smoke harms nonsmokers, the surgeon general declared Tuesday–a strong condemnation of secondhand smoke that is sure to fuel nationwide efforts to ban smoking in public.
” ‘The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard,’ said U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.
“More than 126 million nonsmoking Americans are regularly exposed to smokers’ fumes–what Carmona termed ‘involuntary smoking’–and tens of thousands die each year as a result, concludes the 670-page study. It cites ‘overwhelming scientific evidence’ that secondhand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer and a list of other illnesses.”
The issue of smoking and its addiction has certainly been a modern plague–both for those who do smoke and for those who have to live around smokers. A beginning point for those who struggle with this can be found in the Word of God. Jesus said the following: ” ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” For more information on what the Bible reveals and for help in overcoming problems of this nature, please read our free booklets, “Sickness and Healing, What the Bible Tells Us” and “Keys to Happy Marriages and Families.”
USA: Drought / Floods!
On June 27, USA Today published an article by Catherine Rampeli. In the article, the author states:
“A drought over a third of the nation has grown so severe that consumers could be facing higher prices for everything from beef to bread by the end of the year.
“Conditions have become so dire that ‘the middle of the United States and certainly the Southwest are well on their way to one of the worst droughts in history,’ says Carl Anderson, professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University.”
By contrast, the Eastern Seaboard of the United States is suffering from record-setting floods! In an article from the Associated Press on June 28, writer Mark Scolforo reports:
“Up to 200,000 people in the Wilkes-Barre area were ordered to evacuate their homes Wednesday because of rising water on the Susquehanna River, swelled by a record-breaking deluge that has killed at least 12 people across the Northeast.
“Thousands more were ordered to leave their homes in New Jersey, New York and Maryland. Rescue helicopters plucked residents from rooftops as rivers and streams surged over their banks, washed out roads and bridges, and cut off villages in some of the worst flooding in the region in decades, with more rain in the forecast for the rest of the week.”
Following the severe hurricanes that hit the U.S. last year, the economic losses for all Americans became clearly felt through higher gasoline prices–among other things. Now, with a severe drought growing across the nation, citizens will again experience higher costs as national food supplies dwindle. The ongoing floods of this week will also prove costly for the immediate areas in the Northeast as well as for other parts of the country. Just WHY these national disasters are increasing is revealed in the prophecies of the Bible. For ANSWERS, please read our free booklet, “The Rise and Fall of Britain and America.”