Light for the Last Days

Signs of the Times – February 2019

Open Doors Watch List of Christian Persecution.

North Korea remains at the top of a list of 50 countries where at least 245 million Christians are faced “extreme persecution” in 2018, up 14 percent from 215 million in 2017, according to the World Wide Watch List (WWL) released in January by Open Doors.   David Curry, the president and CEO of Open Doors, unveiled the 2019 WWL that ranks the top 50 “most dangerous” countries to follow Jesus, noting that women are especially targeted.

Curry highlighted several trends that are currently fuelling the mistreatment of Christians, including the rise of authoritarianism and spread of radical Islam, particularly into sub-Saharan Africa.  “Radical Islam is the driver behind eight of the top 10 on the World Watch List this year, four of which are from Africa. Africa is now a major epicentre of violence against Christians,” he observed.  Last year, worldwide persecution resulted in 4,136 deaths, 1,266 attacks on worshipping centres, and the detention 2,625 individuals, the report revealed. The number of deaths increased by about 35 percent from 3,066 at the beginning of 2018.

This year, Open Doors listed 11 countries where Christians are experiencing “extreme persecution”: North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, India, and Syria. North Korea is number one on the World Watch List again and number one in the use of authoritarian tactics. It’s illegal to own a Bible. The very suggestion that you’re a Christian can get you arrested with neighbourhood watches again using old school communist tactics to control people.

“For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10,” Open Doors pointed out.  Open Doors’ report thus argues that India is a worse place to practice Christianity than China, where persecution against followers of Jesus has intensified under Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, who has vowed to “Sinicize” the country’s religions or make them more Chinese by instilling core communist values. “China jumped 16 spots, from 43 to 27,” the monitor group reported. 

Referring to both India and China, the Open Doors report said: “Each of these countries is home to more than a billion people, so these trends are distressing. Hindu nationalists in India continue to attack Christians with what seems like no consequences, and in China, the increased power of the government and the rule of Xi Jinping continue to make open worship difficult in some parts of the country. Open Doors described the persecution of Christians in China as the worst it has been for more than a decade, with at least 50 million people facing some form of repression this year as the Xi administration tightens its grip over religious worship.

The watchdog group, alluding to the estimated 65 million Christians in India, reported:  “Christians have been targeted by Hindu nationalist extremists more each year. Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, attacks have increased, and Hindu radicals believe they can attack Christians with no consequences. The view of the nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith— including Christianity—is viewed as non-Indian. Additionally, in some regions of the country, converts to Christianity from Hinduism experience extreme persecution, discrimination and violence.”  Hindu nationalist groups in India are reportedly affiliated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Is this the end of Brexit?

The Brexit morass has led to a level of disillusion in parliament and democracy that is unprecedented in recent history.  As the government’s Brexit deal goes down to its long-awaited rejection in the Commons, people are losing faith in our elected representatives.  

Giving the final decision to parliament, where three quarters of the members support remaining in the EU, was always going to create problems for the 17 million + people who voted to leave the EU.  Parliament has now declared that it is determined to make it impossible to leave without a deal. The likelihood of Mrs May getting an improved version of her deal passed looks equally impossible.

So that leaves the possibility of no Brexit at all, an idea clearly favoured by the EU and many of our parliamentarians, or BRINO (Brexit in name only).  This involves a deal that is so watered down that it really means we are still in the EU, but have no representation in its institutions. BRINO looks very likely now that Mrs May has proposed talking to all different sides of the argument seeking to find a consensus.  There is also the proposal that parliament takes control and works out its version of Brexit that can get a majority in parliament.

This could lead to a deal that keeps us inside the single market and the customs union, ensuring that freedom of movement remains (i.e. no control over our borders and who comes into the country) and that we remain subject to the European Court.  This is totally unacceptable to the Brexiteers in the Conservative Party, and Mrs May risks splitting the party if she goes down this route. If Labour succeeds in bringing down the government and winning a subsequent election, that appears to be more or less what they will bring to pass.

In other words basically nothing changes under BRINO and we might as well stay in the EU as members and at least keep our voice in the European parliament.

If it comes to a second referendum, (the EU’s preferred way of dealing with decisions it does not like) we can be sure the BBC and all the powers of the EU supporting establishment will do all they can to ensure that people are persuaded to vote to remain in the EU (but not certain that they will succeed).

It is not impossible that Brexit happens on March 29th, but our elected parliament looks like doing all that it can to betray the hopes of the electorate who voted to leave the EU.  In this case they will tie us into the iron and the clay of the revived Roman Empire (Daniel 2, Revelation 17), with the possible added bonus of being ruled by a Marxist led government.  

This is not a great prospect, especially as the EU itself is riven by conflicts and problems which threaten its future.  For example:

  • The economic crisis (already happening in Italy) could lead to the collapse of the Euro currency. Check this one out for reasons for this
  • Revolt against globalisation and the transfer of powers to Brussels (already happening in France, Italy, Austria, Hungary and much of eastern Europe)
  • Anger at the fragmentation of society, Islamisation and mass immigration that has turned areas of European cities into no go areas for its native citizens (already happening in France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Germany)
  • A rise of extreme right and left wing forces battling for control (something they are afraid of in the coming European parliament elections in May).  
  • The end result:  An antichrist dictatorship.

Strange events around the earth.

All kinds of strange events are taking place in the environment causing people to consider the connection to the events of the last days prophecies of the Bible.  

There have been a number of recent reports of rivers turning blood red in Indonesia, China and Malawi, also the sea has turned red off Australia’s Bondi beach and seas off Florida.  There have been explanations of these phenomena relating to chemical pollution, abnormal amounts of sand in the water or algae, but others say it is a foretaste of the biblical prophecy of Revelation 16.3-4 ‘Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood.’

Other events also reminiscent of the biblical plagues of Egypt and Revelation 8.7, 16.21 have been happening.  Extreme hail storms, with hail stones the size of golf balls, have hit Saudi Arabia, smashing cars and leaving a layer of hail in the desert.  In Australia a ferocious storm with hail the size of tennis balls, smashed through cars and windows causing around $125 million of damage.

An infestation of biblical proportions struck Mecca, as a plague of locusts covered Islam’s holiest site, the Great Mosque. The Mecca Municipality confirmed the phenomenon which residents claim has never been seen before.

In Siberia a mountain suddenly collapsed causing a massive landslide as a 525ft-high mound of rock blocked the Bureya river bringing a risk of flooding threatening to disrupt a vital rail link to Russia’s east coast.  The government is looking for answers to why the collapse happened with a majority of locals blaming either a meteor strike or an invasion of UFOs.

Tehran, the capital of Iran, is sinking into the earth at a rate of 10 inches per year.   Part of the cause is the drying up of aquifers for agriculture and drinking water for the city’s 13 million residents.   Fissures several miles in length and several yards deep have opened up in the land endangering railroad tracks, roads, bridges, oil and gas pipelines, high-voltage electricity lines and buildings. It also disturbs irrigation, making agriculture impossible in previously arable regions.

Alaska was hit by 81 significant earthquakes during the first nine days of 2019.  Large quakes are rattling locations all along the Ring of Fire, once dormant volcanoes are going off like firecrackers all over the globe, and the tsunami that struck Indonesia once again reminded us of how vulnerable we really are to major natural disasters.

According to scientists, the magnetic North Pole is making a “sudden shift” away from Canada and toward Russia.  Deep beneath the Earth’s surface, liquid iron is sloshing around at its core, moving eastwards and weakening the magnetic influence of the iron core beneath North America.”  This has caused global geomagnetism experts to undergo an urgent update of the World Magnetic Model where it will alter where exactly North Pole is.  These days the vast majority of us heavily use GPS to get around, and the rapid movement of the magnetic North Pole is causing serious navigation errors.  In essence, GPS is losing its GPS.

This is also causing a growing gap in the Earth’s defences, as the magnetic field is weakening.  This is what gives us our north and south poles and powers our compasses. It’s also a vital shield that protects us from harmful radiation constantly bombarding us from the Sun or deep space.  This weakening is most evident in a hole that reaches across the heart of South America, over the South Atlantic and into Africa. It’s been dubbed the “South Atlantic Anomaly”. It’s allowing more high-energy radiation to penetrate deeper through near orbit, the atmosphere and to our surface.

As the Earth’s magnetic field gets steadily weaker, scientists are warning that it could soon flip. If that happens, it will be a cataclysmic event beyond anything that we have ever experienced before.  Most people never even give much thought to the giant magnetic field that surrounds our planet, but without it modern society would simply not be possible. The magnetic field provides protection for the electrical grid which powers our homes, our businesses, our hospitals, our stores, our banks, our computers and our televisions. It is essentially an enormous “force field” that protects our world from solar storms and cosmic radiation. Right now we take that protection for granted, but scientists tell us that Earth’s magnetic field has flipped before, and that it could soon happen again.

Basically, we are talking about an event that would be even worse than a direct hit from a massive electromagnetic pulse from the sun.  If a sudden pole flip happened today, electronic devices all over the world would be crippled, and scientists tell us that we would be facing “trillions of dollars in damage” by decimating power and communications systems across the globe.

In Revelation 16.10 it says the kingdom of the beast will become ‘full of darkness.’  Could such an event set off this darkness?

Ethiopian dam threatens Egypt’s water.

Anxiety over water is growing in Egypt as Ethiopian leaders press forward with plans to build a massive dam that officials here fear will block the flow of the Blue Nile.  Addis Ababa started construction of the massive Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2011 when Egypt’s leaders were consumed with the Arab Spring uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.  Scheduled for completion in 2022, the $4.8-billion-dollar dam would be the seventh-largest dam in the world and Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant. That makes it a priority for Ethiopian leaders despite the worries of downriver countries that depend heavily on the Nile.

“It’s one of the most important flagship projects for Ethiopia,” said Seleshi Bekele, the country’s minister of water, irrigation and electricity.  But the 510-foot-tall, 5,840-foot-long structure would give Ethiopia control over the headwaters of the Blue Nile, the source of 80 percent of Egypt’s water.  Egyptian concerns about potential water shortages have put the regional powers at loggerheads.

The timetable for filling the reservoir is the most critical problem for Egypt. The faster Ethiopia fills the dam, the less water will flow to Egypt and Sudan.  Egypt is already near the U.N. threshold of water poverty, providing just 660 cubic meters of water per capita annually.  “In light of the continuous population increase in Egypt, it is certain that we will face many difficulties and a water disaster is in store during the period that Ethiopia fills the dam reservoir,” Mr. Kamal said.

Isaiah 19, a prophecy concerning Egypt in the last days, speaks of drying up of the Nile: ‘The papyrus reeds by the River (Nile), by the mouth of the River, and everything sown by the River, will wither, be driven away, and be no more.  The fishermen also will mourn; all those will lament who cast hooks into the River, and they will languish who spread nets on the waters.’ Isaiah 19.7-9.

Russia expands Middle East influence as US withdraws.

As Russia consolidates its gains in Syria, along with its allies, Iran and Turkey, the US plans to move its 2000 troops out of eastern Syria, where they have been working alongside the Kurds to remove ISIS from the region.  The Kurds see this as a betrayal of their interests and fear that Turkey will move into the area to crush the Syrian Kurdish protectorate in Syria. The removal of US forces will help Russia to take full control of Syria, as even now Russia is building a base in eastern Syria.  

It will also help Iranian forces to set up their ‘Shiite’ corridor through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon.  Speaking of Iran in Syria, Trump has said, ‘They can do what they want there, frankly.” Israel worries that Iran is constructing a “land bridge” connecting resources and military forces from Tehran all the way to the Mediterranean Sea through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, taking advantage of broken local governments and American retreats.

Russia also sees an opening to become the key power broker in Libya, rudderless and divided since Muammar Qaddafi’s overthrow and death in 2011.  Moscow has until now been seen as throwing in its lot with Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman who controls most of the oil-producing east of Libya. It has moved troops and missiles into Libya and officers from its GRU military spy service as well as its Spetznaz special forces are already on the ground in eastern Libya.  Russia is also making approaches to the rival powers in western Libya, including Qaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, who is looking to Russia for financial help and mediation with other Libyan power centres to back his bid to become president.

For Putin, who angrily condemned the NATO-led military campaign that overthrew Qaddafi’s four-decade rule as a “crusade,” restoring Russia as a key player in Libya after his successful intervention in Syria would bolster his country’s influence at U.S. expense. It also opens up the path to reconstruction contracts worth billions of dollars, a share of Africa’s largest oil resources and a possible new naval base on the Mediterranean.  “The West did everything it could to plunge this country into chaos,” said Alexander Dynkin, head of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, a state-run research group that advises the Kremlin. “Now all parties to the conflict trust Moscow.”

In addition Russia is involved in another troubled Muslim state in the region, Sudan, where President Omar al-Bashir, long wanted on genocide and war crimes charges, is currently facing of mounting anti-regime demonstrations that have challenged his iron-fisted three-decade rule.  Russia has long been a defender of Bashir.  During his meeting with Putin in Sochi on 23 November 2017, he expressed gratitude to Russia for its support and offered to open up Sudan as a gateway to Africa for Russia and for Russia to establish military bases on the Red Sea coast.  Moscow expressed a desire to enhance and develop military and defence ties with Khartoum.

Students of prophecy may recognise that Libya and Sudan are likely candidates for being modern equivalents of the countries referred to as Put and Cush in the Magog alliance of Ezekiel 38 that comes against Israel in the latter days along with ‘the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal (Russia), Persia (Iran) and Togarmah (Turkey?).

Tony Pearce

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