Record-breaking temperatures across the world. Sign of the end of days?
Written in October 2018
In the Summer of 2018 the Earth experienced one of the most intense heat events ever seen as temperature records worldwide were shattered by an unusual global heatwave in June through to August. Cities across the Northern Hemisphere witnessed extreme temperatures, with records breaking in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. What was unusual about this event was the fact that it was spread right across the northern hemisphere from east to west, from north to south.
Parts of Britain experienced almost two months with hardly any rain and extremely high temperatures as our green and pleasant land became a brown and barren one. Farmers reported water shortages, lack of forage for animals, and poor growing conditions for crops, all of which will cause poor harvests and rising food prices. Extreme heat and record-low rainfall turned German farmland into a scorched wasteland, causing massive losses, according to farmers. The fertile breadbasket of Saxony-Anhalt in eastern Germany was as dry as dust, as wheat in the fields caught fire and burned.
A severe heatwave in Japan caused at least 30 deaths and more than 12,000 people to be hospitalised as temperatures reached 40.7 C (105 F). Similar temperatures have also hit the Korean peninsula, with North Korea warning of an unprecedented natural disaster affecting rice and wheat production. Pakistan posted temperatures over 50C (122.4F), while in Oman the temperature remained over 108.7°F (42.6°C) day and night.
Sweden experienced its highest temperatures for a century, causing more than 50 wildfires above the Arctic Circle. A terrible fire in Greece killed over 100 people near Athens, while in Spain and Portugal the temperature hit 47C, 116F, setting off forest fires across the region. There have been huge forest fires in California, forcing people from their homes. As trees are burned up it causes a further warming process as trees absorb heat and help keep the climate equitable.
Many areas of the world have experienced severe drought, including south west USA, New South Wales in Australia, the area where a quarter of Australia’s food is produced and South Africa where the city of Cape Town almost ran out of water. Both Iraq and Iran have seen rivers and lakes dry up, with riots taking place where people have no water. As rivers have run dry, fish and wild animals have died for lack of water.
Some of the most alarming signs of changing climate and environment have been seen in the Arctic. In Northern Siberia, along the coast of the Arctic Ocean temperatures soared 20°C (40°F) above normal on July 5, to over 30°C (90°F) giving the area a ‘true roasting.’ Warming over the Arctic area is causing a number of changes which effect the whole climate, resulting in loss of sea ice and more rapid destruction of the permafrost (areas which were previously constantly frozen). In Siberia the permafrost melt is causing sinkholes which release methane gases previously trapped underground and sometimes catch fire. This process is releasing more carbon into the air and raising temperatures.
This process speeds up the warming of the Arctic, called the Arctic Amplification, and ends up weakening the polar jet stream, which usually protects lower latitudes from the cold temperatures up north. This leads to a change in the direction of the jet stream and brings both extreme heat and extreme cold as has already happened in 2018.
While all this was happening there was a dramatic spike in the number of earthquakes. Any earthquake above magnitude 4.5 is described as being significant. There were 53 earthquakes that met that criteria on Sunday 16 August alone and 144 between 14 and 21 August. The largest of these was a massive magnitude 8.2 Fiji quake which could have done enormous damage if it had been closer to the surface. Venezuela, not normally in an earthquake zone, was hit by a large 7.3 quake which was felt around the Caribbean. Apart from the quake on the Indonesian island of Lombok, which killed hundreds of people, these did not cause significant loss of life. However the total number of earthquakes was more than 50% above normal. Volcanoes are also increasing in frequency indicating that something unusual is happening to the crust of our planet.
What is behind this?
All of this raises some big questions. Is it:
- Just an unusual event, a one-off event that happens now and again?
- The shape of things to come as Global Warming takes effect?
- A sign of the last days of this age preparing for the Biblical prophecies of Revelation to be fulfilled?
If this is just a glitch, an unusual event, it not a matter of much concern. It has brought some temporary distress, but next year may be completely different. Climate is changeable by nature, dependent on all kinds of complex factors, some of which are impossible to predict. As I write this article in London in late August, we have gone back to Britain’s normal cool and showery weather.
Nevertheless a number of people are saying that this event is not just a glitch, but is a result of climate change which is likely to become the ‘new normal’ in coming years. Before the heatwave, ‘Nature Communications’ reported in January 2018: ‘Sizzling heatwaves are likely to be a feature of the global climate for at least the next four years.’ The Guardian newspaper said, ‘The extreme heatwaves and wildfires wreaking havoc around the globe are “the face of climate change” … the impacts of global warming are now “playing out in real time.” Prof Michael Mann, at Penn State University, and one the world’s most eminent climate scientists, said, “We literally would not have seen these extremes in the absence of climate change. We are seeing our predictions come true. As a scientist that is reassuring, but as a citizen of planet Earth, it is very distressing to see that as it means we have not taken the necessary action.”
So what is the necessary action?
According to the Climate Change theory, the two main causes of global warming are:
- Burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) which releases carbon dioxide.
- Deforestation, which removes the trees that take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The greenhouse effect happens because greenhouse gases (any gas with at least 3 atoms) stop some of the sun’s infrared radiation escaping out to space. The gases use the captured energy to produce heat. More and more of the greenhouse gases means more and more heat, all over the planet.
Climate change activists say human activity is largely responsible for this as we burn fossil fuels in our cars and planes and power stations needed to create electricity to keep the industrial system going. The answer proposed by the environmentalists is to switch to renewable sources of power, wind, solar or nuclear power, and to cut back the use of cars and planes and follow the policies adopted at the Paris Climate Change agreement in 2012.
Some say these proposals are too little too late, and the agreement lacks the power to be enforced as shown by Donald Trump’s decision to remove the USA from the agreement. A more drastic solution would be to stop burning coal, oil and gas altogether, dismantle the present industrial system and go back to a pre-Industrial Revolution agrarian society. Beyond this some are saying the only solution is a drastic reduction of the earth’s population.
No national government is going to agree to do that, since it would involve a reorganisation of society which would be virtually impossible to achieve. It we would need a world government with power to overrule national governments. Climate change sceptics dismiss the global warming theory as a scam, being perpetrated by unproven science and opponents of capitalism, who want a world government under the UN.
A report to the EU by UKIP member of the European Parliament, John Stuart Agnew, claims that climate change is not the result of human activity, and burning CO2 has a negligible effect on our climate. It attributes changes to cosmic ray fluctuations, gravitational pulls from elsewhere in the galaxy, sunspot activity, ocean currents and greenhouse gas water vapour in the form of cloud cover.
Another report on the website Space Weather claims that the earth is heading for a big freeze because the sun has been totally void of sunspots for most of 2018, causing the sun to experience what is known as a ‘solar minimum’. The last time there was a prolonged solar minimum, it led to a ‘mini ice-age’ for 70 years from 1645 to 1715, scientifically known as the Maunder minimum.
In addition to all this we have claims that China is interfering with the world’s weather as it launches weather control systems as well as conspiracy theories that the US based HAARP project is interfering with the weather or that chemtrails left behind by aircraft are affecting it.
What does the Bible say?
With so much conflicting information we can end up bewildered and confused by what is going on. What is clear is that we are seeing an increase in extreme weather events, heatwaves, droughts and floods and storms. The Bible indicates such things happening will be a feature of the last days of this age. It also implies that human mismanagement of the planet will play a part in this situation.
It is interesting that people refer to the fuels said to be causing global warming as ‘fossil fuels.’ Evolutionists explain the formation of fossil fuels as the result of millions of years of vegetation and animals dying and becoming fossilised. But animals and vegetation dying in the normal way do not form into fossils or coal or oil. They just rot in the ground and are recycled into the soil.
The creationist view is that the fossils and fossil fuels were formed suddenly as a result of a great cataclysm on earth, the Flood of Genesis 6-9, when millions of living things were crushed together by the waters of the great flood. The flood was God’s judgement on a society in which ‘the wickedness of man was great in the earth’, ‘corrupt in God’s sight’ and ‘filled with violence’ (Genesis 6.5,11).
Jesus prophesied that it will be ‘as in the days of Noah’ in the days before His return. Is it possible that the material left behind by Noah’s Flood will be a factor in the events of the Great Tribulation, the final 7-year period before the return of Jesus Christ to the earth?
One of the features of the last days will be an environmental crisis affecting the earth. Isaiah 24, known as the ‘mini apocalypse of Isaiah’, describes catastrophic events affecting the earth’s environment, connected with great heat and the earth being shaken:
'The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; the earth is also defiled (Hebrew חָנְפָ֖ / ‘chanaf’ = defile or pollute) under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken theeverlasting covenant. Thereforethe curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left. … The earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it.’
Isaiah 24.4-6, 19-20.
The chapter points to human responsibility for this situation when it speaks of the earth being ‘polluted under its inhabitants’ who are breaking God’s laws and inflicting their transgression upon it.
If the scientists are correct in saying that this year’s heatwave is the shape of things to come, one inevitable result will be a lack of food and water, bringing famine. Jesus said that in the days before His return, ‘There will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.’ Matthew 24.7-8. In the ‘four horsemen of the Apocalypse’ passage in Revelation 6, the third horseman brings food scarcity:
‘I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scalesin his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”’
A denarius is a days’ wages in the Roman Empire, so the implication is that a day’s wages will only buy you a tiny amount of food, insufficient to live on.
One of the features of the current heatwaves has been forest and heathland fires taking place across the earth. We have also seen fish dying in the rivers and in the sea. Waters have been cut off as people lack water for agriculture and drinking in various places. The prophecies of Revelation describe these things happening in a much greater way in the great tribulation:
'The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to theearth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. Then the second angel sounded and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.'
Revelation also points to a time of great heat on the earth:
‘Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues and they did not repent and give Him glory.’ Revelation 16.8-9.
According to Genesis chapter 1 God made man (the human race) in His image with a responsibility to look after the world He created:
‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”’ Genesis 1.26-28.
Instead of caring for it, the human race has defiled the earth. Paul describes the creation as being ‘subjected to futility’, waiting to be ‘delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now.’ Romans 8.18-24.
According to Genesis, the earth has been affected by two major events. The Fall of Genesis 3, in which sin and corruption entered the earth, affecting the created world and changing it from the ‘very good’ earth which God created to one which would bring forth ‘thorns and thistles’ symbolising a fallen earth, subject to death and decay. Secondly the catastrophic worldwide Flood of Genesis 6-9 changed the conditions on earth, including the climate, causing the earth to be much less fertile and habitable. Describing the world after the Flood God speaks of ‘cold and heat, summer and winter’ for the first time, indicating this change in conditions on earth (Genesis 8.22).
The scriptures we have looked at in the article indicate that in the last days of this age there will be a further decay in conditions on earth, causing the creation to ‘groan and labour with birth pangs’ as Paul writes in Romans 8. The image of birth pangs is often used in scripture for describing the period of the great tribulation leading to the second coming of Christ. It is in this period that earth will see the catastrophic conditions described in Revelation earlier in this article. Revelation implies a human responsibility for all this when it says that the Lord at His coming ‘will destroy those who destroy the earth.’ Revelation 11.18.
Today we see forests burned down, rivers and seas polluted and temperatures rising, and a mass extinction of animals and fish on the face of the earth. This is the one of the signs that we are in the ‘beginning of sorrows’, the period leading up to the Great Tribulation.
One of the reasons why the Lord Jesus has to return soon is to save the earth from destruction and to recreate the earth as God intended it to be in His Millennial Kingdom. The prophetic scriptures describing the conditions on earth after His return are as wonderful as the description of conditions in the days immediately before His return are terrible:
‘They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.’ Isaías 11.9. ‘The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. … Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” … For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.’ Isaiah 35.1-7.
These scriptures indicate that He will renew the earth in a wonderful way, which only God can do. He will cleanse it from the pollutions of the present evil age after the fall of the Babylon political and economic system that now controls the world under Satan’s power (Isaiah 14.3-21, Revelation 18, 20). Note that in Isaiah 14.21 it says that the Lord will cut off the evildoers, ‘lest they rise up and possess the land, and fill the face of the world with cities’. This suggests that the Messianic kingdom will be an agrarian society which is sustainable and works for the well-being of all its citizens, dismantling the military – industrial system of the present time (Isaiah 2.1-4, 11.3-9). At this time Satan will be bound and unable to influence the world (Revelation 20.1-3).
The Lord Himself will be present amongst the redeemed people of the earth bringing His peace and justice to the earth as it experiences its final period of 1000 years of rest under the rule of the Messiah.
‘And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; declare His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!” Isaiah 12.4-6.