“Flowers are blooming on the slopes of Alpine ski resorts and bears are having trouble hibernating in Siberia amid a late start to winter that may be a portent of global warming. Rare December pollen is troubling asthma sufferers as far north as Scandinavia, sales of winter clothing are down and Santa Claus has to reassure children his sleigh will take off on Christmas Eve, snow or no snow. From Siberia to Estonia, bears have had trouble going to sleep for their winter hibernation because their hideaways are uncomfortably warm, soggy and damp. Renowned for frosty winters, Moscow started the calendar winter on December 1 with the warmest December day since records began in 1879 -- 4.5 degrees Celsius (40.1 Fahrenheit). From Ottawa to Moscow, temperatures have been way above average at the start of the winter in the northern hemisphere -- with exceptions including a rare snowstorm in Dallas, Texas. Like many places, Austria has had the mildest autumn since records began and many ski resorts have delayed the season's start. Many scientists say a single warm winter is most likely part of the natural variations of an unpredictable climate. Still, years of mild temperatures fit predictions of global warming, widely blamed on human use of fossil fuels.”
I’ve seen a documentary showing how polar bear populations are declining in the northern Arctic due to thawing ice. Glaciers the world over are now receding at levels that are unprecedented in modern times. The strongest Hurricane ever recorded (Wilma) formed in 2005. Whether or not you believe in global warming, something is definitely changing within our world. If you’re like me, you get an uneasy feeling about what the future holds for us. What, exactly, is going on with our climate?
Have you noticed that as our world’s political climate seems less stable (terrorism, wars, etc), the world’s weather also seems less stable? The world will tell you that there is no way the two are related. Weather is weather, and people will be people. How can the weather be, in any way, related to the overall instability of the world? If you look at the world and our weather through natural, worldly eyes – you will never see a correlation. Look at the weather and the world through spiritual eyes – sight given to you through God’s power, and you begin to see a definite correlation. Once again, you must read the Lord’s Word and you must pray to receive true knowledge and wisdom. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about God’s warnings and what His Word says about weather during the last days.
Does the Bible tell us that God warns before judgment? Yes. The following is Chapter 4 from the Book of Amos.
‘Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, "Bring us some drinks!" The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: "The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks. You will each go straight out through breaks in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon," declares the LORD. "Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings— boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do," declares the Sovereign LORD. ……"I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up. People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD. "Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD.…..He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth— the LORD God Almighty is his name.’ (Amos Chapter 4)
This chapter begins with the Lord describing many of the women of Israel. They were rich, reveled in drunkenness and oppressed the poor. They were not living according to the Word and Laws of the Lord. They offered sacrifices to the Lord and occasionally gave tithes – and bragged about it. The Lord is telling us that these meant nothing to Him because they were living lives of sin, pride and arrogance. They took pleasure in sin and boasted about their religious devotion in front of men. They continued to sin against God even after numerous warnings from the Lord. After Israel was conquered, Assyrian pictures engraved on stone portray prisoners being led away with ropes tied to hooks in their nose or lips. The wealthy women of Israel’s capital were led away in judgment like cattle. These words ring true for us today. This chapter in Amos shows us that the Lord will use weather to warn a nation to return to Him. I believe that He is using it to warn the United States and I believe that He’s using it to tell the world that the end of this evil age is upon us.
In Mathew, Chapter 16, I believe that Jesus gives us a clue as to how to read the times in which we live:
‘The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.’ (Mathew 16:2-4)
Jesus is obviously speaking to the fact that the Pharisees could not see that He was the Son of God. Although they were good at predicting the weather, they could not interpret the times in which they lived. Because they were not close to God, they could not see where they were on God’s timetable and His plan for salvation. They were speaking directly to God and couldn’t see it. This certainly applies to us today. With all of our technological advances, we know more about the natural world than ever before, but we’re still blind to the times in which we live. I believe that the clue to us in this message is Christ’s mention of the weather to the Pharisees, His mention of a ‘miraculous sign’ and most importantly, His mention of Jonah. Many attribute Jesus’ reference to Jonah to mean that He would be crucified and resurrected on the 3rd day, in the same way that Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of a whale. This is certainly true, but I believe there is more to His reference to Jonah. Other than the three days that Jonah spent in the whale, what is another sign mentioned in this Book? A storm.
‘The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." This terrified them and they asked, "What have you done?" (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.) The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?" "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you." Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the LORD, "O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased." Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him. But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.’ (Jonah Chapter 1)
So, Jonah was running from the Lord (rebelling) and the Lord used a storm to turn him around. Meteorologists will tell you that the increasing number and strength of hurricanes in recent years is cyclical. The U.S. is simply experiencing a cyclical ‘upswing’ in the number of hurricanes hitting its shores. At the same time, we seem to be getting hit with an increasing number of wildfires, torrential rains, floods and severe thunderstorms (with devastating tornadoes) that now extend into November. At the same time that our weather is becoming more intense, we’re facing an enemy that we can’t fight effectively. The ‘war on terror’ has no end in sight. Our leaders tell us it may never end. The war in Iraq is getting worse with no end in sight. What about our economy? It seems that the stock market and our economy are going along just fine. Are they? How long can we sustain a 9 trillion dollar deficit before the bubble bursts? If you read the Old Testament, there is one thing that always seems to precede the Lord’s judgment – prosperity. So, at the same time as our weather seems to be getting more unstable, the world’s political landscape also seems to be much more unstable.
The story of Jonah also tells us that even though the Lord may pronounce judgment, a city or nation can repent and be spared His wrath. ‘The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.’ (Jonah 3:5). ‘When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened’ (Jonah 3:10). The question we need to ask is this – does our nation realize that it needs to repent and return to God? Is it asking for forgiveness? It doesn’t take much contemplation to realize that the answer to both questions is no.
How many times do we hear someone today asking for a sign from God? His signs are all around us, but you’ll never see them unless you believe in Jesus, pray for wisdom and come close to the Lord. God’s warnings are not limited to the political instability in our world. They extend to everything in the world, including our weather. I believe that both the stability of the nations in our world and our climate will continue to deteriorate as we near the end of this age.
Let’s take a look at some instances where I believe the U.S. has definitely been warned. John McTernan published a book in 2001 entitled God’s Final Warning to America. John has done extensive research into natural disasters, financial collapses and how they relate to how America has turned away from God. I am only going to list a few examples here from John’s book.
1. On Thursday, September 21, 1989, the Washington Post had a front-page article about Hurricane Hugo approaching the United States. The Hurricane was expected to make landfall on Friday (the next day). The Washington Post also had another front page article on September 21st relating to abortion. This article said that the Bush administration only had until Friday (the next day) to make oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the Hodgson vs. Minnesota case. The oral argument was for the possibility of overturning Roe vs. Wade. The oral argument was never made and Roe vs. Wade was not overturned. On Friday, September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo slammed into Charleston, South Carolina, causing tremendous damage to the city and the entire state.
2. On June 28, 1992, hundreds of thousands of homosexuals and their supporters attended national Gay Pride day parades across America. On the very morning of Gay Pride day, the fourth and ninth most powerful earthquakes this century in the U.S. hit southern California. These quakes were so powerful, their effects were felt as far away as Idaho. The Los Angeles Times actually reported that the marchers had to brave the earthquakes to get to the Gay Pride day parade.
3. During the late winter and early spring of 1993, heavy rains fell on the Midwest. The Mississippi and Missouri rivers rose and approached flood stage. By mid-June the rivers were at flood stage. On June 25, shipping was halted on the Mississippi river. As Gay Pride day, June 27, 1993, approached, the rains increased until USA Today reported: “Then the skies opened up on June 19-21 filling the tributaries; and on June 25-27, finally putting the rivers over their banks.” The Mississippi and Missouri rivers actually began flooding on the weekend of Gay Pride day. The Great Flood of 1993, the worst in American history, started on Gay Pride day. The flood resulted in over $15 billion in damage.
4. During September, 1994, Vice President Al Gore represented the United States at the World Population Control Conference in Cairo, Egypt. As expected, he promoted abortion as a method of birth control. Abortion was promoted as a universal right. On September 12, the next to the last day of the conference, a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake rocked southern California. This was the eleventh most powerful earthquake to hit the U.S. this century.
5. On May 20, 1996, the headlines of the New York Times read, “Worst drought since ‘30’s grips Plains”. The article reported how a powerful drought had gripped the Midwest and western sections of the country. The article pinpointed October 1995 as when the drought started. October 1995 was also designated as Gay/Lesbian History Month by the National Teachers Association. This association passed a resolution for every school district in the nation to observe October as Gay/Lesbian History Month.
6. On February 25, 1997, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to release $385 million overseas into 100 countries for “family planning”. Pro-life forces in the Senate tried to stop the release of the funds because some of the money could be used for abortion. The Clinton Administration backed this release of funds and pushed the date of release of the funds to March 1. On March 1, the legislation was signed into law, and the money released. On the very next day, powerful tornadoes roared across Texas into Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. The storm stalled over Ohio, and torrential rains caused record flooding on the Ohio River.
I have mentioned Homosexuality a couple of times. Does this mean that God hates homosexuals? No. He hates the sin of homosexuality. In the same way that He hates the sin of pride, worship of wealth or the killing of the unborn. Jesus will forgive anyone if they will turn away from their sin and embrace Him. John McTernan mentions many other examples where severe weather and/or economic events coincided with our acceptance of abortion and homosexual activities. All of this doesn’t mean that if your house is hit by a tornado, you have somehow offended God. We live in a fallen world and Jesus made it clear that tribulations will happen to both believers and unbelievers. The difference is whether we have built our lives on Him and how we respond to these tribulations. I do believe, however, that God is making it clear that our support of abortion and our open acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle are unacceptable to Him. How long will we receive warnings before they turn into His judgment? Only He knows. I feel very strongly that we have passed the point of no return. I believe that the Lord has now determined that the only way to remove the sin from our nation is through judgment.
So, the final piece of this is – does Bible prophecy mention weather in our future? The answer is yes. One of God’s final judgments on the world speaks of the weather. ‘The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him’ (Revelation 16:8-9). It sounds like things are going to get very hot on this planet. We see the trends today, but where does it end? We can debate the causes in our natural world (greenhouse gases, fossil fuels, etc) for the increase in global temperature, but the truth is that this world is heading for a period of time where it is going to be very unpleasant – both from wars and from the weather. As the world turns farther away from God, our spiritual enemy will continue to increase his influence. Each of us much choose whether to fight our enemy and proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ or sit on the sidelines and watch the world’s decline from the sidelines.