Death-dealing tornados, rampaging floods, searing droughts — this is today's worldwide "weather report." Why must it be this way? What does the future hold?
"THE devastation is terrible! Ohio looks like it's been bombed" exclaimed Governor James A. Rhodes, surveying the tornado-torn northwestern section of Ohio. Such was the "Palm Sunday Disaster." Viewing the twisted mass of wreckage around the Toledo area, Governor Rhodes termed the ruin "fantastic... unbelievable. There is nothing you can compare it with." But his area wasn't alone. Catastrophic storms hammered the six-state Midwestern region of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. The rumbling juggernaut of tornados — at least 37 in number — left in their wake a death toll of 242 and property damage totaling in the multi-millions. Not since 1925 has such a devastating tornado onslaught pummeled the United States. For Indiana alone, it was the greatest disaster in the state's history. For towns and crossroads communities such as Russiaville, Indiana, and Pittsfield Center, Ohio, destruction was nearly total! The only thing left standing in Pittsfield Center is an old Civil War monument.
As if tornados were not enough, America's agricultural and industrial heartland has had to brace itself for yet another natural disaster — flooding. The worst floods on record in the upper Mississippi River region have poured their ice-jammed waters into dozens of communities in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. Evacuees have numbered 60,000 so far in what has been claimed the wettest Easter weekend in U.S. history. The bad weather picture is by no means limited to floods and tornados — and neither is it confined to the North American continent.
All around the World
"Britain is facing its most serious water shortage of the century," reports the London Sunday Times in its April 4, 1965, edition. "The blame is put on the last three years which have been the driest since 1854.... Worst-hit areas are those in the Midlands, round the London basin and in the South-East." Natural underground reservoirs in these areas are lower than has ever been known. The drought is especially severe in South Essex, where thousands of householders and industrial concerns, including the Ford Company's huge Dagenham plant, face drastic water-rationing in an attempt to conserve the rapidly depleting supply. British Government scientists are very concerned about the drought. One said, "We would need phenomenal rainfall, and we are not going to get it." He concluded by saying, "What everyone is trying hard not to think about is the possibility that next winter could be just as dry as the last."
Australia Parched with Drought
Halfway around the world, Australia, one of Great Britain's thief food suppliers, is facing a drought crisis of national proportions. "Hundreds of thousands of square miles in New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia are parched," reports The Australian (March 3, 1965). Other sources reveal that cattle and sheep are dying by the thousands. One northern Australian stockyard estimated that 15 percent of its cattle have choked to death in huge dust squalls en route to market. Elsewhere, sheep are being dumped on the market for as little as 1s, 2d (14 cents) a head. Dust has lowered the quality of the wool. The once-rich Alice Springs area of the Northern Territory is now in its eighth year without a good rain. Cattlemen there say that only general rains over something like 200,000 square miles of central and southern areas of the Territory can prevent more massive cattle losses. But no rain appears in sight. Weather Bureau spokesmen say there is an almost total lack of moisture in the upper atmosphere. Despite the prolonged dry spell in the northern and western sections of Australia, agricultural experts are most concerned about a newer drought which has afflicted a rich dairy and beef-producing area of the adjoining states of New South Wales and Queensland. These two key states produce more than half the total value of Australia's agricultural output. Government experts warn that lack of water will make a severe impact on the nation's economy unless heavy rains fall in the next two or three months.
"Stench of Dead Cattle"
Prospects for rain, however, are bleak. A Reuters dispatch from Sydney dated April 14 revealed that in some towns in Central Queensland the rain gauges are clogged with dust. No rain has fallen there for two years. "Stock losses, already heavy, may soar to hundreds of thousands of animals unless there is rain." In neighboring New South Wales, the picture is worsening with each passing day. A reporter for the Sydney Sun-Herald wrote on March 7: "The stench of dead cattle fills the air from Young to the Queensland border this week as a huge area of New South Wales parches to a record drought. A vast expanse of the main milk and beef-producing belt is already in the most severe 'dry' in memory. Farmers who are blasting holes in dry creek beds to reach water in an effort to save dying herds say if no rain falls by winter the drought will become a 'national disaster.' "About the only sleek and well-fed living creatures I saw were the crows feeding off the stinking flesh of dead animals. Dairy farmers and grazers in the Hunter Valley and around Dungong and Gloucester — an area which never before in farming history has gone more than nine months without rain — have lost scores of cattle, and more are thirsting to death every day. "The country is... as dusty as the long-term drought-stricken dustbowl of the far west and northwest, which has been years without rain. It is the smell of death, though, and the sight of crows picking the last scraps of flesh from bleaching bones that brings home most starkly the fact that there is dreadful drought right on Sydney's doorstep."
Southern Africa Also
Other areas of the earth — especially the English-speaking world — are also suffering from weather upsets. South African farmers appealed to the government this March for assistance in facing one of the worst droughts the Republic has had this century. In sections of Northern and Western Transvaal many farmers have been forced to leave their dried-up land and seek employment in the towns. Water has been scarce for the past six years in the Northern provinces. A five-year drought in sections of Cape Province has forced some sheep raisers to cut their flocks by 50 percent. This is beginning to affect South Africa's economy, wool being one of her largest exports. To the north of the Republic, "the Rhodesian government is facing a 'full-scale disaster' in South West Matabeleland where for the second year in succession drought is destroying cattle and crops. Eighty thousand people are threatened with starvation" (Sunday Telegraph, London, March 14, 1965).
Brief Rundown All Over
Space will permit only a brief mention of other weather upsets around the globe, such as: — The catastrophic cyclone and gigantic tidal wave which struck Ceylon and southeastern India last December, leaving an estimated 1800 dead. It was called the greatest tragedy ever to hit Ceylon. — One of the worst floods in India's history last August which left 500,000 homeless in the state of Bihar and destroyed 80 percent of the area's vital rice crop. — Ominous new warnings filtering out now from behind the Bamboo Curtain that China is facing its worst crop failure since disastrous 1961. Radio broadcasts from all parts of China's grain belt tell of "battles, great obstacles and difficulties" with weather and insects. We mustn't forget other recent catastrophes in the United States and Canada either: — The disastrous "Christmas week floods" in Oregon and northern California. The Eel River flood was so bad it was said it could happen only "once in a thousand years." — The bone-chilling cold snaps and blizzards which paralyzed sections of the eastern and Midwestern U.S.; — State-wide summer droughts along the eastern seaboard (New York's worst in 138 years); — The 1964 hurricane season (Cleo, Dota and Hilda) which was the worst in 15 years. — The intensifying water shortage in the Great Lakes basin. Lakes Huron and Michigan are at all-time lows and Lake Ontario will soon be there.
Shades of the Dust Bowl
While attention has been diverted to these and the even more sensational upsets of the past few weeks, however, a much more serious and far-reaching situation is building up in America's Plains States. The dust bowl is returning! An ominous drought area is now covering parts of six states, approximately the area of the notorious "dust bowl" of the '30's. Some pockets within the bowl are even drier than in the '30's. Foolish optimists, thinking today's "better farming practices" will save the region, believe the problem will just "blow over." Instead, facts show that precious topsoil is blowing away. Texas dirt recently has darkened skies as far away as Pennsylvania! Government disaster loans and other subsidies are enabling many farmers to hang on. New techniques of farming (such as "emergency tillage" — plowing at right angles to the wind) have helped somewhat — for the time being. Soaring values for land capable of being irrigated are also encouraging others to "wait it out." But irrigation is no savior if it doesn't rain. Water tables throughout the area are falling from one to seven feet a year. Reservoir-irrigation projects are in danger. For example, the water level in the Conchas Reservoir north of Tucumcari, New Mexico, is so low that farmers will not be able to draw on it for irrigation.
Let's Understand Why
There is no need to go on listing tragedy after tragedy. What is important is that we understand what these totally abnormal conditions mean. Few people will admit that the Bible has anything to do with present-day world problems. Fewer still realize that Jesus Christ said these utterly chaotic weather upsets would be ONE OF THE MAIN SIGNS pointing to His return. His disciples knew that He was going to come again, unlike the vast majority today. They asked Him what conditions would prevail before His coming. "What shall be the sign of thy coming," they asked, "and of the end of the world?" — this age, this society of man governed contrary to the laws of God (Matt. 24:3). Christ then proceeded to answer their question, to point out the major signs. Notice especially verse 7: "and there shall be FAMINES, and PESTILENCES, and earthquakes, in divers' places." Famines and pestilences are the direct results of disasters in the weather. What we need to realize is that all these worsening, chaotic conditions — as bad as they are now — are still only the beginning of yet future imagination-defying catastrophic upheavals in nature. After Christ gave His warning signs He added "All these are the beginning of sorrows" (verse 8). The worst is yet to come!
U.S., Britain Especially Affected
Bible prophecy speaks not only of this time of worsening worldwide weather chaos affecting all nations, but it specifically singles out the peoples of the United States, Great Britain and other areas of the English-speaking world, plus the lands of Northwestern Europe. We are to bear the fullest brunt of these natural calamities. (To see the clear, unmistakable proof of our national identity — where our people are mentioned in Bible prophecy — read our free booklet, The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy) God, through the pen of the prophet Ezekiel, forewarned that fully one third of our people were to perish by catastrophic weather calamities and disease. Notice the startling words of Ezekiel: "A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with FAMINE shall they be consumed in the midst of thee; and a third part shall die of the sword round about thee [warfare] and I will scatter a third part into the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them [captivity and slavery]" (Ezek. 5:12). Ezekiel never reached the peoples of ancient Israel with this prophecy. They had gone into captivity well over 100 years before this time. This prophecy is for our peoples, the descendants of the House of Israel, today! Why is this complete national destruction, starting with the hammering blows of violent weather, to come upon our lands? "Because you have not lived by my laws nor followed my orders, but have followed the practices of the nations around you, therefore — it is the sentence of the Lord the Eternal — I am against you, I am; I will inflict punishment upon you before the eyes of the nations (complete ignominy that all of our enemies and hired "allies" will view in abhorrence) and do to you what I have never done before, a thing that I will never do again, owing to all your detestable misdeeds" (Ezek. 5:7-9, Moffat Translation). God, who controls the weather, and would intervene on our behalf if we as a nation turned in utter repentance to Him, is going to allow weather disasters to hit us so hard that we learn once and fox all that it just doesn't pay to transgress the commandments and laws He gives us for our good. With the weather God blesses or curses a nation (see Job 37:1-13, and Nahum 1:3-4). He told our forefathers after He had rescued them from the slavery of Egypt that if they were obedient to His laws, He would be with them in their national development — and the weather would be one of their greatest blessings. Disobedience on the other hand would bring nothing but drought, misery, hunger and every frightful curse under the sky. Read this for yourself in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. These same promises apply to the descendants of Israel today. In fact, they hold true for all nations throughout all eras of history. God does not change. His laws stand fast forever (Heb. 13:8; Psalm 119:160).
Man Is Fighting Success
Our rebellious peoples, however, are paying increasing penalties for continuing to go their own way, apart from the righteous laws of God. The title of a recent article in a national news weekly showed this vividly. It read, "Man vs. Nature: Still a Losing Battle." How true! Yet God never intended man to be versus — against, in pitched battle with — nature! God designed nature to be a blessing to man. He never intended people to have to spend sleepless nights sandbagging their communities against impending floods. He never intended whole villages to be sucked up into monstrous tornados. Man has brought it all upon himself! God is the Creator of nature. In addition to His supreme royal law — the 10 Commandments — He has set certain natural laws in motion, laws of the land, and laws dealing with our finances. Man has broken them all with impunity! God created the world. He owns it. God, then, is the Landlord; we are the renters. Maybe we have not thought of it in that way before, but it is true. And what have we done with His property? First, we have ruined it by overwork and exploitation. Wherever man has been he has finally turned a beautiful earth into a desolate wilderness or an arid desert. We have not learned to care for God's property. We have taken from the soil and given little to the soil in return. We have never allowed good farm land to rest — until it becomes too late to restore its fertility. What fools men have been! Second, we have not paid our rent to our Supreme Landlord. Yes, you owe God rent, whether you are a farmer, laborer, businessman or housewife. You are using His soil, dwelling on His land, spending His time for your own livelihood. For permitting you the use of everything He created on this earth, He demands only a fraction of the amount which human landlords demand. God gives you 90% of what you acquire, and He asks only 10% in return. That 10% He calls a tithe. The word tithe means a tenth. Our people have been robbing God of His rightful rent. Says the Creator: "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Mal. 3:9-10). This is God's promise. God promises to bless any nation that trusts Him and faithfully obeys Him. Our nations have NOT done that, and for that reason we face a national catastrophe in a few short years! But you as an individual can receive God's blessings and protection in the years ahead. For the truth about tithing, read the free booklet, Ending Your Financial Worries.
Human Solutions Fail
Yes, unless our nations get in harmony with God's laws of success and abundance, we can expect no relief from our miseries. All of man's own attempts to harness the vagaries of the weather are doomed to failure. God is in control! Notice Amos 4:7-9: "And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city" — floods — "and caused it not to rain upon another city" — droughts" one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied" — No, our huge multibillion dollar projects now planned to transport needed water from rain-surplus to rain-short areas will not save US — "YET HAVE YE NOT RETURNED UNTO ME, saith the Lord." No "improved tornado warning systems" can rescue us. No more dams or flood control projects will do the trick. What will happen to the billions of gallons of impounded water when the gigantic quakes prophesied in your Bible (Matt. 24:7) rip huge dams to their foundations? These are things to think seriously about. The prophesied end of this age is at hand. Natural disasters are increasing — and their horrible crescendo is not far off. You need to see where your salvation lies. The puny efforts of man will be totally ineffective in the frightening years ahead. Turn to God, trust Him, and obey Him as He reveals His truth to you. Herein lies your only salvation — and it is a SURE salvation.