Why, despite our vaunted scientific knowledge, is modern man at the mercy of the elements? What is the real cause of today's upset weather patterns?
AS THIS is being written, Typhoon Winnie is howling through the Philippine Islands. Terrific 90- to 95-mile-per-hour winds have killed scores. Most communications are down. Thatched villages lie isolated in swirling water.
Something Wrong With the Weather?
Weather experts are concerned. History seems to be repeating itself. Wild changes in the climate of the past are once again manifesting themselves. "Extremism" is the term meteorologists are using to describe today's fluctuating weather conditions! The slow pendulum of recent weather cycles is no longer to be depended upon. Wide extremes now make accurate weather forecasting around the world virtually impossible! Weather men admit they can't imagine what will happen next! Director of meteorological observation at McGill University, George H.T. Kimble has admitted: "We know FOR CERTAIN that important changes in the climate of the Northern Hemisphere are going on at the present time. These are not merely SHORT-TERM FLUCTUATIONS"! (Scientific American, April 1950, emphasis ours)
History Records MAJOR CHANGES
Every national economy depends on agriculture. And agricultural bounty DEPENDS ON THE WEATHER! Historians of the ancient world re-cord that the RISE AND FALL OF EMPIRES always depended, in greater or lesser degree, upon the weather! Too few today, however, have learned these lessons of history. Take, for example, the lands of the Bible. One of the world's richest agricultural areas in ancient times was Mesopotamia Babylon and Assyria. For well over 1500 years after the Flood in Noah's time this region was the garden spot of the ancient world. Only the land of Israel in the time of Solomon, and certain parts of Egypt, could surpass its bountiful fertility. Mesopotamia was of such agricultural potential that the records called the region, especially its northern parts, "Eden." But what is this region like today? It is nearly all desert! Why? Because of SIN! Almighty God prophesied through Jeremiah: "A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon... they shall become as women: a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed. A drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of GRAVEN IMAGES, and they are mad upon their idols [that is sin]. Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there" (Jer. 50:35-39). Isaiah prophesied the same thing (Isaiah 13:19-22). These prophecies were uttered when Mesopotamia was the richest agricultural region on earth. There was not the slightest indication that such a catastrophe in the weather could overtake Babylon. Long after Isaiah and Jeremiah were dead, Babylon received no immediate setbacks in its agricultural productivity. Herodotus, a Greek historian who wrote about 200 years after Jeremiah, described Mesopotamia as being a most fertile region with yield of grain twice that of any other area (Book I, 193). People could well wonder if Isaiah and Jeremiah were not completely wrong in their prophecies that the God of the Bible had failed for Babylon remained as fruitful as ever. But had God failed? Right after the time of Herodotus a deterioration of productivity began to set in, the amount of water volume in the great rivers coming from the Armenian mountains began to subside, the climate of Mesopotamia became progressively more arid. This deterioration continued until Hadrian, the Roman emperor. He was forced to abandon the Mesopotamian region (which had recently been added to the Roman Empire) because the area was simply not worth the maintenance of Roman troops. By the time Islamic troops invaded the country, the once-rich region of Mesopotamia had become a desert. And it has remained that way ever since. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied this would happen! It would be the height of naivetι to say these Jewish prophets were simply good climatologists and understood enough of the secrets of nature to predict the great change in Mesopotamian climate. The simple fact is, Almighty God kept His word! He turned Mesopotamia into desert.
Egyptian Weather Has Changed
Nearly 2000 years ago the climate of Egypt was vastly different from that we find in Egypt today! Claudius Ptolemaeus of Alexandria, well-known geographer of the second century A.D., kept a careful diary of Egyptian weather. He faithfully recorded thunderstorms, rainy days, winds. From his diary we are able to accurately reconstruct the main features of Egyptian climate in A.D. 150. The contrast IS STRIKING! Today Egyptian summers are rainless. Then they were nearly as rainy as the winters. Today thunderstorms are unheard of. Then they were frequent in the hot season. Did Almighty God prophesy this against the land of Egypt, as He did of Mesopotamia? Notice what He inspired the prophet Ezekiel to write: "And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the Lord: because he hath said, The river is mine and I have made it [that is vanity, which is SIN]. Behold, therefore I am against... thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate from the tower of Syene [modern Aswan] even unto the border of Ethiopia" (Ezekiel 29:9-10). God's prophet Ezekiel recorded this warning against Egypt in 586 B.C. What has happened to Egypt since? Here are the irrefutable facts of history and archaeology! When Ezekiel prophesied waste and desolation for Egypt, the Pharaohs controlled rich grasslands as far as 2000 miles west from the Nile! Recently two French experts discovered remarkable examples of primitive art in the Sahara, the world's largest desert, once controlled by Egypt! The rock carvings were divided into three distinct groups, and give evidence that the great Sahara was once a "lush grassland capable of supporting huge droves of cattle." (The Baltimore Sun, March 29, 1964) "A second group" of carvings, continues the news report, "is believed to have been carved in the first millennium before our present era... " This was Egypt's heyday. The second group of carvings shows huge herds of cattle and animals like antelopes, indicating "that the Sahara was then GRASSLAND!" With these remarkable carvings was found a symbol of Egyptian rule the ram with a solar disc between its horns! In Ezekiel's time God's prophecy might have sounded like the ravings of a madman to the Egyptians. As late as the Roman period-500 years later Egyptians could have mocked the Jews and their "demented" prophets. Roman historians mention that the grain which sustained the people of Rome was imported from Egypt. The Nile valley was called the breadbasket of the Roman Empire. But God's prophecies stood firm. Today Egypt is a wasteland. Even the area around the Nile is parched, semiarid, and scorched by cyclonic hot winds from the desert which is encroaching at a frightening rate. Who REALLY controls the weather? The Almighty God!
Proof from the Trans-Jordan Countries
What God prophesied for Mesopotamia and Egypt was very much the same as His prophecies for the lands of Ammon, Moab and Edom, east of the Jordan River. These regions were described as once having an abundance of every physical blessing fruit trees, gardens, farms and good weather conditions. Even ancient Israel recognized the former richness of these Trans-Jordan areas. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh sought their inheritances in them. (For the great productiveness these ancient lands once enjoyed, see Isaiah 15, 16 and Jeremiah 48) But notice what God said would happen to the fruitful areas east of the Jordan the modern Kingdom of Jordan: "The waters of [the river] Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing" (Isa. 15:6). "For I have sworn by myself, saith the Lord, that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes" (Jer. 49:13). These prophecies were uttered when the Trans-Jordan areas were in the height of prosperity. Yet God said they were to become arid wastelands. This has happened! Within 200 years of the prophecies, these eastern peoples found their prosperous lands suffering a climate change. The region soon after became desert.
Proof from Palestine
The climate of ancient Palestine was not like it is today. The Bible continually refers to the Promised Land as "flowing with milk and honey." Forests flourished throughout its length and breadth (McClintock & Strong's Ency. Vol. III, p. 620). Nehemiah, recalling the prosperity of Palestine when Israel conquered it from the Canaanites, said: "They took fenced cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all good things, cisterns hewn out, vineyards, and olive yards, and fruit trees in abundance,. so that they did eat, and were filled, and grew fat, and delighted themselves in Thy great goodness" (Neh. 9:25). Israel and Judah, however, were disobedient. They SINNED. God promised a punishment would come upon them and upon all the land. See Hosea 13:15, 16; Jeremiah 17:1-8, etc. Israel and Judah were removed from the land and carried into captivity. Later when Palestine was re-occupied by the Jews, it never recovered its former splendor. The weather patterns for the whole Near East had begun to change! The land which was once "flowing with milk and honey" became drier and drier. By the time of Christ, the desert regions were approaching heavily on the southern and eastern peripheries of Palestine. Yet even in Christ's time this region was still more moist and cooler than it is today. Josephus tells us that the snow pack in the Lebanese mountains which fed the River Jordan lasted all year round! In ancient times this snow did not begin to melt until spring had arrived "for Jordan over floweth all his banks all the time of harvest" (Josh. 3:15) from April to June. But today it never overflows its banks. And when the Jordan does rise (because of melting snows) it is from January to March (Oxford Helps to the Study of the Bible, p.109). This conclusively shows that the area once had much more water than it now has, and it was much colder cold enough for the snows not to begin melting until April. Josephus informs us that King Herod (who murdered the children of Bethlehem) encountered such great snows in Galilee that with winter drawing on he found it necessary to disband his army. (Wars, I, XVIII, 6) Even Christ warned His people about the severity of Palestinian winters (Matt. 24:20). These colder winters, formerly in Palestine, were another reason why the shepherds could not have been in the fields tending their sheep on December 25th! Christ was born in the early autumn when it was possible for the sheep to be in the open. (Read our free booklets on Christmas.) There was much more vegetation in Palestine in the time of Christ because of the wetter climate. When Christ retired to an uninhabited area where there was no food available, He miraculously fed the 5,000 men (probably a total of about 13,000 people counting women and children). "He commanded them that all should sit down by companies upon the green grass" (Mark 6:39). "There was MUCH GRASS in that place" (John 6:10). It was then common for grass to be found throughout Palestine. Today, it is difficult to find green grass growing of itself anywhere in Palestine. An English farmer in 1843 made a journey to the Holy Land. He recorded: "As I travelled from Jaffa to Jerusalem, over some as fine soil as could be found anywhere, I did not see so much as one blade of grass, though I looked for it as one would search for a diamond. This to me seemed strange, for I knew in England grass will grow where nothing else will; but here, neither among the fine stubble fields, nor even along the roadside, where no plough comes, were to be found so much as what might with strict propriety be called a blade of grass" (Lowthian, Journal, p, 152). What a change from Christ's day!
Look at Southern Europe
The whole of Europe, as well as the Near East, in the time of Christ, was very much colder and wetter than it is now. "The climate of Central Europe prevented the progress of discovery northward. The mean temperature of Spain, Italy and Greece was lower than at present; while Gaul (France) and Germany experienced almost the rigours of an Arctic winter" (Smith, Diet. of Greek & Roman Geography, vol. I, p. 881). Even in Italy it was then much colder. "The Romans, even in their Italian wars, rarely took to the field before the month of April, since they dreaded encountering the snow-storms of the Apennines, and the floods which at the melting of the ice converted the feeders of the Tiber into rapid torrents" (ibid" p. 881). In fact, Livy reports that the Tiber River by Rome in ancient times froze over in the winter (Book V, 13). Such II phenomenon is unheard of today, Without doubt, Italy, just as the ancient Near East, was much more temperate in climate than it is today. When you read what the ancient, classical writers say of Greece and the Balkan Countries, you would think they were describing modern Siberia. Athenaeus describes the year in the Balkans as consisting of eight months severe cold and four months of normal winter (Book VlII, p.351. "The climate of Thrace [modern Bulgaria] is always spoken of as being extremely cold and rigourous" (Smith, Vol. II, p. 1178). "Ovid describes the cold of the western Black Sea and its adjacent coasts as a modern traveller would describe the temperature of Stockholm and the Baltic" (Smith, Vol. I, p. 881). The people who lived in this region experienced such cold that they habitually clothed themselves with fox-skinned caps covering their ears, fur and leather breeches and knee high boots (ibid., p. 1183)! Today the climate does not call for such garments (except high in the mountains). In fact, the valleys and southern regions of this area have a Mediterranean agriculture and travel brochures rave about the warmth of the Bulgarian Riviera where Soviet tourists sunbathe in Bikinis!
Western and Central Europe
The records of history show the climate of Europe some 2000 years ago was several degrees colder on the average, with more frequent precipitation than now, We read: "Gaul and Germany experienced almost the rigours of an Arctic winter," "Central Europe was, for many centuries, as regards its climate, what Canada is at the present day. The vast forests and morasses of Gaul (France) and Germany were, until the 9th Century of our era, unfelled and undrained and aggravated the cold and humidity." "In the latitude of Saxony (the Ruhr region of Germany), the legions of Drusus and Germanirus endured many of the hardships of a Russian winter" (Smith, vol. I, p.881), These facts show one important truth which is indisputable! In earlier times, the cold winters which we now experience in central European areas were occurring much further south. This provided ancient Italy and Greece and the whole of the Near East as well with temperate zone weather patterns rather than the arid sub-tropical climates they now experience. All these southern regions have become drier because of SIN. God punished Assyria, Babylon, the Trans-Jordanian countries and even Palestine for their disobedience! God controls the weather. HE shifts the weather patterns to carry out His prophecies.
Weather Changes Still Ahead
Today Almighty God still is in control of the weather! When God unleashes the forces of nature, man begins to realize how puny are his mightiest weapons. God has, in the past, used the weather cycles to bring the greatest nations of this world to their knees because they openly disobeyed His laws. Do you suppose that God will allow men TODAY to disobey His laws with impunity? Through your Bible God says, "I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. FOR I AM THE LORD, I CHANGE NOT!" God will bring justice upon the nations of this modern 20th Century just as surely as He did upon ancient Egypt and Babylon! He warns against the attitude of those who trust in the seeming permanence of the world around them: "... there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation" (I Pet. 3:3-4). God is not through intervening in the weather patterns of this earth! Man still has lessons to learn! To any nation that rebels against His laws God prophesies: "and thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed"! (Deut. 28:23-24) Your Bible is not out of date God in Heaven still sits at the controls of the WEATHER! He is about to do in this one generation what He did over many centuries to the mighty nations of the ancient world! Today newspaper headlines from every part of this earth scream the warnings God recorded millenniums ago in your Bible. Drought and alternating floods are fulfilling His prophecies all around us yet most people will not hearken. These weather disturbances are the result of SIN-BREAKING GOD'S LAWS! This world is about to reap one final series of WEATHER CATASTROPHES that will devastate civilization. The only way of deliverance is through REPENTANCE. God Himself offers protection from the troubles ahead to those few who will turn to Him and begin to OBEY Him.