Is ANOTHER disastrous weather cycle about to begin? Devastating drought in North America's breadbasket. Millions threatened with starvation by protracted drought in Africa. Australia battered alternately by drought and floods. Europe suffers record heat. You thought these stories were of 1983? No, these weather disasters describe the weather that ravaged nations in the 1930s.
Dust Bowl Again?
It is not without significance that the founding year of this magazine, 1934, was one of the worst years of the American dust bowl in the 1930s. That year God's message in print began to be proclaimed announcing startling events, prophesied in your Bible, to shake the United States, Britain and other nations. The World Almanac and Book of Facts of 1935 described 1934's upset weather like this: "Drought and dust storms in the Mid-West are destroying winter wheat at the rate of 1,000,000 bushels a day.... Corn planting is held back.... Cattle are suffering. It is estimated 300 million tons of topsoil were blown away. It darkened the air to the Atlantic seaboard." That same year, 65 million Chinese in 14 provinces of China were forced to become refugees in a national calamity of civil wars, famines, droughts and floods. Two thirds of the Chinese nation was ultimately affected by weather disasters. Heavy rains drowned hundreds in Japan, Korea and Manchuria in 1934. Hurricane winds also swept the central island of Japan leaving more than 4,000 dead, 200,000 homeless and US$90 million worth of damage. Today, we again are witnessing devastating patterns of weather — particularly prolonged periods of heat, drought or driving rains — over vast areas of the globe. In late summer of 1983, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that the yield of the U.S. corn crop would be cut more than 40 percent because of a surprise period of severe drought. Soybean production was hurt. The Midwest drought was a surprise because a wet spring delayed much crop planting. If the U.S. drought persists again this year, the great grain reserves of the United States will plummet, food prices will soar and scores of nations dependent on North America's relatively cheap and abundant food will be shaken. Gone are the days when people could simply migrate away from drought and famine. What will nations do if severe weather destroys crop surpluses in major food exporting regions — in North America, Australia, Argentina or parts of Europe? Vast areas of the continent of Africa are now apparently locked in a pattern of prolonged and spreading drought. Drought devastation has spread into the prime croplands of South Africa and Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), cutting food exports from these major suppliers to other food-short African nations. Australians only now are beginning to recover from the severe damages of record droughts and rains.
Through the years meteorologists have gained better understanding of the physical factors involved in producing weather patterns. But they confess they don't know why major global-impacting weather forces, such as high altitude jet streams or powerful ocean currents, shift as they do. The Bible makes plain who is in control of the weather! "Fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word" (Ps. 148:8, RAV). God intervenes in weather to work out his purposes among nations. The Plain Truth has stood out as one of the few voices proclaiming this fact! Plagues of disastrous weather are a warning to humanity. Weather for the most part operates according to natural laws. Damaging weather patterns sometimes develop. God simply may not choose to intervene to stop them because of nations' various sins and idolatry. The Bible reveals God also directly intervenes to cause weather plagues to warn certain nations. "I have smitten you with blasting and mildew... yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord" (Amos 4:9). He, in his great purpose, may also allow Satan — the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4) — to have a role in producing calamitous weather, for man's ultimate learning (see Job, chapter 1). In the 1950s, as earlier, North America was ravaged by several years of severe drought. But people as a whole didn't get the message. Then between the late 1950s and the early 1970s, North America and many other areas of the world experienced unusually favorable weather. The United States produced year after year of record crops. Monsoons arrived on schedule in India, West Africa and China. World population grew rapidly during this period. Good weather permitted the Green Revolution to take off. Many became complacent. But weathermen say this period of unusually favorable weather was a fluke. It should have been much more variable. Few understood that God in recent years has granted many nations added prosperity and time for us to finish his work of proclaiming Christ's gospel of the kingdom of God to the world. That's the good news of Christ's soon return to earth to establish the government of God and put down sinning nations. As the work of God's warning nears completion, the Bible reveals great upsets in weather and increasing natural disasters before the end of man's age of rule. Meteorologists themselves predict we are in for a period of more unstable and variable weather. Human activities have a part in causing changes in weather. In recent decades, scientists have begun to understand that industrial air pollution, harmful agricultural practices and deforestation are causing Changes in local weather patterns. Man's burgeoning industrial activities and burning of coal and oil are significantly increasing carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere, threatening to alter world weather patterns. God allows mankind to reap the consequences of these physical sins. But many have yet to awaken to the fact that God intervenes in the weather to punish for spiritual sins. Centuries ago wise king Solomon understood the relationship between transgression of God's spiritual laws and bad weather. When he dedicated the Temple of God, Solomon prayed, "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned [emphasis ours] against you... " (II Chron. 6:26, NIV). Modern nations — even Christian — professing nations — are gravely sinning. We have ignored God's laws. God is now speaking to sinning nations in prolonged upset weather patterns.