North Korean Leader Kim Jong-il dead
North Korea's iron-fisted ruler Kim Jong-il, who had long drawn international attention for his unceasing nuclear ambitions, died of a heart attack on a train ride on Saturday, the communist state's state media reported on Monday. He was 69.
What does this mean in terms of biblical prophecy, if anything?
This is hard to know at this point. Below are a couple of commentaries on the potential ramifications of this death:
Tears for a tyrant: He oppressed, starved and had them shot for 16 years...West fears show of strength from rogue nuclear state
The news immediately prompted South Korea and Japan to put their militaries on high alert while the U.S. said it could postpone decisions on re-engaging North Korea in nuclear talks and providing it with food aid.
And in a development likely to worry western observers, the pariah state today test-fired a short-range missile on its eastern coast.
Observers also fear a behind-the-scenes power struggle, or nuclear instability, between the country's military and politicians - despite the announcement his third son Kim Jong Un, 28, is to be his successor. He is seen by many as too inexperienced, and to have spent too little time in the country, to take on the top role.
Rod Lyon, a Korea expert at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra, said: 'The reason people are watching closely is not because we expect the North to strike out, it's because events within North Korea could have unsettling ramifications.
'If there's a contested succession, it means there's a struggle over things like who controls North Korea's plutonium, not just who controls North Korea's army.' The other key regional player is China, the closest North Korea has to a major ally and which has a sometimes testy relationship with the United States.
North Korea's coming power struggle and the Mid-East nuclear race
This article from Debka provides a more detailed analysis:
The sudden death of Kim Jong II, of a heart attack aged 69, Monday, Dec. 19 – even though his youngest son Kim Jong-un was hailed as successor – confronts the world for the first time since the Cold War with a leaderless nuclear power about which it knows almost nothing.
Though anointed as heir, his youngest son Kim Jong-un, believed to be 26, is more than likely to be challenged for his claim to power. At present, therefore, no one knows who controls North Korea's nuclear arsenal - any more than the identity of the country's next ruler after the dust settles.
There has been no sign of motion from this huge army apart from test-firing a short-range missile Monday morning from the east coast.
This is almost certainly the calm before the storm. A year ago, Kim Jong Il began grooming his son for the leadership, the third of their dynasty, by appointing him Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers Party of Korea and conferring on him the rank of four-star general.
Still, he is as shorter on military experience than he is in politics. After the dead leader's funeral on Dec. 28, the army, or parts therefore, will have to decide whether to continue supporting the Kim family's rule in Pyongyang after 60 years or replace it with a different kind of leadership.
This paragraph summarizes the entire situation:
The prospect of uncertainty and change there sends shudders down many political spines in Washington, Tokyo and Seoul, as well as in Beijing and Moscow. In recent months, world powers were deeply immersed in the war threats hanging over the Middle East, Syrian bloodshed and Iran's nuclear weapons momentum. Monday, they woke up to a completely unforeseen scenario, an unstable Far East state armed with a nuclear bomb which could take the region in any of five directions:
1. Elements of the North Korean army or its security services could go head to head for a power grab in Pyongyang, potentially sparking civil strife in this enigmatic nation of 24 million.
2. To keep any such violence from spilling across its borders, China may send troops into North Korea bringing similar action from Seoul, possibly with US backing.. China has a large North Korean expatriate minority which respects Pyongyang rather than Beijing and is therefore a source of unrest.
3. The big difference between then and now is that today North Korea has nuclear arms and there is no knowing at what point someone in Pyongyang may decide to use them.
4. A recent Pentagon situation paper estimates that if the Korean Peninsula descended into domestic anarchy and civil strike, the United States would be called on to raise an army of intervention numbering 400,000 soldier
5. North Korea maintains thriving nuclear, military and technological relations with Iran and Syria. Hundreds of technicians and engineers, including nuclear and missile experts, have worked for years on their nuclear and missile programs.
And below we begin to see what the prophetic implications could be:
Western and Israel intelligence services have never been sure how deeply China is involved in North Korea's nuclear and military assistance to Iran and Syria. Is it just passive? or does Beijing use Pyongyang as a channel for pumping nuclear technology to Tehran and Damascus?
Some Western agencies have recently come to believe that China has a bigger stake in those Middle East countries than realized and much of the military technology transferred by North Korea to Iran is actually of Chinese origin.
A power struggle in Pyongyang, which could be drawn out for as long as a couple of years, could go in many unpredictable directions including stepped-up contribution to the Middle East nuclear race.
Also in the news:
2 earthquakes rattle Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Two offshore earthquakes rattled Puerto Rico early Saturday and were also felt in the Dominican Republic.
The first measured 5.3 on the Richter scale and the second 5.1, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Both were centered in the Mona Passage off the west coast of Puerto Rico, about 80 miles from San Juan.
Should You Worry About Europe's Back Door Bank Run?
On Wednesday, Fitch Ratings Inc. downgraded its credit ratings on five of Europe's biggest banks, and while that decision made headlines, it's not the most important story to come out of Europe this week.
The real story, which the mainstream media is neglecting, is that there are signs of an underground run on Europe's banks.
Almost nobody's talking about it, but there are indications money is already moving out of the European Union (EU) faster than rats abandoning a sinking ship.
For now the run is through the back door, and there are four things that make me think so:
Italy's planned ban on cash transactions over 1,000 euros, or about $1,300.
French, Spanish, and Italian banks have run out of collateral and are now pledging real assets.
Swiss officials are preparing for the end of the euro with capital control measures.
Europe's CEOs are actively preparing for the end of the euro despite governmental reassurances.
Financial Panic Sweeps Europe
Are we on the verge of another Great Depression?
Christian Lagarde, the head of the IMF, said this week that if dramatic action is not taken immediately we could actually see conditions "reminiscent of the 1930s depression" and that no country on earth "will be immune to the crisis". Right now, financial panic is sweeping across Europe, but most Americans are not too concerned about it because they simply don't understand how important the EU is.
The truth is that the EU has a much larger population than the United States does. The EU has an economy that is nearly as large as the economies of the United States and China combined. The EU has more Fortune 500 companies that the United States does, and the banking system of Europe is substantially larger than the banking system of the United States.
Anyone out there that believes that a massive financial collapse in Europe would not dramatically affect the rest of the globe is being delusional. The European debt crisis is one of the biggest stories that we have seen in a long, long time and the coming financial meltdown is going to permanently change the global economy.
We are already seeing the world-wide ramifications:
The global banking system is a giant house of cards. There is simply way too much debt, way too much leverage and way too much risk.
If the value of the assets held by those banks declines by just 4 percent, they will be wiped out.
Yes, that is how serious things are.
And already we are starting to see major banks fail in Europe.
So if Germany's second largest bank is failing, are any banks in Europe safe?
Just like we saw back during the 1930s, we are starting to see a run on banks all over Europe.
In fact, according to a recent Der Spiegel article, a run on Greek banks has been going on for a while now and is rapidly accelerating.
Europe is in a massive amount of trouble. The euro is dropping like a rock and the European financial system is paralyzed by panic and fear.
It is going to take a miracle to prevent a massive financial collapse from happening in Europe in 2012.celerating....
"Holy War": Thousands Gather To Support Tx Nativity Scene Against Atheists' Attacks
The battle over a nativity scene in Athens, Texas, reached new heights this weekend when up to 5,000 supporters flooded the town square. Their purpose? To stand firmly opposed to the attacks a prominent atheist group has waged on the religious display.
As the Blaze reported earlier this month, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group that frequently targets the presence of faith and religion in the public square, is demanding that a nativity scene be removed from public property.
On Saturday, thousands of supporters assembled in Athens Town Square to rally around and support the religious display. According to WTKR, some likened the ever-intensifying scenario a “holy war.”
Supporters of the nativity scene claim that there’s an attack on Christianity in America. ”It’s time for us to stand together and protect the very principles that made this nation great from its birth,” said Pastor Nathan Lorick, a nativity scene supporter. ”We‘ve become so busy with our lives that we’ve forgotten our first love.”
Rather than a protest, WTKR reports that the event resembled more of a church service, as thousands said prayers and sang hymns. ”What we need Christians is to stand and say Jesus Christ is the only way,” Pastor Derek Rogers proclaimed.
See protesters, below, singing a Christian praise and worship song:
The brief video clip referenced above is definitely worth watching.
Coming War Threat: Terrorists Developing A Safe Haven In Egypt To Attack Israel
In the Sinai Peninsula, Hamas is building support bases and arms-manufacturing facilities including those for building rockets. Over time, these rockets will no doubt be upgraded. In other words, Egypt is becoming a safe haven for anti-Israel terrorism. We know that these attacks will come from the Gaza Strip. The only question is whether at some point they will come directly across the Egypt-Israel border.
What does this tell us about the army’s future willingness or ability to stop the Islamists from running wild, attacking Israel, etc.?
Next, what happens when there is an Islamist parliament, a president who is either Islamist or dependent on Brotherhood support, and an Islamist constitution? Who is going to order Egypt’s army to crack down on Hamas and to close its facilities? Nobody.
And finally, what happens when Israel goes to the United States and asks President Obama to put pressure on Egypt to close down Hamas operations? Just guess.
Here’s a wonderful example of how this system works in another country. In Lebanon, Hizballah is creating its own secure strategic communications network without any government sanction. The Lebanese communications minister refused to interfere, supporting Hizballah’s actions. He explained that the Lebanese government accepted the project since almost anything was justified since Hizballah was fighting Israel.
One paragraph really jumps out:
In practical terms, however, predicting anything about the future of the Middle East these days is likely to leave one looking foolish. Who thought Tunisians would toss out their dictator? Or that Egyptians would demand and get Mubarack to resign? Or that Syrians, after two generations of dictatorship, would turn on the Assad family? Revolution is in the air in the Middle East which is to say that change—rapid change—is the order of the day.
Indeed. Things in the Middle East are changing rapidly - and most, if not all of these changes are movements towards radical Islamic regimes. Regimes who would very much like to see Israel destroyed.
The stage has been set. Now its just a matter of time before the predicted, prophetic wars begin.
And when that begins - if we are here to see the early stages, then it's time to start looking up even more-so than we already are.