The 7.8 magnitude earthquake which hit southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria early on a cold Monday morning, February 6, sent a rumbling tremor that was felt as far away as Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. A second quake, which was recorded at 7.5 on the Richter scale, struck 9 hours later.
The unfathomable pain in the lives of families who have loved-ones buried in the rubble increases as each day passes in the frantic race against time to rescue those trapped in what could be their tombs of debris, concrete and twisted metal.
The Death Toll Climbs
The earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday is likely to be one of the deadliest this decade. As of today, the death toll has soared past 21,000. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), on Tuesday they warned the death toll in Syria and Turkey from the predawn earthquake could top 20,000. This prediction was given by Catherine Smallwood, the World Health Organization’s senior emergency officer for Europe. However, the casualties for this great disaster have already reached that level and could go much higher.
In an article on Tuesday titled, “Death Toll in Turkey-Syria Earthquake Could Top 20,000, Says WHO,” the Israel National News reported, “There’s continued potential of further collapses to happen so we do often see in the order of eightfold increases on the initial numbers," Smallwood said, referring to the preliminary death toll estimate of 2,600. “Thus far, 5,775 buildings were reported destroyed in southern Turkey during the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, including 1,500 buildings destroyed in the Hatay province alone.”
There are 24,400 emergency workers who have been deployed to hunt for the many people who are trapped beneath tons of debris, concrete and twisted metal. It is a race against time to dig them out while some may still be alive. Already many have been found and rescued. Some are trapped underground under massive slabs of concrete, and getting them out safely will be difficult.
The devastation from this natural disaster makes it look worse than a war zone. We pray for God’s mercy and help that as many as possible will be rescued. How tragic it is when we see these kinds of disasters happen, and we feel compassion for all those who are suffering.
The U.S. was hit by Hurricane Katrina, a destructive Category five Atlantic hurricane, that caused 1,392 fatalities and between $97.4 billion to $145.5 billion in damages in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. At that time, it was the costliest tropical cyclone on record.
We see these horrible disasters, which cost many lives and maim and injure many others, besides the economic damage. Nations suffer from devastating wars, forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes and pandemics. Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8).
Great tragedies can occur just by happenstance, and any one of us can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesus talked about two tragic events well known at the time. There was an incident where Pilate had his soldiers hack some Galileans with spears and short swords so that their blood was mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus asked them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2-5).
Unless we repent and by chance happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time without God’s special protection, we are like anyone else living upon this earth, and tragedy can strike.
Human beings don’t think they need God until tragedy strikes. The world, by and large, has chosen to leave God out of the picture, and God is allowing humankind to prove they need God. King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
Christ and the disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee and Jesus fell fast asleep down in the stern of the boat. Fierce winds began to kick up and the waves were overflowing the boat; the disciples feared they would die. They woke Jesus up, and asked if He cared if they perished.
Even the Wind and Sea Obey Him
Mark 4:39-41 says, “He then arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!’” Jesus Christ showed them Who has control over the wind and the sea and the elements which impact the earth.
When Christ returns, the Mount of Olives will split in two (Zechariah 14:4). One can imagine how this great event will shake the earth. Maybe this will be the last deadly earthquake? Then Christ will usher in the Millennium. He will be the King of kings over the earth. Mankind will come to know and acknowledge God. Jesus Christ will bring about prosperity to avert famines and supply His protection from deadly earthquakes and other disastrous events to all those who trust in Him. It is hard for us now to imagine a world where we have a Protector with great power Who can command the wind and the sea, but it will happen. There will come a time when the great casualties of earthquakes and other natural disasters will be no more.
This is my Perspective and the current edition of the Prophetic Times follows below:
February 9, 2023 voanews.com.com reported:
American forces and their allies in Asia are ready for battle after years of joint combat exercises, a United States general said Wednesday, adding that Russia’s setbacks in Ukraine should serve as a warning to potential Asian aggressors like China and North Korea.
U.S. treaty allies like the Philippines, Japan and Australia, among others, ‘have shown that they will band together, that they will not stand for aggression from these nations that have decided they want to change the world order out here,’ Maj. Gen. Joseph Ryan said.
Although Asia has no counterpart to NATO, the 30-nation military alliance whose mostly European members vow to defend each other against external attacks’…he said.
February 9, 2023 theguardian.com reported:
Political and military figures in Germany have suggested a return of compulsory military service after the new defence minister described the 2011 phase-out of general conscription as a “mistake” that had contributed to alienating the general public from civic institutions.
The German parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, Eva Högl of the centre-left SPD, on Wednesday urged the government to ask itself whether some form of obligatory civic service was required to address staff shortages in the German army’s ranks.
“We definitely need more personnel in the Bundeswehr,” Högl told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.
The chief of the German navy, Jan Christian Kaack, also recently proposed a return of mandatory military service along the Norwegian model, whereby men and women are called in for an examination upon turning 19, but only a small, motivated percentage of each year group is drafted into the army.
“I believe that a nation that needs to become more resilient in times like these will have a higher level of awareness if it is mixed through with soldiers,” said Kaack.
The government, for which the growing debate is above all a headache, has been quick to try to pour cold water over the debate. “All of our efforts have to be concentrated on strengthening the Bundeswehr as a highly professional army,” the finance minister, Christian Lindner, told Süddeutsche Zeitung, describing it as a “phantom dispute.”
February 8, 2023 news.sky.com reported:
The Church of England is considering whether to stop referring to God as "he" after questions concerning the use of gender-neutral terms were raised by priests. The topic, which has been discussed by those who follow the Christian faith for many years, is being explored by two commissions in a new joint project.
The project has been launched in response to a question asked by Rev Joanna Stobart, vicar of Ilminster and Whitelackington in Somerset at synod, who wished for an update on "more inclusive language" in Church of England services and to refer to God in a "non-gendered way". Although specifics of the project's aim and outcome remain unclear, some have already hit back at the possibility of changes.
Rev Dr Ian Paul told the Telegraph that any change would represent an abandonment of the Church's own doctrine. He said that it would mean moving the doctrine of the Church away from being "grounded in the scriptures".
The newspaper claimed there have been calls to stop referring to God as "He", "Him" and "Our Father" for decades.
February 7, 2023 jpost.com reported:
A United States warship, a Destroyer named USS Nitze, was seen to be operating in the Black Sea. This is the closest a US warship has been to Russia since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.
Nitze operates as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group. The ship entered the region and visited Turkey on February 3rd, which was confirmed on the Twitter account of the US Navy's Sixth Fleet. Several days later, the ship also visited Piraeus in Greece. The last American warship to enter the Black Sea region did so in December of 2021.
February 7, 2023 thedailybeast.com reported:
Ramzan Kadyrov, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has begun rattling off threats about attacking Poland after Ukraine.
Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya, suggested Monday that Russia should “denazify and demilitarize” Poland next.
“What if, after the successful completion of the NMD, Russia begins to denazify and demilitarize the next country? After all, after Ukraine, Poland is on the map! I will not hide that I personally have such an intention,” Kadyrov said on Telegram. “I personally have such an intention, and I have repeatedly stated that the fight against Satanism should continue throughout Europe and, first of all, on the territory of Poland.”
Kadyrov warned Tuesday that the time has come for the West to fall to its knees before Russia, predicting that the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine, would be over by the end of 2023.
“The special [military] operation will be over before the end of this year. European countries will admit they have been wrong, the West will fall to its knees, and, as usual, European countries will have to cooperate with the Russian Federation in all spheres,” Kadyrov said, according to TASS. “There should not and will never be an alternative to that.
February 7, 2023 israelnationalnews.com reported:
The death toll in Syria and Turkey following a devastating earthquake before dawn Monday morning could top 20,000, officials from the World Health Organization warned Tuesday morning.
Thus far, over 5,000 fatalities have been confirmed in both countries, as search and rescue teams continue to pull bodies from the ruins of buildings toppled by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks.
More than 240 aftershocks were recorded after the initial quake, including one rated at 7.5 on the Richter scale.
Turkey has reported 3,432 confirmed fatalities thus far, along with over 21,000 people injured.
In northwestern Syria, which remains split between rebel-controlled and government-administered towns, casualty figures have been updated more slowly. Currently, the Syrian government has confirmed 812 deaths and 1,449 people injured in Aleppo, Lattakia, Hama, Idleb and Tartous.
Another 790 deaths have been reported thus far in rebel-held districts.
Thus far, 5,775 buildings were reported destroyed in southern Turkey during the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, including 1,500 buildings destroyed in the Hatay province alone.”
February 6, 2023 spacewar.com reported:
A US decision to shoot down a Chinese balloon that Beijing claimed had veered off course has ‘seriously impacted and damaged’ relations between the two countries, China’s foreign ministry said Monday.
The aircraft, which Washington said was a spy balloon, had spent several days flying over North America, leading the United States to call off a planned visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Washington on Saturday said a fighter jet had shot it down off the coast of South Carolina, because of what it called Beijing’s ‘unacceptable violation’ of American sovereignty.
Beijing protested the move, claiming the balloon was a civilian aircraft that was blown off course, and on Sunday lodged an official complaint with the US embassy in China.
‘The United States’ actions have seriously impacted and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilising Sino-US relations since the Bali meeting,’ vice foreign minister Xie Feng said in the complaint, according to a foreign ministry statement.
He was referring to a summit between presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in November.