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World conditions make clear that the prophetic puzzle pieces are rapidly slamming into place. Every day more details emerge about what the final great world powers will look like—including which political figures and countries will play a role. Do not miss a single big event, and an increasing number of news reports foreshadow HUGE prophetic events bearing down on the world.
The European Union continues to move closer to fiscal and political integration. The most recent big development was a controversial 10 billion Euro bailout package for Cyprus. To qualify for the bailout, the country had to raise 5.8 billion euros, which it plans to do in part by taking money from depositors’ accounts (up to 60%) if they have over 100,000 euros. Some of the money would then be exchanged with bank shares. The government has also banned citizens from cashing checks, placed a 300-euro-per-day cap on withdrawals and will not allow anyone to leave the country with more than 1,000 euros. Nicos Anastasiades, the nation’s president, announced that the crisis has been avoided for now, “We have averted the risk of bankruptcy…The situation, despite the tragedy of it all, is contained…We have no intention of leaving the euro” (BBC).
In religion, Pope Francis is bringing a radically different approach to his office—an approach being described as more humble and much more inclusive. He is quickly becoming the most beloved pope in recent history—and not just by Christians. Time magazine ran a cover with the headline “New World Pope” accompanying a photo of him. A CNN opinion piece titled “Pope Francis’ Gestures Strike Fire in Our Hearts” summarized his actions this way: “So far, he has waved off any vestige of opulence (gold pectoral crosses and ermine lined mantles), walks rather than rides in a chauffeured limo, and for now at least refuses to live in the Apostolic Palace…He chooses to live in a less pretentious guest house.”
Then there was the recent example of the pope washing inmates’ feet, including those of two women and a Muslim. This longer excerpt from The Washington Post speaks volumes about the pope’s new style (italics added): “With one act of humility after another, Pope Francis has proven he’s willing to break with tradition…An act of Pope Francis’s on Thursday perhaps says the most about his humility. Taking part in a tradition of Christianity’s holy week…Francis washed the feet of 12 people. What was unusual, however, was that he did not wash the feet of priests or even lay men, as have his predecessors, and he did not do it within the hallowed walls of a Roman basilica. Rather, he washed the feet of 12 juvenile prisoners at the Casal del Marmo Penitentiary Institute for Minors. Two of the young people were women and one was a Muslim, marking the first time a pope had included either group in the ceremony…the pope’s latest convention-busting move at the very least shows an interest in greater inclusivity. It reveals Francis to be a leader who is not merely humble, but courageously willing to reach beyond the Church in new ways.”
In the Middle East, Egypt is struggling with fuel shortages, rising food prices, riots and electricity black-outs. The New York Times reported, “The root of the crisis, economists say, is that Egypt is running out of the hard currency it needs for fuel imports. The shortage is raising questions about Egypt’s ability to keep importing wheat that is essential to subsidized bread supplies, stirring fears of an economic catastrophe at a time when the government is already struggling to quell violent protests by its political rivals.” How the current Egyptian administration deals with these domestic problems in the next few months will reveal much about the future of the Muslim Brotherhood’s control over this important country.