Skeptics may ridicule the idea that God guides world events, but history tells a different story!
Today it is often considered inappropriate to talk seriously about God in classrooms or textbooks. Many smirk if a world leader mentions God's name, and consider anyone who believes that God intervenes directly in human affairs to be pitifully ignorant or simple-minded. As a result, modern history has been sanitized of references to the supernatural, and of the role God has played in human affairs.
One of the great tragedies of our age is that remarkable evidence of divine intervention has been ignored, glossed over or deliberately hidden from most people today! The Bible and the historical record clearly show that God has dramatically intervened in human affairs—often using the weather. Bible prophecy indicates that in the years ahead, God will again intervene in astonishing ways using weather-related events. You need to understand why!
The Bible records that God has again and again used the weather to accomplish His purposes. God used 40 days of torrential rains, in a great flood, to terminate a civilization totally corrupted by violence, wickedness and perversion (Genesis 6:5–13). Secularists may doubt that the Biblical account ever occurred, and try to dismiss it as an idea taken from Babylonian mythology. But even a brief reading of the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, with its capricious gods and quickly disappearing waters, suggests that the Babylonian story is a fanciful account of the event that the Bible more realistically describes. Those who assume that the flood was localized, or fictional, ignore that flood traditions are found around the world—from Babylon, Egypt and Greece to China, Polynesia, Mexico and Peru. The worldwide reach of these legends only makes sense if the event really happened and God did intervene in human affairs with a weather-related event!
To understand why God has intervened on behalf of certain individuals and nations, we must understand the plan of God as revealed in Scripture. After the Flood, God began to work with Abraham and his family. God promised Abram and Sarai that—if they would obey His laws—their descendants would inherit certain lands, be blessed and become great nations and be a blessing to the world (Genesis 12; 17). These promises—conditioned on obedience—were repeated and expanded to their son Isaac and their grandson Jacob—and eventually focused on Joseph and his sons Ephraim and Manasseh—whose descendants can be identified today (for more on this topic, please request our free booklet The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy).
Joseph's brothers, jealous over his prophesied future, sold him into slavery in Egypt. God then used weather-related events—a dream forecasting seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine—to bring Joseph to the attention of Pharaoh (Genesis 41). The famine also brought Joseph's entire family to Egypt. Later, as their numbers grew, the Egyptians enslaved them. God then delivered the Israelites by a series of supernatural plagues, including a terrifying hailstorm (Exodus 9:18) that humbled the most powerful nation on the earth and revealed to the Egyptians the power of the real God. When an Egyptian army pursued them as they fled, the panicking Israelites were told that "the Lord will fight for you" (Exodus 14:14, 25; Joshua 23:3). God then parted the waters of the Red Sea using a strong east wind that allowed the Israelites to escape, while the Egyptians perished when the waters came together.
Skeptics dismiss these stories as myths, yet inscriptions and documents from ancient Egypt, Greece and Arabia mention Joseph. They mention the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. They mention the great plagues that came on Egypt. They mention Moses leading the Exodus out of Egypt through the Red Sea (see The Signature of God, Jeffrey, pp. 44–53; see also The Exodus Case, Moller). God delivered the Israelites because He intended to use the nation—if it obeyed His laws—as an example the world could follow (Deuteronomy 4:1–10). However, the Israelites failed to obey and were conquered by the Assyrians. Emerging from captivity, the Israelite tribes migrated into northwest Europe, where the history of the British and American peoples dramatically illustrates how God has intervened in human affairs to accomplish His plan and fulfill Bible prophecies.
The rise of Britain as a world power began in 1588 with the defeat and destruction of the Spanish Armada. The Spanish king, Philip II, controlled the world's most powerful military force and ruled a global empire. He believed he was chosen to rule by God and was determined to reunite a "Christendom" shattered by the Reformation. Emboldened by success after annexing Portugal, invading the Azores and defeating the Turks at Lepanto, Philip launched his "invincible" Armada of 130 ships and 30,000 men to bring England back to the Roman Catholic fold (see Empire, War and Faith, Parker). Philip believed that since he had "dedicated this enterprise to God… God would send good weather" and that "God would intervene to ensure the desired outcome" (ibid., p. 61).
However, when the Armada sailed from Lisbon it was battered by gales and high seas that damaged and scattered ships, and undermined the morale of commanders and men. Reaching the English Channel, the Armada fought a series of battles with the British navy. Although outnumbered and poorly provisioned, the British ships were faster and carried iron cannons that fired more quickly and had a longer range than the brass cannons of the Spanish. After losing several ships in a battle off the coast of France, the Spanish admiral headed north toward Scotland with a still-powerful fleet of 100 ships, pursued by British ships that were nearly out of powder.
Although some modern historians credit victory to the superior technology of British ships and armaments, the real story was the weather—and the so-called "Protestant" wind. Historian Simon Schama comments that "at every stage it was geography and the weather that decided the outcome… it was when the Armada rounded the northwest tip of Scotland and ran into merciless Hebridean gales and tempests that it was destroyed" (A History of Britain, p. 386). The Spanish lost 30 to 40 ships on the perilous voyage around Ireland, and the 50 battered boats that limped back to Spain were manned by skeleton crews, decimated by hunger, thirst and disease.
A century later, the weather again played a dramatic role in English history. When King James II tried to take England back to Roman Catholicism, English nobles invited the Dutch Protestant Prince William of Orange to intervene. In 1688, William launched an armada even bigger than the Spanish armada—consisting of more than 500 ships, 40,000 men and 5,000 horses. William took a "colossal gamble" in launching a November invasion, yet this time a series of remarkable changes in the weather favored the invader! The Dutch fleet originally sailed north, "but the elements took control. A gale blew up and the fleet had to sail [south] through the Dover Straits and then west" (This Sceptred Isle, Lee, p. 283). This change in the wind aided William's success by "bottling up James' [fleet] in the Thames estuary" (The Glorious Revolution, Miller, p. 14). As the armada sailed by Torbay on the south coast of England, the winds suddenly changed again, allowing the Dutch ships to sail easily into Torbay—yet the same wind prevented the pursuing British navy from interfering with the landing! William's risky invasion succeeded because of the "vagaries of the channel winds… made impossible a meeting between the antagonists, and… completely assured the Dutch success" (The English Navy in the Revolution of 1688, Powley, p. 94). Many in Holland and England saw this again as the divine intervention of a "Protestant" wind.
Inclement weather also stymied French plans to invade England and conquer Russia, and it limited French expansion around the world. In 1759, a French invasion was thwarted when the British commander Edward Hawke, "in a rising storm… pursued the French fleet deep into Quiberon Bay on the south coast of Brittany, where it was shattered—two-thirds of it wrecked, burned or captured"—giving the British naval supremacy and ensuring victory in Britain's struggle with France for colonies (Empire, Ferguson, p. 36). If it had not been for a thick blanket of fog that obscured the eastern coast of Australia from the French explorer Bougainville, Captain James Cook could not have claimed that continent for Britain, and Australians might now speak French instead of English (Captain James Cook, Hough, pp. 52–53). During the Napoleonic Wars, snow and freezing temperatures doomed France's attempts to conquer Russia, and a sudden rainstorm gave Wellington an unexpected advantage over Napoleon at Waterloo (The Battle 100, Lanning, pp. 30–33). Napoleon's defeat ended French dominance in Europe.
Bible prophecies foretold that Britain (Ephraim) would become a "multitude of nations" and a great colonizing people (Genesis 48:19; 49:22–24), while the French, as descendants of Reuben, have a different future (see Genesis 49:3–4). The histories of Britain and France demonstrate how God has intervened using the weather to work out His plan!
A recently published book offers further evidence. Recent archaeological work has shown that in the early 1400s, under a progressive and expansionist emperor, Chinese fleets (with ships more than 450 feet long—bigger and more advanced than any ships in Europe) circumnavigated the globe and planted colonies in America nearly a century before Columbus. Yet in 1421, "a violent storm broke out over the Forbidden City… lightning struck the top of the palace… the whole city was set ablaze" (1421, Menzies, p. 75). The Chinese understood this disaster as a bad omen from their gods, and the emperor was toppled. China's new leaders turned inward; they terminated the voyages of discovery, dismantled the fleets and destroyed records of discoveries. Without this dramatic, weather-related series of events, the Chinese—not the British—would have ruled the waves, and the dominant culture of the world would be Oriental rather than Western. However, God revealed the course of history in the pages of the Bible, thousands of years ago, and He has intervened to accomplish His purpose (see Isaiah 46:8–10).
Timely weather changes also played a vital role in the United States' War of Independence. Early in the war, George Washington fortified Dorchester Heights, overlooking Boston harbor. When the British discovered this maneuver, General Howe ordered an amphibious attack the next day. However, during the night, a "southeaster of gale proportions" roared into Boston harbor where "the wind and waves disrupted Howe's plans, and he called off the attack, blaming… the badness of the weather" (The Weather Factor, Ludlum, p. 34). Soon after, the British evacuated Boston. Five months later, General Howe landed 15,000 troops on Long Island, trapping and routing Washington's army. The American Revolution might have ended there if it had not "rained prodigiously" the next day, preventing destruction of the American army. Washington ordered an evacuation that evening, but it was impossible due to adverse winds and tides. However, at about 11:00 p.m., there was a "providential shifting of the wind" and "that heavenly messenger, the fog" settled over Long Island, preventing the British from seeing or stopping the American retreat (ibid., p. 37). Washington and his ragtag army escaped to fight another day, because of a crucial change in the weather!
The crossing of the Delaware and the attack on Trenton took place in a violent snowstorm. Marching out of the storm with the wind at their backs (and into the faces of the enemy), American troops surprised the foreign defenders and achieved one of the first major victories of the Revolution. In response, Cornwallis—the British general—made a difficult march over muddy roads to trap Washington just south of Trenton, intending to "bag the fox" the next morning. That night, however, a "providential change in the weather" occurred (Ludlum, p. 42). The ground froze—making troop movements easier. Washington left his campfires burning, and moved his troops around the British army. In the morning, Cornwallis awoke to view the smoldering fires of Washington's empty camp. By the time the British army was ready to move, the ground had thawed, making troop movements difficult. Washington was now fighting and winning the Battle of Princeton behind the British lines, because of a perfectly timed freeze!
The final battle of the American Revolution also hinged on timely changes in the weather. During the siege of Yorktown the weather was pleasant, except during two vital periods. On the night Washington began digging approach trenches, a soldier recorded that "we were favored by Providence with a night of extreme darkness" and by a gentle rain that muffled the sound of digging. Near the end of the siege, Cornwallis attempted a breakout by ferrying his best troops across the York River at night. Halfway through the operation, "the weather… changed to a most violent storm of wind and rain" that drove the barges down river and left Cornwallis' forces divided and scattered. "The adverse turn of the weather completely disrupted the attempted breakout," and Cornwallis surrendered the next day (Ludlum, pp. 62–64). The Battle of Yorktown was one of the most influential battles in history, because it led directly to the independence of the United States and the fulfillment of prophecies that Manasseh (America) would become a great nation (Genesis 48:17–19). God accomplished His purpose with another "providential" shift in the weather!
Some of the most dramatic examples of divine intervention occurred during World War II—a war that Winston Churchill felt threatened the future of "Christian civilization." During two short weeks in May 1940, the Germans launched a blitzkrieg offensive that broke through French lines, defeated the Belgians and pinned a reeling British army against the ocean at Dunkirk. Several British generals said that "only a miracle" could save their beleaguered forces. Yet with certain victory within their grasp, Hitler suddenly halted German tanks just 20 miles from Dunkirk, fearing that they were dangerously exposed and had outrun their supply lines. During this lull, a severe thunderstorm grounded German planes, allowing Allied troops to move toward Dunkirk and set up a defense perimeter. Following a National Day of Prayer led by King George VI for the hopelessly trapped army, the British began an evacuation effort that lasted for nine days, during which the normally rough and unpredictable English Channel remained as smooth as a "mill pond." Yet, the day after the evacuation ended, "the wind moved to the north, and giant breakers came rolling over the empty beaches" (The Miracle of Dunkirk, Lord, p. 272). A British general recorded that "the evacuation of Dunkirk was surely a miracle" and Churchill called the evacuation of more than 330,000 soldiers (almost the entire British army) a "miracle of deliverance." The Daily Telegraph described the thankfulness of "officers and men who have seen the hand of God… delivering them from the hand of a mighty foe" (June 8, 1940). The British people knew that God had unmistakably intervened!
The "hand of God" continued to be evident as the Allied powers began their counteroffensive to liberate North Africa and Europe. In late October 1942, an armada of 650 ships sailed from England to North Africa, undetected for almost two weeks by U-boats or the German Air Force. A British Admiral remarked that "it is almost incredible… that they were not attacked and sustained no casualties." The day before the scheduled landings at Casablanca, 15-foot waves were breaking on beaches, making landings impossible. However, the next morning, the invasion force approached the beaches "in fair weather… and a calm sea" (We Have a Guardian, Grant, p. 34). The landings succeeded because of suddenly favorable weather. A London newspaper declared: "Only the thoughtless can fail to realize how great a part Providence played in the swift and successful transformation of the war" (Daily Mail, Nov. 14, 1942).
|The weather also played a crucial role during the invasion of Sicily. On July 10, 1943, as General Dwight D. Eisenhower watched the departing ships, he saluted the armada, dropped his head in prayer, and commented that the mission was now "in the hands of God.
" Yet shortly after the ships were launched, the wind kicked up to gale force and the invasion fleet had to plow through heavy seas. However, the wild weather lulled Sicilians into relaxing their vigilant defenses. Following the successful landings, an admiral noted that just before zero hour "the wind suddenly dropped… and the swell went down quicker than I have ever seen it do before. It was so sudden it was almost unbelievable… it seemed miraculous… many a silent prayer of thanks was offered up" (Grant, p. 39).
Almost the same phenomenon occurred on D-Day—June 6, 1944—during the invasion of Normandy Eisenhower launched the invasion in inclement weather, hoping for a break. The Germans had been advised that no invasion would occur, due to continuously stormy weather. Yet, on the morning of June 6, there was a brief break in the bad weather. Wind and surf died down, and broken clouds allowed Allied planes visibility for pinpoint operations. The landings caught the Germans off guard. Nearly a decade later, speaking in his Kansas hometown, Eisenhower commented that "this day eight years ago, I made the most agonizing decision of my life… the consequences of that decision… could not have been foreseen by anyone. If there were nothing else in my life to prove the existence of an almighty and merciful God, the events of the next twenty-four hours did it… The greatest break in a terrible outlay of weather occurred the next day and allowed that great invasion to proceed, with losses far below those we had anticipated" (Time, June 6, 1952). General Eisenhower knew that God had intervened at one of the most important moments in the history of the world!
It should be obvious by now that there is abundant evidence that God exists, and that He intervenes dramatically in human affairs to accomplish His purposes (see Daniel 2:28; 4:25). Yet this remarkable evidence has been glossed over and ignored by scholars and theologians from the very countries that have gained the most from God's interventions! Instead of explaining these vivid lessons, leaders today ignore God's hand in history. Ignoring God and His law, they instead excuse adultery, accommodate divorce and cohabitation, promote homosexuality and coexist with lies, violence, greed and pornography! As a result, our secular, materialistic, pleasure-seeking culture is rapidly losing sight of the God of the Bible, and denying that God requires obedience to His laws—especially from the nations He has favored so consistently (see Deuteronomy 28).
However, God is not finished intervening in history. The Bible carries God's warning to backsliding Israelite nations. He says to them, "I will break the pride of your power," unless they repent of their wicked ways (Leviticus 26:19). We are watching this happen today! Bible prophecies also indicate that terrible weather-related disasters lie just ahead (see Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6, 8, 9, 16), unless our decadent societies are willing to repent of flouting the laws of God. Our modern world is about to learn that the God of the Bible is real, the Bible is true and the days of God's most profound interventions in human affairs are just around the corner!