Of Black Swans and Predictions…

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By J. Jeff Toler for Shenandoah Christian Alliance  j.toler@sca4christ.org

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Catherine Herridge, who is a CBS News senior investigative correspondent currently based in Washington D.C. created a buzz (as they say) in many news outlets and social media channels when she shared her “dark” predictions for 2024 while appearing on “Face the Nation.” [https://twitter.com/i/status/1738954121233797229

Herridge, you may remember, began her role at CBS in November 2019 after leaving as Chief Intelligence correspondent for Fox News, where she established her credentials as an objective and trustworthy journalist and reporter.

She warns of a “black swan” event, describing it as a “national security event with high-impact that’s very hard to predict.” She listed the war in Israel and Ukraine, then said, “we are so divided in this country in ways we haven’t seen before.” This, she believes “creates fertile ground for our adversaries, like North Korea, China and Iran.”

Briefly, I was reminded of Jeane Dixon, a popular psychic in America in the fifties and sixties who, predicted the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and published in the May 13, 1956, issue of Parade Magazine[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parade_(magazine)] She wrote that the 1960 presidential election would be ‘dominated by labor and won by a Democrat’ who would then go on to ‘be assassinated or die in office though not necessarily in his first term.’” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeane_Dixon

It was largely due to magazines like Parade and the National Enquirer that kept Dixon’s career afloat for as long as it lasted, because, as it turned our, her track record as a predictor was less than prescient.

Catherine Herridge is no Jeane Dixon, and her predictions about a back swan event deserve our attention and should be seriously considered.

If we are at all honest, the year 2024 has given many a lot of reasons to think things are ominous. As I noted last week, these present times seem different, and by that I didn’t mean they seem more sanguine. The number of subjects that will likely top the chart of major news events are one thing, but some issues portend some calamity, and deserving of our prayer for God to intervene and to rescue us, including:

  • Judicial fiat that will disenfranchise the voters
  • The possible incarceration of Donald Trump
  • Another dubious, and even more contentious general election 
  • A major terrorist attack on US soil—the result of a very…
  • Porous open southern border
  • A financial disaster—a bank run or stock market collapse
  • Major riots—the result of any one or a combination of these events

From where does the term “black swan” originate?

“The earliest known reference to the term black swan occurs in the Roman poet Juvenal’s poem Satire VI, in which he describes potential qualities of a woman worthy of marriage. His line “rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cygno” translates to “a rare bird in the world, very similar to the black swan.” At the time, black swans were presumed not to exist.”

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“But in 1697 the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh encountered swans with dark plumage in Australia, a land largely unexplored by Europeans at that time. The black swan thus came to be a metaphor for the reality that just because something has not happened does not mean that it cannot occur in the future.” [https://www.britannica.com/topic/black-swan-event]

Today, the term is often used in the context of financial markets, as popularized by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, (pictured) professor, economist, and writer. He lists three characteristics that are associated with a black swan event:

  • It is an outlier—i.e., it is so rare that even the possibility that it might occur is unknown.
  • It has an extreme impact when it occurs.
  • In spite of its outlier status, explanations are created for it after the fact, making it predictable in the future.

If we care to look at Taleb’s description through the lens of a biblical/Christian worldview, we can see that it doesn’t necessarily include an event that transcends any or all of these descriptors: namely, it doesn’t include a supernatural or a divinely inspired experience. This leads us to consider how many Christian leaders and Bible scholars are, as much as possible, preparing us for the end-of-the-age, or Armageddon. Because when things get this serious, there is no shortage of end times predictions. 

Following the terror attack on Israel, Greg Laurie, (pictured) famed Harvest Crusade evangelist, released this sermon on YouTube: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5495g3NT4VA] We can also read the message from his October 13 online sermon blog. [https://harvest.org/resources/gregs-blog/post/war-in-israel-a-fulfillment-of-bible-prophecy/]

Laurie quotes this passage from the book, Iran: The Coming Crisis by Mark Hitchcock (Multnomah, 2010) from an Iranian mullah:

“One leader of Iran said, ‘They ask, ‘Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?’ But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are altogether attainable, and surely can be achieved. The regime that is occupying Jerusalem must be wiped off the map.’”

Lauries makes this observation, “[It’s] interesting how it always comes back to Jerusalem. The Bible predicted, thousands of years ago, that the end time events would revolve around Jerusalem. Not San Francisco. Not Los Angeles. Not Moscow. Not Paris.”

Does it seem like the Black Swan that concerns Catherine Herridge may have been hatched when the Biden regime made the decision to hand over $6 Billion to Iran? Accordingly, as Laurie reminds us, the Bible says Israel would be scattered and regathered, as we read in Ezekiel 37-38. It’s assumed this has already happened. [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2037-38&version=NIV] Are these the days of Ezekiel’s prophesy? If so, is Magog—the land of the north—actually Russia?

Within these passages, we read of Meshech (also spelled Meshek) and Tubal who were sons of Japheth, one of the three sons of Noah who survived the flood with him (Genesis 10:1–2). Meshech (whose name means “long, tall, or drawn out by force”) is the sixth son of Japheth. The land of Meshech is closely associated with that of Tubal, especially in the prophecy of Ezekiel. The region of Meshech is often identified as being north of the Black Sea (southern Russia and Ukraine and possibly the Republic of Georgia), and Tubal as an area in central Turkey. Taken from [https://www.gotquestions.org/Meshech-and-Tubal.html]

My advice is to see that we are preparing, along with survival food and water, and with ways to defend ourselves against terror; but much more importantly, while preparing ourselves, our friends, our family, and our neighbors for what may happen, to look to God for strength and comfort. “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28 NKJJV)

And, if any of these things bring fear and trepidation to you, hold this verse in your hearts always:

  • For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

Just in case these aren’t the end of days just yet, please, by all means, register to vote. Then vote in accordance with an orthodox biblical world view.

May you be blessed in the New Year!

Photo by Dorothe Wouters on Unsplash

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

About the Author

Shenandoah Christian Alliance
Shenandoah Christian Alliance is a Christian organization devoted to the promotion and education of biblical truths, faith, and spiritual equipping. We believe in the sanctity of marriage as defined in God’s revealed word. We oppose the practice of abortion, and respectfully object to its funding and facilitation as currently promoted by our elected leaders. We understand homosexuality to be something that God—whom we worship and honor—does not approve among his creation. Our faith in God as revealed in scripture is not something we are ashamed of, or for which we must apologize.