Under His Vine and Under His Fig Tree

Under His Vine and Under His Fig Tree

John Morgan/Flickr

Few comprehend the vast changes that society and the environment will shortly undergo.
From the February 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

There’s a deeply thought-provoking prophecy in your Bible about a great social and environmental revolution. It’s a complete change from our bloated, city-centered society and rat-race social mentality—to a calm, peaceful, largely rural habitat where man can concentrate on creation and Creator.

We read of the global outcome of this coming revolution in the prophecy of Micah 4:4: “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”

Perhaps the closest we have ever come to this society was old rural England. In their enlightening book Rural England—Our Countryside at the Crossroads, Derrik Mercer and David Putnam paint a picture of Southeast England that is sadly fast diminishing in scope: “It is a cozy countryside where village greens echo each summer to the sound of cricket and polite applause. Overlooking the green will usually be the village church, still a place of architectural and spiritual homage in this more secular age. Church and inn, manor house and cottages, together they reflect a story of man’s impact on the land which frequently goes back a thousand years or more.”

During our five years living in Britain in the 1990s, my wife and I occasionally stayed at an inn in just such an idyllic, traditional English village. It made for interesting reflection on a way of life in the old country that, as these authors stated, “goes back a thousand years or more.”

The Industrial Revolution changed that way of life. While bringing massive progress in man’s technical capacities, it began to denigrate his long-held attachment to the land and its seasonal rhythms. That disruption dramatically escalated stress-related diseases, mental illness and the evolution of a rampant drug culture. These are all signs of a distressed society in the throes of a self-inflicted demise.

What the Industrial Revolution started in the early 19th century has run full course. Greed priced our labor out of the market years ago. Our industrial capacity moved overseas. Former and potential enemy nations now manufacture our goods—even key components of our military hardware, something the United States vowed after the Revolutionary War would never happen again. Last decade, the U.S. became a net importer of food, further eroding its once-independent economy. America now faces the fiscal cliff. Ideas for saving the national economy have been exhausted. Our society—in America, Britain and other English-speaking nations—faces unfixable economic and social woes.

In the process, Americans are fast losing peace of mind. They are daily subjected to personal terror—that tomorrow morning will bring not just Islamist terror, but loss of income, of home, of marriage, of family. Thousands of years ago, God prophesied that all these things would befall our society when we rebelled against Him and His laws (Leviticus 26:16).

The American way of life is barely two centuries old, and is already rapidly falling into decay.

Yet for over a thousand years, a traditional way of life existed in rural England, the last vestiges of which can be still experienced.

What’s the explanation of the two phenomena? To a major extent, it has to do with every man sitting “under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” Note that there are two elements to this vision of the future: a rural-based economy promoting the economic independence of man, and its conformity with the will of God!

The English discovered the value of the organized rural economy and built a society around it during the first millennia a.d. To a certain extent, their seasonal rural principles conformed to biblical tenets, until they were broken by the Industrial Revolution and chemical farming methods.

Developing much later—post-Industrial Revolution—the U.S. has broken both of these stabilizing elements of society that guarantee equitable distribution of national wealth. Other Anglo-Saxon nations are hell-bent on the same course.

So just how will the Anglo-Saxons—and ultimately all nations—extricate themselves from their present catastrophes to obtain that future forecast in Micah 4:4?

They won’t. They can’t. The task is simply beyond them.

To change today’s profit- and mass-production-oriented system—where too much wealth is concentrated in too few hands—into a world where every man has the potential to capitalize and maintain his own independent farm, we need the mighty hand of God.

Germany: EU Blue Card Attracting Entrepreneurs

Germany: EU Blue Card Attracting Entrepreneurs

Squaredpixels/iStockphoto

Visa changes attract investors and skilled workers.

International venture capitalists and their foreign employees can now gain German residency more rapidly.

On August 1 this year, the EU Blue Card was introduced in Germany to speed visa applications of the wealthy and their highly skilled employees. Money and employment creation laws have been softened for investors looking to place a firm on the Continent.

Hailed as Europe’s version of the U.S. Green Card, “The EU Blue Card scheme is designed to make Europe a more attractive destination for highly educated persons from outside the European Union. All 27 EU member states, except the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland, participate in the EU Blue Card scheme,” the card’s website claims.

“Labor migration into Europe boosts our competitiveness and therefore our economic growth. It also helps tackle demographic problems resulting from our aging population,” stated EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

Germany is working aggressively to snap up a larger supply of skilled workers and investors who have traditionally moved into visa-friendly countries like the United States, Canada and Australia.

Udo Sellhast, legal expert at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin, affirms “Germany is a hotspot for businesses from all over the world. These are welcome changes to reduce bureaucracy and further improve Germany’s standing among entrepreneurs and skilled workers.” Germany Trade & Invest wrote:

For those starting a business, a previous guideline stated that you could generally be granted a residence permit when investing over €250,000 and creating at least five new jobs. [However], this guideline has been removed along with others, as they were interpreted too strictly. …This type of residence permit allows highly qualified non-EU citizens of professions in demand to be fast-tracked to employment. Engineers and doctors, scientists and mathematicians, and IT experts can all qualify for a residence permit if they receive a work contract with an annual salary of €34,944. … For other professions, a Blue Card can also apply provided the applicant has a base salary of €44,800 and proper university training. Once this type of permit is obtained, holders can receive permanent residence within 21 or 33 months, depending on German language skills. Under the previous rules this term was up to five years.

These changes are critical to ensuring Germany maintains dominance on the Continent and gains increased leverage internationally by wooing venture capitalists and much-needed workers it lacks in abundance due to declining workforce population numbers.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, unification of East and West Germany, and growth among the 27-nation EU combine, with its current 17 economies trading in the euro currency, Eastern European nations have steadily become integrated into the outsourced workforce of the Continent’s most dominant and aggressive country.

As the Trumpet has informed you from its genesis, Europe’s number one exporter, made stronger by a weak euro which it has worked to ensure, continues to expand its influence and power amid bailing out the richer Western European nations, ensuring their fiscal subjugation. Germany is marching boldly toward fulfillment and leadership of the biblically prophesied “beastly” 10-nation holy Roman combine now on the cusp of accomplishment (Daniel 2 and 8; Revelation 13, 17 and 18). For more understanding of this vital end-time prophecy, request your free copy of Gerald Flurry’s booklet Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.

You Can Overcome Fear!

We are living in a world filled with fear. Only God provides a viable solution to overcoming fear, by being a soldier for him as we wage spiritual warfare.
From the February 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Our world is filled with horrifying problems, and many people are experiencing depression and discouragement. More and more are suicidal, especially in the Western world. Even the foreign policy of America and other nations has become very timid and fearful. What is wrong here?

Consider this profound observation from British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden in 1938 in the lead-up to the Second World War. “Hatred of war is good. It is sane and it is healthy,” he said. “But fear of war is not so good, for fear of war paralyzes the will, and no policy that is based upon fear, no policy which makes an appeal to fear, can be a policy that this country should follow.”

That is true, and what is happening in our nations today proves it! Fear paralyzes willpower and motivation, which prevents you from making hard decisions and doing great deeds.

The Prophet Isaiah pinpointed a crucial reason that few people see. He gave this prophecy about our nations today: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider” (Isaiah 1:2-3). This is correction from God for the end-time nations of Israel—especially the United States and Britain. And here He pinpoints the problem: “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? Ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint” (verse 5).

“The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint” means we are paralyzed with fear. This is a deadly destructive problem—whether to a nation or an individual.

Winston Churchill faced a time of crisis before World War ii, a time when men were faint. He said, “If you tell me that our party is definitely committed to the easygoing life, to the surrender of our possessions and interests for the sake of quietness, to putting off the evil day at all costs, and that they will go along with Chamberlain into what must inevitably be a state of subservience, if not indeed actual vassalage to Germany, and that you can do nothing to arrest this fatal tide, then I think the knowledge would simplify my course.”

Churchill used his political career to fight that faintness and to strengthen his nation for war against German tyranny.

Nations always must be ready for war if they are to survive. That’s the way the world is. It is a deadly fantasy to think otherwise.

The same principle is true spiritually: God repeatedly refers to His people as spiritual soldiers, waging spiritual war (e.g. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:11-15).

Most people don’t understand that this world is in the midst of a spiritual war. That spiritual dimension is causing the disturbing, violent events we see around us. Scripture shows that the vast majority of people are deceived—and without realizing it, are actually fighting on Satan’s side!

But when you believe what God says in the Bible, you can not only be on the right side, but also gain incredible spiritual strength. In 2 Timothy 1:6-7, the Apostle Paul says that the Holy Spirit, which God puts within true Christians, is not “the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

How desperately we need that Holy Spirit of power!

Without that Spirit, we are not complete. We don’t have power or godly love, and we don’t have a sound mind! When you look at leaders in this world, it is becoming more and more obvious that they lack that spirit and that sound mind.

God will give it to us if we do our part. This is how He wants us to live without fear! If we have a faint heart, we will be nervous wrecks, afraid of everything. The Creator of everything wants us to purge that fear and let Him give us His awesome power—and His love, and a sound mind.

To overcome fear, you have to realize that you are in a spiritual war, and become part of God’s army—and you have to fight.

You can be strong—not faint of heart, not fearful or indecisive, not having your willpower paralyzed. That is something worth fighting for!

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

Here God tells us how to become a fearless soldier. It has to do with coming out of this deceived world.

Many people think they have God’s Holy Spirit, but they do not. We offer a free Bible correspondence course that will teach you in detail how to prove whether you have that Spirit—the Spirit of power and love and a sound mind—and, if you don’t have it, how to get it! (Enrolling in the Herbert W. Armstrong Bible Correspondence Course is absolutely free. See the back cover of this magazine for details.)

Isn’t it worth putting forth effort like a soldier to get rid of a faint heart and the fears that so many people have? Doing so will change your life!

Radical Islam Conquering Egypt

Egypt’s new Islamist-backed constitution passed with a 63.8 percent majority in a referendum, it was announced Tuesday. The Election Commission rejected opposition allegations of significant vote fraud.

Turnout for the vote was much lower than expected. Only 32.9 percent of Egypt’s nearly 52 million registered voters cast a ballot.

The low turnout reflects boycotts by opposition groups—which claim the new constitution will usher in dictatorial Islamic rule in Egypt.

During the lead-up to the vote, opposition group protests resulted in massive street violence that sometimes turned deadly.

Following the approval of the new constitution, angry anti-government protesters again took to the streets in Tahrir Square.

Egypt’s new constitution, which is based on sharia law, was the big goal of the Muslim Brotherhood. Notice what Stephen Flurry said on a December 12 Trumpet Daily.

Now that Egypt has gone Islamic, this will have huge and rapid consequences for the Middle East. Gerald Flurry explains what this means for America, Europe, Iran and Israel on his September 9 Key of David program, “Daniel 11:42 and 43 Now Fulfilled.”

America Is Losing the Battle of the Caribbean

America Is Losing the Battle of the Caribbean

Katie Shrieves/Flickr

U.S. leadership has largely ignored Latin America while Europe and China have made inroads. Such negligence may prove to be a great strategic blunder.

The dynamics of world trade are changing. A consortium of European companies is deepening and expanding the Panama Canal in a project that may trigger a once-in-a-century shakeup of maritime commerce.

Once this expansion is complete, the canal will have a third lane capable of accommodating megaships nearly three times larger than any vessel that has thus far transited the isthmus. Transoceanic freighters from China will have enhanced access to the coalfields of Colombia, the soy plantations of Brazil and the ports of the American East Coast. Transoceanic freighters from Europe will have enhanced access to the copper mines of Chile, the ports of the American West Coast and even to consumers in the Orient—should the route through the Suez Canal prove treacherous.

Already, ports throughout the Americas and the Caribbean are rushing to get ready for the post-Panamax future. The port of Buenaventura in Colombia is just one of many that are being dredged deeper in preparation for the influx of megaships that will soon be flowing through the Panama Canal.

The Brazilian government invested $400 million to deepen and expand the port of Mariel in Cuba. Even though Cuba is currently under a U.S. trade embargo, shipping analysts believe this port may soon become a key hub for Asian cargo. China is helping Cuba’s commercial shipping fleet build ten 45,000-ton ocean vessels over the next several years.

While all of these developments sound well and good for world trade, the disconcerting part for America is that the United States is absent. It is a European consortium of companies that is expanding the Panama Canal. It is a Chinese company that is operating the ports on both ends of the Panama Canal. It is Chinese investment that is expanding the Cuban merchant fleet. On top of all this, the overall percentage of trade between the largest Latin American economies—Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina—and the U.S. has decreased dramatically in the last 10 years.

According to Stratfor global affairs analyst Robert Kaplan, U.S. leadership has largely ignored Latin America, while leaders in Europe, China and other parts of the world have made big inroads. Such negligence may yet prove to be one of America’s greatest strategic blunders.

The Battle for the Caribbean

One of the lesser known battles of the Second World War was the Battle of the Caribbean. During this 1942 naval campaign, German U-boats and Italian submarines attacked coastal targets in the Antilles Islands and sank Allied ships in the Caribbean Sea. The strategy was to blockade the Panama Canal and cut off the flow of oil from Venezuela to the United States. If Hitler could wrestle control of these strategic sea gates away from Washington, a Nazified Europe hoped to besiege the U.S. into a forced armistice.

After months of fighting, Allied naval forces were able to drive the Axis powers from the Caribbean, but a strategic weakness was spotlighted. The U.S. economy could have been severely crippled if American ships had been denied passage through the Panama Canal Zone.

The U.S. government used to be acutely aware of this threat, and cultivated a strong military presence in the Caribbean Sea. During World War ii, the U.S. government stationed 65,000 troops in the Panama Canal Zone and cooperated closely with Cuban President Fulgencio Batista for the defense of the Caribbean. The entire area of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea was even referred to as the “American Mediterranean” during this period.

In the almost seven decades since World War ii, however, American influence in the Caribbean Sea has dramatically fallen. After the U.S. government relinquished control of the Panama Canal Zone in 1999, one of America’s most strategic assets was left wide open to foreign control. This situation was further exacerbated by the fact that Cuba broke its alliance with America after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 and by the fact that American-Venezuelan relations went sour after authoritarian strongman Hugo Chávez came to power in 1999.

Currently, the U.S. government is relying almost solely on the U.S. Fourth Fleet to protect Caribbean security. However, both European and Asian powers are quickly moving in to cultivate strong relationships with Cuba, Venezuela, Panama and other strategically located Latin American nations.

Colonies of the Holy Roman Empire

While successive U.S. presidential administrations have been ignoring Cuba for decades, Pope Benedict xvi and his Vatican hierarchy have been working behind the scenes to collaborate with Havana to combat the U.S.-led embargo and to support the Cuban government’s incremental economic reforms. This strategy is now paying off for the Vatican, as the Castro regime has recently come to recognize the Catholic Church as a legitimate interlocutor between the government and the Cuban people. Given this new recognition and the advanced age of both Castro brothers, Archbishop of Havana Jaime Ortega may soon emerge as a major power broker shaping the post-Castro destiny of the island.

Germany seems to recognize this fact and has set up a special seminar to cultivate German-Cuban relations via the Catholic Church. The last session of the seminar, held in November, was titled, “The Catholic Church as a Facilitator of Engagement and Social Life: Cuban and German Experiences.” It was at this meeting in Germany that Archbishop Ortega officially announced the Cuban Catholic Church’s new role as official recognized interlocutor of the Cuban people.

So, as America remains bogged down in the Middle East, Germany and the Vatican are working together to reshape the destiny of the most strategic island in the Caribbean—an island only 90 miles away from the U.S. mainland. This development holds the potential to completely recalibrate the balance of power in the region in the future!

In Venezuela, the impending death of cancer-stricken leader Hugo Chávez could soon kick off a Roman Catholic spring wherein national power shifts to opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski and the Venezuelan Bishops Conference. As with Cuba, the primary beneficiaries of such a Roman Catholic spring would be the Vatican State and its European allies!

Germany and the European Union are also dramatically increasing their involvement with the nation of Panama itself. During a visit to Europe last October, Panama President Ricardo Martinelli told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that his country would soon like to introduce the euro as legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar. Considering the new influx of trade that Panama is likely to receive as the result of an expanded Panama Canal, its proposed introduction of the euro as official currency is a massive vote of confidence in the German-dominated economic system.

When all these developments are considered together with recent inroads made by Germany and the Vatican, it becomes evident that Catholic-led European investors are the rising stars of the Caribbean region.

God promised Abraham, way back around 1800 b.c., that his descendants would “possess the gate of his enemies” (Genesis 22:17; 24:60). Herbert W. Armstrong’s classic book The United States and Britain in Prophecy shows how God fulfilled this promise by blessing the modern-day nations of America and Britain with almost every strategic sea gate on the planet—Panama included.

God further forewarned in Deuteronomy 28:52 that all these gates, along with world dominance, would be stripped away from end-time Israel if its people were disobedient to His laws.

America and Britain have already lost the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz to radical Islamic powers. They have already lost Hong Kong and the Straits of Malacca to a resurgent China. Now they are on the cusp of losing the Straits of Gibraltar and the Panama Canal to a rising European superpower!

The loss of all these sea gates puts America in a very precarious position. If the looming American economic crisis starts to eat away at U.S. naval power, the governments in London and Washington will not be able to protect America’s economic interests in the event of trade war. Instead, European and Oriental nations would be able to utilize their close alliances with Latin American states to reshape a new world order.

This is exactly what Bible prophecy predicts! Please reference the March 2006 special edition of the Trumpet magazine for a more detailed analysis of how global resource wars will play out.

Agriculture 2012: Good News for China, Bad News for Anglo-America

China’s State Council Information Office said on Tuesday that the country’s grain production has increased for nine consecutive years. China’s grain output reached 650 million tons in 2012. That figure is up more than 18 million tons from last year.

Chinese agricultural production is increasing in other areas too. According to official statistics, all of China’s major farm products have increased in volume over recent years. The government credits science and technology advancements for the increase.

Incomes for Chinese farmers have also been on the rise. For the last three years, farmers’ incomes have exceeded those of urban residents.

Meanwhile, the United States endured its most severe drought in 25 years this year. About 80 percent of its agricultural land continues to suffer drought conditions. As a result, prices for food are expected to jump 3 to 4 percent in 2013.

Britain is suffering from the opposite weather extreme. Many areas were under a flood alert on Tuesday. Hundreds of homes and businesses have already been inundated, and meteorologists are expecting more rain to fall on the saturated ground. The flooding punctuates one of the wettest years on record in Britain.

There is a reason China is flourishing while the Unites States and Britain deal with drought and floods. The Bible says we are living in the times of the Gentiles.

In Luke 21:24 Christ showed that the times of the Gentiles will continue until He returns to establish the Kingdom of God. China’s rise and Anglo-America’s fall is a great sign that this day is coming close.

To understand the biblical identity of America and the UK, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.