Wildfires Raze Homes in Australia

Wildfires Raze Homes in Australia

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Uncontrollable wildfires have streaked across Tasmania and New South Wales. The weather is getting worse and more extreme for Australia.

Record heat, strong winds, and abundant grass and vegetation from the previous rainy season have left Australia battling raging wildfires since last Friday. Authorities are warning that the worst is yet to come.

The out-of-control fires that have hit five of Australia’s six states have been particularly devastating in Tasmania and New South Wales.

Over 100 homes and other buildings have been destroyed in Tasmania over the weekend, and about 100 residents are unaccounted for. Fifty thousand acres of forest and farmland have been destroyed.

In New South Wales—the nation’s most populous state—over 100 different fires are raging, and more than 1,500 firefighters are struggling to extinguish the ravaging flames. Tuesday’s temperatures are expected to hit a high of 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius), with winds as strong as 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour). “Having had record rain … we are about to have record dangers,” said New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell as he bleakly explained how much worse the devastation could get. “Tomorrow [Tuesday] is not going to be just another ordinary day,” he said. “Tomorrow will be perhaps the worst fire danger day this state has ever faced.”

Regions south of Sydney in New South Wales have been given a “catastrophic” rating, meaning the fires will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and very fast-moving, with evacuation as the only safe option. New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said conditions would be unlike any seen in “many, many years.” Fire danger is “right off the conventional chart.”

After touring ravaged Tasmanian townships, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned of “more extreme weather events and conditions” as a result of “climate change.”

Extreme weather conditions, drought and wildfires are not new to Australia. But they are not normal either. As was written in “Australia the Blessed … Australia the Cursed,” God-bestowed the blessings Australia enjoys and could enjoy. “It is rich in sheep, cattle, cotton, sugar, minerals, ores, oil, and wine, and is the envy of Asia. … [But] Australia’s great need is water and rain in due season. … Australia’s [former] Prime Minister John Howard said we can’t drought-proof Australia. He is right. But God can.”

In his Key of David program titled “Why Natural Disasters,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry gave the Bible’s explanation of today’s weather catastrophes. For more, read our booklets Australia—Where to Now? and Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?

2012 U.S. Gun Sales Shatter Records

2012 U.S. Gun Sales Shatter Records

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Background checks for gun sales are smashing records again. Data issued by the fbi last Wednesday shows that the month of December recorded far more background checks than any other since the agency’s National Instant Check System was established in 1998. In 2012, gun checks shot up by 19 percent from the previous record in 2011 to 19.6 million. The figures for December 2012 rose by 39 percent from November’s record to 2.8 million. For December, this means that there were an astounding 776,846 more background checks conducted than in November.

The statistics do not indicate the number of firearms sold—the government does not keep track of that. They only show the number of background check transactions on legal purchases from licensed vendors. Since 1998, over 160 million background checks have been made. Approximately 0.006 percent of attempted purchases were turned down.

The level of interest in guns is phenomenally high. Gun retailers are finding it hard to keep up with the demand. “It has been absolutely unbelievable,” said Steve Naatjes of Gary’s Gun Shop. “More people in the door than I’ve ever seen. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Buying fever. Big time. Ammo, guns, accessories. You name it.” Naatjes said he noticed the spike in the interest in guns back in September during the presidential campaigns. His gun classes are now fully booked through April.

This gun-buying frenzy has been attributed to President Obama’s commitment to push through legislation that might ban certain firearms. Also, as Reuters reported, “interest in guns tends to increase after a mass shooting, as customers fear for personal safety.” Personal protection seems to be the main reason why people want to own firearms. It appears people believe, as the vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, said, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”

History and Bible prophecy show that proliferation of guns and weapons will not protect us—it will only exacerbate the violence in our midst. The December 2012 Trumpet print edition asked, “As Gun Sales Rise, What Is Your Source of Protection?” After noting the nightmarish conditions prophesied to come upon us in the near future, Joel Hilliker wrote:

[T]he scale of violence about to engulf our society will simply be too overwhelming. No one is going to escape the coming tribulation—which is descending on America and other nations because of God’s wrath—through survivalist skills. Those who plan to weather the coming storms through their own foresight and marksmanship are underestimating the savageness of the time ahead.There is, however, another, far more effective form of protection available. …God does promise in many scriptural passages that in the coming tribulation, He will provide a special place of protection for His people. You can read about this by requesting our free booklet Jordan and God’s Church in Prophecy.There is no limit on God’s ability to intervene on your behalf.

To learn more about a far better way to protect your family from the problems coming on America, read our article “As Gun Sales Rise, What Is Your Source of Protection?

Sales Rising for Bulletproof Children’s Clothes

Bulletproof clothing sales are soaring. Three weeks after 20 children and six school employees were gunned down at a school in Connecticut, parents are going to extreme lengths to protect their children.

Miguel Caballero manufactures protective gear for high-risk situations. But his product that is receiving the most attention is his bulletproof vests that are attached to bulletproof backpacks. At his factory in Bogota, Colombia, he demonstrates his product by blasting it with pistols and machine guns.

Caballero said that after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in December, interest in his products has soared.

In spite of the bloody internal conflict that has been raging in Colombia for 50 years, Caballero says the idea for child-sized bulletproof clothing never crossed his mind.

“The product was created with the American market in mind, not for the Latino market. All the designs and colors, everything is thought out with them in mind,” he said.

It is an amazing sign of the times when Colombia is manufacturing body armor for American children. God intended the United States to be an example to other nations in how to live. Instead, America and other modern Israelite nations have become an example of how lawlessness can destroy even the most prosperous nation.

To understand why America is suffering these curses, read our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley Honored Herbert W. Armstrong

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley Honored Herbert W. Armstrong

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L.A. mayor commends Ambassador International Cultural Foundation activities.

In a ceremony at his office on Nov. 3, 1975, Mayor Tom Bradley conferred commendation on the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. As both founder and chairman, Herbert W. Armstrong accepted the award on behalf of the foundation.

Bradley graduated from University of California–Los Angeles, served as a police office of the Los Angeles Police Department, finished law school and began practicing before serving on the L.A. City Council. In 1973 he became mayor, and then co-chair of the Democratic National Convention in 1976. He won the gubernatorial primary but lost the election to former Attorney General George Deukmejian, who presided over the state of California’s attack on Mr. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God.

“As mayor of the city of Los Angeles, it is my pleasure to commend the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation for its laudatory efforts in culture and humanitarianism,” Bradley’s commendation read (Worldwide News, Nov. 10, 1975).

The mayor continued, “Not only is the foundation presenting many of the world’s leading artists, including Horowitz, Pavarotti, Sutherland, Menuhin, Panovs, but also 100 percent of funds raised will be donated to many of Los Angeles’ charitable, humanitarian, cultural, and educational organizations, including the United Way.

“In addition, Ambassador International Cultural Foundation is providing complimentary concert tickets to inner-city students and senior citizens who would ordinarily not be able to attend such outstanding cultural events. In this regard, the foundation is working with the Pasadena Urban League to give hundreds of minority students opportunity of hearing soprano Grace Bumbry in concert at Ambassador Auditorium.

“On behalf of the city of Los Angeles, we wish the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation well in this great community endeavor in culture and humanitarianism, and we ask the people of Los Angeles to give this program their wholehearted support.”

Over the next decade, Los Angeles, Pasadena, surrounding communities and numerous others through global humanitarian projects benefited from the benevolence of Mr. Armstrong and the endeavors of the adjuncts he founded. His friend Mayor Bradley succeeded in bringing the Olympics to the city in the mid-’80s while he as founder and chancellor of Ambassador College helped host and train world-class athletes, such as high jumper Dwight Stones, for those games under the college’s famed athletic director Harry Snieder. In 1986, the mayor again lost to Deukmejian in the general election for state governorship.

Earlier that year, on January 16, Bradley’s longtime friend died at his home on the Ambassador College campus. Thereafter, a cadre of church leaders assigned with the responsibility to continue his work, without mandate drove the Worldwide Church of God (wcg) from its founding doctrines, renamed it Grace Communion International and thrust it into the welcoming arms of mainstream Christianity, Protestantism and Pentecostalism. Their agenda continued with dismembering Ambassador College, collapsing the foundation, and rejecting friendly relations with international heads of state and royalty.

Amid this shocking betrayal, Gerald Flurry wrote Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today and stood in defense of Mr. Armstrong’s final book, Mystery of the Ages, as it was pulled from circulation, both resulting in the firing of Mr. Flurry and his assistant, John Amos, on Dec. 7, 1989, in the Hall of Administration building on the campus of Ambassador College. These events initiated the establishment of the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg), sponsor of the Trumpet.

Earlier that year, Bradley was elected to his historic fifth term as the city’s mayor, totaling a tenure of 20 years. He retired from office in 1993, with the next five years seeing him battle health crises resulting in his death in 1998.

The mayor died not knowing the outcome of a six-year court battle conducted in the city between the wcg and pcg over the preservation of the written works of Mr. Armstrong. The cadre had openly declared their “Christian duty” was to keep the works of this unofficial ambassador, friend of world leaders, “out of print.” Request your free copy of Raising the Ruins for the truth behind this mammoth betrayal and battle for religious freedom.

Citizens of Los Angeles may be familiar with a recent commercial aired nationwide by Microsoft promoting its new Surface tablet computer. The advertisement was filmed on the grounds of the former Ambassador College campus. It featured what was its administration building, with the spiraling egret sculpture crafted by England’s Sir David Wynn in front of the famed Carnegie Hall of the West, Ambassador Auditorium.

The grounds’ commercialization strikes pain into the heart and boil the blood of anyone who supported the work of Mr. Armstrong. Add to this the recent destruction of the college’s former library, one of the first buildings acquired in the early days of the college back in 1947. This building was where the World Tomorrow program was recorded and sent to its millions of viewers on hundreds of stations worldwide.

In addition, Ambassador Auditorium’s owners are currently pleading supporters for help on their website, fearful of the facility’s future as its acoustical quality comes into question amid other slated demolitions, such as the former administration building, to make way for a massive senior housing development complex which they claim “will dwarf and overwhelm its immediate neighbor—Ambassador Auditorium.”

Mayor Bradley would have been pleased at the victory, out of court, for the pcg to continue the legacy of his longtime friend and unofficial ambassador. It has taken over two decades for Mr. Flurry, with the dedicated aid of supporters worldwide, to revive the institutions formerly established by the unofficial ambassador for world peace whom the mayor honored and lent support to on behalf of Los Angeles citizens.

Our Trumpet readers in Los Angeles and around the world, along with viewers of the Key of David program, members of the Church, Herbert W. Armstrong College students, co-workers, donors, patrons of Armstrong Auditorium performing arts events, and recipients and partners of the Church’s foundation, can be assured these institutions, practicing God’s way of give, will never betray, commercialize or bulldoze their spiritual, cultural, educational and humanitarian assets and activities in the pursuit of profits and religious agenda.

Tom Bradley would have been happy to hear of an event on Dec. 30, 2012, hosted on the campus of Armstrong College. Over 1,000 eager concertgoers witnessed the world premiere of Jeremiah the Musical, performed on the stage of Armstrong Auditorium. This spectacular event was opened to the public for free, and their rousing and lengthy ovation at its conclusion confirmed the impact of this historic, exclusive musical.

Seated a few rows back from the stage was editor in chief Gerald Flurry. As the ovation to this event crescendoed, the final paragraph of the afterword of his book Malachi’s Message came to mind: “The Worldwide Church may have disfellowshipped Herbert Armstrong from their own church, postmortem, but they will never do away with his teachings. As this ongoing story unfolds and the Worldwide Church continues to self-destruct, be assured the work of Mr. Armstrong will never die. God’s end-time message from Malachi will go out. The work will continue.”

Europe—Key Issues of 2013

Europe—Key Issues of 2013

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There’s a rapidly emerging congruency between the best geopolitical projections for 2013 and Bible prophecy.

Our readers would be aware of the esteem in which we have held Stratfor among the motley collection of geopolitical think tanks that comment regularly on the world scene.

Stratfor’s analyses of world events most often reflect deeply-thought-out scenarios that project clear predictive forecasting based on a chain of events currently happening on the world scene, with a particular view to non-revisionist history.

Inevitably this approach may be traced back to the keen mind of Stratfor’s founder and ceo, George Friedman.

Being of Hungarian Jewish descent, it comes as no surprise that Friedman’s appreciation of European history and current events is most acute. Thus it is that we find ourselves currently agreeing with him that the most vital geopolitical events of 2013 will center on Europe.

Friedman introduces his prediction for Europe in 2013 as follows: “Taken as a single geographic entity, Europe has the largest economy in the world. Should it choose to do so, it could become a military rival to the United States. Europe is one of the pillars of the global system, and what happens to Europe is going to define how the world works. I would argue that in 2013 we will begin to get clarity on the future of Europe” (January 3).

George Friedman argues his position from a secularist perspective. We are in general agreement with his prediction, but are so because of our biblical prophecy perspective. These are two distinctly different views in the one sense, yet in reality, they are quite congruent in the sense of their current timing and much of the detail of the moment.

The tendency for Bible prophecy for our times to be so rapidly coming to fulfillment, daily, at present, would seem to support Dr. Friedman’s contention “that in 2013 we will begin to get clarity on the future of Europe.”

Two key elections will be held in Europe this year. They each involve a nation that has a significant role in end-time prophecy.

Elections for an Italian prime minister will be held in February. Already the pope has endorsed Jesuit-educated technocrat Mario Monti as his choice.

In September, Angela Merkel’s sputtering political career as Germany’s chancellor shall probably end at the German federal elections. With the mood turning ugly both within Germany and in Europe about the current nature of the German psyche, the time is rapidly developing for the rise of a populist leader in that nation.

Put this together with Friedman’s claim that Europe could—should it choose to do so—as “the largest economy in the world” become also “a military rival to the United States,” then it becomes a worrisome prospect that with Europe “as one of the pillars of the global system,” it is now in a powerful position, given the right leadership, “to define how the world works.”

All those statements are in direct alignment with Bible prophecy for our times!

For over 70 years we have trumpeted—first under Herbert Armstrong, and latterly under our current editor in chief, Gerald Flurry—the rise of a powerful European combine, under the leadership of Rome and Berlin, which would dominate the globe economically, financially, commercially and militarily. This is in exact accordance with the prophecies for our time as revealed in Revelation 13 and 17, and Daniel 8 and 11.

The fact that one of the most brilliant geopolitical minds on the scene today recognizes much of this potential is worthy of taking note. What is so much to the point in considering the direction of Europe from here on is the statement by Friedman that “If, however, Europe does emerge with a plan that has general support and momentum behind it, then we might say that Europe is beginning to emerge from its crisis, and that, in turn, would be the single most important thing that happens in 2013” (ibid).

Yet it is hard to see that such a plan would have any prospect of coming to fruition unless Europe has the quality of leadership in place to not only endorse it but to strong-arm it into reality. This is why we propose that such an event may have to wait till the outcome of this year’s federal elections in Europe’s leading nation—Germany.

All the prophetic indications lead to the conclusion that it will be a powerful Germanic leader who causes the final configuration of a militarily dominant European entity to coalesce into 10 separate regional groupings all rendering their support to a single overarching leader (Revelation 13, 17). Ultimately, this will be the “plan that has general support and momentum behind it,” to quote Stratfor.

So, what to watch for in 2013?

Watch the outcome of the Italian elections in February. If Monti—the pope’s man—gains office, then the linkage between the Vatican and the leader of old Chaldea will be strengthened significantly. This, in turn, will give a powerful boost to the confidence of imperialist Catholic European elites—especially in Germany—who are the real movers and shakers behind the scenes in Europe.

The upshot could well have significant effect on the outcome of the German elections in September.

As we have consistently declared, Europe is now ruled by a Rome-Berlin axis. France has been rapidly diminished in political stature in Europe since the Hollande liberal-socialist regime was voted into office.

These vital elections take place amid a Europe in crisis. As George Friedman writes, “People are not being asked to die on a battlefield for the European Union but to live lives of misery and disappointment. In many ways that is harder than being brave. And since the core promise of the European Union was prosperity, the failure to deliver that prosperity—and the delivery of poverty instead, unevenly distributed—is not sustainable. If Europe is in crisis, the world’s largest economy is in crisis, political as well as financial. And that matters to the world perhaps more than anything else” (ibid).

The reason it matters to the world is the history of what such crises tend to produce in Europe. History reveals that crises of this nature have huge potential for dislocating the whole global system.

For the second time in less than a century, Europe is on the brink of unleashing the effects of a deep crisis on the rest of the world. The results in the short term will be catastrophic beyond imagination. Yet the wonder of it all is that this is but the major harbinger of the replacement of the whole global system by a future system of global peace and order such as man has longed for since creation.

For more current information on this subject, read our powerful column this coming Monday. For the deepest insight into the causes and effects of this whole European scenario, read our booklets Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans and Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

2013: The Year France Confronts Islam?

2013: The Year France Confronts Islam?

FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images

How a New Year’s celebration reveals France’s divided society

Fireworks are the most traditional way to celebrate the New Year. But there are other traditions. In Japan, Buddhist monks hit a gong 108 times. In Spain, people eat 12 grapes. And in certain French cities, they burn cars.

That’s right. The New Year’s Eve car burning has become so regular it is almost a tradition. Every year, youths run riot. This time, 1,193 cars were burned.

Naturally, the story has gathered a lot of media attention. But all the mainstream reports on the subject are strangely vague about one thing—who is doing the burning. Every student of journalism learns that his or her article should answer the “five Ws”: who, what, when, where and why (and sometimes “how”). Who is invariably listed first.

Why have so many journalists suddenly forgotten their basic training?

It’s tempting to look for a conspiracy, but the answer is more likely political correctness combined with laziness (or tight deadlines). Perhaps the French media are keeping quiet for fear that publishing the truth will pour oil on the flames.

Who are these rioting youths? The mainstream reports contain the hints necessary to put it all together.

“The practice reportedly began in earnest among youths—often in poor neighborhoods—in the 1990s in the region around Strasbourg in eastern France,” writes the Associated Press. Strasbourg is the home of France’s biggest mosque and a large population of Muslims.

Car burning “also became a voice of protest during the fiery unrest by despairing youths from housing projects that swept France in the fall of 2005,” continues AP. “At the time, police counted 8,810 vehicles burned in less than three weeks.

“Yet even then, cars were not burned in big cities like Paris, and that remained the case this New Year’s Eve. [Interior Minister Manuel] Valls said the Paris suburban region of Seine-Saint-Denis, where the 2005 unrest started, led the nation for torched cars, followed by two eastern regions around Strasbourg.”

Who rioted in 2005? At the time, the New York Times wrote that “a majority of the youths committing the acts are Muslim, and of African or North African origin.” Seine-Saint-Denis is heavily Muslim.

Even the Iranian state-owned Press tv notes the connection between car burning and Muslim districts. “While not a single car was burned in Paris, its suburban region of Seine Saint Denis led the nation in torchings,” it wrote. “Heavily Muslim and just as heavily impoverished, the area has 75 percent of the population of Paris, but Paris is protected by five times as many police officers.”

Whether you believe that Muslims are rioting (à la the right-wing blogosphere) or that French police refuse to protect France’s poor Muslim districts (à la Press tv), it’s clear France has a problem with Islam.

And that’s becoming obvious to the French too. They can hardly escape it after last year’s shocking attacks on Jews.

This week, the Gatestone Institute, a U.S.-based think tank, published a comprehensive report titled “The Islamization of France” detailing Islam’s confrontations with French society.

“In August, the French government announced a plan to boost policing in 15 of the most crime-ridden parts of France, in an effort to reassert state control over the country’s so-called ‘no go’ zones (Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims),” it wrote.

These zones “include heavily Muslim parts of Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Lille and Amiens,” according to the report—in other words, the areas where people burn cars.

Obviously the government’s plan hasn’t succeeded.

But the Gatestone Institute’s report notes that French attitudes to Islam are changing. “Opinion surveys show that to voters in France … Islam and the question of Muslim immigration have emerged in 2012 as a top-ranked public concern,” it writes. “The French, it seems, are increasingly worried about the establishment of a parallel Muslim society there.”

The government’s efforts, however, “were halting and half-hearted,” the report said.

A survey published in October last year found that 60 percent believe Islam has become “too visible and influential.” Forty-three percent said the presence of Muslim immigrants is a threat to French national identity, compared to 17 percent who said it enriches society. Sixty-three percent oppose Muslim women wearing veils or Islamic headscarves in public. Only 18 percent support the building of new mosques.

“Our poll shows a further hardening in French people’s opinions,” said the head of the French Institute of Public Opinion’s polling department, Jerome Fourquet. “In recent years, there has not been a week when Islam has not been in the heart of the news for social reasons: the veil, halal food, dramatic news like terrorist attacks or geopolitical reasons.”

The most headline-grabbing resistance to radical Islam came from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Islamists firebombed its offices in November 2011 after it published cartoons of Mohammed. Its response? This week it published Mohammed’s biography in cartoon form.

Nearly a thousand years ago, France was at the heart of the clash between Islam and Europe’s Christian civilization. Now, as home to the EU’s largest Muslim population, it is at the heart of that clash once again.

The politics haven’t changed to reflect this. But the people have.

Whether you blame the Muslim immigrants, or French society, it’s clear that France is bitterly divided. Animosity and even hatred are building on both sides.

Many conservatives worry that Islam will overrun Europe. But this belief neglects history. When has Europe not reacted to this kind of threat? The norm is to overreact—or invent threats to react to.

European civilization will not lay down and die. Already the French people are turning on Islam. Will 2013 be the year they push their politicians to do the same?

The push will come sooner or later. The Bible prophesies that Europe will take the lead against radical Islam. For more information on this, see our article “Catholic Europe vs. Islamic Hordes: Round 2.”