Czechoslovakia Respected Herbert W. Armstrong

Czechoslovakia Respected Herbert W. Armstrong

kruhme/flickr

CEDOK’s Vaclav Pleskot and Jaroslav Gebert wanted the Feast of Tabernacles in Brno.

Herbert W. Armstrong’s first visit to Czechoslovakia occurred midway through 1985, about six months before his death. Located in Central Europe, the country has its modern origins dating back to late 1918 after its declaration of independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During World War ii, Adolf Hitler, eager for lebensraum, split the country and ordered its inclusion as part of Nazi Germany. Then, during the mid-1940s, its land was seized by the Soviets. It remained a Communist state through the late 1980s.

The unofficial ambassador for world peace took a short flight from Paris to Prague, initiated at the request of Jaroslav Gebert, a representative of the Czech government adjunct responsible for travel of foreigners, events and conventions.

Mr. Gebert was manager of the state tourist agencycedok, which was founded in 1920, and later expanded throughout Europe. After World War ii and subsequent Soviet occupation, Czechoslovakia, as a red state satellite, directed the adjunct to be managed by various government departments. The 1980s saw the era of the agency’s rapid modernization, constructing new hotel properties tallying over 200, with more than 20,000 employees spanning across its assets of restaurants, ski resort services, railways, entertainment venues, more than 150 travel agencies and almost two dozen international offices.

“In Prague Mr . Armstrong was given a private boat trip on the Vltava River (Moldau) and an extensive sightseeing tour of the city. Mr. Armstrong also visited Konopiste Castle, about 40 kilometers outside of Prague. The last residents of Konopiste were Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophia of the Habsburg line. It was Francis Ferdinand and his wife who were assassinated at Sarajevo in 1914, triggering World War i.

“During his stay, Mr. Armstrong met with Vaclav Pleskot, president of cedok, who gave a dinner for Mr. Armstrong and his party. Mr. Pleskot was formerly ambassador to France and Algeria, and is active in sports and environmental affairs. He was mainly responsible for making volleyball an official Olympic sport. Mr. Pleskot thoroughly enjoyed looking through the Envoy and asked for permission to visit our festival in Brno this autumn. Mr. Gebert remarked that he felt this was only the beginning of many such visits by Mr. Armstrong to Czechoslovakia” (Pastor General’s Report, June 7, 1985).

The Feast of Tabernacles, which was the largest convention on Earth at the time, had enjoyed four of its festivals in Brno. Within a few months of Mr. Armstrong’s visit, 290 people, traveling from nine nations and speaking five languages, would gather at the Hotel Voronez to attend the festival in Czechoslovakia. As a special honor to their foreign guests, an imperial dinner was hosted at the famed Zidlochovice hunting lodge (Worldwide News, Nov. 4 1985).

It came as no surprise that upon Mr. Armstrong’s death, Vaclav Pleskot, as president of cedok, on behalf of the Czech government, wrote, “We were very much grieved to hear of the death of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, president of the Ambassador Foundation and chancellor of Ambassador College. We shall always remember the last visit of Mr. Armstrong in Prague. Please accept our sincerest sympathy in your sad bereavement” (ibid, Feb. 10, 1986).

Mr. Armstrong didn’t live to see the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall heralding the end of the Cold War, and ensuring the collapse of the Soviet Union and the 1993 dissolution of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Mr. Pleskot did live to see the fulfillment of these climactic biblically prophesied events, and died in September 2012. He served his country as a national sports official, foreign ambassador, secretary of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, latterly, managing director of cedok.

Citizens of Czechoslovakia were privileged to hear a voice crying out over the airwaves of Europe via the World Tomorrow broadcast and in the Plain Truth magazine the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14).

Just as the Czechs savored the memory of the visit from the internationally recognized ambassador for world peace to help finalize preparations for the Feast of Tabernacles, viewers of the Key of David program and readers of the Trumpet magazine recognize that same gospel message, going out with intensified urgency through the voice and pen of editor in chief Gerald Flurry as he prophesies again to “many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:11).

Each year, members of the Philadelphia Church of God gather around the world in perpetuation of God’s scriptural command to continue the world’s longest-running conference on world peace (Leviticus 23:33-36; Deuteronomy 14:22-27). As with Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Flurry speaks in person and via satellite to attendees in all corners of the globe declaring the way of peace and the message of the soon-coming return of Christ and establishment of God’s family government—peace enforcement for all mankind. Together we memorialize a prophesied soon-coming time of peace and prosperity ushered in by God Himself, where Czechs and all human beings (Zechariah 14:16) will be attending a conference discussing the proliferation of plowshares and pruning hooks (Micah 4:2-3).

To understand more about the Feast of Tabernacles, request your free copies of Mr. Armstrong’s booklets Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days—Which? and The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like.

Iran and Egypt Work to Resolve Syria Crisis

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo on Thursday. This is Salehi’s second visit to Cairo since Morsi took office in June 2012.

The two leaders discussed resolving the crisis in Syria.

During the talks, Salehi reiterated Iran’s position that the Syrian government needed to open dialogue with the opposition to avoid “foreign intervention.”

Salehi said all governments should “fulfill the demands of its people” and that Syria needed “dialogue and negotiations between the government and the Syrian opposition.”

“We hope that Syria’s neighboring countries will meet to look for a Syrian solution to avoid any foreign intervention,” he added.

In December, Iran floated a vague peace plan to resolve Syria’s 22-month civil war. The plan marked a shift in Iran’s previous unwavering support for the embattled Assad. But, despite Iran and Egypt’s efforts, the Bible indicates that Syria will not stay allied to Iran and Egypt much longer.

Syria is prophesied to sever ties with Iran and instead join a separate Middle East alliance led by Turkey and Saudi Arabia. For more information on this developing alliance, read Gerald Flurry’s article “A Mysterious Alliance.”

And watch for Iran and Egypt’s concern over Syria to lead to a closer working relationship between these two regional superpowers.

Germany to Cyprus: Terms of Surrender Not Good Enough

Germany to Cyprus: Terms of Surrender Not Good Enough

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

Negotiations over Cyprus’s bailout show how much sovereignty the country has given up.

The German Parliament and European Union officials are refusing to support Cyprus’s bailout unless the country submits to further conditions. They’re accusing Cypriot banks of making dodgy deals with shady Russian businessmen, and they want this to stop.

Shortly before the end of last year, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias announced, with “heartfelt pain,” that Cyprus would seek a bailout from the EU. He said that terms had been agreed “in principle.” Spiegel Online wrote that the deal means that Cyprus “will effectively lose its sovereignty.” The “troika”—the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ecb) and the International Monetary Fund (imf)—“will essentially take control of the Mediterranean island,” it wrote.

Now we’re seeing that in action. Germany’s parliament is refusing to give Cyprus the money unless it changes its banking system and cracks down on money laundering.

A report by Germany’s intelligence service, the bnd, that was leaked last November accused Cyprus of creating the perfect conditions for money laundering. It also said the country was giving Russian oligarchs Cypriot passports that allow them to live anywhere in the EU.

Germany’s politicians don’t want German bailout money helping Russian businessmen. The Social Democrats (spd) and the Green Party are threatening to oppose the bailouts. “As things currently stand, I can’t imagine German taxpayers bailing out Cypriot banks, whose business model depends on abetting tax fraud,” the spd’s chairman, Sigmar Gabriel, said.

Without these politicians’ support, German Chancellor Angela Merkel may not be able to get the bailout through parliament. She doesn’t have the complete support of her own conservative coalition. Chancellor Merkel herself still wants more from Cyprus. President Christofias doesn’t want Europe to force him to privatize government-owned business, but Merkel insists that “There can be no special conditions for Cyprus.”

EU financial affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said the spd will probably get its way. In an interview published by Handelsblatt on January 11, he said Cyprus has accepted international rules on money laundering. But “these laws actually have to be applied,” he said. “I am aware of the problems.”

“I believe we can address the concerns of the spd,” Rehn said, adding that he was sure Cyprus could be made to comply.

From the German taxpayers’ point of view, these demands are reasonable. They’re not concerned about buying Cyprus’s surrender. They’re begrudgingly bailing them out, and they don’t want to waste their money.

But as Cyprus is forced to bow to these new demands, it shows that Cypriots have handed over control of their country to Germany.

When Greece’s bailout was approved, the Greeks weren’t just handed a lump sum of money and told to fix their problems. There are explicit conditions they must obey—and the bailout money is given in installments. Each installment is an opportunity for Germany to threaten to withhold the money.

And Greece didn’t need just one bailout.

Now Greece’s unemployment is above 25 percent. It could be forced to turn to Germany again to help contain rising unrest and violence.

Cyprus is starting down the same road. It must obey Germany’s parliament to receive the bailout, and will have to submit to Germany’s conditions to receive each installment of the money.

The banking reforms will also cut Cyprus off from the only other power that might step in and rescue it: Russia.

Russia also has a lot of interest in the island. But if Germany cuts Cyprus and its banks off from Russian money, Russian influence will greatly decline. Europe is getting rid of a rival for Cypriot loyalty. It doesn’t want to bail out the Cypriots only to have them turn to Russia if it offers a better deal later. Europe wants to make sure that once Cyprus has surrendered to Germany, it stays surrendered.

This time, the condition is that Cyprus reform its banking system. What will it be next time? That German taxpayers get something back from their investment—in the form of a German naval base on Cyprus, or direct German access to Cypriot radar facilities?

Cyprus is a key location to project power into the Middle East. If you haven’t already, watch Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s video “Cyprus Surrenders to Germany” for more on the vital background to this story.

Israel Finalizing Fences

Israel Finalizing Fences

Getty Images

Israel has finalized the construction of their border fence which separates them from Egypt.

On January 2, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced that it had completed a 230-kilometer-long fence along Israel’s southern border. Construction of the fortification that separates Israel from Egypt began three years ago. The final extension is expected to be finished in May this year.

The fence is 4.7 meters high and is topped with razor wire. Military cameras, radars and other surveillance equipment will allow Israel to monitor the vast expanse that is to be defended.

It is hoped the fence will stop terrorists entering Israel through the Sinai, prevent smuggling, and deter illegal immigrants from Africa from getting into the nation.

Following on the heels of the finalizing of this defense project came an announcement on January 6 from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of yet another fence that is to be set up. This latest fence will be in the northern region known as the Golan Heights. The area has long been the source of contention between Israel and Syria. The region was controlled by Syria until 1967, when Israel took the area during the Six-Day War. Since then it has remained under Israeli control.

The fence in the north is being built because of the Syrian civil war, and may heighten tensions with Syria, but Israel appears willing to take that risk. Amos Harel, the defense correspondent for Haaretz, stated that a conventional attack from the Syrian government was not the only concern. “There is the problem of al Qaeda, chemical weapons, whatever you’d like,” he said. There is also another concern from across the border. Moshe Maoz, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, said that Mr. Netanyahu was building because, “if a radical Islamic organization takes over, Israel will be in danger.”

Israel is scrambling to secure its borders as the tumult in surrounding nations threatens its security. Despite the millions of dollars Israel is spending on defense, prophecy tells us that Israel will not be able to protect itself. Prophecy from Hosea 5 tells us who Israel will look to for assistance. When Israel realizes that wire and cameras are not enough, watch it turn to Europe in search of a strong hand to solve the crisis in the Middle East.

For more on the impending attacks on Israel’s borders, watch columnist Stephen Flurry’s Trumpet Daily update “Israel’s Enemies Prepare for War.”

On the Divergent Effects on Man of Different Forms of Government

On the Divergent Effects on Man of Different Forms of Government

DNY59/iStockphoto

America is changing rapidly. Its present administration is lustily driving the nation toward the clearly failing European socialist model. Watching this causes me to consider some stark contrasts with the perfect model of government expounded in Scripture.

  • Socialist government creates complacency through wealth redistribution. God’s government fosters stewardship through private property ownership.
  • Socialist government takes from the rich to supply the poor and calls it compassion. God’s government teaches love by example and inspires both rich and poor to emulate of their own will.
  • Socialist government encourages dependency. God’s government encourages industry.
  • Socialist government creates discontent and a sense of entitlement. God’s government enables man to savor the fruits of his labor.
  • Socialist government rewards idleness and saps motivation. God’s government energizes, ennobles and arouses ambition.
  • Socialist government tends toward self-satisfaction and mediocrity. God’s government demands excellence.
  • Socialist government insulates man from the consequences of his actions. God’s government obliges man to be accountable for his choices.
  • Socialist government strips man of responsibility. God’s government prepares man for ever greater capacity, duty and authority.
  • Socialist government erodes character. God’s government is aimed primarily at creating and cultivating character.
  • Socialist government turns citizens into wards of the state. God’s government transforms people into Gods.
  • The study of God’s biblical form of government is fascinating and inspiring. If you want to learn more, you might start with an article from our archives, “A New World Economy,” which describes the biblical economic model at work. Then read Chapter 7 of the book Mystery of the Ages,Mystery of the Kingdom of God.”

    Unemployment: Europe’s Next Crisis

    Unemployment: Europe’s Next Crisis

    Getty Images

    Half of Spain’s young people cannot find jobs. That’s a recipe for chaos.

    European leaders are claiming that the worst of their financial crisis is over. They couldn’t be more wrong. The eurozone is on the brink of radical change.

    Look at Europe’s latest unemployment figures, published January 8.

    In November, the Spanish unemployment rate for those under 25 was 56.5 percent. The latest figure for Greece is 57.6 percent (November figures aren’t available yet). Over half of all young people looking for work in these countries can’t find a job. One million young people in Spain alone can’t find work. Across the eurozone, nearly one in four young people are without work.

    The overall unemployment rates are also dire. In Spain and Greece, one in four adults looking for work can’t find a job. This doesn’t include people who’ve simply given up or taken part-time work. In Portugal, Ireland, Slovakia, Latvia and Cyprus, unemployment is around 15 percent.

    Many of these are record highs. But unemployment was only a few percentage points lower this time last year.

    This persistent, high unemployment is Europe’s big crisis.

    Last week, Stratfor’sGeorge Friedman outlined what these numbers mean in real life. “Consider someone unemployed in his 20s, perhaps with a university degree,” he wrote. “The numbers mean that there is an excellent chance that he will never have the opportunity to pursue his chosen career and quite possibly will never get a job at the social level he anticipated” (emphasis added).

    “Also remember that unemployment does not affect just one person,” he continues. “It affects the immediate family, parents and possibly other relatives. The effect is not only financial but also psychological. It creates a pall, a sense of failure and dread.”

    Europe’s high unemployment means there are millions with no interest in supporting the current order.

    The EU has come up with solutions that will keep Greece and Spain from going bankrupt over the next few months. But its solutions do nothing to solve the unemployment crises. Those unemployment figures aren’t going to change any time soon.

    When the unemployed realize this, Europe will be gripped by social upheaval.

    “The stoicism of the Spanish people so far has been impressive,” writes the Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. “But willingness to put up with an intolerable state of affairs depends on belief that the pain is ultimately worthwhile.”

    Once Spain’s 6 million unemployed realize that their stint on the dole is not a short step on the road to prosperity, then the rioting will start.

    “Unemployment is a root of anti-state movements on the left and the right,” writes Friedman. “The extended and hopelessly unemployed have little to lose and think they have something to gain by destabilizing the state. It is hard to quantify what level of unemployment breeds that sort of unrest, but there is no doubt that Spain and Greece are in that zone and that others might be.”

    Europe is heading for social chaos.

    This, not the bond markets, is what will probably drive the euro crisis in 2013.

    This social crisis will cause radical change in Europe.

    “Social unrest and riots will eventually force Europeans to succumb to a strong united government of Europe, led ultimately not from Brussels, but from Berlin,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in February 2009.

    Northern Europe is not suffering. Germany’s unemployment rate is 5.4 percent—roughly a fifth of Spain’s.

    Faced with mass unrest, some countries may quit the euro. But others will instead turn to Germany, willing to do almost anything to get German help to stop the rioting. This huge unemployment rate could be the hammer, anvil and furnace necessary to forge a newly integrated Europe.

    European leaders already want political and financial union. But they’re talking about it in terms of the next five or ten years. Social unrest will force this unification to happen much faster. Some countries won’t be able to take the heat and will leave the kitchen. But the rest will forge closer together to form an undemocratic superpower.