Israel Prepares for the Fall of Syria

Israel Prepares for the Fall of Syria

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Israel readies for the threat of chemical weapons.

Israel is preparing for the fall of Syria, according to reports published on Sunday. The Jewish nation has deployed two Iron Dome air defense batteries to its north, including one near the city of Haifa. Activity at Israel’s air force bases has also increased, according to local reports.

“If there will be a need, we will take action to prevent chemical weapons from being transferred to Islamic terror organizations,” Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said on Israel’s Army Radio on Sunday.

Since the Syrian uprisings began in March of 2011, dissident forces have clashed with government troops at hotspots throughout the nation. Even the capital city of Damascus, visible from Israel, is engulfed in bloody fighting. As the violence continues southward, it has led to some artillery fire hitting Israeli territory. Israel fears that Syrians may soon resort to using chemical weapons near Israel’s border.

Under any conditions, a chemical weapons stockpile on your doorstep would be legitimate cause for concern for any nation. But with Syria in chaos, now Israel has to worry about the prospect of the weapons falling into rebel hands. The United States government supports the rebels who fight under the banner of democracy. However, the majority of the rebels don’t have such democratic tendencies. Some of the militia groups are extreme Islamists, dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The possibility of these organizations gaining control of chemical weapons that could reach Israel is sobering for the Jewish nation.

Additionally, there is the threat of Hezbollah in Lebanon gaining access to Syria’s chemical weapons. Such a scenario significantly multiplies the threat to Israel’s northern cities.

Israel can’t afford to lose track of Syria’s weapons stockpiles, which is why it is conducting intense surveillance to its north. If the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad falls, the weapons could be very difficult to track down. The Israelis are preparing now to defend themselves in case the worst should happen.

Israel is in a very precarious situation. The weapons pose a threat to Israel regardless of who controls Syria. But with the fighting in Syria and the Assad regime increasingly desperate, the threat is multiplying. The U.S. has already discussed the possibility of a military operation to prevent the weapons from falling into radical Islamists’ hands, and Israel may well take part if such an offensive is waged.

Israel stepped up its countermeasures on Tuesday night when an Israeli airstrike destroyed a convoy crossing the border from Syria into Lebanon. While reports are vague about what the convey contained, the strike shows that Israel is watching the border, and is willing to engage its military to prevent weapons being dispersed to Israel’s neighbors.

Assad’s grip on power appears to be rapidly slipping. Regardless of what happens next, you can know the role Syria will play in the future. Despite the uncertainties of the Arab winter, the struggles of Israel, the role of the U.S., and the ongoing bloodbath in Syria, you can understand what the future holds for this region of the world. A prophecy recorded in Psalm 83 makes Syria’s future role clear. To understand this biblical truth, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “How the Syrian Crisis Will End.”

Why Aren’t More People Marrying Today?

Why Aren’t More People Marrying Today?

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Here’s one reason: At least in the eyes of women, the men aren’t qualified.

For young people, the idea of marriage still holds considerable charm. A 2006 poll showed that more than 80 percent of American high school seniors expect to get married, and 90 percent of those assume they’ll remain wed to the same person for life. A survey of college students in England found 95 percent want to marry. Among adults who have never been married, 61 percent want to be, according to a Pew poll from 2010.

But dreams of marriage are failing to materialize for more and more of these people. In 1960, 72 percent of American adults were married; today, that number has dropped to 51 percent. In 1960, 15 percent had never married; today it’s 28 percent. In 1970, four in five 25-to-29-year-old men were married; now, two in five are.

What’s going on? People want to marry but aren’t. Why?

The reasons are many. But sociologists have identified one that I find of particular interest. It is that today’s men—at least in the eyes of today’s women—aren’t qualified.

Many single men say they would like to be at least equal to if not better than their future spouse in terms of education and earning power. The model of the male breadwinner has a long history, and remnants of it remain ingrained in the minds of many people—both men and women.

The problem is, this ideal is increasingly at odds with reality. As Hanna Rosin writes in her book The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, “The men may cling to traditional ideals about themselves as providers, but they are further than ever from being able to embody those ideals” (emphasis added throughout).

Every year in America, 170,000 more women than men get bachelor’s degrees. And while the average man still earns 10 percent more than the average woman, guess what? Among 20-somethings, women now have the edge in the wage gap. Men who hold the advantage in education and earning power are a dying breed.

The numbers of well-educated, financially self-sufficient women are mushrooming beyond the numbers of men who could be so described. In fact, men are trending in the opposite direction. Today, for example, we see the highest percentage ever recorded of men of prime working age who are not even working: about one in five.One fifth of men. Compare that to 1950, when it was one in 20.

“Recent years have seen an explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in men’s life prospects that have disrupted the ‘romantic market’ in ways that narrow a marriage-minded woman’s options,” wrote Kate Bolick in the Atlantic. “[I]ncreasingly, her choice is between deadbeats (whose numbers are rising) and playboys (whose power is growing)” (November 2011).

Who will these women marry? The bar for what they want out of marriage is climbing, while the field is regressing.

Unsurprisingly, more and more of them, rather than “marry down,” are resigning themselves to the idea that their best option is just to skip it.

Sure, they’d love to marry if the right man showed up. Yet, in their view—frustrating as it may be that Mr. Right isn’t around—marriage is, ultimately, unnecessary. I can take care of myself—I don’t need a man to support me, the thinking goes. He’d just be another person to take care of—another mouth to feed.

“[A]s women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind,” laments Bolick. “We’ve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up—and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with.”

The question is on the lips of women everywhere: What’s wrong with all these guys?

Most people can agree there is a problem, but far fewer recognize its full scope. When you talk to the women and meet the men, when you read the stories and look at the data, you begin to realize: Bolick is not describing a minor irritant, or a disappointment that a few women share. She is chronicling the collapse of a social order.

Social historian Stephanie Coontz says we’re experiencing nothing less than “a historical revolution every bit as wrenching, far-reaching, and irreversible as the Industrial Revolution.” As she told the Atlantic, “When it comes to what people actually want and expect from marriage and relationships, and how they organize their sexual and romantic lives, all the old ways have broken down.”

If you examine it, this breakdown in “all the old ways” virtually all traces back to the trashing of the traditional roles of men and of women, particularly that of breadwinner and homemaker. Historically, what largely drove men’s march through the milestones to adulthood was the expectation that they would fulfill the role of provider. For generations, this commonly recognized duty propelled men into the workforce; it often served as a prod to men’s ambition and did much to shape society. Even today, it remains a strong motivation to any young man who accepts it. And women recognized their responsibility to make the home an inviting, nurturing environment for children to be reared toward adulthood.

For two generations now, esteem for these roles has been fading—to the point where today they are ignored, if not treated with contempt.

In dismantling the traditional ways of relating to one another as men and women, society lost more than just human traditions: We arrogantly, foolishly trashed God’s design in creating men and women.

The failings that have resulted vividly illustrate the wisdom in God’s original design—for anyone willing to cast aside the blinders of political correctness and look at the situation honestly.

For the sake of order and harmony, God created men to fulfill one role within the family and within society, and He created women to fill a different and beautifully complementary role. This is the reality that God created and revealed to humankind. It is a vital key to individual, family and societal success.

The reason for marriage is far greater than most people realize. Marriage has an awesome purpose. Doesn’t it make sense to understand its purpose if you plan to marry someday? To learn this purpose, request our free booklet Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete? Not only will it help you understand marriage’s purpose—it will show you why “the old ways” will never die.

Besieged in Thy Gates

Besieged in Thy Gates

Juan Jose RODRIGUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

It is one of the most astonishing success stories in history. At one time, the English-speaking peoples of Britain and America controlled two thirds of the world’s agriculturally productive land. And, impressive as their landholdings were, their maritime reach was even more astounding.

These two powers controlled virtually every important oceanic choke point and sea gate on the planet. Oceanic trade and sea communication only existed to the extent that Britain and America allowed it. This domination of global trade turned these two peoples into economic superpowers.

Massive port cities like Hong Kong, Port Said, Quebec City and Calcutta—river gateways to entire countries and continents—all flew the Union Jack. New Orleans flew the other red, white and blue. From these cities and many others, goods from almost a quarter of the world’s population traveled to markets around the world. It was British and American ships carrying those goods too.

Control of these ports meant mastery of the world’s shipping lanes. British and American guns commanded both ends of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Panama Canal, the Strait of Malacca, Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, in addition to the best natural and strategically placed naval harbors in the world.

Never have so few people controlled the destiny of so many.

How did these two nations grow to dominate global trade to such an astounding extent? The book The United States and Britain in Prophecy explains why America and Britain rocketed from insignificant nations to global superpowers. As Herbert W. Armstrong explained in his book, it all began with a promise made to the ancient patriarch Abraham in which God promised to give his descendants control of the “gates” of their enemies (Genesis 22:17). God gave Britain and America these commercial gates, virtually ensuring that they would become economic and military superpowers.

But God also warned that if America and Britain did not obey Him, then not only would those sea gates be taken away, but they would be used against these nations (Deuteronomy 28:52).

The maps on the following pages depict the amazing extent of British and American power at one time—and then show how much of it has been lost. The fulfillment of this latter prophecy is a telling indicator of where the U.S. and Britain are heading.

Malta, Mediterranean Sea

History

Britain annexed Malta in 1814 as part of the Treaty of Paris, ending the Napoleonic Wars. After annexation, Malta served as the headquarters of Britain’s Mediterranean fleet. The island was vital to British success in the Mediterranean during World War II—King George VI even awarded the George Cross to the Maltese people collectively. Britain granted Malta political independence in 1964.The last remaining British troops withdrew in 1979.

Status: [lost]

Malta is now a member of the European Union and the eurozone. Germany is dominating the EU, and Malta is swiftly becoming a German vassal state.

Gibraltar, Spain

History

After the Rock of Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in 1713 as part of the peace terms ending the War of the Spanish Succession, Britain erected a formidable military garrison for the strait’s defense. The garrison played a strategic role in the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, World War I and World War II. Spain has tried to claim Gibraltar more than once, but the people of the province voted to remain under British rule in 1967 and 2002.

Status

Since the Spanish government is still pushing for full control of this sea gate, it seems unlikely Britain will be able to keep it much longer.

10 percent of global trade passing through Gibraltar each year

106,000 ships passing through the strait annually, including 5,000 oil tankers

Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria

History

British influence in the Niger region increased over the course of the 19th century until Nigeria became an official British colony in 1900. The colony in Nigeria allowed Britain to suppress radical Islamist movements in West Africa and to keep the Gulf of Guinea free from pirates. After Nigerian independence in 1960, however, Britain’s global power began to decline, and the United States had to start taking on more maritime policing responsibilities.

Status

The U.S. Navy’s failure to keep the waterways safe has allowed pirates to threaten the region, a fact not lost on the leaders of China or Germany, which are developing military ties with Nigeria.

2 million barrels of petroleum exported from Nigeria through the gulf every day

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

History

The Union of South Africa brought the cape under the executive power of a governor-general representing the British Crown in 1909. The Cape Town Naval Base became significant during World War II, when South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts went about fortifying South Africa against a possible German invasion.

Status: [lost]

The surrender of South Africa to the Communist influenced African National Congress ended much of Britain’s control over the Cape of Good Hope in 1994.

32 percent of West African oil that transits past Cape town to Western markets

24 percent of Middle Eastern oil that passes the cape on the way to Western markets

3,400 ships that come into the Port of Cape Town each year, laden with 4 million tons of cargo

Strait of Hormuz. Iran

History

Although this strait has never been under direct British or American control, the British Empire was able to project naval power into this area when Pakistan was part of British India. After Pakistani independence in 1947, Britain and America had to rely solely on their relationship with Arabic states to secure this sea lane.

Status

Now that Iran is rising as a dominant power in the Middle East, the security of Hormuz is being called ever more into question.

35 percent of global seaborne-traded oil passing through Hormuz

26 number of crude oil tankers that pass eastbound through the strait each day, moving 17 million barrels of oil

Bab El-Mandeb, Somalia

History

From 1888 to 1960, this strategic sea gate, along with the entire Gulf of Aden, was protected by the British Navy operating for the British Somaliland protectorate. Control of this gate was vital to Britain’s struggle against the radical Islamist leader Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan in 1913. British Somaliland was granted independence in 1960. Since then, British Somaliland has joined the Somali Republic and become an Islamic state.

Status

For the past decade, the coast of Somalia has been plagued by pirates while the mainland struggles against the Iranian backed al-Shabaab terrorist militia. Iran’s military strategy includes gaining control over this gate.

30 percent of hydrocarbon trade that passes through the strait

18 miles separating Yemen from Djbouti at the strait’s narrowest point

8 percent of overall seaborne trade that passes through the strait

Suez Canal, Egypt

History

The Canal Zone was declared a neutral zone under the protection of the British at the Convention of Constantinople in 1888. British control of the Suez Canal gave the Allied powers a strategic advantage in World Wars I and II. British troops guarded the Canal Zone up until 1956, when Egyptian strongman Gamul Abdul Nasser nationalized the area.

Status

Today, the Suez Canal is under the power of a Muslim- Brotherhood-dominated Egyptian coalition. This coalition’s growing alliance with Iran means that the canal could soon be closed in an attack on the West.

35 thousands of ships that transit the canal each year, including 3,500 oil tankers

8 percent of overall seaborne trade that transits the canal annually

6 thousands of extra miles needed to go around Africa’s southern tip

Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong

History

Under the terms of the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, Britain obtained a 99-year lease of Lantau Island and the adjacent northern lands from mainland China in 1898. Even though the government of China was displaced in a Communist coup in 1949, Britain still gifted this South China Sea prize to the People’s Republic of China in 1997.

Status: [lost]

Beijing now fully controls the $380 million Hong Kong naval base built by the British.

456,000 vessels that moor in the harbor every year

243 million tons of cargo the Port of Hong Kong handles annually

Port of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

History

Great Britain seized control of Trincomalee from the Netherlands in 1795, fearing that its alliance with France would give the French Empire control of Indian Ocean trade routes. During World War II, the port harbored the British Seventh Fleet and proved to be an invaluable asset after London lost the Singapore Naval Base to Japan in 1942. This strategic gateway was completely lost to Britain after London relinquished control of the Port of Trincomalee to a newly independent Sri Lanka in 1957.

Status: [lost]

The Sri Lankan government is now being courted by Chinese leaders who would like to see the island as a strategic asset in their “String of Pearls” strategy to control the Indian Ocean.

80 percent of seaborne hydrocarbon trade that transmits through Indian Ocean choke points

Strait of Malacca, Singapore

History

Thomas Raffles signed a treaty with Sultan Hussein Shah on behalf of the East India Company in 1819, which allowed Singapore to be developed as a British trading post. The British voluntarily gave up this most strategic sea gate in 1965 when Singapore withdrew from the British-backed Malaysian Federation to declare independence.

Status: [lost]

China is now reaching out to Singapore in an effort to cement control of the Strait. Singapore now maintains first position among asean countries as a Chinese trade partner.

35 percent of all seaborne goods that pass through the strait

50 percent of the world’s merchant fleet (60,000 ships) that sails through Malacca

50 percent of all petroleum goods that pass through Malacca

Subic Bay, Philippines

History

Along with Clark Air Base, Subic Bay Naval Base once represented the largest overseas military installation of the United States Armed Forces. It fulfilled a vital role in World War II and the Vietnam War. The Filipino government ordered the U.S. to withdraw from the area in 1992. The withdrawal ended a vast American military presence in the Philippines that began when the U.S. captured the islands from Spain during the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Status

Now that U.S. military presence in the area has been drastically reduced, China is claiming the entire South China Sea for its own.

Panama Canal, Panama

History

The 10-mile-wide Panama Canal Zone has been called the “birth canal” of American greatness. Its construction in 1914 allowed the United States to become a global power. Control of the Panama Canal Zone gave the Allies an advantage in World War II when Nazi Germany sent U-boats to the Caribbean to cut off American oil supplies. When U.S. President Bill Clinton surrendered the canal back to the government of Panama, an era of American greatness came to an end.

Status: [lost]

A Chinese company now runs both ports on each end of the Panama Canal Zone. Germany is courting Panama itself as a potential user of the euro currency.

5 percent of global seaborne trade that passes through the canal

15,000 ships that use the canal each year, taking an 8,000-mile shortcut

Strait of Magellan, Falkland Islands

History

British Captain John Byron explored and claimed Saunders Island in 1765. The British Empire did not establish a permanent naval presence in the Falklands until 1834. This naval base proved vital to British interests in World War I when the Royal Navy fought to keep Germany’s East Asia Squadron from passing Cape Horn.

Status

Argentina is ramping up pressure on Britain to relinquish the islands and recently passed a law that prohibits British ships from docking in any ports located in the Buenos Aires province.

Rise of the Hawks

Rise of the Hawks

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

China’s ascendency is making the neighbors nervous—and spawning a resurgence of nationalism throughout Northeast Asia.
From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Beijing’s multiplying power and intensifying belligerency are driving a surge of nationalism in Northeast Asia. Concerns among China’s neighbor nations range from the commercial—over issues like Beijing’s rapacious drive for resources—to the geopolitical—including matters like China’s aggressive offshore territorial claims and the unveiling of its first aircraft carrier.

“The sense of unhappiness with China among ordinary people in some countries has been getting more acute by the day,” said Guo Jiguang, an expert on Southeast Asian politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. As this unhappiness spreads over the continent, it is opening the way for new leaders to rise to power—leaders acutely aware of the dangers China’s rise presents, and who appear prepared to take measures to counter it.

Most notable among the Asian states swinging toward nationalism and militarism is Japan. But the Koreas are also part of the resurgence, with both the North and South now being ruled by descendants of Cold War dictators. China itself is now ruled by the son of a Communist Chinese revolutionary hero, a close comrade of Chairman Mao.

These are sobering trends, and they fall perfectly in line with forecasts the Trumpet has been making for decades.

Japan’s LDP Returns

On Dec. 16, 2012, three years after being ousted from power, Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (ldp) scored a landmark electoral comeback. The militarism and nationalism that saturated the election campaign showed the growing concern among Japan’s ruling class over China’s belligerency. It also demonstrated Tokyo’s resolve to reassert Japan’s interests by every method, including military action.

ldp leader Shinzo Abe, who became Japan’s premier on December 26, embodies the party’s hawkish agenda. The premier has vowed repeatedly to challenge Japan’s pacifist constitution and to increase its defense spending. His grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, helped run Japanese-occupied Manchuria and was later imprisoned for war crimes under the U.S. postwar occupation. In 1957, Kishi became Japan’s prime minister and tried to abolish the pacifist clause from the nation’s constitution. Like his grandfather, Abe seeks constitutional revisions to “normalize” and strengthen Japan’s military. He wishes to bring an end to what he has called “Japan’s self-torturing history”—the handwringing over Tokyo’s egregious war crimes. Abe now holds a supermajority power that allows him to override any upper house vetoes of his legislation.

Japan has long been moving toward a quiet “normalization” of its military, but is now likely to make the change official and deeper. “In many ways, the Japanese have been making that change anyway,” Stratfor’s North Asia analyst Rodger Baker said. “The Japanese military has advanced weapons systems, it’s got advanced training, it’s got better interoperability. In many ways, [changing the constitution is] really just removing that last little fiction, rather than a fundamental alteration of Japanese military capabilities” (Dec. 21, 2012).

Under Abe, Tokyo has already made changes that transcend symbolism. In the second week of January, Japan’s Defense Ministry announced an increase of more than ¥100 billion (us$1.1 billion) to its military budget and announced plans to request an additional ¥180.5 billion (us$2.1 billion) from a government stimulus package.

The United States welcomes Japan’s military expansion because it wants to contain China’s mushrooming influence without expending too much of its own resources. For this reason, the Obama administration has encouraged Japan to expand its military and to take a sturdier stance against Beijing. This tougher stance against China will accelerate under Abe.

Though Abe’s nationalistic notions are saluted by Washington, they worry Japan’s neighbors, who vividly remember Tokyo’s savage rampage across Asia 70 years ago. When Abe announced that he wants to expand Japan’s military power, the China Daily called him a “warmonger with dangerous designs.”

Today’s Japan looks eerily like 1930s Japan, when the country was walloped by a steep decrease in world trade and stumbled into political and economic malaise. The militaristic regime in power tried to remedy the crisis by waging wars for raw materials and markets. Japan’s 1931 invasion of Manchuria, and later of China as a whole, was a part of this attempt. Japan employed shockingly brutal methods to conduct its occupation of other nations.

The world has changed considerably since the Pacific War ended in 1945 when the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Among the most significant changes has been China’s ascendance on the global stage.

China’s Task

“China’s … projection of newfound power is putting pressure on all the other countries in the region,” said Barbara Demick, the Beijing bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times. This gets to the heart of why Japan is marching toward militarism. It is possible Abe may not stay in power for long, but the tide of Japanese nationalism and militarism that swept his party to victory is swelling quickly. And the swell is almost entirely because Japan fears China’s rise. Explaining why the Japanese military needed the additional funds, the Defense Ministry spokesman gave a thinly veiled answer: “[T]o prepare for the changing security environment surrounding Japan.”

In November, the Chinese Communist Party (ccp) installed Xi Jinping as general secretary. It is potentially significant that Xi, like the other three new Asian leaders, has nationalist bloodlines. There is an “almost nationalistic drive in all these countries,” Baker said. “[W]hether it’s through election, through the rejection of the existing parties, or just through the way in which the parties are shaping and organizing themselves.”

In 2012, political scandals damaged the party’s public image, but the system survived, and the ccp now faces the daunting task of managing the great social and economic change underway throughout China. The change makes Beijing insecure, and its anxiety is evident in the Chinese military’s intensifying belligerence over China’s claims in the South and East China seas, and Southeast Asia.

The Korean peninsula, stuck between Japan’s military normalization and China’s intensifying belligerency, could move toward greater rapprochement, particularly since North Korea would like to gradually reduce its dependence on Beijing’s support.

In the meantime, the Philippines and Vietnam—China’s most outspoken opponents in Southeast Asia—will keep pushing for increased integration among members of asean, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The Failure of Globalization

In his assessment, Baker said Asia’s surging nationalism indicates the failure of globalization in the region: “There is a long history with all of these candidates with family lineages that goes back into regional politics. And at a time where people have been focusing for the past few decades on this concept of globalization and the breaking down of barriers, I think one of the things that we’re seeing in Northeast Asia is the reflection that geopolitics matters—that history matters—and that the national interests are very strong in each of these countries. And they’re seeing a shift in the way in which they can balance with each other.”

For decades, militarism and nationalism were viewed as outmoded and backward ideologies in places like Japan. But with each passing month, China is more hell-bent on dominating Asia and forcibly expanding its territory. U.S. leaders remain largely oblivious to the potential dangers, but Asian policymakers view it as a major shift that demands major adjustments in their foreign policies.

Nationalism is a self-perpetuating ideology, perhaps more so in Asia than any other continent. When one country takes a step in a nationalist direction, its neighbors rapidly follow suit. Despite an increase in political and economic cooperation, Asian nations tend to view each other as rivals. More and more citizens of the nations around China believe war should be undertaken if that is what is required to stop Beijing. Their increasing concern prompts them to elect governments willing to draw a line in the sand that they won’t allow China to cross.

Nationalism and militarism are on the rise throughout Asia. Although the countries’ swings to the right are at present designed to protect themselves from other Asian nations, all of the intra-Asian tensions will soon be trumped by concern about a common enemy.

Future Unity

Daniel 11:40-41 speak of a showdown “at the time of the end” between “the king of the north”—a German-led European empire—and “the king of the south,” a radical Islamist empire led by Iran. This prophecy explains that this European entity will enter into “the glorious land”—Israel—and overthrow many countries. But the great military success of this European power will not go unchecked!

The pivotal prophecy continues in verse 44: “… [T]idings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him ….” After destroying the king of the south power, the European empire will be troubled by what is happening to its east and north—that is, in Asia!

The moves toward nationalism underway in Japan, China and throughout Northeast Asia are largely the result of disputes among Asian states, and, above all, because of fear of China’s rise. But all of these intra-Asian hostilities will soon be set aside so they can form a bloc to meet this colossal European force.

Asia’s swing toward nationalism points to a dark time on the horizon, but the Bible makes plain that the clash between Europe and Asia will be interrupted by the most spectacular event in history: Jesus Christ will return to put an end to the conflict between East and West, and between all other peoples on Earth! He will usher in an era of divine rulership that will bring about peace and prosperity for all mankind.

Hurricane Sandy Swamps President Obama’s Budget

Hurricane Sandy Swamps President Obama’s Budget

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The $50 billion President Obama planned on saving is wiped out with one ‘act of God.’

Congress approved a plan to save America from the fiscal cliff on January 1. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Yet, only one month later, the Hurricane Sandy relief bill has blown away any supposed savings that would have come from the plan.

The plan to avoid the fiscal cliff shielded millions of Americans from tax increases that would have come into effect at the end of January. It also raised tax rates on households making more than $450,000 per year. The plan also delayed the automatic spending cuts to the Pentagon and other government agencies that were scheduled to hit in March.

All told, President Obama hoped to bring in $40 billion for the government this fiscal year.

However, the Hurricane Sandy aid package passed on Monday was $50 billion. Since the government is already borrowing to finance current spending, that $50 billion will go straight to the deficit. All the money gained from those additional taxes will be completely negated.

The January 1 tax deal was supposed to give the government time to come up with another way of financing its agencies, and supporting the unemployed of America. Now the government will have to find an additional way of coming up with $50 billion.

More taxes anyone? Or is there a better solution?

When Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast, killing more than 130 people, Americans should have asked themselves why this happened. It wasn’t due to global warming.

God could have protected America, but He didn’t. Why was that?

God is cursing America because of its disobedience to His law. Regardless of what man does—regardless of how many surge walls and wind barriers are erected—these powerful acts of God will continue. And the economy- and budget-crushing costs will keep flooding in.

For more on the reasons why America is torn by natural disasters, order a free copy of Why ‘Natural’ Disasters? today.

The Incredible Shrinking Man

The Incredible Shrinking Man

pt/coreay/ju-ju/istockphoto

What is wrong with men today? As women thrive, men lag in education, employment—and, it seems, just general ambition. Here’s a look at some of the causes—and the solution.
From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

This past summer I visited a group of teenage boys at a summer camp and gave them some sobering news: If you follow the trend in society, you’re going to end up being sloths and underachievers. And women are going to leave you in their vapor trails.

It’s true, and it’s unmistakable: Female is the new male.

Girls dominate boys in education, from elementary through graduate school. Women are taking over the workforce. Hundreds of formerly male-dominated careers are becoming feminized. More and more wives outearn their husbands. Fathers are fading away inside their own families, and rising illegitimate births and single-parenthood are pushing them out of the child-rearing picture altogether.

Boys and men are passively watching it happen. Many of them, rather than working to stay ahead of or even keep up with women, are responding by waging something of a sit-down strike. They’re playing video games more than 2½ times as much as girls. They’re living with their parents at double the rate of their female peers. They’re dropping out of the labor pool in record numbers.

The result is effectively a reversal of a male-female dynamic that has existed for virtually all of human history.

Feminists may celebrate, but more and more people are recognizing that this trend has come with some steep costs we’re only starting to see. Even women are frustrated with today’s breed of spineless, ambitionless manboys. There is a genuine problem here.

The Ambition Gap

Women’s ambition is soaring. The facts are scrupulously spelled out in recent books like Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men: And the Rise of Women and Liza Mundy’s The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love, and Family. Women are pursuing higher education in far greater numbers than men. They’re remaining aloof from serious relationships so as not to derail their career aspirations (one college senior told Rosin that guys “are the new ball and chain”). Research shows young women expect higher earnings and better professional advancement than young men do.

And that is the flip side of this story. While women are surging with confidence and enjoying greater success, men are shrinking back. There is a growing ambition gap between the sexes. Women are increasingly driven to succeed in school, work and life; men seem ever more willing just to occupy a comfy spot on the couch.

“All my top academic students, my really top performers, have heavily been women,” Jeanine Mount, associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, told Rosin. “I don’t know why. They are not inherently more intelligent than the men. Maybe they bring a different kind of focus to their work.”

Mount calls the men at her school a “lost generation.” They tend to be less driven, she says; they don’t have the same “hunger.”

Not long ago, men had an ample supply of that “hunger.” Today it is broadly, demonstrably absent. It’s as if the fire in their bellies has been quenched, on a massive scale. Or, perhaps more accurately, it has relocated—into the bosom of women.

Mount notes that virtually all the leaders within her university’s various student groups—school government, service organizations, campus fraternities—are women. Regarding college students, Rosin writes, “Guys high-five one another when they get a C, while girls beat themselves up over a B-minus. Guys play video games in their dorm rooms while girls crowd the library. Girls get their degrees with no drama, while guys seem always in danger of drifting away.”

Measurements of men’s shriveling ambitions are everywhere. Consider the five milestones that sociologists traditionally use to define the transition to adulthood: finishing school, leaving the parents’ nest, becoming financially independent, getting married and having a child. In 1960, about two thirds of men had passed all five milestones by age 30. By 2000, it had dropped to half that. In 1970, four in five 25-to-29-year-old men were married. Now the figure is two in five.

What are these guys doing? Nearly six in ten of them—among 18-to-24-year-old males—live with their parents. Even among 25-to-34-year-olds, it’s still almost two in ten.

Lest you think this is simply a sign of today’s troubled economy, consider: Those figures are almost double the rate among women the same age.

And forget masculine financial independence. Nearly 60 percent of parents are giving money to their grown kids—a lot of money. Adults between ages 18 and 34 who enjoy parental subsidies receive a hearty average of $38,340 a year. It’s localized Social Security, flipped upside down, with older workers supporting younger “retirees.”

And wouldn’t you know it, young men seem perfectly content with—or perhaps complacent about—their dependency. They’ve grown up in a world that praises them indiscriminately and teaches them never to judge. As a result, research shows, these “failures to launch” actually have ample self-esteem, and they’re confident success will come to them (though they’re not necessarily motivated to chase it down). They feel plenty good about themselves, living in Mom’s basement.

The ladies, on the other hand, aren’t impressed.

Marriage Dream Vs. Single Reality

For young people, the idea of marriage still holds considerable charm. A 2006 poll showed that more than 80 percent of high-school seniors expect to get married, and 90 percent of those assume they’ll remain wed to the same person for life. A survey of college students in England found 95 percent want to marry.

As to what that relationship would look like—well, that gets trickier.

The teen boys I spoke with last summer all said they’d like a spouse. Then I asked them an interesting question: Would you want to marry someone who was better educated or who earned more money than you? They all said no.

Some people may consider their thinking archaic, a byproduct of sexist socialization. Nevertheless, two truths remain: First, despite the fact that the male breadwinner model is actually seldom taught anymore—if anything, alternative ideas are far more aggressively promoted—remnants of it remain ingrained in the minds of both men and women. And second, wherever this thinking comes from, it is increasingly at odds with reality. As Rosin writes, “The men may cling to traditional ideals about themselves as providers, but they are further than ever from being able to embody those ideals” (emphasis added throughout).

You can see that something has to give. Every year in America, 170,000 more women than men get bachelor’s degrees. And while the average man still earns 10 percent more than the average woman, guess what? Among 20-somethings, women now have the edge in the wage gap. Men who hold the advantage in education and earning power are a dying breed.

The numbers of well-educated, financially self-sufficient women are mushrooming beyond the numbers of men who could be so described. In fact, men are trending in the opposite direction. Today, for example, we see the highest percentage ever recorded of men of prime working age who are not even working: about one in five.One fifth of men. Compare that to 1950, when it was one in 20.

“Recent years have seen an explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in men’s life prospects that have disrupted the ‘romantic market’ in ways that narrow a marriage-minded woman’s options,” wrote Kate Bolick in the Atlantic. “[I]ncreasingly, her choice is between deadbeats (whose numbers are rising) and playboys (whose power is growing)” (November 2011).

Who will these women marry? The bar for what they want out of marriage is climbing, while the field is regressing.

Unsurprisingly, more and more of them, rather than “marry down,” are resigning themselves to the idea that their best option is just to skip it.

All the Single Ladies

Sure, they’d love to marry if the right man showed up. Yet, in their view—frustrating as it may be that Mr. Right isn’t around—marriage is, ultimately, unnecessary. I can take care of myself—I don’t need a man to support me, the thinking goes. He’d just be another person to take care of—another mouth to feed.

“[A]s women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind,” laments Bolick. “We’ve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up—and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with.”

The question is on the lips of women everywhere: What’s wrong with all these guys?

Most people can agree there is a problem, but far fewer recognize its full scope. When you talk to the women and meet the men, when you read the stories and look at the data, you begin to realize: Bolick is not describing a minor irritant, nor a disappointment that a few women share. She is chronicling the collapse of a social order.

Social historian Stephanie Coontz says we’re experiencing nothing less than “a historical revolution every bit as wrenching, far-reaching and irreversible as the Industrial Revolution.” As she told the Atlantic, “When it comes to what people actually want and expect from marriage and relationships, and how they organize their sexual and romantic lives, all the old ways have broken down.”

It’s a crucial development. And what compounds the problem is that few people understand its true cause. As a result, most of these women are unwittingly participating in an unhealthy cycle that is doomed only to expand the ranks of underachieving men and embittered women.

A Relic

To get to the cause, we have to take a look at “all the old ways” that Coontz says have broken down. Regrettably, because of political correctness, this is treacherous ground.

What look like many different changes in “what people actually want and expect from marriage and relationships, and how they organize their sexual and romantic lives,” at their heart all trace back to one thing: the decline of the male breadwinner.

Historically, what largely drove men’s march through the milestones to adulthood was the expectation that they would fulfill the role of provider. A man who is serious about the responsibility of supporting a family approaches life with a special focus. He looks for a profession that will provide financial stability; he pursues his education with that end in mind. For generations, this commonly recognized duty propelled men into the workforce; it often served as a prod to men’s ambition and did much to shape society. Even today, it remains a strong motivation to any young man who accepts it.

However, for two generations now, esteem for this role has been fading—to the point where today it is ignored, if not treated with contempt. Rising standards of living have grown more difficult to sustain on a single paycheck. Two-income families are the norm, and few men expect to be a family’s sole breadwinner. The notion of devoting one’s life to a job out of a duty to others has grown passé. Today’s premium on individualism, self-fulfillment and self-expression often turns a job search into a long, meandering voyage with unpredictable compensation. Marriage and family are also fading from fashion; to say that pop culture promotes singlehood is an understatement. And though young people still say they want to marry, ubiquitous acceptance of premarital sex definitely removes their urgency to do so. This encourages men to brush breadwinning aside and removes the pressure on them to grow up.

These are just a few of the many factors that have turned the male breadwinner model into a relic. Two additional factors are worth special consideration.

‘Build a Bridge and Get Over It’

First is the influence of feminism. The movement for women’s equality is fundamentally opposed to an arrangement where a woman depends on a man’s provision. “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” goes the slogan, summarizing the drive to empower women to stand on their own two feet.

Under this banner, women have left their homes and stormed the barricades, filling schools, businesses, offices, clinics, battlefields and nearly everywhere else. And they have proven themselves spectacularly capable as productive workers, entrepreneurs and earners.

Now, however, a remarkable spinoff of this development has become obvious: Men watching it happen have gotten the clear message that they’re not needed.

It’s a proven, demonstrable aftereffect: In areas where they compete, women’s success tends to discourage men. You can attribute this to chauvinism, sexist indoctrination or whatever you would like, but it is real, and it is powerful. “What happens when women outperform men?” asked Sandy Hingston in Philadelphia Magazine. “Men withdraw from the field” (March 2012). Once they see that women are providing for themselves, they lose interest in taking over that job.

“Gender identity, sociologists say, is developed oppositionally,” Hingston wrote. “If boys see girls behaving in a certain way—working hard and excelling in school—they define masculinity in opposite terms: A real man doesn’t work hard at school or get good grades.”

This effect is apparent throughout the workforce. As women enter a profession, men lose interest in it. As Rosin details in her book, men are abandoning more and more jobs while women rush in to fill the void. Women’s options for employment keep expanding as men surrender them.

The upshot of all this, Rosin says, is “the emergence of an American matriarchy, where the younger men especially are unmoored,and closer than at any other time in history to being obsolete—at least by most traditional measures of social utility. And the women are left picking up the pieces.”

Unmoored. Obsolete. These are painfully accurate terms for far too many of today’s aimless, indifferent young men.

What to do? No one suggests that the solution is for women to underachieve so men don’t feel threatened. The standard response is that men simply need to change their thinking.

“Build a bridge and get over it. Don’t just sit and whine and carry on.” That’s the advice of one woman whom Rosin quotes in her book. Hers is a typical story: After her husband supported his family on a manufacturing job for decades, the plant closed. Now he’s struggling, she’s the family’s breadwinner, he’s nostalgic for the old days (“Probably no one has had their wife move up the ladder as far as I’ve moved down,” he says)—and she’s had enough of his brooding.

In cases like this, the man’s sense of duty as a provider is viewed as the source of the problem. He just needs to learn to be comfortable in his diminished role.

But this man is old-school. The young bucks never had that sense of duty, and a diminished role is cool with them.

Kay Hymowitz exposes this trend in her book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys. She describes how it becomes a self-reinforcing cycle, with men responding to women’s progress by disengaging, which enables women to make even greater strides. When the two sides meet on the dating scene, strong women grow exasperated about childish men, “then in fear and disgust either give up on any idea of a husband and kids or just go to a sperm bank and get the dna without the troublesome man. But these rational choices on the part of women only serve to legitimize men’s attachment to the sand box. Why should they grow up? No one needs them anyway. There’s nothing they have to do. They might as well just have another beer.”

There’s nothing they have to do. This is the void that is currently left where that sense of duty to provide used to be.

Feminist social architects would call that progress.

Pig Heaven

Men’s self-destructive tendency to retreat under female pressure has synchronized with a second powerful factor eroding the male breadwinner model: the advent of modern time wasters tailor-made to suck the life out of the male mind.

Today’s media have become a black hole for male ambition and responsibility. As Hymowitz writes, “Relatively affluent, free of family responsibilities, and entertained by an array of media devoted to his every pleasure, the single young man can live in pig heaven—and often does.” This too is a self-perpetuating cycle: A man with little motivation to become a respectable breadwinner is more liable to devote his hours to senseless pursuits, which renders him even less capable of ever fulfilling that role.

Two of the most toxic examples are video games and pornography. Their most voracious consumers are young men, and they are ravaging society’s manhood on an epic scale.

Video game addiction is about four times more common among boys than girls. The average American boy spends 13 hours a week absorbed in video games, compared to five hours for the average girl. Half of college students admit that video games preempt their studies “some” or “a lot.” By the time the average American youth reaches drinking age, he will have devoted 10,000 hours to gaming—enough time to have earned two bachelor’s degrees.

The valuable time and energy being swallowed up by these games is problem enough, but the ghoulish content many of them contain makes their effect far worse. Millions of young people are immersing themselves in realistic games that encourage them to become killers, sadists, mutilators and monsters that use every conceivable weapon for murder, torture, dismemberment, decapitation, impaling, ethnic cleansing and rape.

Pornography has become mainstream, pervasive, socially accepted, and, thanks to the Internet, devilishly easy to get. It is also intensely addictive. The demand is monstrous: For every two Hollywood movies produced, 45 full-length commercial porn films are. The averagehigh school boy watches porn two hours a week. Researchers conducting a study in July 2011 on porn and prostitution had so much difficulty finding non-users that they had to loosen their definition in order to muster up a hundred men for a control group.

These perverted images and warped concepts filling men’s minds have devastating effects on men’s relationships and mental health. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that regular pornography users have higher rates of depression and even physical health problems than non-users. “The reason is that porn may start a cycle of isolation,” the report explained. “Porn may become a substitute for healthy face-to-face interactions, social or sexual.” Psychologists say video games also tend to desensitize a user to reality and to real-life interactions with people.

In their book The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It, psychologists Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan contend that these media influences are actually rewiring men’s brains. “The excessive use of video games and online porn,” they write, “is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.”

Think on that. These influences are crushing society’s manhood. One specific proof: Academics have uncovered a correlation between porn use and an increase in a man’s willingness to move back in with his parents. Risk-averse men who cannot handle life’s complexities are deeply disadvantaged if not crippled in ever being able to support a family.

It’s impossible to measure precisely, but this media assault has contributed significantly to the development of today’s Incredible Shrinking Man.

A Curse

Feminists tend to applaud the breakdown of “all the old ways” of male-female relations. But look what has taken their place: academically and financially thriving women with no one to marry, and juvenile men huddling in caves of self-indulgence. Is this what feminists want?

Modern society has smashed the ideals it once held about what makes a man. In their stead, negative stereotypes and confusion remain. Sadly, men are increasingly living down to the stereotypes. Dr. Zimbardo found that nearly two thirds of men say they lack motivation because of mixed messages from media and society about a man’s role. We are raising generations of boys who have no idea how to become men. The results of breaking down “all the old ways” have been disastrous.

These failings vividly illustrate some vital truths, plainly evident to anyone willing to look at the situation honestly.

The loss of strong manliness is a plague on our society. The loss of breadwinning men in favor of perpetual adolescents has produced a swarm of other problems that result when men disengage from family and from society. Sure, women are succeeding financially and professionally—but families are fragmenting, and the nation is morally and spiritually disintegrating.

Believe it or not, this calamity was prophesied, in your Bible, thousands of years ago. The prophecy is in Isaiah 3:1-3, and it is primarily about the end time, in which we now live. It specifically focuses on “Jerusalem” and “Judah,” biblical language for the modern descendants of ancient Israel, including America and Britain. And it describes exactly what we see before our eyes: nations where strong male leadership has almost disappeared.

This prophecy also reveals the true, but hidden,cause: God has removed strong men as a curse on our nations—because of our sins.

Yes, God considers the loss of masculine men a terrible curse.

Why the Provider Role Is So Crucial

The Bible defines sin as the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). His law simply codifies His way of life, which is love (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:14; 1 John 5:3). It means outgoing concern, giving and sharing, kindness and courtesy, putting the needs of another above your own. God’s way of life is the way of give.

The prevailing spirit of today’s society—self-indulgence, lust, greed, materialism, excess, deceit, cheating and pride—is the way of get, the way of sin. It is also the way of our human nature, the way that comes naturally to us (e.g. Mark 7:21-23; Romans 8:7-8). God’s purpose is to help us overcome that natural tendency, to develop righteous character, and to live His way of love that produces happiness, joy and peace.

One of the most powerful tools God created in order to teach us that way is family. A man learns that noble, wonderful way by absorbing himself in his God-given role within the family (sidebar: “Why Men and Women?”).

The duty of provider is in many ways at the heart of a man’s role (e.g. 1 Timothy 5:8). It is fundamentally a giving, sacrificing responsibility. A man must apply his strength, his capabilities and his talents to produce something of value to more than just himself. He earns enough to support a wife and children, also stabilizing and strengthening society in the process.

Though this job requires a certain discipline and self-denial, the man who fulfills it as God intends receives tremendous satisfaction. He thrives where his strength and skill are put to productive use, where he is needed and respected, where others benefit from his accomplishment. He derives joy from being able to give to his family, to open opportunities for them, to supply their needs and many of their wants. He learns to value these things even above his own desires.

Even in a society that so routinely exalts selfishness, many people, deep down, know this to be true. They see nobility in a man who thinks this way.

Why Men Are Weak

A man who prioritizes his own selfish cravings above the needs of others grows smaller. He enters a negative cycle that pulls him away from responsibility, away from accomplishment and achievement—away from family. He grows more inward-focused, self-absorbed, myopic, lazy, self-indulgent. His perspective contracts; the size of his world shrinks. He puts his own interests above those of his family; his wife’s needs become secondary. His ability to lead suffers. In a word, he becomes less of a man.

The frustrations that so many people have over the weakness of men today all trace back to this powerful spiritual truth: Men are weak because of their sin. The self-indulgence, the sex perversion, the focus on self rather than on sacrifice—these are sins. If a man succumbs to sin, he becomes weak. God removes His blessings and allows the devil to do his work.

These sins are causing the collapse of manly leadership and male responsibility. They are creating weakness, insecurity and selfishness. They are leading to the disappearance of manhood!

The disappearance of the male breadwinner directly correlates with the disappearance of the manly man. A man who has willingly abdicated the role of provider—who is content to live off the largesse of others rather than marshaling his powers to produce for others—is not a man. He should do all he can to become self-sufficient and a net producer. Only as he does so can his thoughts begin to take on the dignity of godly manhood.

The transition from boyhood to manhood is largely a transition from taking to giving. From being dependent to being a provider. From being someone for whom others make sacrifices to being one who sacrifices for others. A boy who physically grows to look like a man, but has not made that change, is not truly a man.

The Path to True Manhood

Feminists say they want equality for women. But how many of them actually want weak men? No woman applauds a man for being addicted to video games and pornography. When revelations of a prominent man’s infidelity emerge, his stature drops; he becomes a lesser man in our eyes. In our hearts we know that this signifies frailty of character.

What is honorable and worthy of admiration is the man with self-mastery, who refrains from being entrapped by such sins. We yearn for the man with self-control, with temperance, with strong moral character.

A strong man is a blessing to his wife and children. He provides more than money—he provides security, attentive engagement, successful leadership, firm guidance, emotional stability and real love.

Society still appreciates such men, yet it teaches and pressures males to do the opposite. As I told the teen boys I visited this past summer: Follow society, and women are going to pass you by. To grow into real men, you must be strong enough to follow a different way.

Those boys all wanted to be the leaders in their future families, and they were also interested in marrying intelligent, capable women. I told them that there are plenty of those women out there, but they won’t want to marry uneducated, lumpish men. If a man wants a high-quality woman, there is only one way to attract her: He must become a high-quality man.

That means he must devote his full energies to swimming upstream against society. He must make it his unwavering aim to grow—against pressure—in those qualities that will arm him for the rigors of true manhood. He must eschew the pastimes that weaken men. He must avoid the addictions that eat away at men’s minds, blacken their consciences and destroy their confidence. He must stoke the flames of ambition in his life. He must aim high, and equip himself to become an able leader of a strong, capable woman.

We are living the curse of the shrinking man—its effects are everywhere. We must allow God to guide our individual lives along an entirely contrary course. We must not be swayed by the perverse reasoning of this politically correct world. We must dedicate ourselves to a higher purpose. We must allow God to shape us, to forge us into instruments strong enough to lead strong families, to give confidence to women, to give stability to children, to give solidity to society.

This is what God wants. This is how we were created. This is literally what we were born to do. Men: to grow up, achieve, mature and embrace the role that your masculine mind and body were designed for. Women: to grow up, achieve, mature and embrace the role that your feminine mind and body were designed for. This is that elusive solution—hiding in plain sight if your Bible is open—to our manless society. It’s not about getting back to the traditions of yesteryear. It’s about embracing how we were created. Discover that, live that, and you will be embarking on a life journey that no feminist, manboy, sociologist or author can even dream of: a life full of growth, challenge, fulfillment, confidence and happiness built on knowing what it really means to be a woman, and what it really means to be a man.