Who Were the Druids?

Victoria Terrell/PT

Who Were the Druids?

More evidence of America and Britain’s ancient identity
From the October 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

You may have noticed how often the Trumpet encourages readers to study The United States and Britain in Prophecy. Of all the literature we publish, this book is the most important for understanding world events and Bible prophecy. Together with the Bible, it forms the prophetic foundation of this magazine.

The United States and Britain in Prophecy explains the origins of the United States, the British Commonwealth and the Jewish nation of Israel. Herbert W. Armstrong, the book’s author, showed that these nations are the descendants of ancient Israel and therefore the inheritors of the extraordinary promises God made to Abraham, the father of Israel’s patriarchs.

Among the many proofs of Israel’s modern identity and location, Mr. Armstrong explained how the “lost 10 tribes of Israel” left the Levant in the eighth century b.c. and migrated through Europe and into the British Isles. From there, descendants of the tribe of Manasseh later departed for America (“new Israel,” as many of them called it) and formed what became the United States of America.

Many people contest the idea that the Bible can provide insight into the identity of nations and international relations. But the facts in The United States and Britain in Prophecy are validated by science, by rational argumentation, and by convincing empirical evidence.

Here we will look at some tangible evidence, not only historical documents, but actual artifacts—multiple giant features that one can visit and touch—showing that the lost 10 tribes of Israel migrated from the eastern Mediterranean, through Europe, and into the British Isles.

Meet King Jeroboam

Many people contest the idea that the Bible can provide insight into the identity of nations and international relations. But the facts in The United States and Britain in Prophecy are validated by science, by rational argumentation, and by convincing empirical evidence.
When King Solomon died around 940 b.c. Israel was a united, rich and powerful kingdom. Solomon left Israel to his son, Rehoboam, who dealt harshly with the people, even dramatically raising taxes. King Rehoboam’s cruel leadership provoked a revolution. In 1 Kings 12, the chapter that describes these events, the term “Israel” refers to 10 specific tribes. Verse 19 says that Israel “rebelled against the house of David unto this day.”

The rebellion was led by Jeroboam, a prominent leader from the northern tribe of Ephraim (verse 20; 2 Chronicles 10:3). Following the revolt, Jeroboam was made king “over all Israel.”

This was the moment Israel split into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom, situated in the region of Samaria, the Bible continued to call “Israel.” This kingdom consisted of 10 tribes and was led by King Jeroboam. The southern kingdom, named Judah, consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, as well as the Levites. Judah was led by King Rehoboam, and its headquarters remained in Jerusalem.

These two kingdoms, though family, became archrivals.

King Jeroboam didn’t bask in success for long. Securing the allegiance of 2 to 3 million disgruntled Israelites was easy; he now faced the challenge of keeping it. His people were accustomed to looking to Jerusalem, to the temple priesthood and the Davidic monarchy, for leadership. Under kings David and Solomon, the government displayed strong, stable leadership, politically, religiously and culturally.

Israel’s new king knew this would have to change, and quickly. Jeroboam’s immediate goal was to sever his people’s connection to Jerusalem, lest they gravitate back to Judah and its capital (1 Kings 12:26-27). To do this, Jeroboam invented an independent political and religious system in Israel.

Read for yourself what King Jeroboam told his people: “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (verse 28). The king told his people, “Stop looking to Jerusalem, embrace this new political-religious system I have developed for you!”

So, what did King Jeroboam’s counterfeit political-religious system look like?

The Religion of Jeroboam

Like all good counterfeiters, King Jeroboam relied heavily upon the original product for inspiration. Basically, he took Israel’s existing religion and refashioned it to his own liking, adding in doses of paganism that he had gleaned from Egypt (where he had lived) and surrounding Gentile nations. His strategy was effective. To the Israelites, King Jeroboam’s political-religious system was similar enough to the one in Jerusalem to be believable. The people embraced it and never looked back.

You can see some of the specific beliefs and practices of Jeroboam’s religion in the accompanying table. Let’s notice some especially pertinent details.

1 Kings 12:31 says that Jeroboam “made an house of the high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.” The Hebrew word for house here means palace or temple. Jeroboam didn’t want his people looking to the temple in Jerusalem, so he built a counterfeit temple in Samaria. Notice, he then filled that temple with “priests of the lowest of the people.” King Jeroboam recognized the tremendous value of the temple and the Levitical priesthood, which God created and King David established in the united kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam created his own priesthood of ministers, musicians and poets.

The Druids worshiped in the same manner as the Israelite practitioners of Jeroboam’s religion.
Verse 32 continues, “And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar ….” Jeroboam established his own holy day system, but it was patterned after the holy day system practiced in Judah. It was a perverted form of the true religion.

Notice. In Leviticus 23:34 God had established the timing of when Israel was to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, commanding, “The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles ….” King Jeroboam kept his feast of tabernacles one month later. (Keep this in mind.)

King Jeroboam also replaced worship on the Sabbath with worship on Sunday. For proof, see Hosea 2:11. Here, God sends the Prophet Hosea to denounce Israel for practicing the religion of Jeroboam, which included replacing God’s Sabbath and holy days with “her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.”

King Jeroboam promoted idol worship, and created a number of pagan idols, many of them taken from Egypt and the surrounding Gentile peoples. He turned his people to these false gods, even claiming that these pagan gods were responsible for releasing Israel from Egyptian captivity (1 Kings 12:28).

King Jeroboam reigned for 22 years, during which he deeply entrenched his political-religious system in Israel. We know Jeroboam’s religious system survived because biblical passages such 2 Kings 17 show it to be alive and thriving more than 200 years after his death! Verse 22 describes Israel’s condition toward the end of the eighth century b.c.: “For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them.”

In verse 10 we read that practitioners of Jeroboam’s religion at this time “set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree.” The Hebrew term for images means “a column or memorial stone.” Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says it means “something set upright, specially: a) a pillar … b) a statue, the image of an idol, e.g. the statue of Baal.” The Israelites also worshiped in “groves in every high hill, and under every green tree.” The term groves refers to a place marked by trees. Often, as the scripture clearly says, they would gather under one large tree. (Groves can also refer to the pagan goddess, Asherah.) They also constructed worship places at the summit of “high hills.”

Verses 16-17 provide further documentation: “And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.”

The Israelites were deeply immersed in the practice of “divination” and “enchantments,” which means sorcery, witchcraft, fortune-telling, and looking to heavenly signs and omens. In fact, their religion had become so depraved they were practicing human sacrifice using their own children.

By the late eighth century b.c., the religion of Jeroboam was so entrenched—and the Israelites were so unrepentant, even rejecting multiple warnings from God’s prophets—that God was left with no choice but to intervene and punish Israel severely. “For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them” (2 Kings 17:22). The primary reason for Israel’s punishment was the unrepentant, pervasive practice of the religion of Jeroboam!

But remember: Despite their rebellion and although they didn’t look like it at the time, these people were God’s chosen people, a once-great cluster of tribes that God Himself had established and loved and had been working with for nearly a millennium!

2 Kings 17 discusses Israel’s besiegement, capture and destruction by the Assyrians in 721-718 b.c.

“Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israelcarried awayout of their own land to Assyria unto this day” (verse 23).

The Bible couldn’t be clearer! Millions of Israelites, a people deeply steeped in the religion of Jeroboam, were literally “carried away” to the land of Assyria. At this time, the Assyrians lived north and east of what we call the Black Sea. The Israelites settled here for a time, but continued to move into Western Europe (as did the Assyrians). Eventually, the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Dan settled in the British Isles.

How can we prove this? Well, among other proofs, there is tangible evidence of the religion of Jeroboam being practiced in Western Europe and, even more so, in the British Isles!

Celtic Druidism

The Oxford Dictionary defines a Druid as “a priest, magician or soothsayer in the ancient Celtic religion.” The common perception today is that the Druids were a relatively small and insignificant class of people, and that ancient Druidism was an obscure religion, not widely practiced and without influence. This perception is false.

In Celt, Druid and Culdee, Isabel Hill Elder writes: “The popular belief that Druidism was the religion of ancient Britain and nothing more is entirely erroneous. Druidism was, in fact, the center and source from which radiated the whole of organized civil and ecclesiastical knowledge and practice of the country …. The truth about the Druids … is that they were men of culture, well educated, equitable and impartial in the administration of justice” (emphasis added).

Druidism was in fact the defining religion of the Celts, the people who lived in the British Isles, including Ireland, before the arrival of the Romans in the first century a.d.

1 Kings 12:28-33 record that King Jeroboam established centers of religious worship in Ephraim (in the border city of Bethel) and in Dan. Here, among the tribes of Ephraim and Dan in particular, Jeroboam placed his pagan priests on “the high places which he had made.” Isn’t it interesting that a few hundred years later, both Britain (Ephraim) and Ireland (Dan) were the centers of Druidism? This pagan religion was practiced in parts of Western Europe, but, just as it did during the time of Jeroboam, it thrived in, and emanated from, the latter-day nations where the tribes of Dan and Ephraim settled—Ireland and Britain!

Druidism arrived in the British Isles in waves; however, historians agree that it was entrenched and thriving by the third century b.c. Prior to the arrival of the Romans, Druidism, though localized, was an elaborate and well-developed system of government, law and education. Druids were the leaders of local societies; the guardians of the law, politics and culture; and the chief musicians and artists.

The Encyclopedia Britannica introduces the Druid as a “member of the learned class among the ancient Celts. They seem to have frequented oak forests and acted as priests, teachers and judges.” Isn’t it interesting that Druid priests were also judges, teachers and even poets and musicians? This was similar to the Levitical priesthood established in Israel, which we know King Jeroboam counterfeited (1 Chronicles 23:3-5).

There are various forms of Druidism, and there are differences in the practices, customs and beliefs between the various forms. Most, however, recognize eight annual feasts. (God established seven annual holy days in ancient Israel). The four primary Druidic festivals are Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. The four minor feasts revolve around the movement of the sun (winter solstice, spring equinox, summer solstice, and fall equinox).

For many Druids, Samhain was the most important festival. This festival was celebrated on November 1, though some people celebrated it for seven or eight days. Recall what King Jeroboam did with the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles that God inspired, which generally falls sometime during the months of September and October? He postponed it by one month!

Historical records show that the Druids worshiped in stone and timber circles, or henges, which were often situated on a high hill. Ireland and the United Kingdom today are littered with stone henges of all shapes and sizes. (Timber henges are rare due to decomposition.) There are well over 100 such ancient stone circles. Elder discusses these: “The gigantic monoliths placed in circles and the piles of stones were alike unhewn. These piles, called si’uns or cairns, and in the north of England known as laws or lows, were usually placed on the summit of hills and mounds. … The similarity of si’un with the Hebrew word Zion (fortress), the Mount of Stone (as the name Zion in Celtic means), is striking.”

Most stone henges have been dated to before Israel’s Assyrian captivity. How can we explain this? Historical record shows that many Celts traced their ancestry all the way back to Egypt and the Israelites’ captivity in Egypt (circa 1600 b.c.). After the Exodus, some Israelites, mainly from the tribe of Dan, separated and set off for the British Isles. The Bible also records that the patriarchs and early Israelite leaders such as Moses and Joshua also used stone monuments and altars (e.g. Genesis 31:45-46; Joshua 4:19-21). This history requires another article, but the point is: There was a series of smaller Israelite migrations to the British Isles more than a thousand years before the arrival of the lost 10 tribes and the religion of Jeroboam (e.g. Judges 5:17).

Druids also worshiped in groves, or clumps of trees. Oak trees were especially appealing and an important part of religious worship. In Age of Fable, 18th-century author Thomas Bulfinch wrote: “These sacred circles were generally situated near some stream, or under the shadow of a grove or wide-spreading oak. In the center of the circle stood the Cromlech, or altar, which was a large stone, placed in the manner of a table upon other stones set up on end. The Druids had also their high places, which were large stones or piles of stones on the summits of hills. These were called Cairns, and were used in the worship of the deity under the symbol of the sun.”

The Druids worshiped in the same manner as the Israelite practitioners of Jeroboam’s religion.

Among the various Druidic symbols, the snake and the cow were especially important. In Mysteries of the Druids, written in 1861, Winwood Reade wrote, “[T]he Druids worshiped the heavenly bodies, and also trees, and water, and mountains, and the signs of the serpent, the bull and the cross.” The serpent and cow featured heavily in Jeroboam’s religion as well (2 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 12:28-30). Archaeological excavations in Britain have uncovered the remains of sheep, goats and cows at Druidic sites. These animals were obviously used in sacrifices. But notice, these are all “clean” animals. The Druids—and King Jeroboam before them—could have learned the truth about “clean and unclean meats” from only one place: righteous Israel! (see Leviticus 11).

Roman records, specifically the writings of Julius Caesar, indicate that at least some Druids conducted human sacrifices. As we read earlier, this too was a practice of the religion of Jeroboam.

It is also fascinating to consider the way the Druidic ministry was organized in various orders. In How the Gospel Came to Britain, Brian Williams writes: “One class was concerned strictly with the priestly or sacrificial office. There was another class which were considered prophets and were occasionally employed at the altar, but with a special duty of the composition of music and sacred hymns. A third strictly secular class was occupied in composing and reciting poetry for the encouragement of virtue and condemnation of vice. A fourth class was devoted to astrology, sorcery and occultism. The priesthood was hereditary, but the chief Druid was elected.”

Again, compare that with the Bible’s description of how King David organized the Levites in 1 Chronicles 23 and 24. Under God’s direction, David divided the Levites into departments, or “courses.” These included “officers and judges,” “porters,” singers and musicians, and departments responsible for even more specific functions. King Jeroboam counterfeited all of this, and Israel’s descendants in the British Isles centuries later still practiced his corrupted forms!

Archaeological excavations in the British Isles have uncovered the remains of Druid priests. Along with the skeletal remains, priestly garments—intricately designed clothes of amazing patterns and colors, studded with precious stones—have also been found. From whom did the Druids, and Jeroboam before them, learn about priestly garb? Again, from the high priests in righteous Israel! Passages such as Exodus 28:15-21 show the high priest wearing a white robe and a golden breastplate set with 12 precious jewels.

Records show that the Druids perpetuated their religion and government through a well-developed system of education. There were educational institutions, or colleges, spread throughout the British Isles. Elder wrote that when the Romans invaded there were “40 Druidic centers of learning” and that these “40 colleges were each presided over by a chief Druid.” During the time of Julius Caesar, people were traveling from Europe to the British Isles to be educated in Druidic colleges. But where did the Druids, and King Jeroboam before them, get the idea of institutionalized education?

Once again, from righteous Israel! The Bible clearly reveals that Samuel the prophet established a sophisticated, well-ordered system of education in Israel during the late 12th century and 11th century b.c. (1 Samuel 19:18-24; 2 Kings 2:3-15). Samuel had three colleges, and probably hundreds of students, “sons of the prophets.” King David himself was educated by Samuel and probably attended one of these colleges.

The Arrival of Christianity

What happened when Roman Christianity began to arrive in the British Isles in the late first century? Was Celtic Druidism eradicated? Was it absorbed into British Christianity? The answer is: both!

Elder writes: “Upon the introduction of Christianity the Druids were called upon, not so much to reverse their ancient faith, as to ‘lay it down for a fuller and more perfect revelation.’ No country can show a more rapid, natural merging of a native religion into Christianity than that which was witnessed in Britain in the first century a.d. The readiness with which the Druids accepted Christianity, the facilities with which their places of worship and colleges were turned to Christian uses, the willingness of the people to accept the new religion are facts which the modern historian has either overlooked or ignored.”

In The Offshore Islanders, historian Paul Johnson describes how Britain’s Christianity has always been distinct from Roman Christianity. Johnson calls it a “Celtic Christianity,” and it was prominent—in various forms and often localized—throughout the British Isles, especially Wales, Scotland and Ireland, before the large-scale arrival of Roman Catholicism in the late seventh century. Celtic Christianity was essentially a blend of Celtic religion and tradition and Christianity.

A lot of people would agree that this history is remarkable and fascinating. But it is also a wonderful opportunity. Before you set this article down and move on, take a few moments to think on what we have just witnessed. You have just seen the convergence, in astonishing detail, of secular history—tangible, quantifiable, undeniable facts about the Celtic religion—with the biblical narrative. Doesn’t this prove the veracity of the Bible?

Think too about our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. This book isn’t a careless, lightweight, amalgamation of a few Bible stories and scriptures. It is not the impromptu thoughts of a modern Christian minister or the compilation of a few conspiracy theories. The message of The United States and Britain in Prophecy is a thorough, well-researched, logical explanation of Scripture that has been repeatedly proven accurate by actual historical events and by mountains of tangible, quantifiable evidence.

If you haven’t already, you really should request and read this book. If you thought this study of the Druids was interesting, you will be astonished by the journey Mr. Armstrong will take you on in Britain’s 4,000-Year-Old History.

GettyImages-1207188675.jpg

Coronavirus: How Should You Respond?

The world is panicking and locking down in response to a virus. Some are asking, is God angry with mankind? The answer should dictate your response.

Read More

The History That Is Prophecy

njgphoto/iStock

The History That Is Prophecy

Why it is so important to study the former prophets
From the October 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

How often have we heard that “history repeats itself”? It does—time and time again.

The Old Testament is divided into three main sections: the law, the prophets, and the psalms, or writings (e.g. Luke 24:44). The prophets include what are classified as the “major” and “minor” prophets. There also are the “former prophets,” comprised of the biblical books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings. These were originally just two books: Joshua-Judges and the Book of Kings. They are all tied together; you need to understand them individually and as one prophetic unit.

These books record a broad sweep of history of the nation of Israel—from the time the Israelites entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua until the two parts of the divided kingdom, Israel and Judah, were conquered and taken into captivity. There is a special message in all the former prophets. They are mostly about history, but they are called formerprophets for a reason. The word former simply means that they are the earlier prophets. These books were written by prophets and are filled with end-time prophecy.

The message in Joshua and Judges is unique: If nations would follow Joshua’s way, then things would go well for them. The nations would have to look to Moses and the law of God. If, on the other hand, our modern nations of Israel chose to live as Israel did during the time of the judges—when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”—then there would be disaster! The books of Joshua and Judges contain prophecy of how we shall succeed or fail.

The books of Kings and Samuel teach us how to be kings and priests. If people today followed these books, our nations would not be in the terrible condition they are today. These books record how to succeed or fail as God’s nation. They are a strong witness that if a nation goes the same way as ancient Israel, everything will fall apart.

Only History?

Traditional Christianity says the former prophets contain only history and are of limited value for us today. Such reasoning is ignorant and spiritually dangerous. There is a lot more to these books than just history. The former prophets contain many vital spiritual lessons for us today that we need to understand. These books teach us about leadership. They teach us how to build faith. They give instruction especially pertinent to the ministry.

These books show that if we live the same lifestyles our forefathers did, we will attain virtually the same results—good or bad. History becomes prophecy.
Many authorities call history our most effective teacher. There is a lot of truth to that statement. Napoleon Bonaparte said that if you want to be a great general, you must study the great generals of the past. That is good advice for us spiritually as well. Bible history is the greatest history of all because it’s God’s history. We have to learn about these spiritual warriors of the past. We need to learn about Joshua and Samuel, and about David—who has the greatest, longest biography in the Bible. We should understand why Saul failed even though he had such a great opportunity. We need to know about Elijah and Elisha.

What were these powerful leaders all about? We must learn from our history!

The former prophets contain a lot of direct prophecies—pivotal prophecies that are especially for this end time. The former prophets also give us indirect prophecies. Of course these books record history, but it is history that, in most cases, alsobecomes prophecy. For example, it shows how the state of religion in ancient Israel revealed the state of the nation. So if we have the same or similar religious problems today, this is an indirect prophecy of what is happening in the end-time nations of Israel, which are primarily America and Britain. (If you have not proved this important truth, study our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.) These books show that if we live the same lifestyles our forefathers did, we will attain virtually the same results—good or bad. History becomes prophecy. Not all prophecy is history, but a lot of history becomes prophecy. History prophesies the fate of nations—whether they will thrive or collapse!

As long as we reject our history, we will never accept Bible prophecy. That means God must punish us as never before. The instrument God will use is rising quickly in Europe (Isaiah 10:5-7).

British and American leaders have been utterly contemptuous of World War ii history that cost 50 million lives! Our nations will pay dearly for such dangerous contempt of history. But an even worse problem is that our religious leaders have forgotten our spiritual history. They don’t even know that America, Britain and the Jews in the Middle East are all a part of biblical Israel. The Israelites were the only people who ever had a history with God!

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition,upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Israel’s history was recorded for our instruction. The lessons of the former prophets were written for you and me! There is no excuse for people to call them just history.

Primarily for Us

Ephesians 3:5 says God reveals truth only to His prophets and apostles. Ephesians 2:20 says that this is all “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” God revealed prophecy only to prophets in the Old Testament. Prophets certainly wrote the books of the former prophets. The writing prophets usually were the most outstanding in the work they did for God. Much of the content in these books is about prophets, and it was all written by prophets. So they are all prophetic history.

In Luke 24:25, Christ spoke these strong words of condemnation: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” Do you believe all that the prophets have spoken? Christ called these people fools for failing to do so.

What prophets was Christ talking about? Verse 27 says, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” He went all the way back to the Pentateuch and then the former prophets. Christ was very condemnatory of those people for not understanding what was in these books, including the former prophets. So we had better learn everything we can about these books and everything in the Bible that God leads us to understand. We don’t want Christ calling us fools.

The former prophets are mostly prophetic. They contain spiritual history that is primarily for us today. God inspired these books mainly for our day—just before Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.

We will never understand the lessons God wants to teach us if we don’t study the former prophets. But few people heed God’s warnings. And we are going to pay the ultimate price if we don’t learn these God-inspired lessons!

Book Club: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years | Meeting Five

Read More

INFOGRAPHIC: How Bad Is California’s ‘Record’ Drought?

From the October 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

“We are facing the worst drought impact that we or our grandparents have ever seen,” State Water Board chair Felicia Marcus said on July 15. “And, more important, we have no idea when it will end.”

Across America, the economic and social impacts of California’s record drought are beginning to be felt—and they may soon get a lot worse. At the current usage rate, California has less than two years of water remaining.

The state’s snowpack, the source of roughly one third of the state’s drinking and agricultural water, is only at about 20 percent of its normal water content. Earlier this year, the state announced that 17 small communities were within 100 days of running out of drinking water.

The dramatic statistics on this infographic point to the severity of California’s current three-year drought. What they don’t tell is how bad the drought will be tomorrow.

The archaeological record points to far worse droughts in the past, including some that lasted more than 50 years. California’s current problems are only three years old.

What would the state that produces so much of the nation’s food, and is home to 38 million people, look like after an extended drought? This is what Californians should ask themselves. It has happened before. Actually, paleoclimatic data indicate that during the last 400 years, the U.S. has probably received some of the best weather North America has had to offer over the past 2,000—even considering the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

The Bible prophesies that mega-droughts are on their way again.

GettyImages-1022899372_2.jpg

American Bolsheviks

Could an event as violent as the Russian Civil War ever happen in the United States of America?

Read More

Russian military to add aircraft, vessels

From the October 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

The Russian Air Force will receive more than 200 new warplanes and helicopters by the end of 2014, Russian Air Force commander in chief Viktor Bondarev said on August 12. The announcement came just weeks after Moscow announced that its naval force will add more than 50 new vessels by the end of the year.

During celebrations of Russia’s Air Force Day, Bondarev said the Russian Air Force has received more warplanes in the last three years than in the previous two decades.

In late June, the Russian Navy launched a Project 636 diesel-electric ultraquiet submarine, as well as a new-generation Project 12700 mine countermeasures ship. Navy commander in chief Adm. Viktor Chirkov said in a June 21 statement that by the end of the year, the navy will receive five more Project 636 submarines, four Raptor patrol boats and more than 40 additional combat and logistics vessels.

The announcements come at a time of increasing aggression by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And Kremlin analysts say that Russia is not even disclosing the full extent of its military spending.

After Russia announced its defense budget last year, Langley’s Intelligence Group wrote, “[T]he budget put forth by the Duma’s defense committee cannot accurately reflect either the real cost of Russia’s growing expenditures on nuclear and conventional forces or the real size of deficits being run up to finance increased military spending.”

Just as during the Cold War, Moscow’s true military budget is a state secret. Langley Intelligence reported that the Duma figures are “transparently false to the point of absurdity, since the Russian armed forces outnumber those of the United States in every category and are embarked on ambitious modernization programs, while the U.S. military is cutting its budget.”

History Tombstone.jpg

The Graveyard of Failed Geopolitical Forecasts

Predictions of future world events always fail—or do they?

Read More

Putin Won’t Just Survive, He’ll Thrive

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty

Putin Won’t Just Survive, He’ll Thrive

Reports of the Russian dictator’s demise are greatly exaggerated.
From the October 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

In the aftermath of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a growing number of Western voices are saying the reign of Russian President Vladimir Putin is near its end.

“[I]t should be the beginning of the end for Vladimir Putin,” the Australian wrote on July 18.

Analyst Paul Vale said the “push by the EU to inflict more punishing strictures against Russia’s elites could … pose an existential threat to the Putin regime” (Huffington Post, July 23).

Russia expert Ben Judah said the “European sanctions have spooked Russian elites. … Putin is slowly morphing from being the guarantor of the oligarchs’ billions into a threat to their wealth. They have started—for the first time—to become losers in Putinism” (Politico, July 31).

Sanctions are hurting the West, but is also rattling some Russian markets and intensifying the discomfort of many Russians.
It is true that the tough sanctions the United States and Europe imposed on Russia after the mh17 tragedy were designed to squeeze Russians, elite and otherwise, enough to bring about regime change. Putin’s response was to ban virtually all food imports from the U.S. and Europe. That move is hurting the West, but is also rattling some Russian markets and intensifying the discomfort of many Russians. All of this has some of Putin’s people questioning the direction he is leading them in.

But despite these developments, the Trumpet believes Putin will probably remain in office—and even survive politically in the longer term. This is our view for three main reasons.

Long Live the Czar

First, Putin is likely to survive because, despite the increasing economic discomfort most Russians are feeling, a growing number of them adore and fully support him.

“He made our people remember we were once a great nation,” Sevastopol resident Olga Rogachova told the Trumpet in July. “He is truly the hope of the nation.”

How is Mr. Putin pulling it off?

The sanctions on Russia, and Putin’s on Western food, have sent the prices of many foods climbing at alarming rates. It has prompted price hikes and runs on grocery stores, and may well lead to shortages. Russians who lived during the Soviet Union days remember price hikes and food shortages all too well. But Putin’s propaganda machine has shifted into overdrive to convince Russians to associate the new hardships with the heroic struggles of World War ii rather than with the miscarried economy of the Soviet Union. As a result, most Russians view their setbacks as noble sacrifices made in the name of the war effort.

The latest opinion poll, published August 6 by the Levada Center, put Putin’s approval rating at a stratospheric 87 percent. It also said that a record 66 percent of Russians think the country is now going in the right direction.

The only time Putin’s popularity level soared higher was in September 2008 just after Russia crushed Georgia’s military and accomplished a de facto annexation of two Georgian regions. A full 88 percent of Russians expressed approval of him at that time.

The pattern shows that Putin’s popularity climbs when he is boldly leading Russia to expand its territory and power. This is because he taps into the national pride abundant among Russians; he harnesses the deep-seated belief of many Russians that they are misunderstood by Westerners.

We believe Putin will survive not only the ongoing trade war, but also any larger conflict it may escalate into.
Political analyst George Bovt said, “The more pressure the international community applies, the stronger the anti-Western sentiment will become and the higher Putin’s ratings will climb” (Moscow Times, July 23).

But what about those who don’t approve of Putin? There is certainly some opposition. There is grumbling behind the scenes in the Russian Duma and among some oligarchs who, because of the trade war, are watching their wealth wither. A few are probably eyeing Putin the way vultures watch a wounded bear. But the president’s suppression of opposition is likely effective enough to prevent any of the grumbling to translate into regime change.

Putin has taken several steps recently to neuter his opponents. He has put opposition leaders such as Alexei Navalny under house arrest or in prison. In July, he made laws essentially making participation in opposition rallies a crime punishable by prison time and steep fines.

In mid-August, Putin quietly sacked 18 top-ranking Russian officials. Among them were the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the chief of the Federal Drug Control Service, the head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and several high-ranking military personnel. Were these 18 pressuring Putin or disagreeing with him to a degree he found unacceptable? Were they suspected of staging a coup? We don’t know the reason for the ousting, but the message it sends to Russians is clear: Putin is in charge, and he has no tolerance for those who forget it.

In order to keep the propaganda machine well oiled, Putin has also been clamping down on domestic media. In November 2013, he greatly extended his grip over tv and radio when the media arm of state-controlled Gazprom bought Profmedia. In December, he dissolved Russia’s primary state news agency, ria Novosti, after being angered by its coverage of the Maidan protests in Ukraine. After shutting ria Novosti down, he gave its facilities to Rossiya Segodnya, a news agency that is totally submissive to the Kremlin. Putin then went after smaller threats, passing legislation requiring all bloggers with more than 3,000 subscribers (or Twitter followers) to register with the authorities.

As a result of all these measures, Putin’s opposition has lost momentum. Meanwhile, his supporters are multiplying.

The Asian Alternative

In order to keep the propaganda machine well oiled, Putin has also been clamping down on domestic media.
Second, Putin can weather the Western frost by continuing to warm up to Asian nations. Since the earliest days of the Ukraine crisis, he has been tilting Russia ever more steeply toward the East, especially China and India. And these nations are gladly tilting right back toward Russia.

In March, just after Russia annexed Crimea, most in the West believed the so-called international community would stand together in condemning the move. But both Beijing and New Delhi made clear that they supported Putin. “Backing Russia is in China’s interests. … We shouldn’t disappoint Russia when it finds itself in a time of need,” the Global Times, a mouthpiece for China’s Communist Party, wrote on March 5. The next day, India threw its support behind Russia, with a senior official saying, “There are legitimate Russian and other interests involved [in Ukraine].”

Both powers have consistently refused to join in on Western sanctions. Both have made strengthening ties with Moscow a top priority of their foreign policies. They both have robust economic interests in Russia, and share increasingly in Moscow’s anti-Western ideology.

Many Westerners seemed to think the downing of mh17 would change the minds of the Chinese and Indians. In its aftermath, Washington renewed its requests for both to join Western impositions of new sanctions. But China was actually more critical of the West’s response to the tragedy than to Russia’s involvement. China’s official Xinhua news agency even printed—unchallenged—Moscow’s claim that it had spotted a Ukrainian fighter jet flying near the Malaysian airliner before it was downed. In India, the initial response to the tragedy was silence. Then came indications of increasing skepticism about the evidence presented by America and Ukraine. The Indians, like the Chinese, seemed to move even further into the Russian camp in the aftermath of the mh17 tragedy.

As the European Union scrambles to find ways of reducing its dependence on Russian gas and oil, China has giddily increased its consumption, signing a $400 billion deal in May to buy Russian gas. It was the largest known business transaction in human history.

In mid-July, the leaders of the brics nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—announced the creation of a brics-supported New Development Bank, with a $100 billion currency reserve fund, and $50 billion in initial capitalization.

On August 4, more blowback from the sanctions occurred when Russian oligarchs began de-dollarizing their cash holdings and shifting instead to Hong Kong dollars. Days later, the Russian and Chinese central banks agreed on a draft currency swap deal, which lets them cut their dependence on the U.S. dollar.

On August 4, more blowback from the sanctions occurred when Russian oligarchs began de-dollarizing their cash holdings and shifting instead to Hong Kong dollars.
brics nations are also supplying Russia with much of the food that it has stopped importing from the U.S. and Europe. China said on August 11 that it will start selling fruits and vegetables directly to Russia. Russia also approved 90 new Brazilian meat plants to sell beef, chicken and pork to Russia. In addition, Brazil is increasing its exports of corn and soybeans to Russian buyers. Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said that because of these moves, “No food shortages are expected.”

Even Japan has limited its sanctions against Russia to a degree that leaves the door open between Tokyo and Moscow. “Japan is sending the message that we are not enthusiastic about these sanctions,” said Yoshiki Mine, a research director at the Canon Institute for Global Studies in Tokyo and a former high-ranking Japanese diplomat. “Japan … wants to keep an opening with Russia.”

Leaders in the West enjoy referring to the “international community” when they discuss the force that opposes Russia, but in reality such solidarity does not exist. Western attempts to isolate Russia have failed. And as tensions between Moscow and the West intensify, we can expect Russia’s lean toward Asia to become its permanent geopolitical posture.

On High Authority

Finally, the Trumpet believes Vladimir Putin will likely survive the current calamity because of evidence in the world’s most reliable geopolitical authority: the Holy Bible.

It would be easy to scoff at that statement, but consider the Bible’s track record in forecasting major geopolitical events. Scripture foretold the rise and fall of the Chaldean Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greco-Macedonian Empire, and several iterations of the Roman Empire. Then, years after those scriptures were written, all these kingdoms rose up and then crumbled away exactly how and when the Bible had said they would.

And there is another important individual whose appearance was foretold in the Holy Bible: Vladimir Putin.
In the case of the Greco-Macedonian Empire, the Bible even prophesied the vital role that would be played by one individual: Alexander the Great. Passages in the book of Daniel foretold—some 200 years before he was even born—Alexander’s rule, his fierce conquests, and his sudden demise. (For a full explanation, request a copy of our free booklet History and Prophecy of the Middle East.) Alexander was shown the scriptures that had foretold his rule, and he believed that he did, in fact, fulfill the prophecies. First-century historian Josephus recorded the event. It happened when Alexander visited Jerusalem and met with the high priest, Jaddua. “And when the book of Daniel was shewed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended; and as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present …” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, Chap. 8, Sec. 5; William Whiston translation, 1981).

Alexander the Great is not the only history-altering individual whose impact was prophesied by Bible writers. Among the others are Josiah, the king of Judah; Cyrus, the king of Persia; and even Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Britain. All were prophesied to come onto the scene generations before they were born.

And there is another important individual whose appearance was foretold in the Holy Bible: Vladimir Putin.

A Prophesied ‘Prince’

Around a.d. 90, the Apostle John recorded a jaw-dropping prophecy: “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:16). That is describing an army of 200 million men—far more people than were even alive when that prophecy was written.

The Bible provides many vital details about this largest army ever assembled on Earth. Revelation 16:12 calls it the “kings of the east,” which shows it to be a confederacy of Asian nations. Other scriptures tell which specific countries will contribute soldiers to it. And others still reveal that the confederacy will have one lead country—and one individual man at the helm.

A prophecy in Ezekiel 38 lays out some of these important details. “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, set thy face unto Gog, of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him” (Ezekiel 38:1-2; kjv, Young’s Literal Translation). Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, once called Rus. Many encyclopedias and commentaries (such as the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary) recognize this.

The passage goes on to discuss the conquests of the mighty army led by this “prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” It also discusses the army’s eventual defeat. So, who is this mighty prince?

An in-depth study of the above scriptures, placed alongside other Bible passages, and viewed in the context of current events in Russia, makes the answer clear. Here is what editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote about it in the September Trumpet:

“I strongly believe Vladimir Putin is going to lead the 200 million-man army. Just look at the power he already has. Can you think of any other Russian politician who could become so powerful and have the will to lead Russia into the crisis of crises? I see nobody else on the horizon who could do that. And only a tiny few years remain for the prince of Rosh to appear! … This much is absolutely certain: The restoring of Russia’s power by Vladimir Putin—the prince of Russia—was prophesied! He has already solidly allied Russia with China. The prophecy about the prince of Russia includes that main alliance. … The only question is whether or not Putin personally finishes the entire prophecy.”

Since the Trumpet has this vital understanding of Vladimir Putin’s role in end-time prophecy, we do not agree with those who think he won’t survive the current turmoil. Part of this prophecy is already fulfilled, and it seems likely that Putin will survive to fulfill even more of it.

GettyImages-1197377655 EDITED.jpg

Brexit Was Prophesied!

The UK leaving the European Union was foretold in the Bible! What does this source of advance news say will follow?

Read More

Urbanization Speeds Advancement

From the October 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

A crew of physicists and economists led by Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute recently examined cities in a new way. They discovered that, as cities grow larger, they generate ideas more quickly.

After measuring the copyrights, patents, inventions and book production rates of numerous cities of various sizes, they concluded that a metropolis that is 10 times larger than its neighboring city does not have 10 times more patents, inventions, and books, but 17 times more. And a city 50 times bigger is around 130 times more creative and innovative.

So, despite noise, crowding, distraction and squalor, the average resident of a metropolis of 5 million people is almost three times more creative than the average resident of a town that is home to 100,000 souls.

The growth of villages into towns, towns to cities, and cities into bustling metropolises has been central to mankind’s technological advancement.