Why We Watch Japan’s March Toward Militarism

A look at the history of this trend in the news—and its future
From the August 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Japan’s shift away from pacifism and toward becoming a full-fledged military power has long been a focus of the Trumpet as well as our forerunner, the Plain Truth.

We have drawn attention to the shift because we believe it will culminate in a violent conflict affecting millions, possibly even billions. To understand why we hold this view, first consider why Japan became a pacifist nation in the first place.

A Tragic History

In the 1920s, Japan’s economy was stagnating. To inspire the people, its leaders dusted off some ancient Japanese myths and began teaching them to the people. They taught that Japan was a nation of gods, racially superior to all others. They taught that the imperial family was the offspring of the sun goddess Amaterasu. State Shinto became the national religion. It taught that Emperor Hirohito was the “son of heaven”—an omnipotent god destined to rule the whole world. These ideas became the mantras of school curricula and were trumpeted in Japan’s civic life.

The Tanaka Memorial (a document allegedly presented to Hirohito by Premier Baron Gi-ichi Tanaka) essentially became Japan’s foreign policy from 1927 until the end of World War ii. One part of the document said: “The nations of the world will come to look up to our emperor as the great ruler of all nations.” Although the authenticity of the document is a matter of dispute, history shows that Japan followed its strategy, at least in the broad strokes. It laid out detailed military plans for Japan to conquer the entire world, starting with China: “With China’s entire resources at our disposal, we shall conquer India, Central Asia and Europe. … A victorious Japan will place all the white races of the world under the rule of the son of heaven. … In order to conquer the world, we must first conquer China. If we succeed in conquering China, the rest of the Asiatic countries and the South Sea countries will fear us and surrender to us.”

Much hinged on Japan’s conquest of China. The Japanese wanted this conquest to inspire fear throughout Asia, so their invasion of China was ruthless beyond words.

In the Massacre of Nanjing, for example, Japanese troops murdered over 200,000 Chinese civilians. Mothers with infants, pregnant women, children and old men were tortured, bayonetted, beheaded, burned or buried alive. Many women and girls were gang-raped, mutilated and killed. Others were kept around as “comfort women”—sex slaves forced to serve Japanese soldiers. Unborn babies were routinely torn out from pregnant women and killed. Soldiers often gouged the eyes out of children and babies in front of their mothers before slaughtering both woman and child.

These weren’t soldiers running amok, ignoring orders. The crimes were well known to the military’s highest officers. The chief commander of the Nanjing invasion was Emperor Hirohito’s uncle. The evils were committed with the royal stamp of approval. It was sanctioned for the purpose of instilling fear in the nations they planned to conquer next.

Nanjing was not an isolated case of savagery. Japanese troops were similarly cruel in other Chinese cities, and also in Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and other countries. A look further back into history shows that World War ii was not an anomalously aggressive epoch for the Japanese. There were also the invasions of Korea in the 1590s, the Battle of Ganghwa, the First Sino-Japanese War, the invasion of Taiwan, the Russo-Japanese War, and the list goes on.

Victory or Death

During World War ii, the ruthlessness and tenacity of the Japanese was largely driven by their belief that Hirohito was a god destined to rule the world. This was a toxic faith. It made many Japanese virtually incapable of surrendering—even in the face of insurmountable odds.

In 1941, Japan’s top military leader, Hideki Tojo, said, “Do not live in shame as a prisoner. Die, and leave no ignominious crime behind you.” Some Japanese soldiers were taken captive, but the majority obeyed Tojo and the doctrines of State Shinto, either fighting until they were killed or committing suicide. The fanatic commitment spread even to Japanese civilians. This was perhaps most evident when American troops moving onto Saipan in June 1944 saw mothers clutch their infants and fling themselves off cliffs rather than risk being captured.

By the end of World War ii, Japan had been fighting for 14 years. Almost 3 million Japanese were dead, with many more injured or gravely ill. Most of the population were starving, and the nation lay in ruins. But even then, soldiers and civilians generally would not surrender. Nothing short of two atomic bombs was able to halt Japan’s perverse military fanaticism.

Japanese ‘Forever Renounce War’

It was then, in the immediate aftermath of that tragic history, that the United States occupied Japan and drafted its Constitution. American officials, led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, wanted to ensure that military fanaticism would not rise again in Japan. Thus, they included Article 9 in the new Constitution. This clause outlawed war as a means for Japan to settle international disputes.

Article 9 states: “Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. … [L]and, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”

“We are committed,” MacArthur said, “to see that the Japanese people are liberated from this condition of slavery.”

As part of the liberation, MacArthur’s team outlawed emperor worship and disbanded State Shinto. They led Emperor Hirohito to deliver his famous “Declaration of Humanity,” a radio address to Japan in which he renounced the nationalistic interpretation of Shinto, denounced the idea that he was a god, and said the Japanese are not a superior race.

Shortly after Article 9 was written, the U.S. and Japan signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. This codified Japan’s dependence on the U.S. for its defense, saying America would defend Japan by stationing U.S. troops near potential conflict zones in the region.

Quietly Returning to Militarism

The Constitution that U.S. leaders wrote, without the change of even a comma, has technically governed Japanese affairs in the decades since.

But during the 70 years that have passed since the end of World War ii, Japan has made some significant strides away from pacifism.

The first of these came as early as 1950, when Japan established a National Police Reserve. Then in 1954, with Washington’s support, Japan expanded this police reserve into the Japan Self-Defense Force (sdf). This “self-defense” force became in fact a fully integrated, ultra-modern assemblage of land, sea and air components to rival those of any other world power. In 1992, Japan passed the United Nations Peacekeeping Cooperation Law, which allowed the sdf to take part in certain non-military aspects of UN missions. That meant Japanese soldiers were allowed, for the first time since World War ii, to be stationed outside Japan’s borders. Then came the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which brought about changes that the New York Times called “the most significant transformation in Japan’s military since World War ii” (July 23, 2007).

Japan’s march toward open militarization sped up from 2004 to 2010. During those years, Tokyo sent noncombat troops to Iraq, Indonesia, Nepal, Israel, Djibouti, Somalia and Haiti. During the same time frame, Japan made more moves away from being a purely “self-defense” force. It began looking to use its space program for military purposes. Its defense agency was upgraded to become a full-fledged ministry, giving it a greatly amplified voice in the cabinet. It gained the capacity to fly F-2s more than 1,700 miles without refueling. It dropped 500-pound live bombs as part of training exercises.

On March 11, 2011, the magnitude-9.0 Tohoku earthquake struck Japan, spawning a tsunami and causing a severe nuclear crisis. The sdf leaped to action, carrying out rescue operations with more than 100,000 soldiers—an utterly unprecedented number in the postwar era. “It is no exaggeration to say that the earthquake has spurred the most significant Japanese military operations since the end of World War ii,” World Politics Review wrote at the time.

The rescue efforts drastically improved the Japanese public’s perception of its nation’s military forces. The sdf experienced its greatest public support in decades.

In April 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe removed the weapons export ban that was enacted in 1967. The embargo prevented weapons exports to Communist bloc nations, countries subject to arms export embargoes under UN Security Council resolutions and nations involved in or likely to be involved in international conflicts.

On July 1, 2014, Tokyo made the decision to “reinterpret” a key section of its pacifist Constitution: the ban on collective self-defense. For the preceding 70 years, it had understood this section as limiting Japan’s forces to acting in its own defense, and never in defense of its allies, and never in any conflict outside Japanese territory. The reinterpretation meant Japan could use its large, cutting-edge military in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years earlier: If a U.S. ship is under fire, Japan can assist it; if a North Korean missile is aimed at an Australian ship, Japan can shoot it down; if the United Nations is involved in a “gray zone” activity, Japanese troops can participate.

The landmark reinterpretation paved the way for greater changes to Japan’s Constitution. For the first time since World War ii, Japan could soon officially have first-strike capabilities against potential threats.

In light of Japan’s wartime history, all of these steps toward nationalism and militarism are worthy of attention and concern.

Whitewashing the Past

Adding to the concern is the fact that Japan is notorious for failing to express much remorse for its wartime savagery. Japan has also revised history in many cases to downplay its crimes.

For example, postwar Japan has officially apologized to China for the Massacre of Nanjing, but the apologies have been regularly undercut by revisionist statements from leading voices.

“The Nanjing Massacre is a lie made up by the Chinese,” Japanese Cabinet Minister Shintaro Ishihara said in 1990. “The Nanjing Massacre is a fabrication,” Japanese Justice Minister Nagano Shigeto said in 1994. “The Americans brainwashed the postwar Japanese into believing they had committed terrible war crimes,” said Tokyo University Prof. Nobukatsu Fujioka in 1997.

Textbooks used in Japan’s school system are also notorious for glossing over or ignoring the country’s wartime barbarism. Some fear that since Japanese students aren’t learning this history, the nation is forgetting its past and new generations could be more likely to repeat it. Mr. Abe has addressed this, saying he wants to further beautify Japan’s wartime history so Japanese children can be proud of their past.

The people of Japan embody many exceptionally noble and admirable traits. Their cultural and technological contributions have enriched the human experience for millions around the globe. But as a result of historic revisionism, a dangerous number of modern Japanese view their nation’s wartime atrocities with pride.

This is a foreboding and worrisome trend.

State Shinto and Emperor Worship

Adding to the worry is the fact that Mr. Abe is a member of the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership (sas), which is the political arm of the Association of Shinto Shrines. Besides working to scrap Article 9, the sas is also committed to blurring the separation of religion and state. It is dedicated to “educational reforms” that would better nurture a “love of country” among Japanese youth.

sas Director Yutaka Yuzawa believes it is time to undo the changes brought about during the U.S. occupation. “After the war, there was an atmosphere that considered all aspects of the prewar era bad,” he said. “Policies were adopted weakening the relationship between the imperial household and the people … and the most fundamental elements of Japanese history were not taught in the schools.”

Abe also serves as supreme adviser to the Nippon Kaigi, a lobby group committed to restoring lost Japanese values.

University of Auckland Prof. Mark Mullins told Reuters that both “Nippon Kaigi and the Shinto Association basically believe the occupation period brought about … the forced removal of Shinto traditions from public space and public institutions. For them, this was authentic Japanese identity … and to be an independent and authentic Japan again those things need to be restored” (Dec. 11, 2014).

Would Abe really endorse a return to something as arcane and archaic as emperor worship? A clue to the answer came in October 2013 when he became the first Japanese prime minister since World War ii to participate in a ceremony at the Ise Shrine, considered the holiest of Japan’s Shinto institutions. The ceremony entailed rebuilding the shrine and bringing idols to it that represent the emperor’s divine ancestry.

John Breen, a professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, said the implications of Abe’s participation in the Ise Shrine ceremony are enormous. “Without anyone blinking an eye … it became a state rite,” he said.

Abe and other nationalist leaders continue to make strides as they work toward a constitutional revision and a restoration of Japan’s “lost values.”

These “lost values” were a big part of what drove Japan’s tragic wartime fanaticism. Efforts to restore them—from no less an authority than Japan’s hawkish prime minister—should alarm us.

What’s Ahead?

Journalists sometimes mention the biblical word Armageddon found in Revelation 16:16, but it is rare to hear talk of “the kings of the east” discussed a few verses earlier in that chapter. The Bible shows that these “kings of the east” will be a massive bloc of Asian nations that pool their militaries together in the end time. They do this in order to confront another power bloc led by Germany. Revelation 9:16 says that the Asian army will be comprised of a jaw-dropping 200 million soldiers.

Some specific details of how this Eastern superpower will form in the end time are still unknown, but prophecy is unmistakably clear about the fact that it will happen. And, though it will be led by Russia and China, it will almost certainly include Japan.

The Trumpet reports on Japanese efforts toward remilitarization because each is one small step closer to that 200 million-man army. Each is a step nearer to that unprecedentedly violent conflict. Many Bible passages show that it will be the bloodiest, most destructive conflict in history. Japan’s march toward militarization points to a dark future.

But there is good news! God promises to protect any individuals—whether Japanese, American or any other nationality—who repent and turn to Him. And the hope extends beyond just physical protection in the short term. God has a magnificent plan that involves opening up eternal salvation to every human being who has ever lived. To understand these prophecies in detail, and to understand the urgency and the hope they contain, request a copy of our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

Why Is the Pope Provoking War in Israel?

Why Is the Pope Provoking War in Israel?

Trumpet/©iStock.com/Dejan Gileski/Mazur Catholicnews.org.uk

For hundreds of years, the Vatican created rivers of blood trying to seize control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Today the Vatican apparently endorses Palestinian sovereignty. Why?
From the August 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Pope Francis is a man on a mission. But what is his mission exactly? The rhetoric and body language, the gracious gestures, the smiles and salutations give the impression of a selfless liberator determined to broker peace, cooperation and tranquility.

But take a closer look at his decisions and actions. In actuality, the Vatican is creating tension, disunity and instability that are likely to lead to conflict and war.

The pope’s recent stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict is a perfect example.

Recognizing ‘Palestine’

On May 13, the Vatican announced that it had formally recognized the “state of Palestine” in a newly finalized treaty with the Palestinians. (Pope Francis and the Vatican had previously supported the “state of Palestine,” but never formally like this). The treaty defined the Catholic Church’s activities in areas controlled by the Palestinians and was signed by both sides on May 16, when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visited the Vatican.

During Abbas’s visit, the pope effectively gave his approval of all the acts of terror committed by the Palestinian leader and his followers, even telling the Palestinian terrorist leader, “You are an angel of peace,” according to the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

Critics of Israel and backers of Palestinian statehood were elated by the Vatican’s announcement. The movement to recognize a Palestinian state has gained momentum in recent years, particularly within the United Nations, and this endorsement from the Vatican is huge. Gaining the support of humanity’s most respected and admired leader could be just the boost needed to get the project of Palestinian statehood over the finish line.

For the Jewish state and its declining number of supporters, the Vatican’s decision was an enormous blow. “This move does not promote the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations,” Israel’s foreign minister said in a text message to the Associated Press.

Indeed. In return for its vital support of Palestinian statehood, the Vatican required absolutely nothing from the Palestinians. There was no requirement of the Palestinian Authority to sincerely engage in peace talks with Israel, no demand that it recognize Israel’s right to exist, and no demand that it sever its connection with Hamas and publicly renounce Hamas’s ambitions. Nothing. As Melanie Phillips noted in the Jerusalem Post on May 14, the Vatican’s recognition “tears up the Palestinians’ own treaty obligations under the Oslo Accords,” and thus “has now openly made Catholics complicit with reneging on promises and shattering bonds of trust.”

“[T]he one thing we can be sure it won’t do is to improve the chances for peace,” explained Jonathon Tobin, senior online editor for Commentary magazine. “By granting the Palestinians official recognition without first requiring them to make peace with Israel, Pope Francis and the church have only made it less likely that this will ever happen” (May 13; emphasis added throughout). Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, released a statement saying that the Vatican’s action “serves to undermine the only real solution to the decades-old conflict.”

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, warned that the Vatican’s endorsement of Palestinian statehood is a sign of the resurgence of “the historical Catholic enmity towards Jews.” Michael Freund, former deputy communications director in the Israeli prime minister’s office, also put it in dramatic terms in the Jerusalem Post. “[G]iven its sordid history of anti-Semitism, book-burnings, forced conversions and Inquisitions, the Catholic Church should think a hundred times over before daring to step on Israel’s toes,” he wrote. “If anything, the pope should be down on his knees pleading for forgiveness from the Jewish people and atonement from the Creator for what the Vatican has wrought over the centuries” (May 18).

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is destined to end in conflict—and the Vatican’s decision brings that day nearer.
These remarks are worth thinking about. Pope Francis and the Vatican are selling this decision as a routine gesture of goodwill toward the Palestinians, a decision that could even jump-start the peace process. That is pure propaganda. The Vatican’s endorsement of the Palestinian cause will add significant momentum to the international movement toward Palestinian statehood. It will pile more pressure on Israel to make more concessions to the detriment of its security—even its very existence. And when and if Israel refuses to concede, it is certain to be blamed for the inevitable tension and conflict that results.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is destined to end in conflict—and the Vatican’s decision brings that day nearer.

A Message to Bibi

The timing of the Vatican’s announcement is also interesting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reelected in March. Only a week before the Vatican’s announcement, Netanyahu finalized a coalition government that will be more hardline than the previous. In the months ahead, Israel’s government—justifiably, reasonably and wisely—will continue to be extremely cautious about any sort of peace deal with the Palestinians. Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to slow the momentum toward Palestinian statehood, convince nations that the PA cannot be trusted, and persuade the international community to demand more security guarantees from the Palestinians in return for statehood. The Vatican’s announcement undermines all this and makes Netanyahu’s job much more difficult. It was a veiled message to Israel’s new conservative government: Don’t get too excited, and don’t get too comfortable.

The eruption of similar tension and conflict in Israel as a result of the Vatican’s support for Palestinians seems inevitable.
Imagine Netanyahu sitting down to discuss the peace process with a counterpart. The refrain Mr. Netanyahu could hear from pretty much every world leader he meets is, Pope Francis supports Palestinian statehood without any demands on the Palestinians, why shouldn’t I? And as long as he refuses to accept a deal in which the other side is not required to alter its violent ambitions, Israel’s prime minister will be maligned and ostracized.

The Vatican’s behavior is not without precedent. Recall the Balkan wars, scenes of which dominated our television screens during the early 1990s. The Vatican, together with Germany, played a key role in instigating Yugoslavia’s dissolution and the long and brutal conflicts that erupted. How? By being one of the first to formally recognize—despite strong opposition from the United States, the European Union and the United Nations—the breakaway regions of Croatia and Slovenia as independent and sovereign states. Most of the international community dutifully followed along. Within months, the Balkan Peninsula was on fire. (Learn more about this history by requesting a free copy of our booklet Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.)

Will we see similar tension and conflict erupt in Israel as a result of the Vatican’s support of the Palestinians? It seems inevitable.

Historic Enemies

Consider also that Pope Francis and the Vatican seem to be supporting Muslim control of parts of Jerusalem.

There hasn’t been a single moment in the past 2,000 years when the Vatican sincerely endorsed Muslim control of Jerusalem. There have, however, been multiple occasions when the Vatican riled up Catholic warriors and dispatched them to the Holy Land to wrest control of it from the Muslims. Why would Pope Francis reject two millennia of Catholic history—even rejecting Catholic doctrine and tradition—and support Muslim sovereignty in the Holy Land?

The obvious truth is that Pope Francis and the Vatican do not support the presence of Muslims in Jerusalem any more than they do the presence of Jews. There are two simple reasons that the Vatican, for now, is making it appear that it supports a Palestinian state and greater Muslim influence over Jerusalem.

First, supporting the Palestinians undermines Israel’s control over the Holy Land. When it comes to diminishing Israel’s grip on Jerusalem and its holy sites, the Vatican is quite happy for the Palestinians to do the gritty work. An honest assessment of Palestinian leadership and governance, at least until now, reveals endemic corruption, mismanagement, infighting and internal strife. A sound-minded, fact-based, objective analysis reveals that the Palestinians have almost zero chance of ever successfully creating a stable, prosperous, safe Palestinian state in Israel. The Vatican knows that any future Palestinian state would be unstable and chaotic—and thus much more susceptible to Vatican meddling than Israel is today.

Second, the Vatican’s endorsement of Palestinian statehood provides ideal cover as it pursues its own enduring ambition to wrest control of Jerusalem from the Jews and Muslims.

The obvious truth is that Pope Francis and the Vatican do not support the presence of Muslims in Jerusalem any more than they do the presence of Jews.
Reading about the treaty that was signed in May, one can’t help but wonder: Did the Vatican come to some kind of quid pro quo with the Palestinians? Jerusalem is as important and meaningful to the Catholic Church as Rome itself, probably more so. There are many sites that the Catholic Church considers highly valuable. What did the PA agree to cede to the Vatican in return for its endorsement of Palestinian statehood? This is conjecture. But this is the way politics, international relations and human nature work. People, nations, even most religions, will feign friendship and peace in pursuit of their goals.

Four years ago, Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, writing for Arutz Sheva, explained how Catholic authorities had at that time “increased their political initiatives for Catholic control over some sites in Jerusalem.” He recalled, for example, how the head of the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, had said, “Peace negotiations in the Middle East must tackle the issue of the status of the holy sites of Jerusalem.” According to Tauran, the time had arrived for some of Jerusalem’s holy places, including the City of David, to be put under Vatican charge. After all, “it’s practically just the Holy See who is concerned about [the question of the holy sites],” Tauran stated.

Admissions like this are rare. It’s not often that we read about the Vatican’s love for Jerusalem and its quest for more control. But it is there, and it is thriving. The Vatican is not the non-threatening, neutral third party it appears to be—though so much of the news media believes it is. History shows that Jerusalem is as important to the Vatican as it is to Jews and Muslims. For Catholics, Jerusalem is the birthplace of Christianity and the setting of many important biblical events. The Holy City, as Catholic dogma states, is its universal headquarters.

Does anyone really think the Vatican genuinely wants to cede control of these sites to Muslims? The Catholic Church has shed the blood of hundreds of thousands of soldiers trying to take the Holy Land from Muslims.

Power Play for Jerusalem

We must look past the handshakes and platitudes, and really think about what is going on here. This decision is part of a Trojan horse strategy by which the Vatican seeks to gain the trust of the Palestinians and international community before more actively staking its claim to Jerusalem and its holy sites. Whatever happens, the last thing we can expect is for the Vatican to stand by and cheer as Muslims assume control of Christianity’s holy sites. That is never going to happen.

Putting Jerusalem under “international” control has been the Vatican’s strategy for decades. In 1949, the British plenipotentiary minister (essentially, the ambassador) to the Vatican, John Victor Perowne, wrote, “The Vatican would have preferred, from the point of view of the fate of the holy places and of Catholic interests in Palestine generally, that neither Jews nor Arabs, but a third power, should have control in the Holy Land. Such a solution it well knew, however, was unattainable, and in the actual circumstances it preferred the Arabs to the Jews.”

However it happens, the Vatican’s ambitions in Jerusalem are well documented.
So here is what is likely to happen, at least in some form. This decision by the Vatican will embolden the Palestinians in their quest for Jerusalem, further ostracize the Jewish state, and increase tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, perhaps to the point of conflict (more terrorist attacks, etc.). As the situation deteriorates, Israel will continue to look for foreign assistance and support. Relations with its traditional allies America and Britain are rapidly deteriorating, and these countries have hardly any appetite for supporting Israel in any meaningful way. Russia and China are more on the side of the Muslims than the Jews. Israel will find itself left with one option: crying out to Germany and Europe.

It’s true that Europeans and their leaders aren’t especially fond of Jews and the Jewish state. Then again, Germany, at least its chancellor, is arguably the closest friend and ally Israel has right now. Expect Israel to cry out to Germany for assistance.

This is precisely the response the Vatican is seeking. The European Union and the Vatican both have the same official goal for Jerusalem. They want it to be an international city—controlled neither by Jews nor Arabs, but rather by some third party.

Why does the Vatican want this? In his book Christians and Jews—Faith to Faith, Rabbi James Rudin wrote that the Eastern Orthodox churches that own the majority of Jerusalem’s sacred Christian sites oppose internationalizing the city because it “would give greater control of Jerusalem’s Christian sites and institutions to the Roman Catholic Church, which has significant influence in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to see the Vatican being given the chief seat in how an “international” Jerusalem is governed.

Israel is dead against this right now. But as it becomes more isolated and its situation becomes desperate, its resolve will start to crumble.

Of course, this is just one possible scenario. However it happens, the Vatican’s ambitions in Jerusalem are well documented. It desperately seeks greater control over Jerusalem, and every step it takes in its diplomacy with Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is dedicated to this end.

The Worst Prison Break in American History

The Worst Prison Break in American History

Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images

Part of a pattern in immigration policy that undermines America’s own interests
From the August 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

United States President Barack Obama seems to pass up no opportunity to lavish illegal immigrants with high praise. “I’ve seen the courage of students … who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in a country they love,” he said during a prime-time address to the nation last November, to take one example. “[T]hey did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came to work, and study, and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America’s success.”

But the facts show that the president’s outreach to illegals is drawing many people into the nation who do not “contribute to America’s success.”

During the six years Mr. Obama has been in power, the Department of Homeland Security (dhs) has knowingly released some 195,900 criminally convicted illegal immigrants onto America’s streets. That averages out to about 85 convicted criminals released per day.

Putting Lives at Risk

Thousands of those released have been convicted of violent crimes such as homicide and aggravated assault. In 2013 alone, the releases included 193 convicted murderers, 303 convicted kidnappers, and 426 convicted of sexual assault. Others were convicted of child pornography charges, robbery, aggravated assault, and driving under the influence. More than half of those released have been convicted of multiple felonies. Many are known gang members or affiliates.

Also notable is that the vast majority of the releases were “discretionary,” meaning they were neither the result of local sanctuary guidelines nor required by local laws. In many cases, the releases were apparently in violation of law.

“As a law enforcement officer, I’m really disgusted with it,” said Neil Warren, the sheriff of Cobb County, Georgia, where several of the alien convicts were released.

Former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, agrees with Warren’s assessment. He called the releases “the worst prison break in American history,” and said, “President Obama’s lax immigration policies have put the lives of Americans at risk.”

Such concerns have proven well founded. Each year, around 1,000 released convicts go on to commit other crimes against Americans in the communities where they settle. After being released into the public, one criminally convicted illegal alien went on to inflict injury on a domestic partner, commit child cruelty, violate his probation, drive without a license, and fail to appear in court.

A June 15 report said that altogether at least 121 of the released illegals have gone on to commit murders in America.

Is this individual—and others who have been released and go on to commit other crimes—contributing to America’s success?

Trying to Keep It on the DL

Unsurprisingly, the administration didn’t want the latest release numbers to be publicly known. But the extent to which it tried to obscure the truth is unnerving. Last year in May, the dhs failed to respond to a request under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose records about the releases. So the Judicial Watch group filed a lawsuit against the agency and a federal court ruled for the documents to be released.

“It’s appalling that we’ve had to sue in federal court to get key information about the Obama administration’s release of 165,950 convicted criminal aliens,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. (The figure he cited does not include another 30,000 released in the most recent fiscal year.)

To be fair, the policy of releasing convicted criminal aliens into America predates the Obama administration. When republicans such as George W. Bush have been in the presidency, they too have failed to repair U.S. immigration policies, apparently because they value cheap labor provided by illegals more than border control and security for Americans. However, it is telling that previous administrations never had to be sued in federal court before they would publish data about their criminal releases.

Fitton added: “These documents show the Obama administration is lying when it says that its ‘enforcement priorities’ include deporting illegal aliens who have committed heinous crimes.”

He then asked: “Where do the innocent victims of the illegal alien criminals this president’s appointees have set free go for justice?”

The mainstream media also orchestrated something very near to a blackout on the shocking story. Back on March 18, when the latest release figures were published, most major networks failed to mention them in their evening newscasts. That night, abc and cbs both spent time informing the country about President Obama’s completion of his bracket for the men’s ncaa basketball tournament. But regarding the thousands of convicts roaming the streets, both networks were out to lunch.

Why Not Deport Them?

The dhs agency responsible for immigration enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ice), says it releases the criminal aliens because their home nations won’t take them back. Furthermore, American laws say some immigrants whose countries won’t allow them to return cannot be held indefinitely. Thus, officials insist, these individuals have to be released into society after a period of time.

Critics have called for rewriting such laws and have said the Obama administration should use its authority to deny visas to leaders of nations refusing to let their citizens return, or otherwise pressure them. But the administration has taken no such measures, and continues to release staggering numbers of criminal convicts onto American streets each year.

The message this policy sends to other nations is that they can be rid of problem citizens by pushing them into the warm embrace of the United States. The message it sends to convicts wanting to immigrate to the U.S. is that going through legal channels is a waste of time; instead, hop the border and enjoy a fresh start—comparatively hassle free.

Part of a Pattern

This trend fits a broader pattern of the Obama administration’s espousal of immigration policies that undermine America’s own interests.

Besides the criminal-convict illegal aliens the dhs has released, the agency has also politely asked more than 700,000 “noncriminal” illegal aliens to self-deport from the United States. (The word noncriminal is relative, considering that just to get inside the U.S., these individuals have broken American immigration laws.) After such individuals are released from custody, nothing prevents them from circulating around the U.S. Judicial Watch says this is precisely what most do.

The administration delivered another major blow to law enforcement in 2013 when it issued a set of directives to ice agents called “prosecutorial discretion.” The measures put broad categories of illegal aliens off limits to them, forcing ice to avoid or discontinue deportation action in thousands of cases. In many cases, the aliens had been convicted of crimes.

Recent revelations also show that from October 2013 to October 2014, the Obama administration sent home fewer than 1 percent of the 12 million illegals living in the United States.

In November, President Obama moved to grant legal status and work permits to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants. A series of legal setbacks has halted this plan so far, but some analysts believe it’s only a matter of time until it passes. His decision to push this move by executive action—rather than through Congress—prompted House Speaker John Boehner to accuse the president of acting like an “emperor.”

Goal: A Weaker, Less Traditional U.S.

The vast majority of Americans recognize the danger of the country’s broken immigration policy. A poll published on May 4 showed that 77 percent now consider illegal immigration a “serious problem”; 63 percent say it is so serious that the U.S. military should be deployed along the Mexican border to prevent its continuation.

But the administration consistently ignores such polls and forges ahead implementing policies that favor illegals over citizens. Recognition of this prompted Sen. Jeff Sessions to say, “Immigration enforcement has been destroyed by this president.”

Some critics believe the Obama administration’s egregious immigration policies are designed to increase the supply of Democratic voters. This theory says the policies are engineered to change America from a country in which voters choose their leaders into one in which leaders choose their voters.

Perhaps that is part of the calculus. But the motivation could be deeper and even more anti-American. President Obama’s track record both in word and deed reveals resentment toward what might be called “traditional” America. He has made no effort to conceal his disapproval of America’s colonial legacy or to hide his anti-imperialist agenda. Could his desire to conclusively end the era of U.S. global hegemony be driving him to use his remaining time in office to weaken the nation? Whatever his intent, it is clear that releasing convicts onto the streets of America and his other immigration policies certainly do weaken the nation.

Are you concerned about where the Obama administration is leading the United States? The problem is worse than you think, and there is only one way to solve it. To understand what the solution is, request our free booklet America Under Attack.

Is Iran a State Sponsor of Terrorism?

Is Iran a State Sponsor of Terrorism?

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration’s words and actions give two different answers.

Just because the United States is negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, it doesn’t mean that Iran is no longer a state sponsor of terrorism. That’s because it still is a state sponsor of terrorism, as the State Department’s annual “Country Reports on Terrorism 2014” affirmed.

The reports, released June 19, revealed that, in a world where terrorist attacks increased 35 percent between 2013 and 2014, Iran was the chief state sponsor of terror.

“Designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2014, including support for Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, Lebanese Hezbollah and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East,” the reports said.

According to the reports, Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is the main factor that has prolonged the Syrian civil war and worsened the human rights and refugee crisis in the nation. One way Iran has supported Assad is through its mobilization of Iraqi Shia and Afghan fighters. Iran also supports Assad by providing his regime with money and weapons. Last year, some of those weapons were flown to Syria through Iraqi airspace in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions, the report says.

In a press briefing just prior to the reports’ release, the State Department coordinator for counterterrorism Tina Kaidanow indicated that Iran was one of the “serious threats”—like the Islamic State and al Qaeda—“that confronted the United States and its allies” in 2014.

Predictably though, Kaidanow emphasized that the geopolitical matters regarding Iran’s terror ties and the nuclear negotiations are two separate issues.

In other words, the negotiators know what they are doing. Iran’s terror ties will not affect the nuclear negotiations, and the nuclear negotiations will not affect Iran’s terror ties, or at least, the Obama administration’s view of Iran’s terror ties.

The problem is, the negotiations have in fact affected the Obama administration’s view of Iran’s taut ties to terror.

Back in February, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (odni) drew a lot of flak when it uncharacteristically omitted Iran and its proxy Hezbollah from the “terrorism” section of its “Statement for the Record Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community” for 2014. That specific “terrorism” section was part of the report since James Clapper was appointed director of national intelligence in 2010. The section prominently featured Iran year after year—until the February release of the assessment report for 2014.

The odni report even made uncharacteristically positive comments about Iran. It mentioned how Iraq’s military, Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militants—“bolstered by air and artillery strikes, weapons and advice from the United States, Arab and Western allies, and Iran—have prevented [the Islamic State] from gaining large swaths of additional territory” (emphasis added).

Hezbollah, a well-known terrorist entity, was mentioned only as a victim of the Islamic State and al Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front.

Observers naturally connected the Obama administration’s changing view of Iran to the ongoing nuclear talks, specifically, the administration’s desperation for a nuclear deal with Iran.

Israeli think tank Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said that the weakening of Iran’s threat assessment “results from a combination of diplomatic interests (the United States’ talks with Iran about a nuclear deal) with the idea that Iran could assist in the battle against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and maybe even in the battle against jihadist terrorism in other countries.”

Council of Foreign Relations member Max Abrahms observed: “I think that we are looking at a quid pro quo, where Iran helps us with counterterrorism, and we facilitate their nuclear ambitions and cut down on our labeling of them as terrorists.”

When a delegation of seven senators quizzed Clapper about how his “annual assessment contains no meaningful reference to the chaos that Iran manufactures through its support for terrorist groups and proxy organizations,” Clapper acknowledged in a letter dated June 3 that Iran was indeed a threat.

But he admitted,

A specific reference to the terrorist threat from Iran and Hezbollah—which was not included in any of the drafts of the testimony—would have been appropriate for the 2015 assessment, but the lack of its inclusion is in no way a change in the [Intelligence Community’s] assessment.

An anonymous congressional source interviewed by the Washington Free Beacon summarized the concerns of some observers:

Whether you’re talking about the U.S. Intelligence Community’s annual Worldwide Threats assessment, the Pentagon’s ever shrinking annual report on Iran’s military power, or official hints that the pro-terror Iranian regime could somehow be an ally against terrorism in the Middle East, the Obama administration seems eager to downplay the dangers posed by Iran as negotiators close in on a comprehensive nuclear agreement.

The odni is the principal administrator of the 17-member U.S. intelligence community, which includes the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

What could be the reason for the subtle differences between the odni’s assessment of Iran and the State Department’s?

The Obama administration may acknowledge how dangerous Iran is, but its actions and concessions toward Iran—particularly with regard to a nuclear deal with Tehran—appear to indicate otherwise.

The United States’ view of Iran does not change how dangerous the country is. In reality, it makes Iran even more dangerous.

A Lesson for Today From Pompeii

A Lesson for Today From Pompeii

copyright istock.com/Antonio Gravante

Living in the shadow of one of the world’s most threatening volcanoes
From the August 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Some 3.5 million Italians live in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Much of Naples is built on its green slopes.

Their idyllic life is built on the soil of one of the most cataclysmic, chilling disasters in human history: the destruction of Pompeii.

In a.d. 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted. Searing, toxic clouds of superheated gas and fire charged down the slopes at more than 300 miles per hour. Ash blackened the sun; day turned into night. Pyroclastic flow buried the Italian city of Herculaneum. For the inhabitants of Pompeii, a worse but equally inescapable fate awaited.

“[D]arkness fell, not the dark of a moonless or cloudy night, but as if the lamp had been put out in a closed room,” wrote Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the cataclysm from across the Bay of Naples. He described a strange cloud that looked like a pine tree shooting out of Vesuvius.

What he was seeing was a column of volcanic gas, magma bombs and cinders shooting skyward at supersonic speeds out of the mouth of the volcano. As the particles spread and cooled, they began to rain down—forming the characteristic Italian Stone Pine tree shape, or mushroom cloud.

The unfortunate inhabitants of Pompeii who did not flee at the first rumbles were poisoned and buried by the fallout.

More than 1,900 years later, it is hard not to be moved by what archaeologists have found beneath the layers of cinders. It is far more than just the lifeless city that is frozen in time. The inhabitants’ ash-charred final moments of agony are preserved too:

A mother sheltering her infant. A father covering his son. A man pulling his coat over his mouth to breathe. A family fleeing for the harbor and a chance to escape only to be overcome by fumes. Lifeless bodies adorned in jewelry, their most prized valuables—but no amount of treasure could save them.

Death for these people came suddenly and catastrophically. Scientists say the first breath of the superheated gas would have vaporized the internal organs. For others hit by slightly cooler fumes, their charred forms remained to be buried—and hidden for the next 1,669 years.

One morning, Pompeii was a bustling, prosperous vacation destination. The next, it was empty, plain, wiped clean of life.

Today, on the very slopes where death and destruction rained down, a new modern metropolis stands. Not far from the beautifully constructed Roman frescoes and excavated bathhouses of Pompeii are grocery stores and nightclubs. New docks and harbors and a yacht club line the shores where merchant warehouses once stood.

Their presence is a monument to the unteachability of human nature.

To this day, Vesuvius remains one of the world’s most threatening volcanoes. It is alive. It shudders. It has erupted more than 30 times since destroying Pompeii. It killed 4,000 people in 1631. It killed 2,000 more in 1906. Its latest eruption was 1944.

City planners know the mountain will erupt again—it is just a matter of time. They say 600,000 people live in the most dangerous “red zone.”

Contingency plans require up to 20 days for full evacuations. People know this. They also know that if the volcano erupts again, they probably won’t escape.

Although monitoring devices are in place to warn of the volcanic activity, “if there is a major eruption with little warning and the winds are blowing toward Naples,” says Field Museum geologist Philip Janney, “you could have tremendous loss of life.”

How weak is human nature. Failing to learn from history, we become complacent—dulled to danger. Even history that is preserved before our eyes—the bodies of people incinerated while fleeing the very ground we now live on—can become remote and unreal.

It is alarmingly easy to “put far away the evil day.” In a prophecy where He described what the world would be like before His Second Coming, Jesus Christ warned against complacency (Matthew 24:36-39). “Watch therefore,” He continued: “be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (verses 42, 44).

When we watch the world around us, we need to actively work not to become numbed. We must not let ourselves begin to think that we are living in normal days—that what is happening has always happened. Extraordinary, unprecedented, earthshaking events are making headlines with increasing rapidity. Prophecy is being fulfilled like never before. The ground is rumbling. Don’t ignore it. Don’t become desensitized. Realize just how quickly the evil day could be here.

“[T]ake heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares,” Christ warned. “For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35).

Christ gave this warning so you could be among the few who escape the terrible events soon to strike (verse 36).

But like the residents of Pompeii and Herculaneum, most will not escape the coming world explosion. People remain confident in their own power. They deceive themselves and hold fast to an illusion of security. Meanwhile, this world hurtles toward the prophesied days of reckoning at pyroclastic-flow speeds.

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Flee complacency—before it is too late.

Is There a Real Spirit World?

Is There a Real Spirit World?

©iStock.com/Christopher Bradzioch

Most answer with ‘Who can say?’ But that is a dangerous perspective.
From the August 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

A majority of people believe there is a God. But many of these same people believe evil spirits and the devil are fictional.

More and more, popular movies, television shows, books and entertainment fixate on demonism, mysticism and the occult, including psychics, vampires and witches. But are these things actually real?

According to the Telegraph, a third of all phone calls received by Catholic officials in the diocese of Rome—the pope’s own backyard—now relate to requests for exorcisms (April 13).

A lot of people think that this spiritual dimension is unreal. And even those who believe in demons and a devil have conflicting understanding of what this dimension is all about.

But look at this world: warfare, terrorism, riots, torture, starvation, hatred, corruption, materialism, perversion.

Is there a spiritbehind these actions?

If you can believe your Bible, the answer to that question is a resounding yes.

‘The God of This World’

Satan and his demons—the entire spirit world, in fact—have been a great mystery to this world. The Apostle Paul revealed the astounding reason why this is the case: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

Who is “the god of this world”? Most people would say God, the Creator. But “the god of this world” has blinded the minds of people to the gospel of Christ. The god who rules the world is actually Satan the devil. In John 12:31 and John 14:30, this evil being is called “the prince of this world.” We are living in the devil’s world!

When Jesus Christ came to Earth, He and Satan engaged in a titanic battle for its future. Had Satan enticed Jesus to sin, He would have failed, and Satan could have ruled the world forever. Christ didn’t argue when Satan boasted, “All this power will I give thee [referring to all the kingdoms of the world], and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:6). That’s because Christ knew that Satan did indeed have charge over the world and its riches.

Note that 2 Corinthians 4:4 says the devil blinds people to truth and reality. In fact, he has deceived mankind into believing he doesn’t even exist!

“Most churchmen today, viewing everything from the perspective of this world today, blindly assume this is God’s world,” educator Herbert W. Armstrong wrote. “They see certain forces of evil in it, and these they feel they must oppose. They see the Christian duty to be that of working to make this a better world. That concept is a wrong viewpoint altogether. This is not a world of God’s making. This isSatan’sworld! Satan is the invisible god of this world. He is the author of its organization, its basic philosophies, its systems of government, business, society—yes, and religions!” (Plain Truth, November 1960).

This is vitally important truth. Do you recognize the devil’s influence in the world over which he is prince and god today? Or are you one who is blinded to it?

“The fact that holy angels and evil spirits are invisible does not negate their existence,” Mr. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages. “In truth the invisible spirit world is more real than the material and the visible.”

There is a spirit realm, an invisible dimension of life, that is more real than this physical world we experience with our five senses every day!

This spirit realm has more influence on our world, and even on your life, than you realize. In Ephesians 2:2, Paul told converted Christians, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Believe it or not, Satan works in people, constantly influencing the thoughts and actions of human beings!

Seem unbelievable? Just take a look at today’s headlines and see if that doesn’t make complete, logical sense.

“Satan moves on the human spirit within people to move them in attitudes of envy, jealousy, resentment, impatience, anger, bitterness and strife,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “People have no realization of the tremendous power of Satan. The human spirit within each human is automatically tuned to Satan’s wavelength. It seems as if Satan has surcharged the air over the entire Earth with his attitude of self-centeredness and vanity” (ibid).

This is an extremely important fact to recognize: Satan broadcasts on our wavelength, and we are automatically tuned in.

The Origins of Evil

How did Satan and the demons come into existence? The biblical revelation on this point is plain, but it must be pieced together from several different passages.

John 1:1-2 reveal that God and the Word existed eternally. These two lived in total unity as the only Beings in the universe since before time began. They are professional Creators who devised the universe and all living things in it (verse 3).

Did they create a devil, and demons?

God did create angels to help Him create, govern and manage His creation. Angels are ministers, agents and helpers in God’s creation. They are servants of God, playing a critical role in fulfilling His eternal purpose. The Bible reveals angelic elders (Revelation 4:10), armies (Revelation 19:14), and cherubim covering God’s throne (Psalm 99:1).

The archangel Lucifer was one of just two covering cherubs (see the description in Exodus 25:17-20 of the construction of the “mercy seat,” which was a type of God’s throne).

In Ezekiel 28, God conveys a message to this great angelic being through the Prophet Ezekiel. He refers to Lucifer as “the king of Tyrus.” We know this isn’t speaking of a human being: The physical ruler is referred to as “the prince of Tyrus” in verse 2; and God describes this “king” in terms that could not possibly apply to a mortal man.

Here is God’s message to this spirit being: “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; … the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire” (verses 12-14).

God created and educated Lucifer for his assignment on Earth’s throne, which was placed in the Garden of Eden—before human beings were even created! Lucifer received this special training from the “holy mountain of God,” God’s throne!

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,” verse 15 begins. God could not instantaneously create a being of greater talent and beauty than Lucifer. As created, Lucifer was perfect. God did not create the devil! He created a perfect angelic being. But He gave that being free moral agency—the power of choice.

The end of verse 15 reveals what then happened: “till iniquity was found in thee.” Lucifer became lawless by sinning against God’s law of love.

God intended for Lucifer to administer a universe government based on His supreme law of giving, cooperating and serving. But Lucifer thought he could accomplish more by competition, giving rise to sin, violence, destruction, competition, misery and unhappiness.

Lucifer became so prideful and arrogant that he attempted to evict God from His throne! In a parallel passage, the Prophet Isaiah revealed the attitude that created the problem: “For thou [Lucifer] hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13).

Notice: Lucifer’s rebellion started in his heart—with vanity! This being became so vain that he actually thought a mutiny on God’s throne would succeed!

“When Lucifer allowed thoughts of vanity, jealousy, envy, lust and greed, then resentment and rebellion, to enter and occupy his mind, something happened to his mind!” Mr. Armstrong explained. “His mind became perverted, distorted, twisted! His thinking became warped. God gave him and the angels control over their own minds. They can never straighten them out—never again think rationally, honestly, rightly” (ibid).

Lucifer—the “light bringer”—became Satan, the adversary of God and of everything that is good.

At that point, God forcefully cast this rebel down (verses 14-15; Ezekiel 28:16). This catastrophic fall took place probably millions of years before the creation of man.

This great immortal archangel had been placed on Earth to use God’s government and laws to prepare to take over the entire universe, but now he and his demons can’t roam the heavens at all.

In the end time, quite recently, another major spiritual battle took place in which Satan and his demons were again cast down and confined to this Earth. This is described in the important prophetic book of Revelation: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).

Here again, this evil spirit being, this “great dragon,” is described as he “which deceives the whole world”! What a lightning-bolt statement of his awesome power!

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (verse 12). Yes, the angels of heaven rejoice over the fact that Satan and his demons are trapped on Earth and can’t bother them. But what about us, who inhabit the Earth? To us God says woe! Satan’s powerful influence over our world and its affairs has never been as strong as it is right now! Demonic activity has never been so intense!

Again, look at the news. Look at our society. Is it possible you are looking at human beings who were created in the image of God—but who are being directly influenced by Satan the devil?

A Battle You Must Face

Most people do not recognize the influence of evil spirits. That does not change the fact that they are subject to and continually affected by them. True Christians, however, should not be so ignorant. We must be engaged in daily, regular spiritual warfare, resisting these satanic broadcasts.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,” the Apostle Paul wrote. “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

Though Satan and his demons are spiritual and invisible, they routinely seek to aggravate and exploit our human nature, which exists to whatever degree we have come under their sway.

Our struggle against these enemies becomes easier with God on our side. Our spiritual lifeline to God is crucial. It is completely unnatural for us to think like God. It takes diligent, focused effort to tune out of Satan’s broadcast and tune in to God’s wavelength. We must take a stand with God through prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting.

“[T]ake courage,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “The awesome human potential, if we care enough about it to resist Satan’s wiles and evils and discouragements and to persevere in God’s way, is infinitely superior and higher than Lucifer’s—even as created, before he turned to rebellion and iniquity!” (ibid).

God protects those whom He will, and empowers His Spirit-begotten people to resist the devil. But what must we do in order to receive this protection and power? “Submit yourselves therefore to God.Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:7-8).

What a wonderful promise! What marvelous hope God offers. Understand the reality of the spirit world, utilize your spiritual lifeline, submit to God—and fight and conquer Satan!