Iran’s Implementation Day: A Landmark for the Middle East

Iran’s Implementation Day: A Landmark for the Middle East

KEVIN LAMARQUE/AFP/Getty Images

The lifting of sanctions as part of the nuclear agreement puts a stamp of finality of anointing Iran ‘the king of the south.’

January 16, 2016, was a landmark moment for the Middle East and the world.

It was Implementation Day. That day America’s nuclear agreement with Iran went into effect, and economic sanctions were lifted on this terrorist-sponsoring state.

This put a stamp of finality on anointing Iran “king of the south.”

In his column last week, Charles Krauthammer said January 16 “marked a historic inflection point in the geopolitics of the Middle East. In a stroke, Iran shed almost four decades of rogue-state status and was declared a citizen of good standing of the international community, open to trade, investment and diplomacy. This, without giving up, or even promising to change, its policy of subversion and aggression. This, without having forfeited its status as the world’s greatest purveyor of terrorism.”

This is an earthshaking moment—but it completes a protracted process we at the Trumpet have closely followed for more than 20 years.

With an eye to biblical prophecy, we reported on Iran’s ascent back in the 1990s and foretold how it would come to dominate the region. We showed the acceleration in its upward trajectory in 2001, after America began intervening in the region in the wake of 9/11—launching its “war on terror” by targeting Afghanistan rather than going after Iran. “Make no mistake about it: Iran is the head of the snake,” we wrote in our November 2001 issue. “[W]e can see unequivocally that the terrorist snake will survive America’s aggression—head intact, and stronger than ever.”

That is precisely what happened. “Overnight,” Krauthammer continued, Iran “went not just from pariah to player but from pariah to dominant regional power, flush with $100 billion in unfrozen assets and virtually free of international sanctions” (emphasis added throughout). He talked about the billions Iran will receive from oil trade. About how President Hassan Rouhani is now predicting 5 percent annual economic growth, after years of financial malaise and contraction. About how contracts on military deals with European companies are already being signed.

He concluded: “Cash-rich, reconnected with global banking and commerce, and facing an Arab world collapsed into a miasma of raging civil wars, Iran has instantly become the dominant power of the Middle East.”

Krauthammer may as well have used the words “king of the south.” That is the terminology the Trumpet references all the time regarding Iran—in a phrase straight from the prophecy in Daniel 11:40.

Iran is the king! Everybody can see it.

Is it OK to say, “We told you so”?

And just as the Trumpet has reported for the past 15 years, the United States is astoundingly, shamefully responsible for a great deal of Iran’s rise.

Events surrounding Implementation Day forcefully demonstrate this truth.

The day the deal was put into effect, January 16, the Obama administration completed a prisoner exchange with Iran that brought four Americans home. Thus, media reportage on the astonishing strategic victory America gave Iran—in the form of international legitimacy and $100 billion in sanctions relief—was focused instead on a telegenic, heart-warming story about American prisoners being brought home. The White House promoted the narrative that this was wonderful evidence of the power of diplomacy, and of a new era in warmer relations with Iran.

But another event on January 16 revealed that there was more to the story. That same day, news broke that three Americans were kidnapped in Baghdad by an Iranian-backed Shiite militia. In one sense, the Obama administration wasn’t surprised: One week earlier, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq was reportedly warned that Iranian-sponsored militants were plotting to kidnap American contractors in Iraq. But in another sense, it was surprised—and cbs News explained why: “Officials in Washington had hoped the Iranian government would tell the militia group to hold off because of all the negotiations surrounding the prisoner swap ….”

(Listen to Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry discuss this development in greater detail on the Trumpet Daily Radio Show.)

Apparently, America didn’t want anything to jeopardize its Implementation Day photo op! And clearly, Iran couldn’t or wouldn’t stop one of its proxies from kidnapping the citizens of its negotiation partner. It knows Washington will let it get away with virtually anything.

If this is what happened, it is only the latest incident in a disgraceful trend from Washington. In apparent determination to prevent anything from derailing the realization of this nuclear agreement, America has been ignoring a tremendous amount of provocative, illegal and warlike behavior by Iran!

In the last couple of months, Iran has tested ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads, in blatant violation of United Nations resolutions that should have set off economic sanctions. Rather than announcing plans for new sanctions, however, the White House, announced an indefinite delay of those sanctions.

Now, in hindsight, it looks suspiciously like one of the main reasons for the delay was to avoid jeopardizing the prisoner swap. On January 17, one day after the trade, the U.S. went ahead and imposed the sanctions pertaining to Iran’s ballistic missiles.

Just this month, Iran displayed footage on national television of a new underground cache of precision-guided missiles. The Obama administration had ignored near unanimous calls by both parties in Congress to act. Then came Iran’s seizure of two U.S. Navy patrol boats in the Persian Gulf, where it took 10 sailors hostage and filmed them having to drop to their knees at gunpoint and apologize for “trespassing.” For that, the Obama administration thanked Iran for letting the sailors go without further incident and once again hailed it as an example of a diplomatic victory.

It requires an extraordinarily distorted perspective to view Iran’s current behavior as evidence of its rehabilitation. The realistic view is precisely the opposite.

(Listen to Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker discuss Iran’s implementation day on Trumpet Hour at 30:00.)

As the Hudson Institute’s Michael Pregent told Business Insider, “Once Implementation Day is announced, Iran is going to step up its provocative actions in the region and the hard-liners know this White House won’t do a thing about it for the next 12 months.”

As if to underline that analysis, immediately after the nuclear deal’s implementation, the regime in Tehran reviewed the list of about 3,000 candidates hoping to run in next month’s parliamentary elections—and eliminated literally 99 percent of them. It only deemed 33 candidates sufficiently in line with its aims to be considered for office.

This is the status quo for Tehran’s mullahs. Nothing has changed. This is how the Islamic Republic of Iran has always conducted its business. And everything the U.S. has done has encouraged and strengthened its position.

As Bret Stephens wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week, “Iran will become a ‘normal’ country only when it ceases to be an Islamic Republic. In the meantime, the only question is how far we are prepared to abase ourselves in our quest to normalize it.”

The Tablet’s Lee Smith wrote that the results of America’s capitulation “are likely to prove catastrophic for American allies and, as we shall soon see, America itself. The violence and turmoil may reach epic proportions this year as Iran races for bargains in a fire sale that it believes is coming to an end in January 2017. … In the meantime, 2016 is going to be a year like no one has ever seen in the modern Middle East.”

The United States’ waning influence and lack of willpower are on full display. So too are Iran’s terrorist activities and waxing belligerence. What we are seeing is directly in line with the Bible’s prophecy of a king of the south: an Iran that is newly dominant, stronger than ever, and ready to push as never before.

United States Lifts Iran’s Nuclear-Related Sanctions on January 16

United States Lifts Iran’s Nuclear-Related Sanctions on January 16

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Iran’s economy is ‘on the runway, ready to take off.’

On January 16, the United States accepted the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (iaea) verification that Iran had implemented the necessary requirements for the removal of past nuclear-related sanctions. As a result, billions of dollars will flood into the Iranian economy, which had been struggling with sanctions.

“Today, as a result of the actions taken since last July … the entire world [is] safer because the threat of the nuclear weapon has been reduced,” Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Gross domestic product, which had averaged below zero percent in the past 4 years, is predicted to rise to 6 percent.

The most significant effects of lifting the sanctions are:

  • Around $90 billion of frozen or blocked foreign assets will be made available to Iran.
  • Crude oil exports previously limited at 1.1 million barrels per day are estimated to nearly double.
  • Foreign firms will be allowed to invest in Iran’s oil, gas and automobile sectors.
  • Iran’s restriction of using the global banking system will be released.
  • “We are like a pilot on the runway ready to take off. This is how the whole country is right now,” Iran’s deputy oil minister for planning and supervision, Mansour Moazami, said.

    The next day, new sanctions were established, preventing 11 entities and individuals linked to Iran’s missile program from using the U.S. banking system. The sanctions came a month after complaints of the White House’s delay in responding to Iran’s violation of a United Nations resolution regarding its ballistic missile development.

    The Trumpet staff watches January 16 closely each year (read “Keeping an Eye on January 16 and 17” to find out why). For the full implications of the Iran deal and the lifting of sanctions, listen to Trumpet Daily Radio Show host Stephen Flurry’s program below.

    God’s Greatest Masterpiece

    God’s Greatest Masterpiece

    ©iStock.com/JerryGrugin

    The Prophet Micah wrote his biblical account around 750 B.C., but his message is mainly for God’s loyal remnant today. Those who hold fast will receive a reward beyond comprehension!

    The Prophet Micah wrote about man’s most extraordinary and mind-staggering potential. Though his book is part of the minor prophets, there is nothing minor about his message!

    “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men” (Micah 2:12). Jacob was Israel’s name before he was converted. We can see from this verse that Micah’s message applies to Jacob—primarily America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East—and Israel, or God’s Church. God says He will shepherd them both.

    Trouble in Zion

    Micah mainly targets God’s Church with his marvelous message of hope. He bemoans the evils of this world, while highlighting the example of a loyal remnant that clings to God’s truth and delivers His warning message in the end time.

    “Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee” (Micah 1:16). The context shows this is discussing God’s Church (Micah 2:5). At a time when a fanatical nation like Iran is receiving sanctions relief, the United States’ debt is zooming toward $20 trillion, and approximately one tenth of Americans are taking illegal drugs, God’s church has fallen asleep! We are living in the most dangerous time in human history, yet God’s people have lost all urgency. For this reason, God makes them “bald.”

    “Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame” (verse 6). The 95 percent majority of God’s Church tells the loyal remnant not to prophesy! These people once supported the prophetic warning message, but they are too caught up in the cares of this world to do that any longer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LFNd_i9i24&feature=youtu.be

    The Breaker

    A work of prophesying requires a prophet at the head. God’s people rally around this man and excitedly disseminate a wondrous, vision-filled warning. It is fundamentally impossible for them to coexist in the same church with those who seek to stamp out God’s truth. “Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction” (Micah 2:10).

    “The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them” (verse 13). God leads this “breaker,” who is also called a king in this verse. The Hebrew word for king is melek, and it has a wide range of translations. Really, the “breaker” is a spiritual leader—a prophet in God’s Church (Ezekiel 33:33). The context bears that out.

    Here is the Soncino Commentary’s definition of “breaker”: “One who clears away, breaking down barriers and removing obstacles.” This man leads an obedient little remnant out of God’s rebellious Church—a church that rises up as God’s enemy! (Micah 2:8).

    “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). This is the only way to salvation—the only solution to world problems. If God’s warrior remnant doesn’t deliver His message, then no one will!

    Hearken!

    “Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord God be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple” (Micah 1:2). God speaks through a man today. The whole Earth needs to hear the warning!

    “For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel …” (verse 5). Physical and spiritual Israel have turned away from God. God’s Church is not exempt from Micah’s correction.

    “And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot” (verse 7). Nuclear fire will devour our vile, idolatrous cities! People may scoff at God now, but they won’t for long.

    “Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls” (verse 8). “Dragons” should be “jackals,” and “owls” should be “ostriches.” Micah is saying that he will go to extremes to warn the people—even stripping naked, howling pitifully like a jackal and fleeing from danger like a foolish ostrich if necessary! God’s man is always willing to do whatever it takes to reach as many people as possible.

    Micah uses some of the strongest language imaginable to emphasize the abominable condition of God’s end-time Church. “Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings” (Micah 3:2-4). This is a grisly metaphor depicting the savage act of cannibalism. God’s own people are being eaten alive spiritually! The physical fulfillment of this prophecy is coming soon, during the greatest time of suffering ever (Daniel 12:1).

    God’s Greatest Masterpiece

    Thankfully, the most spectacular news we could ever hear follows quickly after the Great Tribulation. “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it” (Micah 4:1-4).

    God will soon rule the Earth. All people will worship Him. He will abolish war and ensure peace and prosperity for all. He will show the world that only His way of life—not the disastrous way of Adam and Eve—produces happiness.

    “For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever” (verse 5). This verse seems contradictory at first, but it reveals the purpose for man! How can people look to their own gods and still worship the Father and Son in unity? God’s little flock today will be God beings tomorrow, sharing the throne of David with Jesus Christ and helping Him rule for all eternity! People all over the world will worship the God being in charge of their region. There may be more than one God in the World Tomorrow but still only one God Family—and only one God reigning supreme.

    This is what the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in The Incredible Human Potential:

    So mark well this super-vital truism—that perfect, holy and righteous character is the supreme feat of accomplishment possible for Almighty God the Creator—it is also the means to His ultimate supreme purpose! His final objective! …Now came the CROWNING PINNACLE of even God’s unmatched creative power! Now came the very zenith of all divine accomplishment! Now came a project so incredulously transcendentlyawesome it is hard for the human mind to grasp.How could the great GOD—self-existent, before all else, Creator of all else, reproduce Himself into multiplied millions of others just like Himself—divine, supreme in power, perfect in character—each by his own choice perfectly like-minded with the Father, each having so set himself that he cannot sin?

    God is re-creating Himself! We are His greatest masterpiece! Nothing is more challenging than turning carnal, selfish humans into sinless, immortal gods.

    “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men” (Micah 2:12). To find where God dwells today, look for a worldwide work making a great noise! We sound the alarm in all nations—on tv and through other mediums. God’s loyal remnant will receive the greatest reward.

    The times ahead are daunting, but God uses trials to challenge us to see our extraordinary potential! Study this inspiring subject, and God will bless you beyond measure.

    Week in Review: The Iran Threat, Merkel’s Last Stand, Putin-Approved Murder, Epic Debt Defaults, and More

    Week in Review: The Iran Threat, Merkel’s Last Stand, Putin-Approved Murder, Epic Debt Defaults, and More

    Sean Gallup/SAUL LOEB/VASILY MAXIMOV/DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images

    All you need to know about everything in the news this week

    Get all the important news from January 16-22 by downloading the Trumpet Weekly.Click here to receive it by e-mail every week.

    Highlights:

    The ever rising threat from Iran

  • Prior to January 16—the day Iran received sanctions relief over its nuclear program—the Islamic Republic illegally developed and tested ballistic missiles, threatened to accelerate its missile production, fired rockets at the uss Harry S. Truman, illegally harassed and detained 10 U.S. Navy sailors, inspired one of its proxies to kidnap American contractors in Iraq—among many criminal acts.
  • It appears Iran will remain unstoppable. But for how long will Iran’s belligerence go unchecked? Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker explains in his article “The Ostrich, the Warriors and the Whirlwind.”
  • Merkel’s last stand

  • “Angela Merkel has repeatedly said that it will take time to solve the refugee crisis,” wrote Spiegel Online. “But impatience is growing, particularly following the sexual assaults in Cologne. Voices of discontent are getting louder, and the chancellor’s hold on power may be weakening.”
  • Spiegel added that Merkel “faces a lasting power struggle with her own political allies—a tussle that could ultimately cost her the chancellery.”
  • The question Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry posed in November now takes on greater poignancy: “Will Angela Merkel complete her term as German chancellor?
  • World faces epic debt defaults

  • A central bank veteran William White fears the world is facing a wave of epic debt defaults.
  • “The situation is worse than it was in 2007,” warned White. “Our macroeconomic ammunition to fight downturns is essentially all used up.”
  • “The only question is whether we are able to look reality in the eye and face what is coming in an orderly fashion, or whether it will be disorderly.”
  • Is your personal financial house in order?
  • Russia replaces Israel as the most powerful nation in the Middle East

  • “When Russian President Vladimir Putin deployed his forces to Syria last year, he claimed that the deployment would be brief,” noted Caroline Glick.
  • The terms of the newly revealed deployment agreement, however, show that Moscow can maintain permanent bases in Syria.
  • “The [Israeli] government and military have no options for dealing with Russia’s sudden emergence as a major power in our backyard,” continued Glick. “And there is nothing new in Israel’s helplessness. We’ve never had an option for reining in Moscow.”
  • “But until Barack Obama came into office, Israel never had to worry about Russia. … Until Barack Obama entered the White House, every U.S. president from Franklin Roosevelt on believed it was a U.S. economic and strategic interest of the first order to curb Russian power in the Middle East.”
  • Putin-approved murder

  • Alexander Litvinenko, the ex-Russian spy murdered in London in 2006, was “probably” killed at the orders of President Vladimir Putin, according to a long-awaited report.
  • Litvinenko was poisoned with the radioactive polonium-210, whose use was “at the very least a strong indicator of state involvement.” His slow death was intended to “send a message.”
  • But here’s the most urgent message about Russia’s Vladimir Putin: “He is not the schoolyard bully with a penchant for creating mischief and occasionally stepping over the line. He is much more than a macho-man caricature who sells himself as a bastion of conservative, traditional values. This man is a killer. He needs to be feared and respected. He is changing the course of history.”
  • Other news:

  • Islamic State terrorists are carving a safe haven for themselves in the ungoverned state of Libya. The Wall Street Journal noted that “the European Union—300 miles across the Mediterranean—offered $108 million in security assistance to Libya,” following Islamic State bombings in a Libyan city early this month.
  • Police in Tajikistan have shaved the beards off of almost 13,000 men in part of the country’s fight against Islamic influence. Reports on Thursday said officials in the nation have also closed more than 160 shops that sold Muslim clothing. Tajikistan’s lawmakers have also passed laws prohibiting new parents from giving their children Arabic-sounding names.
  • Get more details on these stories and more by subscribing to the Trumpet Weekly!

    What Is the Apocalypse?

    ©iStock.com/jodie777

    Few people understand what the word ‘apocalypse’ actually means.

    Listen to the Trumpet Daily each day at 7:00 am (CST) on KPCG.fm.

    The world views the book of Revelation as if it were a horror movie. The Greek word for revelation is apocalypse. That word too, for most people, conjures up pictures of terrifying calamites. But the word apocalypse actually means an uncovering or disclosure—it means to enlighten or to give light!

    The book of Revelation is unique in that it provides a time frame, or time sequence, for all prophecy. That is why this book is so crucial to understand. God wants us to see how all prophecy fits into the God Family vision. That vision is clearly laid out in the book of Revelation.

    Revelation 1:3 reads, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

    God says if you understand and heed the greatest prophetic book in the Bible—the book of Revelation—you will be blessed like no other person on Earth! However, most people scoff at these prophecies, and in doing so, they have closed their eyes and ears to the truth.

    To understand Bible prophecy—which makes up approximately one third of the entire Bible—we must read and hear what God reveals in the book of Revelation. On this episode of the Trumpet Daily, we dig into the first few verses of the book of Revelation—a book God intended to give light to this dark world!

    Hundreds of Islamic State Terrorists Move Into Libya

    Hundreds of Islamic State Terrorists Move Into Libya

    MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images

    Oil and civil disunity attract Islamic State leaders.

    The Islamic State is strengthening its forces in Libya. Hundreds of terrorists are coming from Syria and Iraq, plus a number of local jihadist groups who have announced their alliance to the terrorist group.

    Following the ouster of Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi in 2011, the nation has become the battlefield for a number of competing factions and numerous jihadist groups. Amidst the turmoil, the Islamic State has gained control of a number of coastal cities, including Sirte, Bin Jawad and previously Derna.

    Recent American intelligence identified at least 500 Islamic State terrorists moving into Libya. A November United Nations report estimated that there are around 3,000 terrorists currently in Libya. The Libyan Center for Terrorism Studies puts that number around 10,000.

    Most of the Islamic State fighters in Libya were recruited from the Ansar al-Sharia militia in early 2015. In recent weeks, two other groups switched their allegiance to the Islamic State: the Ajdabiya Revolutionaries Shura Council, in Ajdabiya, and a second terror group in Misrata.

    The Washington Free Beacon reported that a U.S intelligence official confirmed “the [Islamic State] is expanding in Libya,” but not necessarily because “of the stepped up counterterrorism operations in Syria and Iraq.”

    Libyan officials say the Islamic State has targeted oil fields around Sirte. Since the beginning of the year, two of Libya’s largest export terminals—Es Sider and Ra’s Lanuf, which handle a large portion of Libya’s oil—were attacked and set on fire.

    The Islamic State could be trying to gain control of Libya’s oil as a revenue producer, which it does effectively in Syria and Iraq. Disruption of oil production throughout the country would also benefit the Islamic State. The absence of a unified government in Libya has allowed the growth of the terrorist group, and the loss of much-needed oil revenue would further weaken the two largest opposing factions in Libya.

    Finances are currently not an issue for the Islamic State in Libya. The United Nations report even indicated that “members of other groups … had switched to [the Islamic State] for financial reasons.”

    Islamic State operatives are also in Benghazi and have carried out attacks in the capital city of Tripoli.

    European governments close to the Libyan coast have been expressing their concern. Chairman of Italy’s Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Ferdinando Casini called for military intervention to prevent the Islamic State from spreading to Tripoli.

    “The more the birth of a government is delayed, the more threats will multiply. Their number will be reduced only when the government takes office,” Casini told an Italian newspaper.

    In the month of Qadhafi’s death, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry predicted that Libya would come under the influence of Iran. In his article “Egypt and Libya to Join Iran’s Terror Network” he wrote:

    We are rejoicing about the overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Qadhafi, while we should be mourning. Libyan chaos is now the ideal setting for Iran to bring that nation into its deadly terrorist web.

    Nearly five years later, chaos still abounds and terrorism runs rampant throughout the country. Keep your eye on the developments of the Islamic State within Libya, for it could be part of the catalyst that causes Libya to fall under the influence of Iran.