America’s Election and Europe’s New Order

America’s Election and Europe’s New Order

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

European leaders brace themselves for a Trump presidency.
From the January 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

For the second time in five months, a democratic election has shaken the geopolitical order in Europe. First came Brexit, then Donald Trump being elected U.S. president.

Mr. Trump’s stated vision for America is very different from his predecessor’s. And Europe’s reaction hasn’t been enthusiastic.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s de facto leader, offered only conditional cooperation with the new U.S. president. She listed values that she said bind Germany and America together: “democracy, freedom, respect for the law and for human dignity, regardless of ancestry, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political leanings. On the basis of these values, I offer the future president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, close cooperation.”

Since the end of World War ii, the U.S. has been responsible for rebuilding Germany, protecting Germany—even reunifying Germany. Yet now Germany’s leader offers only tepid conditional support for an incoming U.S. president!

This is more than just one leader’s reaction to an election she disagrees with. This is a signal of the fact that the geopolitical order in Europe—in the whole world, in fact—is changing fast.

Europe Is Vulnerable

Since World War ii, Europe has been dependent on the U.S. for its security. After the war, British and American leaders considered it too dangerous for Europe to arm and defend itself. A decade later, nations like Germany were once again allowed an army, but Europe’s militaries remained divided and much weaker than America’s.

Now Donald Trump is questioning nato, the organization that institutionalized this system and thus underpins Europe’s security. This has some leaders terrified. Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and a pro-integration leader in European Parliament, warned in Project Syndicate, “The EU’s territorial integrity itself is now at stake” (Nov. 10, 2016).

“Trump has made it abundantly clear that his foreign-policy priorities do not include European security,” he wrote. “He doesn’t recognize nato’s strategic necessity, and he has shown an interest in transatlantic relations only when he has alluded to unpaid bills. A Trump presidency will lead to an epic geopolitical shift: For the first time since 1941, Europe cannot rely on the U.S. defense umbrella; it now stands alone.”

Mr. Trump’s economic policies also threaten Europe. The uncertainty in the financial markets after his election could be enough to knock the fragile euro back into crisis. Moreover the EU is, at its core, a free trade zone. Mr. Trump rose to the presidency on an anti-free trade platform. If his movement spreads, it could rip the EU apart. Leaders already feel vulnerable after Brexit. That referendum caused many to declare the EU doomed. After Trump’s victory, they are desperate to push for further unity if only to prevent their beloved project from fracturing apart.

A Cry for an Army

It is little wonder the European leaders are saying they urgently need to defend themselves.

“Trump knows that the EU has the money, technology and know-how to be a global power equal to the U.S., and it is not his problem that Europe lacks the political will to harness its full potential,” wrote Verhofstadt. “The EU should treat Trump’s election as a wake-up call to take charge of its own destiny” (ibid).

Verhofstadt said the EU could no longer wait to build its own military and develop its own security strategy. “This is a difficult but vital decision that the EU has postponed for too long,” he said. “Now that Trump has been elected, it can wait no longer.”

This European M.P. is hardly the only voice speaking along this line. Within hours of Mr. Trump’s victory, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker both called for European nations to do more on defense, and do more together.

It is possible Mr. Trump will back away from abandoning nato once he takes office. He certainly wouldn’t be the first politician to flip-flop on campaign promises. But regardless, Europe will continue to seek a united military. In many ways, the damage is already done. European leaders no longer take American support for granted. They—and the public—are now well aware that America not only can pull its support, but that its president is inclined to do so. Europe’s integrationists will intensify their calls for a united military no matter what Mr. Trump does.

Furthermore, European leaders were pushing for a stronger, more united military even before Mr. Trump was elected. That push has accelerated in recent months, with EU leaders now meeting regularly to plan for the union.

German-Foreign-Policy.com noted that in the weeks before the U.S. election, voices from within Berlin’s foreign-policy establishment had been demanding “that Germany enhance its position within the framework of the transatlantic alliance” (Nov. 9, 2016).

Long-time diplomat and chair of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger made a similar call in the November-December issue of Internationale Politik. “We need … more urgency in the establishment and development of effective European defense structures,” he wrote.

In many ways, Mr. Trump’s stated policy is merely an intensification of President Barack Obama’s. Mr. Obama has already pushed Europe in this direction; now it is moving.

Finally, some within Europe are welcoming Mr. Trump’s election. They have wanted an EU army for years and see this as an opportunity to finally realize that dream.

“Europeans need a shock,” said Eugeniusz Smolar, former president of the Center for International Relations in Warsaw. Mr. Trump’s election “is one which might be very helpful to concentrate their beautiful minds,” he said.

“Joseph Stalin was the first unifier of Europe,” said Elmar Brok, the chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs. “In a certain sense, Trump has the opportunity to be the second.”

Former leader of the Christian Social Union and elder German statesman Edmund Stoiber said that a Trump presidency may prove better for Europe than a Clinton presidency would have been, because under Mr. Trump, “we will have to take on a lot more responsibility than before.”

“America will retreat a bit from the overarching world policy and will only defend its own interests,” he said in an interview with Focus Online. “Hillary Clinton would also have moved into that direction; it already started under Obama. America is consciously retiring as a world policeman and also as a champion of free world trade. Europe has to enforce its own interests” (Nov. 10, 2016).

Mr. Stoiber has long wanted Europe to play a more powerful and independent role in the world. Mr. Trump’s election pushes it closer to Stoiber’s goal.

A Cry for Leadership

The U.S. has done more than provide security for Europe. It has provided leadership. Whenever there has been a crisis in the region—be it Russia, Afghanistan, wherever—the U.S. has taken a leading role. European leaders might have disagreed with or complained about that leadership at times, but they never took the lead themselves.

That era is now ending, which is all the more reason why Europe desperately needs a strongman of its own.

“The phrase ‘leader of the free world’ is usually applied to the president of the United States, and rarely without irony,” wrote historian and Guardian columnist Timothy Garton Ash. “I’m tempted to say that the leader of the free world is now Angela Merkel” (Nov. 11, 2016).

For Germany to even be considered as an alternative to America reveals a massive geopolitical shift. And Garton Ash is far from being the only one making the connection.

The New York Times published an article titled “Donald Trump’s Election Leaves Angela Merkel as the Liberal West’s Last Defender.” “An increasingly divided Europe is looking to Germany, its richest power, to cope with its many problems,” it said (Nov. 12, 2016).

“Never before has so much ridden on the Germans,” said Simon Tilford, deputy director of the Center for European Reform.

The Times noted that Mr. Trump’s anti-nato rhetoric means “there is pressure on Germany to take a greater role in European security—always a delicate matter” (ibid; emphasis added).

“With the U.S. election results, the pressure on Germany has increased dramatically,” Olaf Boehnke, an expert on international affairs, told the Local. “There is a need [for] leadership, and if the U.S. will not be the leader for the time being, then everybody looks to other leading nations or those with the potential. It is up to Merkel and to Berlin to step up at least for the European crowd and take on much more responsibility than she already has” (Nov. 9, 2016).

Again, this shove from the U.S. comes as many important voices within Germany are already saying it needs to step up and lead. “In the current crises, Germany has shown that it is willing to take responsibility in security policy,” wrote Defense Minister von der Leyen in a 2016 white paper on German security policy and the future of the Bundeswehr. “We have also shown that we are prepared to take the lead.”

A Momentous Shift

It’s still early, but it’s already clear Mr. Trump’s election is driving a massive wedge between Europe and America. The criticism of him coming from European leaders has been unparalleled.

Ms. Merkel’s conditional message of support for Mr. Trump won much applause. And she was much more restrained in her concerns about Donald Trump than other German leaders:

  • “I don’t want to sugarcoat it: Nothing will be easier and much will be more difficult.” —Frank-Walter Steinmeier, foreign minister
  • “Trump is a warning to us as well. He is the harbinger of a new authoritarian and chauvinistic international movement.” —Sigmar Gabriel, vice chancellor
  • “The world won’t end. It will only get crazier.” —Heiko Maas, justice minister
  • Mr. Trump is “completely inadequate” to be president. “That Trump’s election could lead to the worst estrangement between America and Europe since the Vietnam War would be the least of the damage.” —Norbert Röttgen, chairman of Germany’s parliamentary committee for foreign policy
  • Clearly a lot of the emotion surrounding Mr. Trump’s election will soon fade. The United States remains a superpower, and European leaders will not refuse to cooperate with that superpower merely to spite Donald Trump.

    Former President George W. Bush was not at all popular in much of Western Europe, and the public animosity toward him endured. France’s and Germany’s refusal to support his invasion of Iraq was a clear break between Europe and America. That European dislike and that refusal were both symptoms of significant and fundamental differences between Mr. Bush and European leaders. The same is true with Mr. Trump. European leaders’ stinging response to the U.S. election reveals a deep divide between the two power blocs.

    It is also true that Europe has “Trumps” of its own. Some leaders in Eastern Europe and challengers in the West draw on similar rhetoric. However, such similarities are unlikely to result in abiding friendships with America. No matter how similar France’s “Trump” may be to the U.S. president, it’s clear that a leader whose motto is “America First” will never have a deep, harmonious relationship with one whose modus operandi is “France first.” If America and Europe are not united in upholding free trade and liberal values, what common interests hold them together?

    Furthermore, there is much about Mr. Trump’s rise that is uniquely American. It seems unlikely that a man who sits on a golden throne and boasts about his humility will ever win favor from European leaders.

    “Europeans should show that they are able to hedge their bets and build alliances with others,” wrote Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

    “Rather than waiting for Trump to marginalize the EU over Russia and China, Europeans should fly some kites of their own,” he wrote. He asked if Europe should reach out to China and perhaps end its arms embargo.

    The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (swp) called for Europe to distance itself from America even before the U.S. election. In an October 2016 analysis, it warned that Europe was completely dependent on America regarding foreign policy. The government, it wrote, needs to “ponder the reaction, should U.S. behavior become counterproductive from a German perspective.”

    “Without the will to argue with the U.S. government, many options for gaining influence are excluded from the outset,” swp continued. Instead, “Germany and Europe should not leave stability policy proposals up [to] the U.S.A.”

    This highly influential think tank already wanted Europe to be willing to “argue with the U.S. government.” Again we see how Mr. Trump’s election is accelerating an established trend.

    This is leading to a complete break between Europe and America—something that seven decades of U.S. leadership has tried to prevent.

    Accelerating World Events

    Donald Trump’s election is accelerating some of the most vital prophetic trends the Trumpet has followed for decades.

    Warning about the cooling of relations between Europe and the U.S., Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in October 2014 that this “is a significant development. It is about the dismantling of a relationship that has helped to preserve peace in Europe for nearly seven decades!”

    He continued: “Bible prophecy warns that a German-led European empire is going to rise up. We have said for over 50 years that it will probably be more powerful than both America and Russia!

    “The age of American global leadership is drawing to a close. While the Germans might not come out and say so, they are reveling in that fact. The U.S. may try and repair relations with its former lover, but irreversible damage has already been done. The breakup, which started with the spying scandal, is going to continue to worsen until one of America’s greatest allies since World War ii becomes, once again, its greatest enemy!”

    “What makes the German-American split especially important is this: It is exactly what biblical prophecy told us would happen!” Mr. Flurry wrote. He elaborated on one of those prophecies, in Ezekiel 23, which describes America and Britain as having a lover-type relationship with the modern Assyrians—Germany—a relationship that will end with a massive double cross.

    This German-American split is clearer than ever—and will accelerate further in the coming months.

    We have said for decades that Germany will lead Europe. And we have warned that the EU would develop a common military. In 1978, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “The Europeans are far more disturbed about their safety in relying on United States military power to protect them than Americans realize! The United States is not loved in Europe. European confidence in U.S. protection against their next-door Communist neighbor has been lessening and lessening.

    Europeans want their own united military power! They know that a political union of Europe would produce a third major world power, as strong as either the United States or the ussr—possibly stronger!” (Good News, Aug. 28, 1978). That applies more than ever to Europe today! Europeans are, right now, saying almost exactly that!

    Meanwhile Mr. Trump’s election is building the sense of crisis in Europe. The whole continent is crying out for strong leadership. Germany is the strongest nation, but Chancellor Merkel is isolated and has proved that she is not the leader for the job. We have forecasted for years that this will lead to the rise of a strong leader within Europe.

    It’s clear that when Mr. Armstrong was writing in 1978, he expected to see this European military power within his lifetime. It did not happen on the timescale he anticipated. But world events are moving forward at a dramatic pace, and the election of Donald Trump will accelerate them greatly.

    Bible prophecy is becoming increasingly hard to ignore. Already Herbert W. Armstrong’s decades-old forecasting has been proven right on Brexit. You need to become familiar with what he wrote—it is filling more and more of your newspaper headlines.

    The pace of Bible prophecy is increasing. Request our free booklet He Was Right to learn more prophecies that are being fulfilled in today’s headlines.


    What Will Happen to Religious Freedom?

    What Will Happen to Religious Freedom?

    Julia Goddard/Trumpet

    A radical secularist movement has been attacking America’s ‘first freedom’ for decades. Now the new president-elect is vowing to fight back. Will he succeed?
    From the January 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

    Religious freedom is rare in this world. For most of human history, people have been forced to conform to the national religion of their country or live in fear of persecution. Even today, about three out of four people in the world live in a nation where serious restrictions are placed on the free exercise of religion. In many Middle Eastern nations, people can even be fined, jailed or killed for crimes of blasphemy or apostasy.

    For the fortunate few living in a nation that guarantees religious freedom, it is easy to forget how historically unique it is to be able to live according to the dictates of their conscience without fear of persecution. As recently as two centuries ago, Europeans were fleeing across the Atlantic Ocean in search of religious freedom.

    Even in the New World, however, religious freedom wasn’t ensured until Rhode Island became the first place in the world to guarantee religious liberty as a tenet of its royal charter. A century after the death of Rhode Island’s founder, Roger Williams, this principle of “separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world” stirred the framers of the United States Constitution to guarantee religious freedom in the Bill of Rights.

    The Baptist preacher and evangelist John Leland worked tirelessly alongside American founders Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to convince the Virginia State Legislature to guarantee Virginians the same religious freedom as already existed in Rhode Island. Their efforts finally bore fruit with the passing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on Jan. 16, 1786. It was the text of this statute that served as the primary blueprint for the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

    This is why Americans commemorate January 16 each year as National Religious Freedom Day.

    Despite the lip service paid to religious freedom each January, however, most Americans take freedom of religion for granted. Because the general populace doesn’t understand what America’s founders meant when they wrote about the “separation between church and state,” a radical secularist movement has convinced millions of Americans that “freedom of religion” actually means “freedom from religion.” Building on this premise, government officials have dismissed religious concerns as irrelevant and used the power of the state to coerce Christians to act contrary to their faith, such as subsidizing abortion procedures and participating in homosexual wedding ceremonies.

    In recent years, this erosion of religious freedom has advanced rapidly. While President-elect Donald Trump has promised to protect the rights of Christian denominations from this secularist assault, many wonder if he can and will actually restore religious freedom.

    Whatever twists and turns American politics takes in the months ahead, however, the infallible word of the Bible reveals that religious persecution against true Christians is going to intensify.

    Fight Over Abortion

    During the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the federal government spearheaded the greatest assault on religious freedom in modern American history. Instances and examples of this assault are abundant.

    To take one example, the Affordable Care Act enacted on March 23, 2010, mandated that employers provide employees with contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilizations. Even though several U.S. religious organizations believe that contraception and abortion are sin, the Obama administration refused to exempt religious institutions from its sweeping health-care mandate. Washington insisted that a woman’s right to abortion-inducing drugs is more important than employers’ right to act in accordance with their religious beliefs.

    In response, the Pentecostal business owners of Hobby Lobby and an organization of Catholic nuns challenged the Affordable Care Act in court, and the Supreme Court granted Hobby Lobby a religious exemption. However, several other religious organizations are still awaiting the final outcome of their lawsuits challenging this Obamacare provision.

    In September 2016, Hobby Lobby founder and ceo David Green endorsed Donald Trump in the presidential election after initially opposing him solely because of the candidate’s promises to appoint federal judges who would defend the religious freedom of Christians.

    “The Christians are being treated horribly because we have nobody to represent the Christians,” said Mr. Trump in a May 2015 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. “Believe me, if I run and I win, I will be the greatest representative of the Christians they’ve had in a long time.”

    Some have interpreted promises like this as a sign that Donald Trump may prioritize the rights of evangelical Christians above the rights of religious minorities. Muslims and Mormons in particular have expressed such concerns. While it is still too early to know how a Trump administration will deal with issues involving freedom of religion, this much is sure: A fight is brewing between evangelical Christians and radical secularists over a range of issues.

    Endorsing Homosexuality

    At the state and local level, Christians have been forced to provide homosexual couples with wedding cakes and photography services against their deeply held religious convictions.

    Aaron and Melissa Klein ran a bakery in Portland, Oregon, for seven years before a lesbian woman asked the Christian couple on Jan. 17, 2013, to bake a cake for her same-sex wedding. Mr. Klein said his business didn’t cater same-sex weddings due to his religious beliefs. Later that day, the woman’s mother challenged him about his belief in the Bible. He responded by quoting Leviticus 20:13: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”

    Soon after, Oregon officials informed the Kleins that they were being prosecuted for violating the Oregon Equality Act of 2007. The lesbian couple had filed a claim with the state, stating that the Kleins’ refusal to bake them a cake had caused them to suffer from 88 symptoms of mental anguish including “doubt,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “worry” and a “dislike of going to work.”

    The Kleins protested that the ruling violated their religious liberty. But their case wasn’t even tried by a judge from the Oregon judiciary; it was tried by a bureaucrat from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, who ruled that the Kleins owed the lesbian couple, Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman, $135,000 in damages.

    Labor Bureau Commissioner Brad Avakian told local media that the real reason for the fine was to persuade the couple to change their religious beliefs. “The goal is to rehabilitate,” he said. “For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience and have a good, successful business in Oregon” (emphasis added).

    Although Rachel Cryer could have easily found another cake supplier, the Oregon government deemed it important to make an example of the Kleins. According to the official catechism of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, a Christian couple’s right to religious freedom takes a backseat to a lesbian couple’s right to a cake.

    The Kleins are not alone in being forced by the government to choose between remaining faithful to their religious views and facing punishment. A baker in Colorado, a florist in Washington and a photographer in New Mexico have all been convicted of violating state antidiscrimination laws for refusing to offer same-sex couples the same services they offer to heterosexual couples.

    The people being prosecuted weren’t denying services to customers because they were homosexual, but out of a religious conviction against participating in a same-sex wedding. The government is outlawing free moral agency in such matters of conscience.

    This is a serious issue that the Trump campaign hasn’t addressed. As recently as the year 2000, Mr. Trump suggested amending the federal Civil Rights Act to include a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation. While such an amendment would likely make it a federal crime for Christians to refuse to participate in homosexual wedding ceremonies, it is again much too early to know how a Trump administration will deal with this issue. Many of the lgbt antidiscrimination laws on the books in America are incompatible with Trump’s pledges to restore religious liberty.

    Controlling Sermons

    Government control over the content of religious sermons is something usually associated with the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Communist Party of China. Yet state officials in both Iowa and Massachusetts have claimed the power to forbid Christian pastors from expressing biblical views on human sexuality in public.

    In 2007, the Iowa State Legislature passed a Civil Rights Act that bans places of “public accommodation” from expressing their views on human sexuality if they would “directly or indirectly” make “persons of any particular … gender identity” feel “unwelcome.” Since there was some confusion over whether or not religious institutions counted as places of “public accommodation,” the Iowa Civil Rights Commission released a brochure in 2012 stating, “Iowa law provides that these protections do not apply to religious institutions with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose. Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law’s provisions.”

    In short, this law means that pastors who work for “religious institutions” can only express their views on human sexuality if an Iowa bureaucrat decides these views are related to a “bona fide religious purpose.”

    The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination explained its restriction more clearly in a pamphlet released in September 2016. The state ruled: “[P]laces of public accommodation may not discriminate against or restrict a person from services because of that person’s gender identity. … Even a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.”

    Massachusetts also makes it a crime to “discriminate” against individuals who identify as transgender by refusing to use their preferred pronoun. Thus, a Massachusetts church could be prosecuted if one of its members won’t refer to a man with female pronouns during a church spaghetti dinner.

    As in Iowa, it is up to a state bureaucrat to determine which church-sponsored events are “secular” and which serve a “bona fide religious purpose.” If this seems confusing, it’s because the U.S. Constitution doesn’t actually guarantee religious institutions constitutional rights—it guarantees people constitutional rights. A person’s freedom to express religious opinions holds true whether inside or outside a church. As long as a person’s behavior doesn’t violate someone else’s constitutional rights, it doesn’t matter whether that behavior takes place in a church or not.

    So-called antidiscrimination laws across America have subverted freedom of religion and freedom of speech in a bid to give homosexuals and transgenders “freedom from being offended.”

    The absurdity of this new freedom should be obvious. There probably isn’t an opinion in existence that couldn’t offend somebody. Should businesses be banned from serving alcohol at events open to the public because that offends Muslims? Should atheist groups be banned from criticizing religion in public since that offends Christians?

    These questions reveal that the agenda behind these “antidiscrimination” laws isn’t protecting the constitutional rights of homosexuals. The ultimate agenda is to force Christians to accept that homosexuality is natural, normal and healthy. America’s Christians may soon start to push back against such stifling government regulation, but to what extent a Trump administration will actually help them remains to be seen.

    Persecution

    There is a lot of confusion surrounding the future of religious freedom in America. Many are hopeful the Trump administration will make religious freedom great again. Others are pessimistic about the prospects of a thrice-married casino owner actually caring about the freedoms of conservative Christians. Still others are fearful that Trump will swing to the opposite extreme from Obama and start persecuting religious minorities in the name of evangelical Christians.

    Regardless of what political analysts may say, however, Jesus Christ prophesied that in the time just before His return to Earth, His followers would be persecuted for their beliefs.

    When His disciples asked Him for a sign of His Second Coming and the end of the world, He answered: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. … Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:4-5, 9).

    When Christ said His followers would be “hated of all nations,” He certainly included America among them. This means the First Amendment protection Americans have enjoyed for over two centuries will erode to the point where true believers can once again be persecuted for their beliefs.

    The Prophet Amos wrote of a time when a leader of end-time Israel would expel out of the nation those who declare God’s prophecies (Amos 7:10-13). This isn’t just a warning for an ancient nation; it is a prophecy of events in modern times. In particular, two nations represent biblical Israel in this end time: the United States and Britain. (Request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, which contains abundant proof of this truth.)

    Amos’s prophecy shows that the persecution culminates in a “famine of the word”—a time when God’s truth would no longer be readily available—caused by deliberate suppression of that message (Amos 8:11-12).

    Based on these prophecies, we can know that the current assault on religious freedom will continue and intensify—not just in America, but also in every nation.

    Thankfully, this persecution, and the famine of the word, is prophesied to be exceedingly short. The planet will undergo a time of immense suffering after God’s warning message is temporarily halted in America and Britain, but this time of great tribulation will be cut short by divine intervention. As Jesus Christ explained in Matthew 24:27, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

    After accumulating 6,000 years of evil and suffering, the human race will finally be ready to listen to God and to let Him show them the path to true freedom!

    America’s Coming Civil War

    America’s Coming Civil War

    Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images

    But Americans don’t know why it is coming.
    From the January 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

    After Americans elected a new president on November 8, his opponents reacted fiercely. Their aggressive tirades are more dangerous than even they realize!

    One of the worst post-election commentaries came from a man named Van Jones. An avowed Communist known for vulgarly attacking Republicans, Jones made his career out of stirring up racial guilt and agitation. He allegedly signed a petition demanding investigations into whether the George W. Bush administration intentionally allowed terrorists to murder 3,000 people on September 11. President Barack Obama appointed him as his “green energy czar” in 2009. Less than six months later, Van Jones resigned under pressure. cnn then hired him as a commentator.

    In the early hours of November 9, just after it became final that Hillary Clinton had lost to Donald Trump, Jones said, “People have talked about a miracle. I’m hearing about a nightmare. … You tell your kids: Don’t be a bully. You tell your kids, don’t be a bigot. You tell your kids, do your homework and be prepared. And then you have this outcome. And you have people putting children to bed tonight, and they’re afraid of breakfast. They’re afraid of ‘How do I explain this to my children?’ I have Muslim friends who are texting me tonight, saying, ‘Should I leave the country?’ I have families of immigrants that are terrified tonight.”

    That is wild fear-mongering! What is this man talking about? The only people who might be somewhat uncertain after Mr. Trump’s victory are those who have broken the law and are in America illegally. Mr. Trump said he would actually enforce existing immigration laws passed by Congress—which is the president’s duty! But for Van Jones, supposedly this is a “nightmare”!

    Jones’s eyes were wet when he said: “This was a rebellion against the elites, true. It was a complete reinvention of politics and polls, it’s true. But it was also something else. … We haven’t talked about race. This was a white-lash. This was a white-lash against a changing country. It was a white-lash against a black president, in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes” (emphasis mine throughout).

    What does he mean by “a white-lash against a changing country”? He is hearkening back to the days of slavery—accusing many millions of white people as the worst kind of racists!

    He also said it was a white-lash against a black president, in part. And that racist statement after white people elected Barack Obama for two terms by near landslides!

    Van Jones is expressing the deepest kind of diabolical black racism. And cnn is helping him spread it!

    Where is this leading America?

    This is the kind of vile language we have heard over and over and over that has stirred up terrible bitterness and anger among minorities against this country! This kind of incitement is dividing the races all the more—and is leading to race war!

    Why do so many of our people fail to see this simple truth?

    After the Election

    The day after the election, President Obama made this statement: “Now, it is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences. But remember, eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running. … So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set eight years ago, and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect—because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.”

    These sound like good words. The next day, Mr. Trump accepted an invitation to meet Mr. Obama in the White House. They had an apparently cordial meeting.

    However, just three days earlier, the day before the election, President Obama had been on a campaign stage shouting that Mr. Trump was “temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief”! He even implied that he sympathizes with the Ku Klux Klan, a horrible, racist organization. President Obama was calling Trump a racist! This same president hired Van Jones and chose Al Sharpton as his main “civil rights” liaison man.

    President Obama’s nice words were at odds with everything he has been doing over the past eight years!

    At the same time he was making some of those statements, thousands of people were demonstrating and even rioting to oppose the president-elect. Demonstrators vandalized property, started fires and blocked traffic. In one video posted online, a group of African-Americans pulled a white man out of his car, beat him and stole his car because he had a “Trump” bumper sticker. Spray-painted messages read, “We are ungovernable,” “Kill white people,” and “Die whites, die.” Enraged people scrawled, “Kill your local Trump supporter” and “Kill Trump” on walls and wrote awful things about his wife.

    Protests occurred in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Miami and several other cities. Dozens of people were arrested. Many journalists reported these as if they were spontaneous, but everything indicated that they were all organized and planned. Many of these protesters are professionals who are paid to stir up demonstrations! Many of them don’t even live in the cities where they march and riot: Photos surfaced showing rows of large buses that allegedly transported protesters from out of town to make the unrest appear to be bigger than it actually is. More than half of those arrested did not even vote!

    President Obama said he wants a peaceful transition of power. But when people called on him, and on Hillary Clinton, to calm the protests, they were met with thunderous silence. Democratic leaders mostly remained silent.

    Several days later, the president did say the election results should be accepted. But it was a quickly made surface statement.

    Is that “work[ing] as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect—because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country”?

    Bernie Sanders, an open socialist who stirred up a far-left populist movement of his own when running against Clinton for the Democratic nomination, actually encouraged the protests!

    Al Sharpton said, “[W]e are not going down without a fight, and Donald need [sic] to know that.” Liberal celebrities said similar things.

    What kind of “fight” is Mr. Sharpton talking about?

    ‘We Got Our Country Back’?

    Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly asked, “Is a civil war brewing in the U.S.A.?”

    That is an important question! Clearly there are many people who want a fight—a revolution—a race war! And they are going to get it—and a whole lot more!

    As Americans are becoming their own worst enemies, what do you think our enemies abroad will do?

    After the election, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh said, “We just got our country back.” Then the riots began. This isn’t “getting your country back”—this is an alarm of war!

    The fact that Limbaugh even covered the riots was enough to prompt one of his longtime listeners to call in angry because Limbaugh wasn’t dwelling on the election success, he was mentioning the riots. The caller just didn’t want to hear such bad news. He wanted to celebrate winning the election.

    That is a dangerous attitude, an attitude that will ignore the disaster right up until it swallows you!

    Average Americans just want everything to calm down so they can get back to their lives and their pleasures and so forth. But the shocks for America aren’t going to go away. You can see that if you are watching what is happening with open eyes.

    But beyond that, you can be sure of it because of the prophecies in the Bible.

    The Bible is full of passages describing what is about to happen to America. I have written a number of articles showing how a race war is prophesied. Chapter Five of my new booklet Great Again is titled “Where America’s Race Riots Are Leading” and explains many of these passages. You cannot understand the seriousness of this threat unless you know the Bible!

    If you have never done so, you need to read Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. It proves step by step how to identify America in biblical prophecy, and gives a stunning overview of what the Bible says on this subject. We will gladly send you a free copy of this important book.

    Measured Destruction

    The book of Amos has some very strong prophecies that every American should know about. In it, God condemns our nation for our sins and describes many punishments that will come upon us as a consequence. These include some curses that we have already seen to some degree, like drought in certain areas and flooding in others, and plagues on our food production. But there are also nation-destroying curses that have not yet happened, like nuclear fire devouring our cities!

    Only deep repentance could prevent such a nightmare. But where do you see any indication of repentance in America today?

    In Amos 7, the prophet writes, “Thus he shewed me: and behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel [in prophetic terms, that is referring to the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel, which includes America]: I will not again pass by them any more: And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword” (Amos 7:7-9).

    A plumbline is a measuring instrument. What is God using it to measure, in this case? He is measuring destruction to come upon America!

    Think about this. The coming destruction is spoken of in many Bible prophecies. But it will not be wild and indiscriminate. God is measuring it precisely and carefully in order to accomplish something specific and wonderful!

    Whenever God punishes, He does so to correct people, to turn them away from sin! As He said through the Prophet Ezekiel, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

    We are living in the time frame of Amos’s prophecy—and notice what God says there: “I will not again pass by them any more”! God has given many warnings over a period of many years, but America has ignored those warnings. So God says, This is the last warning. I’m not going to pass by again!

    That shows you just how urgent these times are!

    As my booklet Great Again points out, as well as my booklet America Under Attack, we have been living in the time of an end-time type of Antiochus, a leader who has done tremendous damage to the most powerful nation on Earth. Read these booklets to understand the spiritual dimension to the decline America has been suffering for the past eight years.

    The Amos 7 prophecy indicates a different time—a period with a different man in charge: an end-time type of King Jeroboam. I believe the shift in administration is a transition into this time prophetically. This means America has very little time left—and you have very little time to respond to God’s final warning!

    Many Americans are troubled by the divisions and hatreds being expressed right now. But they need to be a lot more concerned than they are! The problems are going to get worse and worse until people get the message, and they learn why these disasters are happening!

    Donald Trump’s win is a prophetic sign of impending civil war and anarchy, followed by America’s worst military defeat ever! But don’t blame the politicians or the race-baiters or the professional rioters. This situation exists in America only because of the sins of the nation—of all Americans! We can no longer ignore what we have reaped by giving ourselves over to sin. This is a reckoning!

    The good news, though, is that the destruction about to sweep over us is all for a purpose. It is precisely measured, and it is purposeful. It is preparing our people to come to know God!

    Even the book of Amos, which contains a lot of bad news, concludes by showing the inspiring outcome. “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,’ says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:13-15; New King James Version).

    There are dark days ahead—but never lose sight of why God is allowing it—and the inspiring conclusion!

    Before Digging, Call the UN

    The United Nations has threatened the future of archaeological discovery in one of the world’s most historic cities.
    From the January 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

    jerusalem

    Often while working just below the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount over the past few years, I’d look up from the dirt and notice a camera crew setting up. They did not seem to be Jews, but rather reporters from Palestinian news crews. Unlike most others who walked past the dig site, these journalists would rarely ask questions about what we were finding or what we were doing digging there. Instead, they would simply set up their cameras in a particular location. There, with one simple pan upward, they could tape the excavation site along with the black dome of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the background. After a few more minutes and a few more shots, they’d pack their gear and head back up the street. There wasn’t any need to ask questions or to investigate further. They already had their story: The Jews are trying to undermine Al-Aqsa.

    Thus the myth of Israeli atrocities against an Islamic site is further perpetuated. For most people who are at all familiar with the situation, the thought of the Israeli government directly supporting the destruction of Islamic history in Jerusalem seems a little far-fetched. However, that’s not the case for the world’s foremost body charged with the protection of such historical sites.

    In October, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (unesco) approved two shocking resolutions that condemned Israel (identified not-so-subtly as “the occupying power”) for egregious violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the al-Haram al-Sharif. The resolutions refused to employ the better-known term of “Temple Mount” to describe the area, as that would have ascribed historical validity to both Jewish and Christian claims that this was once the site of the first and second temples of Israel and Judah.

    In fact, unesco Director General Irina Bokova had to release a follow-up statement in which she conceded that the location was also sacred to the Jews. She wrote that “the Al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of Muslims, is also the Har HaBayit—or Temple Mount—whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism.’”

    There was some outcry to the resolution and its conspicuous omission of the phrase “Temple Mount,” but there is a far more worrying aspect of this resolution, and it has been mostly overlooked.

    The Resolution’s Real Intent

    Section five of the October 13 unesco resolution states that unesco “[d]eeply deplores the failure of Israel, the occupying power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City, and reiterates its request to Israel, the occupying Power, to prohibit all such works in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of the relevant unesco conventions, resolutions and decisions ….”

    Notice that the resolution is not just for protecting the al-Haram al-Sharif itself, but for preventing the “persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City.”

    unesco and its Arab sponsors are resolved to shut down all archaeological excavations in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.

    This is critical. Because just outside the walls of the Old City, south of the Temple Mount in an area that is technically part of East Jerusalem, some of the most important archaeological digs in the world are underway. Especially for those interested in biblical history, these excavations could not be more significant.

    In fact, almost all of ancient Jerusalem—the city of the biblical Melchizedek, King David and King Solomon—is located on the half-mile-long hill immediately south of the Temple Mount wall. This location is where the very earliest settlement of Jerusalem is found.

    It would be convenient if ancient Jerusalem were located in West Jerusalem, which is considered by most as sovereign Israeli territory. Yet, much to Jewish and especially Arab chagrin, the location where the most significant archaeological discoveries testify to an ancient Jewish presence (more than 1,000 years before Mohammed was conceived) is located in East Jerusalem.

    This is why in 1968, just one year after the Six-Day War ended and left Israel with control of East Jerusalem, a massive dig began just outside the Temple Mount. Led by Dr. Benjamin Mazar of Hebrew University, these excavations continued for a decade, carried out by local Israelis and by hundreds of volunteers from around the world. At last, the most ancient part of Jerusalem was open for Israeli-led excavation.

    Israel certainly desired to excavate inside the Temple Mount, but it was deemed too sensitive to even touch with a spade or trowel.

    Instead, in an act of extreme benevolence, Israel allowed Jordan (the defeated power) to maintain day-to-day control of the Temple Mount. Since that time, no Israeli excavation has taken place on the Temple Mount, or the al-Haram al-Sharif.

    Burying History

    The Israelis haven’t excavated on the Temple Mount, but that is not to say it hasn’t been excavated.

    In the late 1990s, the Jordanian body charged with the protection and maintenance of the site allowed a massive “excavation” in order to create the El-Marwani Mosque to the east of the Al-Aqsa Mosque inside the Temple Mount. Instead of carrying out painstaking archaeological procedures, the Jordanians rolled in diesel-powered excavation equipment: bulldozers, front-end loaders and dump trucks. These excavators hauled out truckload upon truckload (400 in all) of some of the most important earth on the planet. This complete disregard for antiquity was not perpetrated by Israelis, but rather Palestinians. It was left to a handful of Jewish archaeologists to locate where the Temple Mount earth had been dumped, so they could start sifting the material in an attempt to salvage as much knowledge from the finds as possible.

    If ever there was a time for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to speak out, it would have been then.

    Even so, the years of sifting that discarded Temple Mount earth has produced a wealth of artifacts that would have been otherwise lost. Muslim artifacts have been found, such as an 18th-century seal of the prominent Muslim Qadi (Judge) Sheick ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Tamimi, who was also the grand mufti of Jerusalem. But Jewish artifacts have also been discovered—dating to two millennia earlier. Artifacts have been dated to the lifetime of King Solomon onward: thousands of pottery fragments, the seventh-century b.c. Hebrew seal of “Immer” (potentially the same personality found in Jeremiah 20:1), many half-shekel coins from the Second Temple period, a potsherd from 2,000 years ago bearing an engraving of a menorah, and a multitude of other items. All of these overwhelmingly confirm a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount—and prior to the Muslim periods.

    However, as noted earlier, unesco and its supporters are not just interested in disregarding the Jewish attachment to the Temple Mount, but also the Jewish history of all Jerusalem. This would include the excavations in the City of David as well, where King David’s palace is being slowly unearthed.

    The Palestinians have long coveted their own capital in East Jerusalem. Archaeological digs proving a prior Jewish claim to the area only make that harder to achieve. And so, they have marshaled unesco to push the claim of Israeli destruction of Muslim sites in an effort to shut down these excavations.

    The unesco resolution comes at precisely the same time that more and more evidence of the Jews’ long history here has come to light. Since 2006, the organization behind the Trumpet has sponsored its college students and graduates to travel to Jerusalem and excavate these exact areas directly south of the Temple Mount. Working with Benjamin Mazar’s granddaughter, Dr. Eilat Mazar, students from Herbert W. Armstrong College located in Edmond, Oklahoma, have put their hands in the dirt to rediscover ancient Jerusalem. These areas are rich in artifacts that not only testify to a Jewish presence spanning three millennia, but also, time and again, confirm the historicity of the Bible.

    To learn more about those discoveries, read Archaeology Thunders: ‘Behold Your God!’ by editor in chief Gerald Flurry.

    Thyroid Disorder: The Silent Disease

    Thyroid Disorder: The Silent Disease

    iStock.com/Eraxion

    Your health problem could be connected to this little-known gland.
    From the January 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

    Are pervasive tiredness and foggy mindedness hijacking your life? Do aching muscles and stress make you feel like life is draining away? If so, you may be suffering from a persistent, frustrating misery shared with about 27 million other Americans: thyroid problems. Mounting research shows that 10 to 40 percent of people have poor thyroid function, and 60 percent of them are unaware of it.

    Meet Your Thyroid

    Your thyroid is the master gland of the body, responsible for metabolism and energy. It produces two key hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Thyroid function is interrelated with every system of the body, so a glitch in hormone secretion can cause multiple health problems.

    For example, insufficient hormone production by the thyroid gland leads to hypothyroidism, a condition in which your body works too slowly, causing muscle weakness, fatigue, depression and weight gain. Excessive thyroid hormone production leads to a condition called hyperthyroidism, which is where your body idles too fast, causing possible heart and bone problems, irritability, weight loss, vision and sleep problems. Of the two conditions, the most common is hypothyroidism.

    Causes of Thyroid Imbalance

    The thyroid gland needs iodine-rich foods to create thyroid hormones. But data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that millions of people suffer from low iodine levels, with a 50 percent decrease in iodine intake over the past 35 years. This makes sense, as many are reducing their intake of iodized salt and are also consuming more processed foods, which have far less iodine than their more natural counterparts.

    Iodine deficiency is also linked to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease characterized by antibodies attacking healthy body tissue and impacting proper thyroid function. A preventative remedy is to consume whole-food iodine sources to supply the body’s normal iodine needs, including fish, seaweed (kelp, nori, kombu and wakame), cranberries, plain yogurt, navy beans, strawberries, eggs, cheese, potatoes, some grains and unrefined sea salt.

    Unfortunately, those with autoimmune thyroid disorders (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease) or low thyroid function are often advised to avoid certain foods deemed injurious to thyroid function. Cruciferous vegetables, spinach, radishes, peaches and strawberries are said to interfere with iodine uptake. But avoidance of these foods is not well justified because: 1) Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables help the body produce the antioxidant glutathione, which helps fight Hashimoto’s; and 2) cruciferous vegetables reduce the risk of cancer (even thyroid cancer).

    Another concern is that eating processed foods exposes you to genetically modified organisms, unhealthy sugars and fats, antibiotics and toxic chemicals, putting your digestive tract under daily attack. An estimated 80 percent of the immune system is located in the gut, and just about every known disease, including thyroid dysfunction, links back to imbalanced gut bacteria.

    The Root Cause of Dysfunction

    Because the thyroid is such an important organ, the medical use of synthetic hormones can seem like an appealing course of action. These apparently instant solutions seem to yield some short-term positive results, but they lack long-term effectiveness.

    The best that medical science can do is deal with the effect and ignore the cause. The use of synthetic hormones is simply trying to remove the penalty of breaking physical laws without removing the cause.

    While medicines do not necessarily cause our problems, they cannot solve them, and they often exacerbate them. They do not deserve our faith.

    A more prudent course of action is centered on understanding and practicing healthful principles. Just as there are foods that can cause great harm to the body, there are many that will nourish, sustain and strengthen. The booklet Principles of Healthful Living shows how to choose proper foods: “Two basic factors to remember in selecting foods are to avoid those foods which have been corrupted or perverted in man-made ‘food’ factories, and to maintain a balanced diet containing all the elements the body requires to sustain and build health.”

    This statement is key to maintaining long-term health. Stop thyroid problems before they start. These days, it takes some effort to eat a balanced diet of natural foods. With continued exposure to toxins, many do suffer from thyroid issues. It can become easy to get lost in complex details and anxiety about this serious health problem. While there is a lot of research centered on supposed cures, it is best to strive for balance and avoid extremes.

    To have a truly healthy life, understand and deal with the causes of good health, the third law in Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet The Seven Laws of Success. He stressed the importance of consistent whole-food nutrition and other laws, such as “sufficient sleep, exercise, plenty of fresh air, cleanliness and proper elimination, right thinking [and] clean living,” to allow the body to recover. In the end, your thyroid will thank you.

    Love Trumps Hate

    Love Trumps Hate

    Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

    The same spirit that is whipping Americans into a rage also affects you. Here is how to control it.
    From the January 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

    During the second week of November, students at some American universities were so emotionally distraught they simply could not take a test, and professors accommodated them by postponing examinations. What major life trauma struck these students, and perhaps their professors, all at the same time? The electoral victory of Donald Trump.

    Elsewhere, weeping Hillary Clinton supporters cried on the sidewalks or marched through the streets screaming profanities, or posted hateful threats of rape and murder online or with spray paint on the sides of buildings.

    This was the most recent example of a trend of young liberals “catastrophizing”—having the-sky-is-falling emotional meltdowns over normal, non-apocalyptic events.

    Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt wrote about this phenomenon in the Atlantic. In “The Coddling of the American Mind” (September 2015), they noted the example of Yale University, where administrators advised students not to wear certain costumes on Halloween. One professor gently suggested by e-mail that students should make their own decisions, take responsibility for them, and handle any offenses through mature discussion. Some Yale students were so offended by this notion that they began skipping class and coursework, claiming they were losing sleep and suffering emotional breakdowns. They vulgarly and publicly attacked the e-mail’s author and her husband, demanding that they be fired.

    Whatever young liberals are learning or not learning right now in American institutions of higher education, they are definitely learning how to be offended—and how to let their emotions slip from the leash.

    Giving offense can certainly be a form of evil, but so can taking offense. Victim-thinking and hypersensitivity isn’t limited to rampaging elitist college students. It is a spirit that fills our age. We are all susceptible to it.

    If you do not recognize it and kick it out, it will fill your mind. The fact is, if you fail to master your emotions, you are not really running your own life. You are susceptible to emotional manipulation from all directions: from people you hate, from people you like, and from forces far beyond your control. Proverbs 25:28 sums it up: “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

    Headlines today teem with evidence of this truth. Unrestrained emotion is a force so potent that it can engulf and endanger entire countries! It is endangering America and other nations today.

    What Is Emotion?

    When we take offense, we naturally react with negative emotion. Emotion is not a weakness or a flaw in human beings. It is not an evolutionary quirk. It is a characteristic created by God: It is part of what makes us human! Emotion can be one of the most enjoyable blessings we possess. Without it, our lives would be bland, flat, colorless—hardly worth living. Our relationships would be boring, our jobs monotonous. God gave us the power of feelings so we can experience joy and love; deep relationships; and even anger, jealousy, fear and sadness. Through emotion, we experience increased variety, strength and depth of thought.

    The Creator of human beings is Himself emotional. God experiences love; He is love (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8, 16). He experiences joy (Matthew 25:21, 23; Galatians 5:22), hatred (Psalm 11:5; 45:7), anger (Judges 10:7; Psalm 7:11), indignation (Isaiah 34:2), jealousy (Exodus 20:5; 34:14), concern (Deuteronomy 5:29), grief (Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:40), sorrow (Isaiah 53:3) and compassion (Matthew 9:35-36).

    God does not have the physiological changes we experience when we have emotions. Yet He has deep, powerful, profound states of mind. God created the human race in His likeness (Genesis 1:26) for the purpose of growing to become like Him (Matthew 5:48).

    The Bible implies that God gave us these physiological changes to help us understand the depth of His thinking. Therefore, learning to manage your emotions means learning to think like your Creator.

    Emotion is not an opposite and a counter to reason. These two motivational tools perfectly complement and enhance each other when you master your emotions.

    How skilled are you at handling this critical part of life? Are you easily offended? Are you prone to emotional outbursts over small issues? Are your emotions immature and harmful? Are you constantly buffeted toward the extremes of the emotional spectrum? Or, on the other hand, are you casual or indifferent about things you should feel deeply about? Are your emotions founded on reality, or are they based on assumptions, misperceptions and lies?

    The Source of Offense

    Perhaps you don’t scream demands that people be fired for upholding freedom of speech, or riot over election results you don’t like. But it’s important to think about how you take offense, and the subtler ways you react with emotional immaturity.

    Why do you get offended? Perhaps it is because you feel someone is criticizing something you did. Or you feel someone should have given you more credit. Or you feel someone is not giving you the respect you deserve. Or you are sensitive about problems in your life that you have not dealt with. Or you are upset by someone else’s superficial quirks or imperfections. Or you are agitated when someone fails to measure up to your expectations. Or you assume someone else’s actions are caused by the worst motives.

    There is a common thread in all these situations. It is vanity—self-love—self-righteousness—the wrong kind of pride. And the Bible reveals the author of such thinking: Satan the devil.

    Satan is the “god of this world,” who “deceiveth the whole world” (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). It was in him that sin was first conceived (Ezekiel 28:14-15). And the essence of that sinful attitude was self-love—his heart was lifted up because of his beauty, which God had created (verse 17). This attitude is the opposite of the outflowing love of God.

    Under the devil’s influence, the world today exalts self-love. It promotes taking offense as a kind of pursuit of justice, as if it will make the world better, fairer, more peaceful. It will not. In fact, that wrongful self-love can be found at the source of all offense, interpersonal friction, conflict, hatred, emotional pain and suffering. Nurturing and encouraging it will always lead to more problems! Always!

    In the Bible, the Greek word for offended, skandalon, can refer to the trigger of a trap. If you take offense, it’s a trap—for you! You succumb to negativity, resentment and debilitating emotion.

    Those who go about establishing their own righteousness—self-righteous-
    ness—rather than submitting to God’s righteousness are ignorant and will suffer for it (Romans 10:3). The self-righteous person is highly attuned to what he perceives as everyone else’s flaws. In any conflict, he feels the other person is to blame. He takes quick offense and often feels like a victim. Exactly the way Satan himself does.

    How to Overcome Offense

    Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” This is how to avoid becoming caught in the trap of being offended: Love God’s law. Follow the outflowing law of love.

    What does God’s love look like? “Love is very patient, very kind. Love knows no jealousy; love makes no parade, gives itself no airs, is never rude, never selfish, never irritated …” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5; Moffatt). Self-love can be very impatient. It is easily provoked, and can be rude and selfish. God’s love is none of these things.

    Obeying God’s law of love helps you remain calm, stable and unoffended. Submitting to God means always loving the other person. It also makes you more compassionate. You have a clearer perspective of your own faults, which helps you recognize your own contributions to interpersonal conflicts, and makes you much less judgmental toward others in their struggles.

    “[R]esist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. … Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:39-40, 43-44).

    Is this difficult? Yes! It is completely opposite to the spirit of this world. But the power to choose your own reaction is completely under your control.

    With this take-no-offense attitude, a nasty e-mail, a cold look or a criticism won’t hurt you. In fact, you will become bulletproof against emotional manipulation.

    Jesus Christ was mocked, ridiculed, beaten, tortured and crucified—yet His response was to pray, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This is the absolute opposite of the hypersensitive, exacting, vindictive attitude this world is deliberately cultivating and which is ripping society apart!

    Master Your Emotions

    How do you respond to slights and insults? Do you think like Jesus Christ—or like the devil?

    We all need to monitor and regulate our responses to what happens in our lives. We must develop real awareness of our own emotions—become attuned to what is going on in our mind—to identify what is causing our emotion and recognize when we are getting emotional in a destructive way. Proverbs 14:29 gives this rock-solid advice: “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit [or quick-tempered] exalteth folly.”

    Mastering your emotions is not just about being slow to wrath, however. It is also about cultivating and using emotion. Philippians 4:8 is a powerful summary of how to do that: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

    In stark contrast to self-love, God’s love “is never glad when others go wrong, love is gladdened by goodness, always slow to expose, always eager to believe the best, always hopeful, always patient” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7; Moffatt). This is how we need to respond to slights, offenses, problems and conflicts. This is the emotional mastery we should work to develop.

    This is true emotional maturity! And someone with godly emotional maturity can not only avoid the drastic extremes we see in society today, but also build a powerful, vivid, meaningful life growing closer to the Creator of emotion!

    For more Bible-based instruction on mastering your human nature, request our free booklet How to Be an Overcomer.