Why Does the Pope Keep Meeting With Mahmoud Abbas?

Why Does the Pope Keep Meeting With Mahmoud Abbas?

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The Vatican is again inserting itself into the peace process—but for what purpose?

Jerusalem—Pope Francis will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Rome on Saturday, the Vatican confirmed on Tuesday. It will be the fifth personal meeting between the two since 2013, a clear indication of the pope’s dedication to the Palestinian cause.

However, the timing of the meeting, at least from Israel’s standpoint, couldn’t be worse.

Israel is still reeling from the December 23 United Nations Security Council resolution, which declared any Israeli construction in the area that Jordan controlled before the 1967 Six-Day War to be illegal and a “flagrant violation of international law.” The resolution passed because the United States refused to use its veto against the measure as it had done to similar resolutions in the past. In general, Israelis view the move as a stab in the back by President Barack Obama, after eight years of deteriorating relations during his presidency.

Now, as Israel scrambles to remove the knife from its back, the Vatican is ready to pour salt in the wound.

By meeting with Abbas on the eve of the Paris Peace Conference, where the international Israel-bashing is set to continue, Pope Francis is inserting himself into a politically charged situation, tipping the balance even further in the Palestinian direction. The timely meeting is tantamount to papal endorsement of the unsc resolution against Israel, as well as a blatant testimonial of the “righteousness” of the Palestinian cause.

While we cannot be sure about the subject matter of the forthcoming conversation between Abbas and the pope, recent history shows that it won’t serve Israel’s interest.

Coming to Israel

The second meeting between Francis and Abbas took place during the pope’s landmark visit to Israel in 2014. The visit itself was a response to Abbas’s invitation a year earlier, when they met the first time. Perhaps you recall the pope choosing to do a photo op at a portion of the Israeli security barrier. “In between scheduled engagements,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in the August 2014 Trumpet issue, “the pope ordered his motorcade to make an unexpected stop in Bethlehem. He got out of his popemobile and made his way to a section of Israel’s security wall. This is an often-photographed section of the wall with heavy graffiti that compares Palestinian Bethlehem to the Jewish Warsaw ghetto. Near a spot where someone had very recently sprayed ‘Free Palestine,’ the pope touched the wall and began to pray. Of course, cameras were everywhere capturing that moment.”

The Jews had invited Pope Francis to Jerusalem. They had hoped he would bring his power of symbolism to a photo op at their holiest site, the Wailing Wall. But it was this security wall outside Bethlehem that received his attention and got all the publicity.

Later on in the trip, the pope met with Abbas and read a prepared statement referring to the Palestinian leader as “a man of peace and a peacemaker.”

During Sunday mass on his trip,” Mr. Flurry continued, “Pope Francis prayed with Fouad Twal, a Palestinian archbishop who serves as the Catholic Church’s Latin patriarch of Jerusalem.” At this mass, Twal delivered a disturbing sermon. Writing in the Jerusalem Post, columnist Caroline Glick discussed its contents:

In his sermon, Twal accused Israelis of being the present-day version of Christ-killers by referring to the Palestinians as walking in the footsteps of the divine child, and likening the Israelis to King Herod. In his words, “We are not yet done with the present-day Herods who fear peace more than war, and who are prepared to continue killing.”

Instead of condemning the statement, the pope asked, “Who are we as we stand before the child Jesus? Who are we standing as we are before today’s children? Are we like Mary and Joseph, who welcomed Jesus and cared for Him with the love of a father and a mother? Or are we like Herod, who wanted to eliminate Him?”

Prayer at the Vatican

During his visit to Israel in 2014, the pope invited Israeli President Shimon Peres, as well as Abbas, to the Vatican in order to pray for peace. A month later, the three men assembled at the pope’s home in the Vatican and prayed for peace—a seemingly positive and unbiased attempt to bring together two warring leaders.

Trumpet columnist Joel Hilliker wrote about the milestone event:

The landmark meeting ended with the Jewish and Palestinian leaders exchanging kisses on the cheek and then breaking ground to plant a peace-symbolizing olive tree.This was the first time the Vatican has ever hosted a prayer gathering of two leaders engaged in conflict. “I hope that this meeting will be a journey toward what joins us, to overcome what divides us,” Francis said. He added that the meeting is a response to people who want to live, not as enemies, but as brothers and sisters.Does the pope really believe Mahmoud Abbas wants to be a “brother” to Shimon Peres? Does Peres really believe that?

Angel of Peace

The next meeting came in May 2015 when Palestinian and Vatican officials signed a joint treaty. During Abbas’s visit to sign the agreement, the pope called him “an angel of peace,” according to reports at the time by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. This was a bold title for a man leading the Palestine Liberation Organization, the notorious terrorist organization formerly headed by Yassar Arafat. However, even more disheartening for Israel was the fact that this treaty was the pope’s formal recognition of the “state of Palestine.”

Trumpet columnist Brad Macdonald wrote about the significance of this development in “Why Is the Pope Provoking War in Israel?”:

Gaining the support of humanity’s most respected and admired leader could be just the boost needed to get the project of Palestinian statehood over the finish line.For the Jewish state and its declining number of supporters, the Vatican’s decision was an enormous blow. “This move does not promote the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations,” Israel’s foreign minister said in a text message to the Associated Press. …Michael Freund, former deputy communications director in the Israeli prime minister’s office, also put it in dramatic terms in the Jerusalem Post. “[G]iven its sordid history of anti-Semitism, book-burnings, forced conversions and Inquisitions, the Catholic Church should think a hundred times over before daring to step on Israel’s toes,” he wrote. “If anything, the pope should be down on his knees pleading for forgiveness from the Jewish people and atonement from the Creator for what the Vatican has wrought over the centuries” (May 18).

Indeed!

Saturday’s Meeting

Given the pope’s actions over the past three years, he clearly has no qualms about inserting himself into the Israeli-Palestinian political arena. He no doubt understands the optics of meeting with Abbas a day before the Paris Peace Conference begins; a conference where, with everything else horrific going on in the world, diplomats from 70 countries will meet to preserve the two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians; a conference where, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday, the U.S. likely intends to deliver one final salvo against Israel before President Obama leaves office.

And yet, the day before, the leader of the Palestinian cause will meet with the pope in the Vatican. As the previous three meetings have shown, they no doubt are working together to undermine the Jewish state. Abbas will likely go into the conference with a papal endorsement for his plan toward establishing a Palestinian state. It’s even possible he will proceed to Paris with marching orders from the pope as well.

The Trumpet has long called attention to the Vatican’s intrusion into the peace process, not just because of its overt pro-Palestinian bias, but because the Vatican has its own agenda.

The pope’s current support for the Palestinians is but a Trojan horse for the Vatican to pursue its own objectives in Israel and, specifically, Jerusalem.

Mr. Macdonald’s article continued:

The obvious truth is that Pope Francis and the Vatican do not support the presence of Muslims in Jerusalem any more than they do the presence of Jews. There are two simple reasons that the Vatican, for now, is making it appear that it supports a Palestinian state and greater Muslim influence over Jerusalem.First, supporting the Palestinians undermines Israel’s control over the Holy Land. When it comes to diminishing Israel’s grip on Jerusalem and its holy sites, the Vatican is quite happy for the Palestinians to do the gritty work. …Second, the Vatican’s endorsement of Palestinian statehood provides ideal cover as it pursues its own enduring ambition to wrest control of Jerusalem from the Jews and Muslims.

We can make such assertions as to Vatican intent based on both history and prophecy.

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

On Saturday, the pope will meet with Abbas in a declaration of his support for the Palestinian cause. But behind the scenes, understand that the Vatican is working its own agenda that’s neither pro-Israeli nor pro-Palestinian, but pro-Catholic.

As we enter 2017, watch for the Vatican to get more involved in the peace process. As evidenced by his facilitating the Cuban deal between Washington and Havana, the pope is not shy about entering the political arena. His venture into the peace process will likely be even more overt.

Prophetically, the book of Daniel tells of one final crusade the Vatican will make into the Holy Land (Daniel 11:40-45; read also “The Dark Side to the Pope’s Visit to Jerusalem”). However, those same scriptures reveal that Catholic domination of Jerusalem will be short lived. As Mr. Flurry discussed in “The Last Crusade,” that very event is linked to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His government in Jerusalem.

Mein Kampf Returns as Bestseller in Germany

Mein Kampf Returns as Bestseller in Germany

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In one year, over 85,000 copies of Mein Kampf have been sold in Germany. When the copyright held by Bavaria expired in December 2015, the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich (IfZ) began to publish the book. Later this month, the sixth printing will be available at booksellers.

For 70 years, reprinting the book was banned in Germany for fear of resurrecting the ideologies of Adolf Hitler. The book was also banned to respect the sensitivity of the Jewish community, which was emerging from the horror of the Holocaust. However, when the copyright expired, educators in Germany thought it was time to release the book to the German public. The stated goal was to give the current generation of Germans a book that would warn them against the rise of tyrants.

Hitler wrote part of Mein Kampf in 1923 while imprisoned for his failed Beer Hall Putsch. The first edition was published in 1925, only eight years before he became the führer. The manifesto explained Hitler’s political ideology and propelled him to be the voice of the National Socialists. The book is a mixture of rabid anti-Semitism, belief in Aryan racial superiority, and extreme political Darwinism. The book sold 12 million copies between its release and the end of World War ii.

The version now available for purchase in Germany is heavily annotated by historians and scholars, providing context, criticism and commentary of the book’s most controversial statements. The book also sports a plain white cover, since Nazi symbols are still illegal in Germany.

A statement from IfZ said the main customers have been historians and educators. Most copies were purchased for use in schools. This has appeared to alleviate much of the criticism that the book could be used to support fringe political groups who support Hitler’s ideologies. Time will tell whether this trend will continue.

While much of the fear in reprinting the book has come from how some far-right movements might use the book, there is already a greater danger to consider.

There is not some mystical power surrounding Mein Kampf in which a reader may become entranced by the ramblings of Hitler. Much of the book is nonsensical and clearly the musings of a madman. Even the extreme Darwinism and Aryan racial theories were popular ideas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The readers of Mein Kampf in Hitler’s day would have already been well acquainted with most of the ideas found in the book. Today, those ideas no longer have any cultural context.

The danger, however, lies in how some European leaders interpret history. Perhaps to their surprise, they share similarities with what is found in Mein Kampf.

Hitler was by no means intellectually brilliant, but he read widely on history (at least up to World War i). One theme in Mein Kampf is Hitler’s belief that the nations of France, Britain and Russia were constantly undermining Germany’s power. He thoroughly believed in German nationalism and in the country’s right to be a leader in the world. He also believed Germany was part of an ancient historical tradition. Prominent German historian Percy Ernst Schramm wrote:

Throughout his life Hitler remained an inland-orientated German, his imagination untouched by the sea. … But Hitler was not only inland oriented; he was completely rooted within the cultural boundaries of the old Roman Empire.

Hitler believed that Germany’s destiny followed in the steps of Rome; he was entranced with the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire in Vienna. He thought these old symbols could unite Europe with a common heritage. In fact, he saw himself as the successor in the long line of Holy Roman emperors. Peter Watson writes in his book The German Genius:

For [Hitler], history was invariably the work of great men—his heroes were Charlemagne, Rudolf von Habsburg, Friedrich the Great, Peter the Great, Napoleon, Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm I. … For Hitler, history was a catalog of racial struggles, although the outcome always depended on great men: “[History] was the sum total of struggle and war, waged by each against all with no room for either mercy or humanity.”

Hitler believed that Germany could and should unite Europe with the heritage of the Holy Roman Empire. He fashioned himself after the image of Charlemagne and acted in the same spirit as the Holy Roman emperors of old. This interpretation of history, and view of leadership, is not unique to Hitler or his time. The leaders of Europe today are seeking to resurrect the same Holy Roman Empire.

While much of Hitler’s beliefs are obviously sadistic, not all are unique to himself. The personality and intense hatred Hitler brought to German life is certainly a unique event in modern times. However, Hitler’s mind was shaped by ideas already prevalent in Germany and Austria and some ideas that had survived for centuries in Europe. Thus, while Hitler as an individual was unique, what he tried to achieve was not—and that is where the danger lies today.

Mein Kampf itself may not be inherently dangerous. What is dangerous is the idea of a European strongman resurrecting the Holy Roman Empire. Reprinting Hitler’s manifesto should alert those in Germany to the allure of power and not to be fooled by a more sophisticated veil this time around. To learn more on this subject, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “The Spirit of Charlemagne Is Alive in Europe.”

President Obama’s Farewell, a Piece of Parchment and Germany’s New Military Posture

President Obama’s Farewell, a Piece of Parchment and Germany’s New Military Posture

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Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on January 11, 2017.

United States President Barack Obama gave his farewell address last night back in Chicago where his presidential run began in 2008. He said America “is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.” President Obama was successful at implementing his leftist agenda, but it hasn’t made America better. Many people are unable to see why. On today’s show, Stephen Flurry examines the president’s farewell address and looks into what’s behind the baseless optimism of the liberal elites.

Listen to or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show on:

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Former Iranian President Rafsanjani Dead

Former Iranian President Rafsanjani Dead

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His death deals a dual blow to the so-called ‘moderate’ movement in Iran.

An influential leader and prominent figure in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was one of Iran’s most well-known “moderates.” On Sunday, at age 82, he died from a heart attack in a hospital in north Tehran.

Depending on which news source you read, you will find a variety of obituary-like recounts of Rafsanjani’s presidency and life. Many in the left-wing media emphasize his support for fellow “moderate” and current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, his support of the Green Movement, and his role in the cessation of the Iran-Iraq War as signs of an enduring commitment to moderation and reform in Iran.

But consider: The Green Movement collapsed; Rouhani has failed to raise standards of living or bring moderation to Iran’s political elite; and although the Iran-Iraq War is over, today’s Iranian military and Shiite militias are a vital part of Iraq’s own armed forces—essentially propping up the current Iraqi administration.

Furthermore, Rafsanjani’s death strikes a blow to Rouhani. Rafsanjani was a longtime supporter of Rouhani’s and was no doubt prepared to be a key ally in the upcoming elections. Rafsanjani’s history and prominent placement in Iranian politics would have been a bulwark of support for Rouhani.

A blow was also dealt to the broader “moderate” movement in Iran. High-ranking positions in the Guardian Council are primarily comprised of hard-liners—not to mention the top job of the supreme leader himself. The “moderates” and reformists of Iran have lost a powerful spokesman.

Furthermore, the hopes of a moderate supreme leader were further diminished by Rafsanjani’s death. Rafsanjani was head of the Expediency Council—the advisory council of the supreme leader. While unlikely to be in the running himself, Rafsanjani would have played a key role in choosing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s successor.

Rafsanjani’s latter works have barely outlived him. But what of his earlier days? One key policy looks set to live on well after his death. It is a policy that carries with it a warning: Iranian “moderates” are not moderate.

Nuclear Weapons

On al Quds Day on Dec. 14, 2001, Rafsanjani stated: “If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.” He was discussing the potential of nuclear war.

Mark Langfan of Arutz Sheva wrote about the capability of a crudely built nuclear weapon the size of that dropped on Hiroshima if detonated in Tel Aviv. It would instantly kill 2 million people and irradiate the coastal plain, wounding another 2 million. This is the sort of warfare Rafsanjani discussed, even as he was considered Iran’s lynchpin “moderate.”

Iran’s nuclear program has since been validated in perhaps the worst deal contrived during U.S. President Barack Obama’s tenure. Iran now inspects its own facilities and receives sanctions relief on the promise that it won’t pursue nuclear weaponry—all while advancing its nuclear-capable ballistic missile program.

The Rafsanjani-supported nuclear weapons program is going to live on. While he may not have seen the dream fulfilled, the current generation surely will.

Rafsanjani’s enduring legacy of support for nuclear armaments is indistinguishable from the current ruling class. This “moderate” did not bring reform or moderation, just more of the same post-revolution extremism.

In Rafsanjani’s Footsteps

This begs the question: Will Rouhani—a fellow “moderate”— be remembered as such? Or will his lasting actions, like those of Rafsanjani, only aid in the perpetuation of the radical regime?

Here are a few things to consider. The nuclear deal that Rouhani presided over has given the Iranian regime funds to perpetuate terror throughout the region. Rouhani has overseen Iran’s gains in Iraq—splintering the nation along the Sunni-Shiite divide. During his time on the world stage, relations with the Sunnis have been strained nearly to the breaking point. His first term in office saw hundreds of thousands die in Syria. He has supported Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Iranian people have received little-to-no benefit from the nuclear deal. Iran has not stopped funding terror or other programs maintained by Rouhani’s predecessor.

Meanwhile, the Western media clings to the belief that Rouhani is a moderate. But the facts say otherwise. Both Rouhani and Rafsanjani—two examples of supposed “moderates” in Iran—have carried out policies that maintain Iran’s extremism and bring the nation closer to obtaining nuclear weapons!

Rouhani might not be as vocal as Rafsanjani in calling for nukes, but his deals with the West have given Iran time, legitimacy and money. Remember in 2006 when Rouhani bragged about secret nuclear work? “[B]y creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work on Isfahan [a nuclear enrichment facility].” That was while he was chief nuclear negotiator! Rouhani supported the quest for nuclear weapons, even if he won’t admit it today.

Rouhani is no different from Rafsanjani. And if Rafsanjani was unable or unwilling to moderate Iran over the course of his long political career, what hope should be placed in Rouhani?

Rouhani’s legacy and dreams will be the same as Rafsanjani’s—the same as Khamenei’s: radicalism. The only difference is Rouhani might yet see those dreams become a horrifying reality, in the form of nuclear weapons.

Dreams Become Reality

The Trumpet has stated repeatedly that Iran will soon gain the nuclear weapons that it desires. When that happens, terrible events prophesied in your Bible will also become reality. Read Daniel 8:23, 11:40, Leviticus 26:19 and Joel 2:3. These are just a handful of the prophecies that forecast a coming cataclysm.

But as abundant as these warnings are, so too are the promises that you can escape these terrible events!

Leviticus 26 is not just about curses; it is about blessings too! Remember that God never changes. The promises He made to ancient Israel can apply to you as well! Read the first 13 verses of Leviticus 26. God promised protection to Israel if it obeyed Him. Our path to true prosperity—even Iran’s path to prosperity—can be found in these verses. Tragically, most reject this knowledge and instead put their hope in the promises of “moderate” leaders.

As Rafsanjani and Rouhani both prove so well, there is no hope in the “moderates” of Iran. These men work only to promote violence, terror and eventually World War iii!

All people can take encouragement from Leviticus 26, if they heed and obey. You need to understand where Iran is heading, what it means for this world, and how you individually can be saved from the tragedy ahead.

Request and read our free booklets The King of the South and Jerusalem in Prophecy. If you seek real hope for major, lasting, peaceful reform, this is the place to start.

‘Where Is God in the Terrorist Attacks?’

‘Where Is God in the Terrorist Attacks?’

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Terrorist attacks on Christmas markets and New Year’s Eve celebrations once again raise the question: Where is God as humanity suffers?

Horrifying news of terrorist attacks electrified Christian communities around the world in 2016, and the opening days of 2017 have brought more of the same. While this year promises to be worse than last year, many question: Where is God in all of this? If God is an almighty, all-powerful, all-loving, all-merciful Being and if He really does love His creation, why does He not stop the violence?

Could it be that God has left humanity alone?

Heiner Koch, the Catholic archbishop of Berlin, was asked that exact question by German newspaper Die Welt after Berlin was hit by the terrorist attack in December. His answer: “The Christian message says that God is especially with us during the times of suffering and darkness” (Trumpet translation throughout).

The newspaper then asked, if God loves us, why does He allow such suffering? Koch admitted (emphasis added):

I can’t explain this; I ask Him the same question. As Christians, we firmly believe that God is greater than our thinking and knowledge. We cannot understand God. A God whom we can understand, one that we believe to be able to explain, is no longer the infinite God. Surely I will die with the question of why God allows suffering. But the one thing I know is that the Son of God did not descend from the cross but remained and did not leave us alone. I firmly believe that God does not leave us alone in this terrible situation. This is the nail test of our faith and trust.

What a paradox: If the God of love and light is with us when we suffer and are left in darkness, why do Christians feel further away from Him when such horror happens? The archbishop said that He endures with those who feel abandoned, and none in the world can explain it to them.

A telegram from the Vatican addressed to Archbishop Koch dated December 20 read: “Pope Francis unites all men and women of goodwill who commit so that the homicidal madness of terrorism no longer finds space in our world. In this sense, his holiness implores God the merciful Father for consolation, protection and His comforting blessing.”

It became clear that the pope’s prayer for protection remained unheard, as just a few days later 39 people were killed in the Istanbul shooting while celebrating the New Year.

New Year’s Day is meant to be a day of “good wishes and hope,” but hardly anyone today has any good wishes or hope left for the coming year. More and more Christians now believe that they have to live with terrorism.

In a general address on January 4, Pope Francis singled out mothers who have lost their children and admitted that he too doesn’t know why God allows such suffering to happen. But instead of trying to find an answer to this question, he encouraged silence and joint mourning:

In order to speak of hope to those in despair, you have to share in his or her despair. In order to wipe a tear from the face of the suffering, we must unite our tears to hers. Only then can our words really begin to give a bit of hope. If one cannot say words like that, or share in the painful tears, it is best to be silent, to offer a caress or a gesture without words.

But what reason is there for such suffering? Why does God not hear the pleas of those who suffer violence? Where is God’s comfort in today’s world?

Why didn’t God save the 5,000 migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean in 2016? Or the almost 17,000 civilians who died in Syria? What about the nearly 4,000 children among them—didn’t they have a right to live? If Christ is really trying to save the world today, as Christianity claims, why doesn’t He give those people a chance to come to Him, rather than letting them die before they’ve had the opportunity?

So-called Christianity does not have the answer. Archbishop Koch and many Catholics conclude that God is so great that we cannot understand Him. But is it true that no man can or ever will understand God? The Bible says otherwise: All those with God’s Spirit understand what God is doing—“for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). The same verse says that God has given this Spirit to His disciples. So what is God doing? Why is He a mystery to this world?

Will the suffering of this world ever end? Will humanity see light? The highest religious offices of this world say they don’t know.

Jesus Christ did prophesy about suffering, darkness and tribulation—but He also prophesied about His return with power and great glory to put an end to all the suffering of this world (Matthew 24). Sadly, today’s Christianity is not focusing on these prophecies, which are the only source of hope; but rather it is caught up in trying to change and comfort a world that has been prophesied to go into much tribulation.

But why does God allow such temporary suffering today?

For eternity, God dwelled in peace, joy and happiness. He wanted to share His joy, so He created angels. But one of the angels, Lucifer, rebelled against God’s way. He led a third of the angels into rebellion with him (Revelation 12:4), and they brought darkness, suffering and destruction to the Earth and the universe. Lucifer’s name was changed to Satan, and he is now the temporary god of this world (Revelation 12:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4). But this rebellion did not destroy God’s ultimate goal. God had a backup plan.

After the angelic rebellion, God created mankind—and He gave man the ability to choose between Satan’s way of suffering and death or God’s way of joy and life. Adam, and with him mankind as a whole, chose Satan’s way of rebellion against God. This has led to terrorism and all the other types of suffering mankind endures today. Adam’s rebellion also prompted God to “shut off” access to His way—typed by the tree of life—for the majority of mankind. Herbert W. Armstrong explained in his masterpiece Mystery of the Ages what happened after Adam made his choice:

And so a world—a civilization—developed from the original Adam and Eve. When God shut off the tree of life, that act marked the foundation of the world. It was founded on rejection of God, on disobedience to God’s law, which defines God’s way of life. And all the evils, sorrows, pain and suffering in 6,000 years of human civilization have resulted.[But] God had designed a 7,000-year master plan for accomplishing his tremendous purpose. The first 6,000 years were allotted to allow Satan to remain on Earth’s throne, and for humanity to learn the bitter lesson, through experience, that Satan’s way of self-centeredness in opposition to God’s law leads only to pain, suffering, anguish and death.

The temporary suffering of today serves an eternal purpose. Most everyone who lives through it will see the need for man to rely on God, instead of thinking humanity—under Satan’s deception—has the answers. After 6,000 years of suffering, followed by 1,000 years under God’s government, ruled by Christ, the dead will be resurrected to life and taught God’s way. They will be given 100 years to choose God’s way. After all mankind who has ever lived has been given their opportunity for salvation, God the Father will come dwell with His children—not in darkness, but in light! He will wipe away all tears from their faces—not with tears of His own, but with His all-encompassing presence. Then “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

That is the hope we have!

The suffering of this world is not a sign that we are closer to God than ever before. But it is a sign that we are closer than ever to Christ’s return when we will learn—by divine intervention—that we have lived apart from God because of our sins (Isaiah 59:2). Christ will soon return and turn darkness to light (2 Peter 1:19). People at that future time will be able to reflect back on this current age of suffering, and they will be able to compare it to the peace they will then be experiencing. The comparison will be stark, and the vast majority will choose God’s way of life.

The truth of why God allows such suffering today, and why the religions of this world don’t understand it, is thoroughly explained in our booklet Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?

Will Siri Steal Your Job?

Will Siri Steal Your Job?

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Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on January 9, 2017.

The world stands on the brink of yet another technological revolution. Advances in machine learning and vocal recognition are giving rise to new ways of intelligent machines—such as self-driving cars and electronic assistants. Some experts are predicting mass unemployment as machines take over yet more jobs once done by people. Are they right? Trumpet writer Richard Palmer examines the myths and truths behind these predictions and looks at how economic instability can lead to political and even global instability.

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