Germany’s Biblical Identity

You need to understand Germany’s biblical role to understand its future.

In 1871, Otto von Bismarck forged the territories of Prussia into a single state.

Today, we call this state Deutschland or Germany.

What is the ancient identity of the German people?

The term “Germania” was first used by the Romans to describe the people settled on the east side of the Rhine River.

Germani (Latin) also means “war man.”

The Germani were known for their fair skin and warlike spirit.

The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that the Germani had “warlike ardor.”

But where did the Germani tribes of the first century come from?

In Ancient Mesopotamia there was a tribe, fair-skinned and warlike.

They were called “Assyrian” or “White Syrian.”

Greek and Roman historians record the Assyrian people migrating in three stages:

  • Sixth century b.c. to Asia Minor
  • Fourth century b.c. to Scythia
  • First century b.c. to lands east of the Rhine River

The Germani descended from the ancient Assyrians.

This is key to understanding end-time Bible prophecy.

Anciently, God used the Assyrians to correct His nation Israel.

“Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years” (2 Kings 17:5).

Bible prophecy says God will use Germany to correct America and Britain.

“O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is my indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation …” (Isaiah 10:5-6).

Request our free booklet The Remarkable Identity of the German People, as well as our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.

20190918_Simeon the Scientist reading Bible-8508765 2.jpg

What Is Mankind’s Purpose?

To most people, this is a mystery. But the inspiring answer is plain!

Read More

Americans Are Still Paying the Bill From 2016 Holidays

istock.com/Steve Debenport

Americans Are Still Paying the Bill From 2016 Holidays

‘Tis the season … to get into more credit card debt.

A significant percentage of Americans still have not paid off their credit card debt from last year’s Christmas shopping season, cnbc reported on November 17. Eight percent of baby boomers, 16 percent of generation X shoppers, and 24 percent of millennials fall into this category. The report, which cited new data from NerdWallet’s 2017 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report, highlighted a concerning trend in American consumerism that is contributing to the economic downfall of the United States.

According to the report, most Americans are planning on spending about the same amount on Christmas gifts and holiday shopping as they did last year—about $660 on average. For some, this will only add to the debt that they are still paying off from last year. Getting into more debt when you are already in debt is not a sustainable way of living.

The NerdWallet report points out that the fact that millennials have the largest percentage of leftover debt is particularly worrisome. This age group is still working on building credit. Unsustainable spending will lead to bad credit ratings, which will make it harder for this young generation to make larger purchases like cars and homes in the future.

Over a quarter of U.S. holiday spenders last year didn’t make a budget before they went shopping. Twenty-four percent of shoppers said that they spent more than they budgeted for during the 2016 season, and it will probably be no different this year. Approximately 16.7 percent more holiday shoppers got into credit card debt last year than holiday shoppers in 2015 did—56 percent in 2016 compared to 48 percent in 2015.

Total U.S. credit card debt is over $1 trillion—and counting. Personal debt per citizen is an average $57,125. But U.S. citizens are not the only ones incurring massive debt. The national debt is $20 trillion. According to the U.S. debt clock, U.S. total debt is over $68 trillion. The United States economy is wallowing in debt on an individual and national level.

A few hundred dollars of credit card debt may not seem like a big deal. But when both the individual citizens and the federal government of a nation are spending more than they have coming in, disaster is on the horizon.

In a January 2006 Trumpet article, we wrote:

Consumer spending is the backbone of the American economy. And more and more, society is geared to encourage us to spend.

The commercialization of Christmas is particularly demonstrative of the importance of consumer spending. Months prior to Christmas—even before Thanksgiving—advertisements start plastering the airwaves. “Buy now—pay later” and “no payments to 2007” have become synonymous with our guilt-free view of living for the present moment.

As many of those commercials demonstrate, debt has fueled much of the recent consumer spending. But few consider that debt is a form of enslavement. Few seem to remember the biblical proverb, “The borrower is servant to the lender.”

America’s consumption-based economy is at the tipping point, and increasing debt payments might be the bump to push it over the edge. As Martin Cantor, director of economic development with Sustainable Long Island, an advocacy group, says, “No matter how bad the economy has gotten, everybody pointed to increasing consumer activity to sustain it …. If that goes, there’s nothing left” (Newsday, Dec. 11, 2005).

That was only a couple years before the 2008 financial crisis. Although the economy rebounded after the crisis, the situation we are in now is eerily reminiscent of the time before the 2008 crisis.

In March this year, Trumpet contributor Robert Morley wrote an article titled “The Economy Is Booming Again—Right?” He wrote:

America’s economy is booming. If you trust the numbers, employment is nearly full. Stock prices are near record highs. Consumer confidence is up. And President Donald Trump says fantastic days are ahead. Yet with all the supposed good news, how come so many people just can’t seem to get ahead?

Here is one big reason. The majority of Americans continue to live beyond their means.

U.S. citizens are in massive debt; state governments are in massive debt; the federal government is in massive debt. Morley wrote later in the article: “Debt, debt, debt. Negative amounts of money. Everywhere you look, there is more of it.”

Accumulating more debt this holiday season is not going to help the issue. It will only add to our national money woes.

If you are struggling with your finances like so many Americans, read our free booklet Solve Your Money Troubles! It provides God’s perspective on finances and the only true solution to our national debt problems.

190925-Darwin Discards Bible.jpg

Was Charles Darwin Rational?

Evolutionists don’t want you to know the real reason the father of evolution abandoned the Bible.

Read More

Bahrain Pipeline Explosion Implicates Iran

Bahraini oil pipeline
istock.com/Mlenny

Bahrain Pipeline Explosion Implicates Iran

‘Iran is targeting all of us.’

The explosion that blasted a major oil pipeline in a small village in Bahrain and engulfed its night skyline with flames and fumes on November 10 was an “act of sabotage and a dangerous act of terrorism,” according to the Bahraini Interior Ministry. The ministry added that the blast was one of “the terrorist acts witnessed by the country in the recent period, [which] are carried out through direct contacts and instructions from Iran.”

The explosion occurred near the village of Buri, about eight miles southeast of the Bahraini capital of Manama. It engulfed vehicles and nearby buildings and forced authorities to temporarily evacuate residents near the site.

For two days, the pipeline stopped delivering the daily 230,000 barrels of oil from neighboring Saudi Arabia. Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed wrote on Twitter that “the attempt to bomb the Saudi-Bahraini oil pipeline is a dangerous Iranian escalation that aims to scare citizens and hurt the global oil industry.”

He added, “Iran is targeting us all.”

Iran is waging a much-publicized proxy war against a Saudi-led coalition of Arab nations. Lately, that war has been fought in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The Trumpet has been watching these developments because of what they portend for the security and geopolitics of the Middle East.

Historically, Iran has wielded heavy influence in Bahrain and claimed sovereignty over the island nation. In 1970, Iran renounced its claims following a pro-independence referendum in Bahrain. But the Iran that emerged from the Iranian Revolution of 1979 refused to recognize that renunciation. To this day, its leaders consider Bahrain to be “an Iranian province that was detached from the Islamic Republic of Iran due to the Western colonialism.” For this reason, they say, Iran “must make efforts to bring Bahrain back into Iranian territory and transform it into a part of [its southwestern province of Bushehr].” Iranian operatives have funded and armed Shiite militants in Bahrain to this end. They have even trained them in bomb making and guerrilla warfare.

Bahrain, like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, has a Shiite majority ruled by a Sunni minority. Simply put, it appears that in Bahrain, Iran wants to create another Iraq in the Middle East: a Shiite majority nation ruled by Shiites and loyal to Iran.

Three days after the pipeline explosion, lawmakers in Bahrain issued a statement linking the incident to other examples of “Iranian meddling in the region.” One of the most recent of those examples was when Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen targeted an international airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with an Iranian-made ballistic missile on November 4.

Some analysts linked the pipeline incident in Bahrain to a different battlefield in the Iran-Saudi proxy war. ihs Markit wrote that “it is more likely than not that Iran chose [the Bahrain attack] as a plausibly deniable response to Saudi Arabia’s perceived recent escalation against Iranian influence in Lebanon.”

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Simon Henderson cautioned on November 14:

In the Gulf region as a whole—still the most important source of oil for the world economy—all oil and gas installations are vulnerable to sabotage and particularly military attack. The Bahrain pipeline incident should be a wake-up call for all players not to take comparative calm—and consequent low prices—for granted.

Iran has also attempted to scare the United States military away from the Middle East. In October, one of Iran’s generals suggested that the U.S. should transfer its regional bases to 1,200 miles away because “that is as far as the range of Iranian missiles.” One of those bases within that range is the Naval Support Activity Bahrain, home to the U.S. 5th Fleet. It is only about seven miles from the pipeline explosion site, and, as the Washington Institute noted, it has been “a crucial component in deterring Iranian naval aggression.”

Indeed, as Bahrain’s foreign minister noted, “Iran is targeting us all.” Just one attack on an oil pipeline near Buri Village is an attack that, in one way or another, categorically impacts Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, U.S. military bases and the global oil market.

As the Bahraini official noted, Iran’s “dangerous” escalation “aims to scare citizens and hurt the global oil industry.”

A prophecy in the biblical book of Daniel describes the Iran of today as a nation with a penchant to “push” or to butt others, as with horns—to commit acts of war against others.

Many aspects of this prophecy are fulfilled every day in the Middle East. One specific aspect of it says that Iran will “push” at a European power so much that it responds with a decisive, crippling counterattack. That obviously hasn’t happened yet. But the bolder Iran gets meddling in the foreign affairs of other nations, near and far, the closer that dramatic prophecy gets to its ultimate fulfillment.

It’s a sure prophecy, and we’d like to challenge you to use your Bible and Iran’s ancient and modern history to prove that for yourself. Our free booklet The King of the South can serve you as an effective study guide.

hitler artist 3.jpg

The Paradox of Hitler’s Culture

As yet another cultural revival begins in Europe, it is high time to understand its origin.

Read More

Mike Pence Was Right About Not Dining Alone With Women

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen arrive at the Freedom Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Mike Pence Was Right About Not Dining Alone With Women

Listen to the Nov. 21, 2017, episode of the Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Vice President Mike Pence would not dine alone with another woman other than his wife. The left ridiculed Pence’s rule, calling it sexist, old-fashioned, impractical and unprofessional. Just a few months later, however, allegations of sexual misconduct against high-ranking individuals are hitting the news every day. Is it wrong to have a code of conduct like the vice president’s? The Bible says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” On today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show, we discuss the need for, and importance of, biblical standards.

http://app.stitcher.com/browse/feed/68064/details

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trumpet-daily-radio-show/id1003885427

http://kpcg.fm/shows/trumpet-daily-radio-show

20190918_Simeon the Scientist reading Bible-8508765 2.jpg

What Is Mankind’s Purpose?

To most people, this is a mystery. But the inspiring answer is plain!

Read More

RUSSIA ALLYING WITH CHINA

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

RUSSIA ALLYING WITH CHINA

A newly developing axis of two Asian giants is changing the world order. We have been forecasting the development of this unlikely partnership for over half a century.

A new axis has formed on the world scene. It is so colossal, the planet could almost spin on it. The Trumpet and its predecessor magazine, the Plain Truth, have forecast the formation of this axis for more than five decades. Now the world is catching on to this undeniable trend and realizing its massive implications.

The types of headlines that would have seemed impossible 50 or 15 or even 10 years ago have now become commonplace:

  • “Russia-China Tandem Changes the World” (Consortium News, Oct 23, 2017)
  • “Trump’s Biggest Nightmare? China and Russia’s Newfound Friendship” (cnn, Aug. 1, 2017)
  • “‘Best Time in History’ for China-Russia Relationship” (cnbc, July 4, 2017)
  • “A China-Russia Alliance?” (National Interest, April 25, 2017)

For over half a century the Trumpet and Plain Truth have been watching for this seismic geopolitical event. We have been expecting Russia and China to partner up because Bible prophecy says that in the “time of the end,” the Russia-China axis will lead an Asian military bloc that fields an army larger—by orders of magnitude—than any the world has ever seen.

The scriptures say this Asian bloc will play a central role in nuclear World War iii, a conflict just on the horizon that will be more devastating than any mankind has ever suffered.

The fact that the Russia-China axis has now suddenly arrived means the fulfillment of these Bible prophecies is astonishingly near.

Timeline: Russia Allying With China

_____

One Man Saw It Coming

Part of what makes the modern Russia-China partnership so significant is that it contrasts starkly with their recent history of conflict. Back in the 1950s, China and what was then the Soviet Union began disputing their shared border and bickering about “which shade of red” was the correct one for communism. In 1969, these disputes erupted into bloody war. The conflict became so serious it threatened to spark a nuclear altercation.

The nuclear button was never pressed. But more than two decades of mutual bitterness followed.

Yet even during that time of conflict and distrust between Russia and China, one analyst repeatedly forecast that the two would form a partnership.

Even during those early Cold War years, when the only interactions between the Russian bear and the Chinese dragon were arguments about how to correctly implement Communist policies, this lone pundit said Moscow and Beijing would lay aside their differences and enter an era of close cooperation.

Even after those tensions had exploded into the 1969 border war, prompting Russia and China to sever relations for decades, this maverick forecaster held tenaciously to his prediction.

The analyst was Herbert W. Armstrong, editor in chief of the Plain Truth newsmagazine.

Mr. Armstrong first wrote about the Russia-China axis as far back as the June-July 1934 issue of the Plain Truth, one of its earliest editions: “[T]wo great military powers [will] arise in the last days—one the revival of the Roman Empire by a federation of 10 nations in the territory of the ancient Roman Empire; the other … Russia, with her allies … possibly China or Japan,” he wrote.

“China’s … constant dream for centuries has been ultimate world conquest! … China knows, however, that in this highly industrialized age she can accomplish this dream only as an ally of Russia.”
Herbert W. Armstrong (Plain Truth, December 1959)

In December 1959, when tensions between Russia and China were high, Mr. Armstrong’s magazine forecast that the two would form a coalition:

“Russia’s program … calls first for the seizure of Asia,” the Plain Truth wrote. It said that China would voluntarily submit to Russian leadership in an Asian bloc as a step toward achieving Beijing’s long-term goals: “China’s … constant dream for centuries has been ultimate world conquest! … China knows, however, that in this highly industrialized age she can accomplish this dream only as an ally of Russia. … China is now ready to begin devouring the rest of Asia with Russia’s secret military backing.”

These are just a few of the dozens of statements that Mr. Armstrong and his newsmagazine made from 1934 until his death in 1986, predicting that Russia and China would go from contenders to comrades.

At the time of Mr. Armstrong’s death, the relationship between Moscow and Beijing remained frosty. But events since then—especially in the last decade—have proved that Mr. Armstrong’s unpopular and seemingly far-fetched forecast was actually spot on.

How could he have predicted the reality we now see with such accuracy?

_____

An Exceptional Intelligence Source

The reason Mr. Armstrong could see what other observers and forecasters at the time were blind to is that his main intelligence source was unlike those of other analysts. It was the sure word of Bible prophecy. His reliance on Scripture enabled Mr. Armstrong to prophesy of events from afar which are now coming to pass.

The December 1962 Plain Truth revealed some of the specific Bible scriptures that informed Mr. Armstrong’s forecasts concerning Asia:

From time to time, news commentators—in describing the coming catastrophic military struggle for world control—use the biblical expression Armageddon found in Revelation 16:16. But what they do not mention is a striking prophecy about “Armageddon” found in Revelation 16:12. In this verse we read that “the way of the kings of the east” is to be prepared!

Who are these “kings of the east”? Their identities are critical to know if we are to understand many of the Bible’s prophecies intended for our day.

After the great Flood, God told Noah and his family to go and replenish the Earth (Genesis 8:15-18). Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Each son was the beginning of a separate race. Shem was the father of the white peoples, Ham of the black peoples and Japheth of the yellow peoples. Mr. Armstrong explained in his magnum opus Mystery of the Ages that this was accomplished by Ham marrying a black woman, and Japheth marrying a yellow woman.

Who are these “kings of the east”? Their identities are critical to know if we are to understand many of the Bible’s prophecies intended for our day.

Genesis 10:2-3 name the seven sons of Japheth: “Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.”

Mr. Armstrong and his editorial team identified Meshech and Tubal as the fathers of those who comprise greater Russia today, and Magog as the father of the main peoples of China and Mongolia. Referring to Ezekiel 38:2, Mr. Armstrong wrote in the April 1981 Plain Truth:

There is general agreement among students of prophecy that “Gog” in the land of “Magog” is the vast regions of northern Eurasia extending from the Baltic to the Pacific [modern Russia and China]. “Meshech” is Moscow; “Tubal” is Tobolsk. The Bible margin says “prince of Rosh,” which is Russia.

Chapter 38 of Ezekiel shows that Russia will be the lead nation in the end-time Asian power bloc.

It is also vital to note the plural “kings” in the Revelation 16:12 mention of the “kings of the east.” This differentiates the Asian coalition from the “king of the north” and the “king of the south,” which are also prophesied to arise in the end time (Daniel 11:40). When the plural is placed alongside Ezekiel 38:2, it becomes clear that although Moscow will be at the head of the bloc, Russia will be dependent on its alliance with other Asian countries—one in particular that is far more populous: China.

Another key Bible passage that informed Mr. Armstrong’s forecast that Russia and China would forge an alliance is Revelation 9:16, which the Apostle John was inspired to write around the year a.d. 90: “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand ….”

Chinese military parade at Zhurihe Combined Tactics Training Base
Cui Nan/CHINA NEWS SERVICE/VCG/Getty Images

This verse shows that this Asian force will have an army of 200 million men! That is an army far larger than any the world has ever seen, and far larger than modern Russia with its total population of 144 million could field on its own. It is more people than were even alive on all of Earth when John wrote this prophecy! This number makes clear that this is an end-time prophecy that could only be fulfilled in this modern era of explosive population growth. It is a prophecy we are certain to see fulfilled very soon.

With his understanding of these details of Scripture and of the ancient names that Bible prophecy gives to modern Asian nations, Mr. Armstrong was able to accurately forecast that Russia and China would set aside their differences and form an alliance.

Right up until his death in 1986, he was still forecasting that these two nations would build a history-altering partnership. And the Trumpet has continued where Mr. Armstrong left off. We use the same Bible scriptures he used to continue watching Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China as they work in lockstep to reshape the global order.

_____

We Must Keep Watching the Russia-China Axis!

In October of 2008, just after Russia had invaded the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:

Russia’s attack on Georgia in August marks the beginning of a dangerous new era in history. This was the first military strike of a rising Asian superpower—and there will be more! … Will a crisis occur over Ukraine? That area is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that as well.

Time proved that forecast strikingly accurate. In 2014, Putin’s forces covertly invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and stealthily grafted it into Mother Russia. And while the West and most of the world gave Russia the cold shoulder for its expansionist actions, one nation made clear that it supported Moscow’s moves: China!

After China said it backed Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s land, Mr. Flurry said the support was “a stunning fulfillment of a biblical prophecy!

“When these Asia nations—extremely powerful nuclear-armed countries—begin to show solidarity with each other regarding moves like that, what does that portend for the world? I tell you it is woe to the world. It will cause many serious problems.”
Gerald Flurry

He wrote: “Actually we have been proclaiming for over 50 years that Russia, China and other Asian nations would ally themselves in the end time. And we are in that end time now. … When these Asia nations—extremely powerful nuclear-armed countries—begin to show solidarity with each other regarding moves like that, what does that portend for the world? I tell you it is woe to the world. It will cause many serious problems.”

A remarkable passage in Daniel 11 gives some indication of exactly how the Russian-led “kings of the east” axis will “cause many serious problems” in the future. Verses 40 through 44 say:

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south [this is a radical Islamic Middle Eastern power, led by Iran] push at him: and the king of the north [a revived European Holy Roman Empire, led by Germany] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown …. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

The head of a revived Holy Roman Empire will hear troubling tidings from the east and north. These tidings reach him after the “king of the south” has been destroyed, and they come from the Asian axis, led by Russia and China! The Holy Roman emperor will be disturbed about what the Russians and Chinese are doing or threatening to do with their staggering military might.

Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile systems move through Red Square in Moscow on May 9, 2017.
NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images

Before this, when the Great Tribulation first begins, this European power will have been cooperating with the Russian-led Asian axis to besiege the Anglo-Saxon nations economically. But perhaps the Europeans hear rumors that the Asian axis is planning to invade North America and conquer it for its own. Whatever the exact “tidings” turn out to be, the Bible is clear that news about the prophesied Russian-led Asian axis will provoke the European power to “go forth with great fury to destroy”!

This is describing a nuclear World War iii.

The scriptures say this coming war will be a time of unprecedented destruction and devastation, fought with weapons that have the potential to kill every human being alive (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21-22).

It is because of these vitally important Bible passages that the Trumpet continues where Mr. Armstrong left off, vigilantly watching and reporting on the burgeoning Russia-China partnership today.

World events today date the Bible’s prophecies. Modern headlines provide a sobering indication of where we are in the overall time frame of end-time prophecies. A Russia-China axis is now on the scene, and you need to know where it is leading. This Oriental power will be able to challenge Europe at a time when nobody else can—including the United States.

World events today date the Bible’s prophecies. Modern headlines provide a sobering indication of where we are in the overall time frame of end-time prophecies. A Russia-China axis is now on the scene, and you need to know where it is leading. This Oriental power will be able to challenge Europe at a time when nobody else can—including the United States.

We should not expect the Russia-China partnership to fade from the headlines. In fact, we should expect the bear and the dragon to forge ever closer ties with each other and with other Asian nations. On July 4, 2017, when Chinese President Xi Jinping shook hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and said relations between their two nations were at their “best time in history,” he was not overstating the bond. And we should expect the two to become increasingly influential in global affairs and ever more militarily capable and aggressive.

In the near term, this trend points to a dark and violent future. But the Bible makes clear that World War iii will be cut short! Before humankind detonates enough nuclear weapons to annihilate all people, Jesus Christ will interrupt the conflict. He will usher in a new age of peace and prosperity. This is the best imaginable news. Christ will rule Earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. He will usher in an epoch of worldwide peace for the peoples of Russia and China and all the nations of the world.

Understanding how near that radiant future is can give us perspective that fills us with hope!

THE KINGS OF THE EAST

America’s status as the world’s lone superpower is rapidly fading. Other nations and groups of nations are angling to fill the void. Rising in the East is an emerging power bloc of tremendous potential—in manpower, economic heft and military might. Its growing presence is intensifying global competition for resources and for geopolitical influence.

There are two great nations at the head of this Asian alliance: Russia and China. Other Asian nations are recognizing the tremendous pressure to join with this alliance to secure their future. You need to understand where this trend is leading, and the Bible provides that understanding. To learn more about its prophecies for this region, request a free copy of Russia and China in Prophecy.

190925-Darwin Discards Bible.jpg

Was Charles Darwin Rational?

Evolutionists don’t want you to know the real reason the father of evolution abandoned the Bible.

Read More

The Islamic State Is Threatening the Catholic Church

istock.com/FabioSeda

The Islamic State Is Threatening the Catholic Church

Haven’t we seen this scenario before?

On November 14, the Islamic State, via the Wafa’ Media Foundation, circulated a poster threatening an attack on the heart of the Catholic Church—St. Peter’s Basilica.

The poster reads “Christmas Blood” and shows a masked man in a car driving toward the iconic church located in the heart of Vatican City. On the passenger seat lies a rifle and a backpack.

This method of threatening attacks to cause fear is not new, and some would even say it is overused, given that the Islamic State has threatened everyone from the American public to Russian President Vladimir Putin to Muslims who have a less extreme version of jihad than it subscribes to.

The importance of the latest threat is that when it comes to big enemies to cross off the list on the way to a global caliphate, Christianity is at the top. Even a brief look at the reports that the organization Aid to the Church in Need has put out in the last few years gives us the terrifying picture. In Syria and Iraq, the two countries most ravaged by the Islamic State, Christians have been reliving the Exodus. In March 2016, a bishop claimed that nearly 70 percent of the 1.7 million Syrian Christians had fled the country. In Iraq, the previous estimate of 275,000 remaining Christians is possibly down to as few as 150,000.

Consider the story of the last remaining European, a Jesuit priest, who stubbornly refused to leave Homs, Syria, which previously held more than 600,000 people. He was dragged from his house and shot in the head by an Islamist.

Perhaps some even believe threats like this one against the Catholic Church are the last insults of a dying group, thrown out like a man’s flailing arms when he knows he has lost the fight. This is only true concerning what looks like the Islamic State’s death, with international coalitions making progress on retaking control of major cities in the Middle East. The Islamic State might be dying, but its ideas won’t die.

As former United States President John F. Kennedy said, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” Do we think that radical Islam will die when the Islamic State is defeated? Do we think there is no threat of attack on the heart of the Vatican just because the regional caliphate is collapsing? Have we forgotten that before the Islamic State, there was al Qaeda? And before al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood? And all the way back to the years after Mohammed’s death, when it took mere decades in the seventh century for Islam to spread across the world with the sword?

It is true that Muslims and Christians have lived together for many centuries in many countries without conflict. They also spent many centuries killing each other. The idea of violent struggle has never died; it constantly recurs and wreaks havoc.

The same goes for the Catholic idea of “holy war.” Greek philosopher Aristotle, whom Catholic scholars virtually idolized for centuries, outlined the conditions for a “just war” centuries before Christ. And the most prominent of Catholics, Augustine, drew out his own scriptural justification for holy war, saying “the commandment forbidding killing was not broken by those who have waged war on the authority of God.” It was by these arguments and others that Pope Urban ii, in 1095, was able to unleash the power of Christendom to start the Crusades—killing hundreds of thousands of people.

Ideas like these don’t die. That’s why the Trumpet watches so closely when radical Islam pushes and threatens the Catholic Church or Christianity as a whole. It’s why our editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written articles like “The Last Crusade,” which isn’t a picture of history but a prophecy of the future.

“The Jews have Jerusalem now,” Mr. Flurry wrote. “But not for long. Both Muslims and Catholics have designs for Jerusalem. These two great powers are about to clash again—go head-to-head in the final crusade over Jerusalem!” The key scripture used in this prediction is Daniel 11:40, where a “king of the south” and a “king of the north” battle. Note that this event was never fulfilled in history—it is for the future. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Daniel 11:40).

Mr. Flurry, along with Herbert W. Armstrong before him, has emphasized the phrase “push at him,” which has the insinuation of provoking. That is the reason radical Islam is so dangerous. It’s not because the Islamic State has taken control of large swaths of territory. Nor is it because of its horrific, torturous methods of killing. But it is because it has an ideology that looks to push at Catholics, to provoke and threaten them. It is aiming to scare them with terrorist attacks. Because eventually there will be a bloody response worse than the regional crisis we see today. All of this is explained in our free booklet The King of the South.

Radical Islam pushes when it mows down 86 people with a truck in Nice, France. It pushes when it kills hundreds more at musical concerts. It pushes when it threatens Europe because of its Catholic heritage. And it is definitely a push when the Islamic State threatens the heart of the Catholic Church—St. Peter’s Basilica—with a terrorist attack, right around Christmas celebrations.