South Africa on Verge of Civil War

A veteran of the former armed wing of the South African ruling party African National Congress

South Africa on Verge of Civil War

Farmers face a choice between genocide or Zimbabwe-style land grabs.

Land ownership is an explosive issue in South Africa. When South Africa ended institutionalized racial segregation in 1994, white farmers owned 85 percent of the nation’s privately held farmland. Over the next 24 years, the government purchased and redistributed more than 5 million acres of farmland. Meanwhile, black South Africans purchased more than 12 million acres on the open market. Last year, the government estimated that white South Africans still owned 72 percent of the nation’s farmland.

Since the African National Congress made a promise in 1994 to transfer 30 percent of white-owned land to blacks by 2000, many feel the process of land redistribution is moving too slowly. To speed things up, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to abandon the government’s “willing buyer, willing seller” principle in favor of a new policy: The government wants to start confiscating white-owned land without compensation.

“We will accelerate our land redistribution program not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation,” Ramaphosa said during his State of the Nation address. “We will pursue a comprehensive approach that makes effective use of all the mechanisms at our disposal. Guided by the resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the governing party, this approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation.”

While a Constitutional Review Committee is still examining the legality of such land seizures, the leader of South Africa’s third-largest political party is predicting violent revolution if white people do not surrender their land.

“I’m saying to you, we’ve not called for the killing of white people, at least for now. I can’t guarantee the future,” Julius Malema said in an interview with trt World, published June 9.

When the interviewer asked him if he understood that some might interpret his words as a call to genocide, Malema responded, “Crybabies, crybabies! I can’t give you a guarantee of the future. Especially when things are going the way they are. If things are going the way they are, there will be a revolution in this country, I can tell you now. There will be an unled revolution in this country, and an unled revolution is the highest form of anarchy.”

Speaking to eNCA’s Cathy Mohlahlana on June 14, Malema said he believes South Africa’s poor will rise up against landowners whether or not he has anything to do with it.

“You see, the civil war, which will happen in this country, will not be as a result of Malema saying one or two things,” he commented. “It will be out of the frustration our people are confronted with. … There is a serious problem of not sharing the resources of this country. And the whites becoming richer and the blacks poorer, we ought to confront it, be honest about it; we must not be scared and the generations after us will thank us.”

The World Bank estimates that South Africa is the most unequal nation in the world in terms of income. But Malema is wrong about whites becoming richer while blacks become poorer. Over the past three decades, racial disparities in living standards have narrowed.

According to the Economist, whites made up 86 percent of those in the top standard of living bracket in 2004. They made up 49 percent of this bracket in 2015. Total inequality remains wide, while racial inequality is narrowing, because many members of South Africa’s new economic elite are black men like Malema (whose net worth is around $2 million).

Malema misconstrues history in a bid to get the over 2 million South Africans who voted for him in 2016 municipal elections to support Zimbabwe-style land grabs. Despite his claims that civil war is coming with or without him, Malema has played a major role in exacerbating racial tensions in South Africa. In 2011, he was tried by South Africa’s Equality Court for singing a song that calls for the shooting of white farmers with machine guns. Five years later, he was tried for encouraging his supporters to illegally occupy white-owned land.

“When we leave here, you see any beautiful piece of land, you like it, occupy it,” he told supporters outside the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court, where he was being tried for violating the Riotous Assemblies Act. “It is your land! It is the land of your forefathers. It was the land taken from us by white people, by force, through genocide!”

A March 2017 AfriForum study noted that farm murders jumped 92 percent the month following Malema’s call to action. Malema dismisses as crybabies those who suggest there is a direct correlation between his remarks and rising farm attacks. But he is notorious for making comments deliberately crafted for plausible deniability.

Last March, he told a crowd in Johannesburg that his party was “cutting the throat of whiteness.” Many of his supporters defend his remarks as metaphorical—those who would like to literally slit the throats of white farmers may interpret Malema’s statement differently. An estimated 3,000 farmers have been murdered since 1994.

“Africa is for black people. Period. We need our land back and we’re going to take it by force,” one red beret-wearing Malema supporter recently told the bbc.

Even if South Africa’s government does not begin confiscating white-owned land like Zimbabwe began doing in 2000, with disastrous results, the inflammatory rhetoric used by politicians like Malema is moving people to violence.

According to a paper by Wandile Sihlobo, Theo Boshoff and Sifiso Ntombela, researchers at the Agricultural Business Chamber, there is a real threat that more people will disregard the rule of law and start using violent means to illegally seize land.

“In this scenario, a lack of clarity on what is meant by statements such as ‘taking the land back’ could prompt citizens to disregard the rule of law,” they wrote. “As a result, incidents of illegal land occupation will escalate, coupled with farm invasions, subsequently making the agricultural sector nonfunctional and unproductive.”

South Africa is facing a choice between white genocide or the same type of state-asset seizures that ruined Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

This rising violence is reminiscent of a sobering prophecy in the Bible: “Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence. Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses …” (Ezekiel 7:23-24).

This passage says that so many bloody crimes will occur in the end time that they will be like links in a chain—one following right after another. It even describes the seizure of people’s homes and conflict between ethnic groups.

In his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong explained that a time of trouble and tribulation will soon afflict all the descendants of ancient Israel, including British and Dutch South Africans. This time of violence is coming because of the “abominations” or sins of the people (Ezekiel 7:1-3).

Of course, this does not mean that the victims of farm attacks are more sinful than the rest of society. Referring to those who suffered deadly fates, like the victims of a tower collapse in Siloam, Jesus Christ said, “[T]hink ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5). The 3,000 people killed in farm attacks over the last 24 years were not worse sinners than other South Africans. But God did not intervene to protect them. He is allowing this chain of violence as a warning of even worse violence, unless people cry out in repentance.

It is God’s great desire to teach all races and nationalities the way to peace and prosperity. If man would only repent and obey God’s commandments, he would not have to experience such horrific crimes. But the human heart is hard and too proud to admit that it does not know the way to peace, happiness and stability. God must allow people to learn from their own choices until the time when they cry out to Him for instruction. Then He will show them the path to real peace!


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Is President Trump Really Breaking Up Families?

A 2-year-old Honduran stands with her mother after being detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12 in McAllen, Texas.
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Is President Trump Really Breaking Up Families?

Don’t want to be separated from your kids? Then don’t try to cross the border illegally.

A 2-year-old girl cries as her mother is searched and detained. Children sob for their parents in an audio recording from a detention center. Media sources describe children in cages, inhumane conditions and human rights abuses. News outlets, media personalities, politicians, celebrities and ordinary citizens are joining together to condemn one person for breaking up families: United States President Donald Trump.

Is it that simple? Does President Trump hate these families, so he’s breaking them up? What are the facts?

First, the president is implementing laws that have existed for years. In the past, border laws have not been enforced consistently. In fact, even though he was the chief law enforcement official in the country, former President Barack Obama instructed border security agents not to enforce the laws. President Trump sees an open border as dangerous and decided in May to enact a zero-tolerance policy. Now anyone who crosses the border illegally will be prosecuted according to the existing law. This applies to everyone, whether they bring children with them or not.

Second, this is not the first time that a president has established a policy of applying the existing law to every person who crosses the border illegally. President George W. Bush set the precedent. And during the worst of the migration crisis in 2014, President Obama himself ordered zero tolerance.

Third, these are not concentration camps. Attorney General Jeff Sessions commented on immigration on June 14 in a speech in Indiana and emphasized that coming into America illegally is illegal and that lawbreakers should be prosecuted. In order to do so, the government does separate illegal immigrant families. But for how long? Years? For the rest of their lives like in World War ii? No; the separation generally lasts less than three weeks. Since their parents broke the law and are therefore held in jails, their children are put into special facilities rather than in jail with their parents. Sessions said (emphasis added throughout):

Many of the criticisms raised in recent days are not fair, not logical, and some are contrary to plain law.

Our policies that can result in short-term separation are not unjustified. American citizens that are jailed do not take their children to jail with them. Non-citizens who cross our borders unlawfully between our ports of entry with children are no exception to this principle. They are the ones who broke the law. They are the ones who endangered their own children with this trek. The United States, on the other hand, goes to extraordinary lengths to protect these children while their parents go through the detention period.

Fourth, the media uproar over these children is not a sympathetic reaction—it is part of an agenda. Leftists in the media, entertainment and politics are not as concerned as you might think about children staying in special facilities for a few weeks. If they were, they would have set off an uproar during the Obama administration when some of the exact same things were taking place. In fact, former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau widely circulated an image of detained immigrants sleeping on the floor, which sparked outrage from leftists. What they and Favreau didn’t realize is that the image was from 2014, right in the middle of Obama’s second term.

Leftists identified another photo of a young boy standing behind a wire enclosure as a child in the custody of immigration law enforcement; they labeled it “kids in cages.” It turned out that the boy was not in custody at all but was at a protest in Texas with his mother and brother and wandered over to the opposite side of a temporary barrier set up for the protest. His mother came and fetched him in about 30 seconds. But leftists have been quick to flood newscasts and social media with images, whether accurate or not, of families being “broken up.”

Supporting strong families is not exactly a hallmark of liberal leftists. These are the same reporters, anchors, entertainers and politicians who advocate abortion, homosexual “marriage,” transgenderism, promiscuity, easy divorce, and labeling just about any arrangement of human beings in a house as a “family.” This is not about families. This is about an opportunity to paint conservatives and especially President Trump as Nazis. And that is not an exaggeration.

Michael Hayden, the former National Security Agency director who also directed the Central Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, literally compared what is happening at America’s southern border to Nazi death camps.

His tweet from June 16 includes a photo of the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland, where Nazis shot, starved, gassed, burned and experimented on Jews and other victims, killing more than 1 million men, women and children.

Former President Bill Clinton said, “These children should not be a negotiating tool. And reuniting them with their families would reaffirm America’s belief in & support for all parents who love their children.”

Clinton’s commentary is especially confounding. He was partly responsible for the laws that he is now complaining about. In 1996, Clinton signed into law the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This law is the basis of today’s policies on illegal immigration and deportation.

The actual issues, including the safety of the immigrants and their children (and children who are with traffickers and kidnappers claiming to be their parents), are not as important to leftists as the opportunity to smear as fiendishly evil the idea of secure, orderly borders—as well as the people who support them.

Fifth, millions of Americans recognize that illegal immigration is a huge problem. Donald Trump promised to secure the border during his presidential campaign. Tens of millions of Americans voted in support of that promise, in favor of enforcing immigration laws. This is the movement that liberal leftists are attacking. They favor wide-open borders and rampant lawlessness. Some Americans still have the sanity and logic to realize that leaving the border open encourages criminals, endangers immigrants, corrupts justice, and endangers the entire society.

As American Thinker correctly noted, “Family separation is entirely preventable if you don’t break immigration law. How hard is that to understand? Like your kids? Don’t break the law with them.” This, the article continued, is a completely avoidable dilemma.

The Women’s March organization tweeted on June 16: “Over 2,000 children have been taken from their families by [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] ice & Border Patrol—and that’s just in April and May. Children should not be separated from their parents against their will.”

But as the acting director of ice told journalists on June 5: “Children and parents get separated every day across this country when a parent is charged with a criminal offense. It’s sad to see children cry when you take a parent out of a home, but because it’s sad, doesn’t mean that we ignore the law.” It does not mean that you put children in jail with their parents or that parents get to break the law and avoid punishment simply because they have children.

Sessions connected the immigration issue with Romans 13 in his speech. This chapter exhorts true Christians to obey the government of the land, as long as it aligns with God’s law. Verse 1 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” God allows the leaders in this world to have power. He allows them to make laws. And as long as those laws don’t conflict with God’s laws, we should obey them. Especially if people’s lives and the future of the nation is on the line.

God ordained the institutions of marriage and family. Obedience to His laws is what keeps families together—not lawlessness! The Bible teaches that when we sin against God’s law, there is a penalty for the transgression. Removing the penalty in the name of compassion and family togetherness will only make matters worse.

If you would like to read more about the importance of laws in an organized society, please read my father’s free booklet No Freedom Without Law. It gives precious insight into the importance of law-keeping and explains why our lawless society is crumbling before our eyes.

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Why Did the Nazis Want a European Union?

Soldiers in combat gear stand at attention in Nuremberg, Germany, listening to a speech by Adolf Hitler during a Nazi Party rally in 1936.
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Why Did the Nazis Want a European Union?

Listen to the June 21, 2018, episode of the Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

Today Europe is divided. It is impotent. But it is also dangerous. How is this possible? The history of European unification provides the answers. Europe’s founding fathers were not the first to plan a European Union. Trumpet contributing editor Richard Palmer examines the much earlier plans for a European Economic Community.

Listen on Stitcher.

Download the show on iTunes.


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Knighted: For Services to Prostitution

Knighted: For Services to Prostitution

An unlikely royal honor paid to the ‘world’s oldest profession’

“I always say I expect to be arrested at dawn,” jokes Catherine Healy, longtime sex worker and founder of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, an organization she has led since 1989. Originally having swapped her teaching job for prostitution in part to pay for holidays abroad, Healy was once arrested for sex work during the 1980s—the solicitation of which, back then, was illegal. After founding the Prostitutes Collective, Healy’s claim to fame began in 2003, when her campaigning led to the decriminalization of prostitution in New Zealand. And earlier this month, an unusual recognition was granted her for her services to the “world’s oldest profession.”

On June 4, the New Zealand Queen’s Birthday Honors List of recipients for the Order of Merit was announced. This is a conferral of knighthood for male recipients, damehood for female (to be addressed as “sir” and “dame”). The award is by order of the Queen “to recognize New Zealanders who have given meritorious service to the crown and nation, or have become distinguished by their contribution to their individual fields.” The 2018 Honor’s List began:

The Queen has been pleased, on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty’s Birthday, to make the following appointments to the New Zealand Order of Merit:

To be Dames Companion of the said Order:

Ms Catherine Alice Healy, of Lower Hutt. For services to the rights of sex workers.

The list continued through four other female appointees and three male, including the previous prime minister of New Zealand, Bill English.

Needless to say, it was a watershed moment. News of the radical appointment of damehood for services to the prostitution industry broke around the world. The news stunned Healy—and many others, especially those within the United Kingdom and Commonwealth who have some knowledge of the pomp, pageantry and traditional conservative tone of the royal administration.

What does this appointment mean? Nearly all reports are hailing it as exciting progress for the nation and the monarchy in legitimizing prostitution work and removing stigmas. There has been little to no backlash for the decision.

But there should be. This is a brazen endorsement of immorality and another significant step down the path of liberalism by the monarchy. (Among the four other women conferred damehood along with Healy, two are the twins Julie and Lynda Topp, famously provocative lesbian singers/activists.) This kind of “progressive” royal acts and endorsements is becoming more and more commonplace.

The Queen does not personally decide on the New Zealand Order of Merit. It is awarded “on ministerial advice,” which in practice means that the Queen decides nothing. Still, the governing body is under royal auspices and acts directly in the Queen’s name. The Order is conferred by the Governor General, who is the Queen’s representative.

The modern royal institution has been rebuffing the traditional, conservative, Bible-based morality it was built upon, and once staunchly upheld, for several decades now. As Prince Harry described it to Newsweek last year, “We are involved in modernizing the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people.” Over the course of this “modernization,” most of the Queen’s children have divorced, as well as her only sibling—an unthinkable act only decades ago. Together with the divorces have been a slew of adulterous scandals. Princesses have been photographed on two separate occasions sunbathing topless. Homosexual “marriage” has received the royal seal of approval. Prince Harry, since his widely publicized game of “strip billiards” in Vegas and his dressing as a Nazi for a costume party, recently married a divorcee actress and made his famous declaration to Newsweek—in answer to the question if any of the royal family wants the throne after the Queen dies—“I don’t think so.” Prince William joined forces with Lady Gaga to draw attention to mental issues, and proudly received the homosexual community’s “2017 Straight Ally of the Year.” This month also sees the first “royal” homosexual “marriage,” of Lord Mountbatten.

Knighting a New Zealand citizen for services to prostitution, along with lesbian activist compatriots, is just another brick in the wall.

This downward moral spiral by the institution supposed to be the leading light for millions of people in dozens of countries is leading to some awful consequences. There is a link between this pattern of behavior and the collapse of England, the British Empire and the modern British Commonwealth. Britain and its Commonwealth territories are going the way of ancient Rome, except that they are falling from a greater height and in a dangerous nuclear age of much more powerful, and still rising, hostile nations. Such behavior doesn’t last long without severe consequences.

As the Prophet Hosea wrote, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind …” (Hosea 8:7). This end-time prophecy is actually in direct reference to the peoples of the British Commonwealth and their leaders. Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for a full explanation.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written several recent articles and a brand-new book explaining why, over the last several decades and since 2017 in particular, the nail has been driven into the coffin for the royal family. Read his article “The Fall of the British Royal Family.”

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Will Nicaragua Be the New Venezuela?

A group of hooded people walk along the flaming facade of the state radio station.
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Will Nicaragua Be the New Venezuela?

‘Nicaragua is in full cardiac arrest.’

Nicaraguan citizens began to protest against authoritarian President Daniel Ortega on April 18. Since then, Ortega has lost control over much of the small Central American country. Protesters have taken over cities, set up roadblocks, and attacked pro-government forces. Now Nicaragua is falling apart. A Time magazine correspondent living in Nicaragua wrote, “While the world watches Venezuela’s slow, cancerous death, Nicaragua is in full cardiac arrest.”

The protests began when Ortega tried to reduce pension benefits to fund the country’s struggling social security program. When some citizens protested, pro-government groups violently ended the demonstration, killing several people. This triggered the last two months of violence.

Although Ortega later dropped the planned pension cuts, that didn’t stop the protesters from demanding his resignation. Ortega reacted swiftly, sending police and armed forces to stop the protests. Since then, almost 200 people have been killed in continued conflicts between the protesters and Ortega’s forces. Many more have been wounded. Others are missing. The country is descending into anarchy as its leader desperately tries to maintain his hold on power.

Even before the protests began, Ortega had abolished term limits and given himself almost unlimited power. He was widely unpopular in his own country, as was his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo. The pension cuts were the last straw for an already disgruntled citizenry. Now the demonstrators want reform and a more democratic government. The government says that the protesters are trying to stage a coup.

Prior to 1979, Nicaragua was a dictatorship led by the Somoza family. But in 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front overthrew the Somoza government. Ortega was president from 1984 to 1990. He returned to power in 2007 and has ruled ever since, after abolishing presidential term limits.

Since the protests began, demonstrators have set up more than 120 roadblocks throughout Nicaragua, hamstringing transportation. Some cities are completely closed off to pro-government forces. One of these cities, Masaya, was the heart of the Sandinista movement. Now this city is at the front of the rebellion against Ortega. They think that Ortega has “betrayed his revolutionary roots,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The demonstrators are not planning to give up without a fight. A Masaya shopkeeper told the Wall Street Journal, “They will need 150,000 coffins if they want to defeat us.”

Nicaragua is not a huge player on the international scene; it is about the same size as the state of Florida but with a much smaller population and economy. However, Central American nations are strategically important, especially because of their proximity to the United States. More than that, instability in nations like Nicaragua has ripple effects elsewhere—whether from an increase in illegal immigrants fleeing a crisis in the country, or from the pressure that a collapsing government puts on surrounding nations.

Nicaragua is also unique because of its connections with both Russia and Iran—and the fact that China is hoping to build a canal through the country to rival the Panama Canal. If the canal is finished, it will give China an immense advantage. China wants an exclusive naval foothold in this vital area, which America previously dominated.

The Catholic Church’s influence in Nicaragua is also interesting. Nicaragua is more than 70 percent Catholic. Mediators from the Catholic Church have tried to end the crisis, encouraging Ortega to hold early elections. However, the church suspended its negotiations with Ortega this week because he refused to invite United Nations observers in to examine the situation for human rights violations. The fact that the Catholic Church is so involved in this conflict shows the importance of these South and Central American nations.

Our free booklet He Was Right says:

The headquarters of the Catholic Church is in Europe. Yet it is not Europe but Latin America—incorporating Mexico, the Central American isthmus and the continent of South America—that constitutes the most catholicized landmass in the world. The region’s largest country, Brazil, has more Roman Catholics than any nation on the planet, and Mexico is a close second. No continent is more aligned with the Vatican than Latin America.

The Plain Truth recognized the deep importance of the religious roots Europeans and Latin Americans share. In October 1957, it said, “Latin American nations will join in with the European revival of the old Roman Empire ….” Throughout history, that empire has been guided by the Vatican.

Europe is also deeply interested in Central and South America—and for a reason. Many of these nations are strapped for cash, and they welcome investment and stability from any source. Europe is one of the largest investors in Latin America. A foothold in one of these countries is also valuable for any nation seeking to oppose America. Both prophecy and recent events indicate that Europe may try to do that very soon. The Bible indicates that Europe will briefly form an economic alliance with most of the rest of the world in an attempt to freeze out the U.S. America will be “besieged,” and that will destroy it economically. The May 1962 Plain Truth said that “the United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce.”

Whether or not Ortega manages to hold on to his control of Nicaragua, this crisis shows how unstable his country is. And Nicaragua isn’t the only one—other Latin American countries like Venezuela and Mexico are barely holding up. Nicaragua’s protests highlight the fractured state of many Central and South American governments—an instability that other powers are happy to take advantage of.

To understand more about what the Bible says will happen to Latin America, read “Europe’s Inroads Into Latin America” in our booklet He Was Right.

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King Josiah Proved—Again!

New archaeological discovery in Jerusalem adds to evidence of the great biblical king’s reign.

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Is Our World Getting Better and Better?

Is Our World Getting Better and Better?

We have made some undeniable progress. So why does it feel like the world is getting worse and worse?
From the August 2018 Trumpet Print Edition

And now, some good news. Did you know that global poverty is going down? Did you know that global literacy is going up? Did you know that violent crime statistics are dropping and IQs are rising? Did you know that child labor and exploitation are decreasing and human rights are increasing?

Our headlines are full of social division, political gridlock, international disorder, increasing militarization, environmental disasters and other problems. Watch the news for half an hour, and it certainly appears that world conditions are getting worse and worse.

But some intelligent people argue that since news coverage inherently focuses on danger, suffering and trauma, we are seeing a distorted picture of the world. They argue that the data shows a tremendous amount of human progress. And their arguments are compelling.

So, is the world getting better and better? Or are we on the brink of World War iii? Or both?

Measuring Progress

Harvard University psychology professor Steven Pinker believes you are too pessimistic. His recent book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, makes a sustained argument that the world is, in fact, getting better.

In a ted Talk based on the book, Pinker said, “Many people face the news each morning with trepidation and dread. Every day, we read of shootings, inequality, pollution, dictatorship, war and the spread of nuclear weapons. … You can always fool yourself into seeing a decline if you compare bleeding headlines of the present with rose-tinted images of the past. What does the trajectory of the world look like when we measure well-being over time using a constant yardstick?”

He then compared some recent statistics to the same metrics from 30 years ago. It may surprise you to learn that the homicide rate in America has dropped from 8.5 per 100,000 to 5.3. The percentage of Americans below the poverty line (as measured by consumption) has fallen from 11 percent to 3 percent. The percentage of the world population in extreme poverty has plunged from 37 percent to 9.6 percent. Three decades ago, 23 wars were raging; as of February 2018, there were only 12. The number of nuclear weapons has dropped from 60,780 to 10,325. The number of democracies has grown from 45 governments over 2 billion people to 103 governments over 4.1 billion people.

He makes it sound like warnings about the end of the world are just hype. Is that a valid conclusion to draw from these statistics?

Look at a broader time line: Over the last 200 years, life expectancy for a human being has increased from about 30 years to 71 years. Infant mortality has plummeted from 33 percent to 6 percent. Infectious diseases, undernourishment and catastrophic famines are disappearing, even in poor countries. Poverty is declining: The world is now about 100 times wealthier than it was in the early 1800s.

These are some striking developments, and they are indeed easy to take for granted. We don’t tend to think about how much safer, healthier, wealthier and long-living the average person is compared to a few generations ago. But what a difference!

Another exciting trend is the rise in literacy. Two centuries ago, only 12 percent of the world could read and write. Today, it is 86 percent. After the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, literacy is crucial not only to quality of life, but also to intellectual and even spiritual development.

Some specific statistics or trends that observers like Pinker cite may be a matter for debate. But many are legitimately, indisputably worth celebrating.

Many people looking at these measurements are concluding that the world is getting better and better, and we just need to keep doing what we have been doing. For example, then U.S. President Barack Obama said in 2016: “[T]he world has never been less violent, healthier, better educated, more tolerant, with more opportunity for more people, and more connected than it is today.”

Yet the question remains: Why, at the same time people are eating better, consuming more and living longer, do so many of us have the sense that we are approaching a global catastrophe? Pinker’s explanation is that media coverage is a major culprit. “You never see a journalist who says, ‘I’m reporting live from a country that has been at peace for 40 years,’ or a city that has not been attacked by terrorists,” he said. “[I]f you combine our cognitive biases with the nature of news, you can see why the world has been coming to an end for a very long time indeed.”

He makes it sound like warnings about the end of the world are just so much hype. Is that a valid conclusion to draw from these statistics?

Why Progress?

Seeing the improving measurements of human development naturally raises the question, what is the cause? Why are people living longer, earning more money, receiving better educations?

Pinker answers this way: “Progress is not some mystical force or dialectic lifting us ever higher. It’s not a mysterious arc of history bending toward justice. It’s the result of human efforts governed by an idea, an idea that we associate with the 18th-century Enlightenment, namely that if we apply reason and science that enhance human well-being, we can gradually succeed. … We will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there’s no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing. This heroic story is not just another myth. Myths are fictions, but this one is true, true to the best of our knowledge, which is the only truth we can have.”

In a Wall Street Journal article on the same subject, Pinker summed it up this way: “Our ancestors replaced dogma, tradition and authority with reason, debate and institutions of truth-seeking. They replaced superstition and magic with science. And they shifted their values from the glory of the tribe, nation, race, class or faith toward universal human flourishing” (February 13). He gives a lot of specific examples of how these approaches have produced advancements in medicine, health, food production, public safety, and peace among nations. The effects are improved health, nutrition, wealth, safety, freedom and peace among nations. The basic cause, he says is human ability.

By this view, human history is something of a giant ramp, leading from human misery and ignorance upward toward greater human accomplishment and happiness. It is consistent with the evolutionary model: We have evolved from basic elements to single-cell organisms to more complex life forms, and are evolving to become smarter, more capable and more resilient. We used to write on papyrus, now we communicate with smartphones. We used to build chariots, now we build spacecraft. Surely, then, we human beings who have developed amazing technology can develop systems to end things like crime and war.

This theory has some dangerous flaws.

Material Progress—Spiritual Absence

Look again at the metrics of human progress over the past 200 years, and you can clearly see that most of them have to do with material issues. They deal with matter, with physical elements. They deal less—or not at all—with relationships between human beings.

“Why do we find a world of awesome advancement and progress, yet paradoxically with appalling and mounting evils?” Herbert W. Armstrong asked in Mystery of the Ages. “Why cannot the minds that develop spacecraft, computers and marvels of science, technology and industry solve the problems that demonstrate human helplessness? … The developed nations have made awesome progress. They have produced a highly mechanized world providing every luxury, modern convenience and means of pleasure. Yet they are cursed with crime, violence, injustice, sickness and disease, broken homes and families.”

The reason for this paradox is that mankind is cut off from true spiritual knowledge. This truth is explained in Mystery of the Ages(which we will send you free upon request). More on this later.

Human history includes a great deal of false spiritual information, superstition and dogma. And as this has been challenged in recent centuries, there has been a corresponding leap forward in material knowledge. The Western world and much of humanity has managed to build an enormous bank of knowledge since the Dark Ages. In the past century, scientific knowledge production has multiplied exponentially.

This has not, however, filled the void of true spiritual knowledge, which cannot be discovered materially or scientifically.

Though material knowledge has increased, the limits of this progress, absent that spiritual dimension, are already becoming evident. Some human advancements have peaked and are now declining. And some advancements have long-term consequences that have not yet fully come due.

Take for example the remarkable decrease in famine, for which Pinker credits crop rotation, synthetic fertilizers, hybrids and machinery. These processes do produce more food, and starvation is dramatically lower because of them. But to achieve this, we have exhausted and depleted our soils of nutrients. If we do not continue applying more and more synthetic fertilizers and industrial farming methods, huge areas will quickly become deserts. Meanwhile, these soils are producing less nutritious foods. Hence the explosion of chronic disease and the mushrooming need for clinics, medical complexes, hospitals, cancer centers and hospices.

Pinker highlights welfare programs as another advancement. But the legitimate needs these programs fill are accompanied by massive and growing abuses, bloat and political distortion. Nations are literally going into monumental, bankrupting debt to provide these “advancements.”

This is true of the high costs of many of our modern miracle solutions to age-old problems. We are effectively buying advancement by going into debt—a debt that we or our children will eventually have to pay. A day of reckoning is coming.

Conditions might be better now than they were 30 years ago. But that does not mean they will be better 30 years from now.

The Reversing Trend

Some of our advancements are already regressing. For example, while Pinker says average IQs have risen some 30 points in the last two centuries, a massive recent study showed a 7-point drop per generation in recent times.

More generally, some ideals that Pinker (to a degree correctly) credits with having helped human progress are fading away. Our current generation is actually renouncing some of the basic principles that led to increased stability, opportunity, success and justice for millions of people over hundreds of years.

Paul Bonicelli served in the United States Agency for International Development and the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. He wrote for the Federalist: “Although the Enlightenment has indeed been ‘working’ for some time now, ameliorating the human condition all over the world, in recent years it has been definitively rejected by the modern left and by some elements of the right. On college campuses, Enlightenment ideas about the rule of law and freedom of speech have been replaced by campus tribunals and the heckler’s veto. The Enlightenment itself is condemned for being the project of racist white men and the product of societies devoted to empire and colonialism. Even the Enlightenment notion of objective truth is scoffed at by academics and activists alike” (February 14).

The rule of law, the reliability of rational thought, the fact that there is such a thing as truth—these are vital principles for stability and long-term prosperity that we have taken for granted for generations. But now they are being rejected.

Even democracy is in retreat. “The heady democratic expansion of the 1990s has been replaced by democratic stagnation or even recession,” wrote Foreign Policy (Sept. 8, 2016). The Brookings Institution says some analysts and policymakers believe democracy “has run its course.” Freedom House’s 2018 Freedom in the World study found for the 12th year in a row that democracy is decreasing around the world: “[C]ountries that suffered democratic setbacks outnumbered those that registered gains. States that a decade ago seemed like promising success stories—Turkey and Hungary, for example—are sliding into authoritarian rule. The military in Myanmar, which began a limited democratic opening in 2010, executed a shocking campaign of ethnic cleansing in 2017 and rebuffed international criticism of its actions. Meanwhile, the world’s most powerful democracies are mired in seemingly intractable problems at home, including social and economic disparities, partisan fragmentation, terrorist attacks, and an influx of refugees that has strained alliances and increased fears of the ‘other.’”

As democracies decay, authoritarians are rising in several countries, including some of the most important nations in the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin has encouraged a cult of personality, made a mockery of Russia’s elections, changed its Constitution, crushed dissent, assassinated journalists, started wars, and invaded and annexed territory. Chinese President Xi Jinping has made similar changes to his country’s government, granting himself more power for longer periods and increasing his control over China’s people and military. Strongmen have risen in the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Austria and elsewhere. The next one might take over Germany.

If humans truly are getting better and better, then the rule of law, democracy and absolute truth were steps up the ramp of progress. Now we are rejecting those principles. By definition, this cannot be another step up the ramp to a better and better world.

An Age of Greater Danger

As we witness the decline of democracy and rise of authoritarianism, we are seeing an increase in military spending globally. Our advanced world is using its increased education, technology and wealth to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and missiles, jets, ships and submarines that can launch them within minutes. In one sense, these weapons systems are an amazing advancement. In another, they are the world’s worst form of regression.

Yale Global Online reported that 23 nations stockpile chemical weapons of mass destruction or have the capacity to produce them: China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, the U.S. and Vietnam.

The estimated number of nuclear weapons indeed has fallen from 60,780 to 10,325. The United States is no longer in a race against the Soviet Union to produce a larger stockpile of warheads. But the U.S., Russia, China, Europe, Iran, other nations and even terrorists are still racing to produce newer, better, more effective weapons.

It only takes one nuclear weapon to incinerate an entire city of human progress. And a nuclear war would not stop with one strike. Nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are in the hands of imperfect, flawed human beings with limited knowledge and capacities. Some of these human beings are some of the most unstable and radical minds on this planet.

Entire cities of advancements in sanitation, nutrition, health, commerce, thinking, liberty and law could disappear in a moment if Donald Trump, Theresa May, Benjamin Netanyahu, Emmanuel Macron, Narendra Modi, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping or Kim Jong-un presses a button to deploy a nuclear arsenal. Thousands of people have died and will die in inhumane ways if Bashar Assad, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Ali Khamenei, Moon Jae-in or others launch biological or chemical weapons. We human beings have thousands and thousands and thousands of these fiendish “advancements” just waiting to detonate.

This is a grim corollary to all the material progress—and a dangerous consequence of the fact that this physical development has come with no corresponding rise in true spiritual understanding.

We Have Been Wrong Before

Pinker is not the only thinker to present reasoned arguments why the world is getting better and better. In fact, experts throughout history have predicted peace and prosperity—right before war and disaster.

Even without those experts, we tend to presume that peace will continue indefinitely. But beyond our limited perspectives, there are threats that can dramatically change our lives and the lives of everyone on this planet.

British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote that livestock animals come to expect food when they see the farmer, but in the end the farmer butchers them. Because something happens often, we assume it will last forever. But a catastrophe that ends your world only has to happen once. In fact, it can happen only once. Which is why you must remain vigilant.

History records a long list of confident, educated, yet terribly wrong prognostications of peace.

“[U]nquestionably, there was never a time in the history of this country when from the situation of Europe we might more reasonably expect 15 years of peace than at the present moment.” That was the British prime minister in 1792. Within one year, revolutionary France plunged Europe into the start of the Napoleonic Wars that killed millions of people.

This is a dangerous consequence of the fact that this physical development has come with no corresponding rise in true spiritual understanding.

Britain’s undersecretary at the Foreign Office informed the foreign secretary that “he had never, during his long experience, known so great a lull in foreign affairs, and that he was not aware of any important question that he should have to deal with.” That was in 1870. The same day, a new prince was crowned in Spain, resulting in the Franco-Prussian War that killed roughly half a million people.

“We old people will probably not live to see the decisive battles of the coming revolution.” That was a man named Vladimir Lenin speaking in the winter of 1917. Six weeks later, the Russian Revolution began. The ensuing Russian Civil War cost an estimated 10 million lives, the worst civil war in recorded human history.

“My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British prime minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice, quiet sleep.” That was Neville Chamberlain, after signing an agreement with Adolf Hitler. A year later, World War ii began. It did not end until around 80 million lives had been lost.

How would you sum up this tendency in human nature? You could summarize it this way: “When they say ‘Peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction comes upon them.”

‘Peace and Safety’

The greatest analysis of human nature and the greatest indicator of future events are found in the book written by the Creator of human beings. The Holy Bible contains numerous prophecies that state in detail how massive, global destruction is going to come suddenly. Those who study their Bibles and study world events will be able to see this disaster coming. Those who do not will be blindsided.

Many people don’t realize it, but Jesus Himself was a prophet. Days before His crucifixion, His disciples asked Him to describe the events that would occur just before His return. He responded with the most pivotal prophecy of the New Testament, recorded in Matthew 24.

The signs that Jesus Christ said would precede His return included one cataclysm after another! He warned of wars, rumors of wars, nations rising against nations, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and the worst period of suffering in human history: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).

Jesus was prophesying human annihilation!

This was not possible during His human lifetime. In fact, it was not possible until the second half of the 20th century, with the development of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Jesus prophesied human annihilation to occur in the modern era!

After describing His spectacular return in glory, Jesus said to be vigilant, because “of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (verse 36). He exhorted His disciples to urgently watch for biblical signs to know when His return was at hand. Those signs amount to the imminent suicide of the human race! That is where our “advancement” is leading us.

Look at History

Jesus also used a historical example to describe the human condition prior to His return. “But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37). What were world populations doing during Noah’s generation? They were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (verses 38-39). People were engaging in pleasures within their “advanced” civilization. They did not fear a major cataclysm. But when God looked at the same civilization, He saw “that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. … The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. … [A]ll flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:5, 11-12).

Noah warned the others around him, but they continued pursuing their pleasures and their evils. And, as Jesus said, they “knew not until the flood came, and took them all away;so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:39).

These people were self-confident yet self-deceived. They did not think that every one of their deep-down thoughts was only evil continually. But they were. And God wiped them out rather than let them twist their minds beyond redemption.

“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).

People going about their business in central Sodom or enjoying a social event on the outskirts of Gomorrah saw no reason why their luxury, decadence and excess would not get better and better. Then in one afternoon it all turned into smoke.

Steven Pinker considers our tolerance, embracing and praising of homosexuality as one sign of the progress of our modern world. God loves sinners, but He hates sin because it degrades and destroys human advancement and human happiness. He knows how destructive sin is—and eventually He will wipe it out.

Put Christ’s prophecies together with other Bible prophecies, and it is clear that He is about to allow human beings to flood Earth with nuclear fire.

Here is what Jesus instructed His disciples: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. … Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42, 44). Luke 21:34-35 quote Jesus as saying, “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth” (English Standard Version).

Multiple Warnings

The Bible repeatedly warns about how the human experiment will end. The book of Lamentations describes an ancient destruction that foreshadows the same modern catastrophe that Jesus prophesied. “Those who feasted on dainties perish in the streets; those who were brought up in purple lie on ash heaps. For the chastisement of the daughter of my people has been greater than the punishment of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment …” (Lamentations 4:5-6; Revised Standard Version).

Isaiah 56:10-12 describe the approaching dangers and specifically indicts the leaders who should be warning about them, saying, “[T]hey are all ignorant, they are all dumb [mute] dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” Those who should be sounding the alarm just care “every one for his [own] gain.” “Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.” Life is getting better and better.

With 24-hour news coverage, we do notice wars, rumors of wars, environmental disasters and other calamities. But we don’t care. Not enough to do something. Instead we fetch another glass of wine as we flip from cnn, to Fox, to msnbc, to espn.

Isaiah 22:13 prophesies that people will actually recognize that conditions are bad, but then respond by glutting themselves on excess, thinking, “[L]et us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.”

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you,” the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them ….”

It’s sudden. It happens in a day. It’s unexpected. It’s a trap snapping shut. And it is catastrophic.

Warning and Hope

Isaiah 30:8 shows that God instructed His servant to write down His words, to “note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever.” What did God want to be recorded and preserved? “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (verses 9-10).

That is human nature. People don’t want to hear truth. They want to hear good news, even if it’s fake. They want to hear that our generation is smarter, more just, more enlightened than ever before.

The Trumpet exists to fight that “prophesy not” spirit. We proclaim what Isaiah recorded in the next few verses: “Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, ‘Because you despise this word … therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant’” (verses 12-13; rsv).

God recorded the prophecies of Isaiah and the Apostle Paul and Jesus Christ. He preserved them for thousands of years. He provides them to us today. Throughout history, whether it was the contemporaries of Noah or of the Israelites or of the New Testament Church, God has used individuals and groups of people to deliver His words of warning to those who will listen.

Today, the Trumpet is that voice. The Trumpet is responsible for conveying the principles of the Bible as well as its prophecies. Many people assume that “ethics” and “morals” are private issues that each person decides for himself. They assume that local, national and world events have nothing to do with how we live our private lives. But world events—and world disasters—are the direct result of our private lives!

Human sin leads to human suffering. Human obedience to God’s law leads to human happiness. Proclaiming these truths is the duty of the Trumpet.

Human beings cannot discern right from wrong through human reasoning. God’s Word is what defines good and evil. In fact, it defines what human progress really is. It accurately reveals not only the effects but also the causes. And it specifically, powerfully, repeatedly warns what will happen to enormous populations of people—because of sin!

The question of whether the world is getting better and better in material terms is not nearly as important as what the spiritual state of the world is. And if you are judging by God’s standard, the answer to that question is undeniably clear. And the consequences are frighteningly real.

What Will You Do?

The Trumpet’s warning message is not just for the public in general. It is for you individually. If you can prove what the Trumpet is warning from your Bible and from your news feed, your responsibility is to heed this message.

“He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1; New King James Version).

Many people silently sit back and passively disagree with certain issues. But they don’t act. Many people read the Trumpet and agree with much or most of what we publish. But they don’t act.

God says that if you hear and agree but you don’t act, you are deceiving yourself (James 1:22).

When Jesus came to Earth the first time, He announced the coming of God’s Kingdom. To those few who listened and who heeded, He said, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Right now, you are seeing signs of the disasters that will explode before Jesus Christ returns. His coming is at hand. Will you repent? Don’t wait. Don’t just move on with your life. Don’t return to your comfortable routine. Be “pricked in your heart,” like those whom the Apostle Peter warned, and ask, “[W]hat shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

There is an answer. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy [Spirit],” Peter said (verse 38). How do you repent? How can you be baptized? How can you receive God’s Holy Spirit? How can you escape the disasters facing our world? How can you support God’s work? We can show you. Contact us through the information on the back cover of this magazine.

You can avoid the coming man-made disaster. You can learn what progress really is. But only if you take action.