Ukraine on verge of Orthodox jihad
In a religious and geopolitical earthquake, the Russian Orthodox Church severed ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on October 15. This may seem to be an obscure development, but half of the world’s 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians are members of the Russian Orthodox Church. This severing of relations could be the beginning of the biggest religious conflict in the Orthodox world since the split with Catholicism in a.d. 1054. And it will worsen the antagonism that has produced a five-year war over eastern Ukraine that has no end in sight.
Previously there were 15 Eastern Orthodox churches. The Russian Orthodox Church held jurisdiction in Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet nations. The current leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, has close ties to the Russian government. Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the Russian Orthodox Church’s influence to Russia’s political advantage. This state of affairs became controversial after Russian-backed insurgents started waging war against the Ukrainian government in 2014.
As the war between Ukraine and Russian-backed insurgents entered its fifth year in April, Ukraine’s parliament petitioned ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, to recognize a new, independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Bartholomew did so on October 11. The Russian Orthodox Church opposed the idea, as did a large number of Ukrainians.
The civil war between pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine factions is now taking on a religious dimension. As amazing as it sounds, these developments were foretold thousands of years ago in the Bible. A passage in Isaiah 47 describes a church called “the lady of kingdoms” that has power over many nations. This church has protesting daughter churches that have split away, but Isaiah prophesies that this “lady” will regain control over them.
A parallel prophecy in Revelation 16 and 17 shows that this mother church will dominate a European power bloc that eventually goes to war with an alliance of eastern kings. These verses indicate that the religious landscape of Eastern Europe will almost certainly be divided between a European power and an Asian alliance. Even though Germany and Russia are currently cooperating, the warring and religious infighting in Ukraine will ultimately contribute to a bitter divide.
To learn more on Rome uniting all Christians under the pope, read “Returning to the Fold.”
China holds joint naval exercises with EU
The European Union Naval Force and China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy held joint exercises in the Gulf of Aden on October 12. The Diplomat wrote, “Set in the current geopolitical context, this new development merits attention for activity not only in the Gulf of Aden, but also in the Mediterranean Sea” (Oct. 18, 2018). These exercises represent a new level of cooperation between the two powers.
During the recent China-EU exercise, the two forces performed a joint medical and evacuation rescue drill, improving air-sea coordination and testing the medical rescue ability of China’s base in Djibouti. This was the first time that EU military staff have been invited to the Chinese base.
Isaiah 23 discusses a “mart of nations,” which includes both European and Asian nations, including Russia, China and Japan, combining to form a powerful economic bloc. The growing interaction between Europe and China points to the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Germany joins exclusive meetings on Syria’s future
For the first time since the Syrian crisis began, Germany actively participated in Syrian negotiations by joining Russia, Turkey and France in a meeting in Istanbul on October 27 to discuss the future of Syria.
The heads of government of the four nations advocated the rewriting of the Syrian Constitution by a 150-member committee. The Syrian government, Syrian opposition groups, and the United Nations would each appoint 50 members.
In September, a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had encouraged the “global community” to “take responsibility” for resolving the Syrian crisis. He warned: “Another migrant wave coming to Turkey at a time when we already host millions of refugees will cause other complications. This will spread from here to Europe and other countries.”
Germany’s prominent position in negotiations is significant. The Psalm 83 prophecy reveals that Syria (the biblical Hagarenes) and Turkey (biblical Edom) will align with Germany (biblical Assyria) in a confederation against the United States, Britain and Israel (the biblical Israelites). The Syrian crisis is proving to be a major catalyst for this confederation.
Russian military unnerves Europe
New satellite imagery made public on October 17 shows that Russia is engaged in a weapons buildup and major upgrades of its military installations in Kaliningrad.
The province of Kaliningrad is geographically separated from the rest of Russia, lying more than 300 miles west of its western border on the edge of the Baltic Sea, bordering Poland and Lithuania. This heavily militarized Russian sovereign territory actually lies within Europe.
Israel’s ImageSat International firm shared images with cnn showing major modernization activities taking place in at least four Kaliningrad locations. The images, captured between July 19 and October 1, show upgrades to Kaliningrad’s nuclear weapons site, the Chkalovsk air base, Chernyakhovsk base and Primorsk Port.
“Tensions between Russia and the West have been at highs not seen since the Cold War, amid the poisonings in England, allegations of Russian election meddling, and Western sanctions on Moscow” cnn reported.
Some 15 years ago, just after Russian President Vladimir Putin had manipulated an election so as to tighten his grip on power, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry forecast that such acts of Russian behavior would frighten Europe into uniting. In his article “Russia Frightens Europe—and Fulfills Bible Prophecy,” Mr. Flurry wrote: “Russian elections have recently moved President Vladimir Putin much closer to becoming a dictator. This strikes intense fear in Europe. The Europeans still remember how violent Russia was in World War ii, and Russia is a close neighbor with massive piles of nuclear weapons. … The Russian election is triggering a fear that will hasten the uniting of the European Union” (Trumpet, January 2004).
Mr. Flurry based his forecast on Bible prophecies, including those in Daniel 11. For more insight into what the future holds for Russia and Europe, please order a free copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’
Iran assassination in Europe foiled
On Oct. 30, 2018, Denmark announced that it had interrupted an Iranian plot to assassinate Iranian dissidents on Danish soil. This was the second Iranian plot against targets in mainland Europe that was foiled in 2018.
In June, authorities intercepted an attempt to attack an Iranian opposition rally in France. In response, the French government restricted travel by its diplomats to Iran and expelled an Iranian diplomat. The French said, “The behavior of the Iranian authorities suggests a hardening of their position vis-a-vis our country, as well as some of our allies.”
Following the plot, Denmark recalled its ambassador from Iran and pressed the European Union to impose new sanctions on Iran. But to this point, Europe’s response to such threats has been rather mild.
This will change. The Iranians are pushing hard against Europe. Ultimately, they will be the ones targeted. Bible prophecy states that Europe will respond to Iran’s provocations with overwhelming force.
Another secret Iranian nuclear site revealed
In May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed details of a secret Iranian archive of its illegal nuclear weapons program. In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September, he disclosed yet another secret nuclear facility: a warehouse with at least 15 containers holding as much as 300 tons of nuclear-related equipment and material.
Iran claims to have completely abandoned its nuclear program, but the existence of these facilities proves otherwise.
Under President Barack Obama, the United States signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement, which came into effect on Jan. 16, 2016. One day later, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran for enhancing its nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile technology, breaking the spirit of the agreement.
Yet the Obama administration released over $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets and removed sanctions against Iran, as did the European Union. Netanyahu said that the Iranian regime hasn’t used those billions of dollars to improve the lives of its people, but “instead, Iran used the money to fuel its vast war machine.
“The blatantly bold and aggressive foreign policy of Iran must lead to war,” writes Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in The King of the South. “It will either conquer or be conquered.” The Bible prophesies that Iran will be conquered for its unrelenting pursuit of weapons of terror.
China’s new bridge: Symbol of Britain’s demise
On October 23, China unveiled the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge. The $20 billion bridge spans more than 34 miles and connects mainland China to its two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Containing more than 400,000 tons of steel—enough to build 60 Eiffel Towers—the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is presented as a showpiece of Chinese might and innovation.
But the bridge’s purpose goes beyond just showcasing China’s impressive engineering capacity. It also signals China’s resolve to tighten control over Hong Kong, the South China Sea and beyond.
When Great Britain ceded Hong Kong to China in 1997, the Chinese government promised that Hong Kong would retain its distinct identity under a “one country, two systems” model of administration. China’s Communist government was obligated to allow Hong Kong to maintain its economic policies, and exercise a “high degree of autonomy” for at least 50 years.
The model was initially abided by, but by 2003, the Chinese government began stating that Hong Kong must be governed by leaders who “love the country and the city.” In 2014, the Chinese government imposed electoral reforms: For the 2017 election for Hong Kong’s top civil position, the only candidates were those who had been preapproved by the Chinese government. In 2016, China prevented the seating of two politicians who had modified their swearing-in oath in protest against mainland rule. Meanwhile, the Chinese military presence in Hong Kong is gradually becoming more visible and active.
China’s intensifying drive to control Hong Kong is partly due to the island’s strategic location at the confluence of the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. In the July 2016 Trumpet, editor in chief Gerald Flurry highlighted the way China’s tightening hold on Hong Kong has aided its efforts to control navigation through the South China Sea. He wrote, “Now that U.S. military presence in the area has been drastically reduced, China is claiming the entire South China Sea as its own! … Whoever controls these vital sea-gates controls one third of the world’s maritime commerce.”
Mr. Flurry explained that this development is of great significance in terms of Bible prophecy.
Genesis 22 records some astonishing promises made to the patriarch Abraham. One was that his descendants, mainly the peoples of Britain and the United States, would come to “possess the gate of his enemies” (verse 17), meaning strategic territories, such as Hong Kong.
Bible prophecy also forecast in Deuteronomy 28:52 that the U.S. and UK would later lose control of the gates God had blessed them with. Mr. Flurry’s article explains that Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China was part of the fulfillment of this landmark prophecy. To know what to expect from the increasing power and ambition of China, please read Mr. Flurry’s article “China Is Steering the World Toward War!”
Brazil to align with ‘Holy Roman Empire’
Ret. Army Capt. Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil in a contentious runoff election on October 28. He won 55 percent of the vote after promising to upend Brazil’s foreign policy.
Bolsonaro is a conservative and an avowed Catholic who often attends Baptist religious services, drawing support from both Catholics and evangelicals. He has voiced sympathy for the military dictatorship that ran Brazil from 1964 to 1985 and has pledged to give Brazilian police officers more latitude to shoot and kill criminals. He has also pledged to end Brazil’s endemic corruption and socialist policies and to improve ties with the West.
Bolsonaro’s foreign policy adviser is Prince Luiz Philippe de Orleans e Braganca, a royal descendant of both Holy Roman Emperor Francis ii and Brazilian Emperor Pedro ii. Both Braganca and Bolsonaro are concerned about China’s growing influence in their country: They want Brazil to instead draw closer to Europe and the United States.
Bible prophecy indicates that Catholic Europe will reap the full rewards of this geopolitical shift. “Herbert Armstrong long prophesied, and we expect, the alliance between Europe and South America to grow extremely strong,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in Isaiah’s End-Time Vision. “The most significant factors that will cement this connection are religion and language: Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion of Latin America …. But it will not be a union of equals: The Latin American countries will become vassal states to Europe!”
President-elect Bolsonaro, the Catholic elites who back him, and the European aristocrats who advise him are all signs that Brazil will soon align itself with a revived Holy Roman Empire. To learn more about this empire’s role in coming world events, request our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.