Hungary Hungers for German Tanks

A Leopard 2A7 tank of the Bundeswehr
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Hungary Hungers for German Tanks

Hungarian military exchanges dependence on Russia for dependence on its old empire.

On December 19, German tank manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann signed a historic contract with the Hungarian Ministry of Defense.

The Defense Ministry ordered 44 of Germany’s Leopard 2A7s main battle tanks and 24 Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers, costing more than $565 million. The newly produced tanks are expected to enter service by 2020.German newspaper Die Welt reported an additional purchase of 12 secondhand Leopard 2A4s for training.

Hungarian armed forces are committing to the European project. The East European country is a member of both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, yet it had been relying on military hardware from the former Soviet Union. Hungary is now switching from the Soviet tank T-72 to the German Leopard 2A7s tank.

The contract marks a significant turning point for the East European nation. Die Welt reported (Trumpet translation throughout):

As a nato and EU member, the equipment of Hungary’s armed forces are regarded as a military-technical paradox, as there are still T-72 tanks in the depots. According to Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s statement, Hungary is now also seeking “European solidarity” in terms of equipping its land forces. The project is “another step toward greater interoperability between the European armies.”

By buying tanks made in Germany, Hungary is signaling that it is prepared to enter into greater European military cooperation with the rest of Europe.

This is a change from Hungary’s recent history. Toward the end of World War ii, Hungary fell under Communist rule and was controlled by the Soviet Union from 1949 to 1989. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Hungary regained its independence but continued close relations with Russia. Hungary has been torn between the two power blocs, never entirely committing to the EU, instead always seeking to appease Russia.

Historically, however, Hungary has been closely linked to Europe’s most dominant institution, the Catholic Church, and Europe’s mainland. The kingdom of Hungary was ruled by the Habsburg dynasty from 1526 to 1867. Hungary and Austria formed the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1867 to 1918. Shaped by the Holy Roman Empire, millions of Hungarians identify with the Catholic Church to this day.

The late theologian Herbert W. Armstrong forecast this shift during the Cold War. In the May 1953 issue of the Good News, he wrote:

Suddenly the world will behold a United States of Europe! Some of the Balkan nations which have been under Russia’s boot will be members of it! Ten dictators in Europe will unite, in a gigantic European combine, turning their united military power and resources over to the new leader of Europe! Not only this, but a great religious leader will also emerge, in a world-shaking pact with the military leader which will far overshadow the effect of the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact of 1939!

It will be a union of church and state. The religious influence will be used to cement together, and unify, these 10 nations in Europe. These will include Germany and Italy, probably Spain and Portugal and France, Greece, and probably some of the Balkan nations from among Yugoslavia, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania or others.

While the specifics of prophecy were not revealed to Mr. Armstrong at that time, we now see in the news what he saw prophesied in the Bible: the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. This resurrected empire is marked by its military and religious unity.

Although Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán disagrees with many of Europe’s policies, he has recently sought a closer military union with Europe due to Russia’s rise. He has also called for a European Catholic revival due to the refugee crisis. These two factors are leading to the prophesied resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire.

Mr. Armstrong died in 1986 before the collapse of the Soviet Union and Germany’s reunification, yet he consistently prophesied of those events.

Today, we are seeing another of these specific prophecies being fulfilled before our eyes. Our free booklet He Was Right explains how Mr. Armstrong could make such bold predictions. This booklet also explains why Mr. Armstrong’s Bible-based forecast still guides the Trumpet’s news analysis today.

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Tsunami Strikes Indonesia Without Warning

A tsunami victim sorts through a destroyed house in Pandeglang, Banten, Indonesia, on December 24.
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Tsunami Strikes Indonesia Without Warning

There is an often-overlooked reason why God allows weather disasters.

Massive killer waves brought death to hundreds on December 22 after Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano erupted, causing a landslide and tsunami. The disaster affected the towns of Pandeglang, Serang and South Lampung. As of December 25, 429 have perished, at least 1,400 have been injured, 150 are missing, and 16,000 displaced from their homes.

The volcano is located in the Sunda Strait, between Sumatra and Java. Anak Krakatau, which translates to “Child of Krakatoa,” sits in the crater of the famous Krakatoa volcano, which erupted in 1883 and killed more than 30,000 people.

During Saturday’s eruption, part of the volcano collapsed and caused a landslide into the sea. The tsunami that immediately resulted caught people completely off guard. (A tsunami caused by an earthquake would have been detected by sensors earlier on and allowed more time for people to react.) A network of buoys in the strait intended to monitor water levels for indications of a tsunami had not functioned since 2012 due to lack of funding and technical problems. Even if they had functioned, it is unlikely they would have provided a warning early enough for people to evacuate.

Pictures of the aftermath show beaches and coastal towns strewn with mangled piles of wood and metal, badly dented vehicles, and boats washed ashore.

A video captured the moment the tsunami hit a beachfront concert by Indonesian pop band Seventeen. One moment, the band was playing and people in the audience were applauding. The next moment, the band members and their instruments were thrown toward the screaming audience as the stage collapsed under a torrent of water. The disaster killed at least four band members and crew.

The events in Indonesia are undeniably tragic. At times like this, people often question whether God exists. Of those who believe He does, many have no explanation for such disasters as Saturday’s tsunami. This type of disaster often shakes people’s faith in God. But if we know what Bible prophecy says about events to occur immediately before Christ’s return, they should instead strengthen our faith. Why ‘Natural’ Disasters? states,

In Matthew 24, Jesus Christ’s disciples asked Him what signs would precede His Second Coming and the end of this present world. He responded with the pivotal prophecy of His earthly ministry: the Olivet prophecy. …

Christ then gave another important sign of the end time: weather patterns and other natural phenomena taking a violent turn for the worse! “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars … For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers [different] places” (verses 6-7). Notice, in addition to the “wars and rumours of wars”—surely an apt description of the current state of international relations—Jesus told His disciples that His return would be preceded by an uptick in natural disasters.

The natural disasters we see around the world prove the authority of God’s Word. God is allowing these tragedies to occur in order to teach humanity a vital lesson. Why ‘Natural’ Disasters? states that this will continue until mankind fully learns his lesson and repents of sin. The booklet continues:

Mr. Armstrong referred to this difficult 6,000-year “lesson” man is recording by his own experience as aversion therapy.

Though He is not forcing us to go the way of Satan, He is certainly permitting us to fill our minds with Satan’s way of life. God is allowing this to bring us to the point where we will absolutely loathe and abhor this “present evil world.” He is allowing man to go his own way so we might see the fruits of living contrary to God’s law of love.

These are plain answers to life’s most challenging questions, straight from the pages of your Bible. The world we currently live in is “this present evil world,” not a world directly ruled by God (Galatians 1:4). This is because mankind as a whole has rejected God’s way of life and chosen Satan’s way, a choice symbolized by the two trees in the Garden of Eden. Mankind has cut himself off from God and from His promises of physical protection.

God does not force humans to choose His way of life, but He does want all to come to repentance and none to perish (2 Peter 3:9). This will occur according to His plan and time order, as outlined in the Bible. In tragedies like the Indonesian tsunami, we need to understand what the Bible says about weather disasters: They point us to the return of Jesus Christ and a brighter future, free of suffering, soon to become reality everywhere on Earth. To read more about why God allows natural disasters, request your free copy of Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?

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Nujaba: In the Next War, Hezbollah Will Not Be Alone

Nujaba: In the Next War, Hezbollah Will Not Be Alone

Threatened by Hezbollah, Iran and Iraqi militias, where will Israel turn?

“In the event of any war against Hezbollah, the movement is not going to be alone.” These words came from an Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group after the Israel Defense Forces discovered a fourth underground invasion tunnel from Lebanon across the border into Israel. The first invasion tunnel was discovered on December 4.

Nujaba’s spokesman voiced support on December 14, telling Iran’s Tasnim News Agency that, should Hezbollah be attacked, “all, including Nujaba, will be standing by its side.”

Nujaba is a division of the Popular Mobilization Units, an Iraqi, state-sponsored, majority-Shiite, umbrella organization composed of about 40 militia groups. Its original purpose was to combat the emergence of the Islamic State. The organization has become equivalent in power to the actual Iraqi military, so Iran is seeking to use it to control Iraq.

Nujaba surfaced in 2013, when it sent fighters to support the Assad regime in Syria. The group is more commonly known as the Golan Liberation Brigade in Syria. Ynetnews said that “this branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps poses possible threat to Israel.” Its 10,000 men receive their orders “directly from Iran, under the orders of al-Quds Force commander Qasem Suleimani.” The group said it was “fully prepared” to fight Israel if it were asked to.

The Iraqi-based militia is currently operating in Syria, but Nujaba’s comment indicates it may soon move into Lebanon. This Iranian-controlled militia is an integral part of Iran’s goal to control the Shiite Crescent, a vast swath that includes Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Control over these countries will enable Iran to support its various terrorist proxies, primarily Hezbollah, throughout the Middle East.

Iran has already gained virtual control over its Shiite ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah. The militant group is more dedicated to Iran’s interests than its own in the Lebanese government, even though it is one of the dominant political parties in Parliament.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “Hezbollah is going to do things today that are in Iran’s interest,” even if it is contrary to their own interests. According to Iran, Hezbollah is more loyal to the ayatollah than to its own goals and ambitions. This deep loyalty stems primarily through their shared ideology and has developed as a result of Iran’s continual supply of weapons through Syria.

Referring to Israel, Hezbollah deputy general Sheikh Naim Qassem warned, “There is not a single point in the occupied territories out of reach of Hezbollah’s missiles.”

Haaretz reported, “It’s clear to the force’s officers that Hezbollah will lash out the minute it senses danger.”

In the event of a war with Israel, Hezbollah would greatly benefit from Iranian support. This could be potentially devastating for the little nation of Israel. Iran’s continual supply chain of weapons, munitions, missiles and other armaments would give Hezbollah considerable staying power in a war against Israel.

Conversely, Israel may struggle to fight a long, drawn-out war. Haaretz reported that Israel’s advanced Iron Dome antimissile system “can be saturated by the launching of a number of rockets at the same target,” which will enable some rockets to get through. In November, Hamas fired more than 400 rockets and mortars at southern Israel. While most landed in open areas, and many were intercepted by the Iron Dome, dozens hit civilian areas throughout the Gaza border region. (Read “Reporter’s Diary: A Day in the Gaza Envelope.”)

While the Iron Dome intercepts save millions of dollars in property damage, each of the 10 Iron Dome batteries currently deployed in Israel costs about $100 million, and each launch of an intercept missile costs at least $50,000. The Los Angeles Times reported, “Israel has coped thanks to the generous financial support of the U.S., which has given Israel over the last decade or so more than $1 billion to cover Iron Dome.”

Although a Knesset report found the Israel Defense Force’s war readiness has “significantly improved” since the 2014 Gaza War, there are still problems. With the U.S. pulling out of Syria, and its increasingly large debt, it is possible that the U.S. may be incapable of funding Israel in the future. If this were to happen, Israel would struggle to fund its national defense.

Though Israel has superior military technology, the small nation lacks the supplies and funding for a long war. Israel would need to be resupplied to fight in a longer conflict.

Israel’s dependence on the U.S. has become so deep that it is questionable whether the country could even survive today without it,” reported Newsweek. “Unlike Israel’s adversaries, who can procure weapons from numerous sources with few political constraints, Israel’s reliance on the U.S. is critical. None of the other major arms producers today—Britain, France, Russia, China—would, or could, replace the U.S.”

Since Israel became a sovereign nation in 1948, the United States has given Israel $134.7 billion in monetary assistance. American aid accounts for 19 percent of Israel’s total defense budget.

As the United States becomes more isolationist and its economy continues to sink into debt, it is possible that Israel may one day lose American financial support.

Where could Israel then turn for help? Bible prophecy states that it will go to its historic enemy, Germany.

Hosea 5:13 says that Israel will go to the Assyrian (the ancestor of modern-day Germans) for help. Germany has the world’s largest trade surplus, so it would have the ability to extend financial aid.

The Trumpet has been watching this trend for decades and has already begun to see this relationship in its earliest stages. In February 2018, Germany began building warships for Israel while agreeing to subsidize a third of the cost.

Germany has already shown a great deal of friendship to Israel. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that Israel was Germany’s “biggest friend in the Middle East.” She said, “We have 70 projects with you, and there is not a country in the world we have such expansive security relations with like we do with Israel, both bilaterally and in cooperation between the militaries.”

In his booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warns of Israel’s peace process and the decline in its will to fight. Using Bible prophecy, Mr. Flurry forecasts that a war-weary Israel will look to Germany. He writes:

Israel will become “lovers” with the Germans. This move will lead to their destruction. It is not the Arabs who will destroy them. The friendship between Germany and Israel will lead to one of the biggest double crosses in the history of man!

If Israel is forced to fight in a long war, it will look to Germany for more protection. But Psalm 83 says that Germany and its confederation of Arab nations will turn against Israel and instead take control of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2).

As the U.S. begins to pull out of the Middle East, and Iran looks to fill the void and unite the Shiite Crescent, Israel may find itself surrounded and in need of funding for its security. Watch for Israel to look to Germany for assistance—your Bible prophesies it will happen soon.

For more information about the end-time events surrounding Israel that are leading to the return of Jesus Christ, please request your free copy of Jerusalem in Prophecy.

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Please Remember This Magazine

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Please Remember This Magazine

It may be a matter of life or death.
From the February 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Lots of people say they believe in a God of love. They readily recognize God’s love in sending His Son to pay for the sins of mankind. But the God of the Old Testament seems to be different: all plagues and punishments and prophecies.

This magazine focuses on biblical prophecy. So much of that prophecy involves tragedy and violence.

Can you recognize the God of love in those prophecies?

Throughout history, people have considered God’s prophecies to be unloving. They rejected His prophets and oftentimes executed them. They rejected their warnings, as many still do today.

Jesus Christ condemned hypocritical religious leaders who said, “If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets” (Matthew 23:30; New International Version). These same men were plotting to kill Christ!

In verse 34, Christ prophesied that people would continue to reject God’s message: “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify ….”

Christ attracted great crowds and healed countless people. But at the end of His ministry, how many people actually followed His teachings? Only 120 (Acts 1:15).

Why is prophecy—so hated by human beings—so important to God? God is love (1 John 4:8). Through His Word, God loves us by showing us how to live happy, meaningful, abundant lives. Anything contrary leads to misery and death (Deuteronomy 30:19; Proverbs 10:17). Human beings always seek happiness their own way, contrary to God’s way. As a loving father, He warns them of what their actions are leading to.

Prophecy is God’s way of showing you the end results of your actions. For disobedience to His way, He prophesies suffering and death. For obedience, He prophesies joy and long life! It is a matter of cause and effect.

In the Old Testament and New Testament, God prophesies catastrophic suffering and death because of widespread sin. Jesus prophesied about it as a time of “great tribulation.” These prophecies are certain, but so too are prophecies describing a small group of people whom God will protect during that ordeal (e.g., Revelation 12:13-14). These individuals have heard God’s warning, accepted His correction, and turned from the way of death. The God of love has no need to inflict the Great Tribulation on them.

The Trumpet goes to hundreds of thousands of subscribers, but only a handful have committed themselves to God’s way of life. Yet we at the Trumpet have tremendous hope because of a prophecy in Revelation 7. Just after this New Testament book prophesies the unprecedented mass-scale suffering of the Great Tribulation, it prophesies this: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes …. These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9, 14).

Even during the horrifying period of Satan’s greatest wrath, the God of love will bring out of the tribulation a multitude so great it cannot be numbered. They will have accepted God’s correction, repented, and been spiritually washed by Christ’s shed blood, and God will protect them.

Undoubtedly, these will be people who are familiar with God’s warnings. They will be people like you, who read God’s prophecies in the Bible and in the Trumpet, but who do not act on them until they see some of the worst prophecies actually happening. They will witness the nightmarish fulfillment, step by step, of what they had read: economic disaster, encirclement by enemies, civil war, cities destroyed by weapons of mass destruction.

They will finally recognize that the God of love warned them. They will turn to Him in heartfelt repentance. When they do, God will mercifully protect them from further harm. They will live to see the fulfillment of an even greater prophecy: the return of Jesus Christ and the dawn of the Kingdom of God.

If you continue to subscribe to the Trumpet, watch the Key of David television program, and order books and booklets but do nothing personally about the warnings of Bible prophecy, you are actually described in a prophecy. In Ezekiel 33:30-32, God tells His prophet, “And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.”

Which choice will you make? If you heed the warning of God’s prophet today, you can be protected. But we ask that if you choose to ignore it, do not forget it. When you experience it, remember this prophecy from the God of love: “[W]hen this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them”! (verse 33). That means you.

We hope and pray every day that you will be among those who repent before the Tribulation that Jesus Christ prophesied. But if you do not, remember this message. Remember, God warned you in an attempt to protect you. Remember, even during that Tribulation, if you repent, He will protect you along with the rest of this great multitude. This is a sure promise, prophesied by the God of love.

You can request a free one-year subscription to the Philadelphia Trumpet.

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Does God Want You to Retire?

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Does God Want You to Retire?

True Christians don’t finish working until they die—and actually, not even then.
From the February 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Did you know that there is no word for retirement in the Bible? The concept cannot be found in Scripture.

The closest thing to it is in Numbers 8:24-26: There God instructed that full-time priestly tabernacle responsibilities end at age 50. Remember, this was physically demanding work with large livestock. Priests older than 50 continued to assist and serve as advisers or supervisors, but the full-time physical labor was done by the younger men. However, this was not retirement as practiced today.

Retirement as we understand it is quite a recent concept. The first nation to introduce a social insurance program for the aged was Germany—in 1889. The emperor, William i, told parliament, “Those who are disabled from work by age and invalidity have a well-grounded claim to care from the state.” The nation initially set retirement age at 70. Life expectancy at the time was less than 50 years.

For most of human history, people expected to work until they died. If they became too infirm to do so, the family was supposed to care for them. But in modern society, people believe that once you’ve “put in your time,” you deserve a decade or two of work-free lounging, traveling and golf.

One factor driving the push for retirement is an aversion to work. A true Christian, however, has a positive attitude toward work and views it as the blessing it is. Work provides opportunity to design, produce and maintain, to embrace challenges, to interact with and serve others. God works (John 5:17), and wants us to do the same.

Obviously there is nothing that says you have to stay in the same job your whole life. But disengaging from a life of service and turning wholly toward simply seeking your own enjoyment is a trap, and ungodly. That’s not to say an older person cannot enjoy extra leisure or family time—these are wonderful blessings in the sunset years of a productive life. But one must beware wanting to withdraw from serving and contributing.

“In the only happy life, the true Christian life, one must keep active—keep industrious, diligent, alert, constantly improving,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in the November 1965 Plain Truth. He decried the modern premium on idleness and laziness—the push for more leisure and the desire for retirement. “[T]hat’s not for me!” he wrote. “Today I’m the oldest one in this dynamic work of God, humanly speaking. Around me are brilliant, intelligent, capable, industrious, hardworking younger men—and many coming out of college every year. Part of my job is to continually keep ahead of them! God gave me a head start in years. But if I’m not on my toes constantly, some of these alert and eager young men, now approaching middle age, would leave me far behind as a has-been, and I might be forced to retire”—which he had no interest in!

Another major reason retirement has grown popular is the notion that a person’s productive years end around age 65. This reflects a terrible prejudice in Satan’s society against the aged. “People seem to assume that after the 50s, the human mind is supposed to decay,” Mr. Armstrong wrote in the December 1976 Plain Truth. “Perhaps some few, accepting the myth, have bogged down and grown senile. That is a tragedy. It happens only to the mind that has not been used. A mind improves with use and age. Wisdom comes with experience and age.

“In my personal experience—and why shouldn’t I share the benefit of that experience and knowledge with my millions of readers—I have produced my greatest accomplishment since I hit the calendar age of 80. Of course that’s not my actual age—only what the calendar says. The most important knowledge has been learned since then. I speak today with more vigor, effectiveness and power than in my 40s.”

Mr. Armstrong did his greatest work after “normal” retirement age. The work of his Church didn’t really go worldwide until after he turned 60. His experience paralleled many others whose greatest accomplishments occurred after age 65, including Winston Churchill. Moses started his real life’s work at age 80, and he never retired.

Work produces goods and services for others, it produces physical and mental growth and development in yourself, and it provides a way to financially support others and to support God’s work (Matthew 6:21).

One should still save for old age. After all, some are forced into retirement because of declining health or other reasons. Lack of planning has caused great heartache for many elderly. God definitely promotes wise financial planning to secure prosperity for your family. “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22). This requires lucrative productivity and excellent planning. An ideal to strive for is to be financially capable of not working, but continuing to work by choice, even if only part-time—certainly to stay productive and keep your mind and body active—as long as able.

Adopt a lifelong mentality of embracing work. God works, and He made us to do the same. After all, we are preparing for an eternal life of noble, fulfilling, productive work!