China Arms Warship With Railgun—Six Years Ahead of Estimates

China’s early development of this game-changing technology could hasten the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

A Chinese naval warship was spotted at sea late last month armed with what appears to be a hypersonic electromagnetic railgun, indicating that the next generation of warfare has arrived in China years earlier than expected.

The Haiyang Shan, a Type 072-ii Yuting-class tank landing ship, was photographed off the Chinese coast with a railgun mounted on its bow. A prominent Chinese defense blogger known as Haohan-Red Shark posted the image on Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media networks.

On January 3, China’s state-run Global Times discussed the Weibo post and quoted a Beijing-based naval expert as saying China’s railgun technology has “reached a mature stage after a series of tests.”

The reports shocked many onlookers because United States intelligence had previously estimated that China would not have deployable railguns before 2025. If the weapon is already operational, as the Weibo post and the Global Times report suggest, it would represent a remarkably precocious advance for the Chinese Navy. It would mean China has crossed a major technological milestone six years early, and it is a milestone that the U.S. is still apparently years from reaching.

The milestone is noteworthy because military analysts view railguns as game-changing weapons. Rather than using gun powder to fire projectiles the way cannons have for some 500 years, railguns use electromagnetic pulses. Besides making them far cheaper to operate than cannons, this also means they can fire at hypersonic speeds of Mach 5 or higher.

This gives the weapons a combination of power and range that could profoundly alter the nature of military altercations.

“This would see belligerents able to strike at each other at distances ranging in the hundreds of kilometers,” senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Dr. Malcolm Davis told abc News on January 3. “This would fundamentally change the nature of engagements as you could have adversaries being able to make precise strikes from afar for much less money.”

Analysts believe that China’s railgun technology could dramatically help the nation in its quest to assert control over the South China Sea. Last year, writing about railguns for the Drive, Joseph Trevithick said, “If the Chinese were to deploy these weapons on their various man-made outposts in the South China Sea, it would only further limit the ability of a potential opponent to operate in that region. If the system were at all mobile or air transportable it could be even more flexible in a ground-based role.”

In the South China Sea context, the news of Beijing’s early development of railgun technology takes on biblically prophetic significance.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in our July 2016 issue that China’s increasing control over the South China Sea is fulfilling specific Bible prophecies. In his article “China Is Steering the World Toward War,” he wrote, “China is being aggressive and provocative,” and thereby challenging “seven decades of American naval dominance in the Pacific Rim.” This aggressive behavior “should alarm the world!” he wrote.

Mr. Flurry pointed to the biblical book of Deuteronomy, in which God issues a grave warning to the nation of Israel, explaining that if it rejects Him, He will hand over control of the world’s strategic sea-gates to its enemies. And He warned that these enemy nations would use that control to besiege Israel: “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land …” (Deuteronomy 28:52).

Mr. Flurry explained that this ancient warning is not just for ancient peoples. “It is a prophecy for the modern-day descendants of Israel,” he wrote. “Two nations in particular represent Israel in this end time: America and Britain.” These two countries “are full of terrible sins today, and God is going to correct them for that!” he wrote. “This prophecy and several others show that He will send foreign enemies to punish America and Britain!” (For proof that America and Britain are the descendants of ancient Israel, read our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.)

Today we see China tightening its control of the South China Sea and several of the sea-gates, such as Hong Kong, that allow access to it. This is happening in some locations that just a few decades ago were under the control of the U.S. and Britain. This shows that the prophecy in Deuteronomy is in the process of being fulfilled. China’s early development of railgun technology could further tighten its grip and speed up the fulfillment of these prophecies.

But Mr. Flurry made plain that although these developments are sobering, they are linked to hope-filled news:

All this prophesied destruction is what it will take for God to reach this world! After this, people will be ashamed—and they will get to know God! Ezekiel repeatedly talked about that inspiring conclusion (e.g., Ezekiel 6:7; 7:4; 11:10; 12:20; 13:9; 23:48-49; etc). Yes, there is a lot of bad news when you consider what it takes to get people to the point of knowing God. But ultimately, the outcome is spectacularly good news!

To understand the prophetic significance of China’s rise and to learn the inspiring details of this “spectacularly good news,” read “China Is Steering the World Toward War,” and order a free copy of Mr. Flurry’s book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet.

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America Frozen Out of World Trade

Representatives of the 11-nation Pacific trade pact Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership pause for a photo in Santiago, Chile, on March 8, 2018.

America Frozen Out of World Trade

Yet another trade agreement excludes the U.S.

A new trade agreement that covers more than 13 percent of the world economy, accounting for 15 percent of global trade, was ratified by its first six countries on December 30. The Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (cptpp) will cover 500 million people.

Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore will be joined by another four countries that have already signed but not yet ratified the agreement. Vietnam joins on January 14, while Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru will join the deal 60 days after completing the ratification process.

The United Kingdom’s international trade secretary, Dr. Liam Fox, heralded the alliance as a “force for good” for millions of people.

Japan, the largest economy in the agreement, is spearheading the endeavor, which will slash about 95 percent of all tariffs. For those countries that have already ratified the agreement, about 18,000 tariffs were removed overnight, while others will be removed slowly in stages, some taking up to 20 years.

The new deal will cut costs on customs clearance, rules of origin and compliance. Lowered tariffs will also boost the flow of goods between the 11 signatory countries, which are all expected to see a boost to their economies. This new deal combined with a trade agreement with the European Union is expected to boost Japan’s economy by $117 billion.

The president of Canada’s Agri-Food Trade Alliance, Brian Innes, highlighted the boost to Canada’s economy. “Right now, we’re shipping $8 billion of exports to cptpp countries, and we think we’ll see that grow by 25 percent once these tariff cuts are implemented,” he said.

While the pact covers a relatively small percentage of the global economy, it is expected to grow quickly with several other Asian nations and even the United Kingdom expressing interest in joining, post-Brexit.

With many additional countries seeking to join this new alliance and all the hype surrounding it, the absence of one country makes this event particularly significant.

The Telegraph hits the nail on the head by labeling this agreement the “world’s most radical trade pact.” Why? Because the United States has no part in it! What makes this agreement so significant is the missing country: the United States of America.

Ironically, the cptpp is almost an exact replica of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (tpp). This original trade agreement was drafted under the Obama administration as part of its “Asian pivot” designed to ensure that the U.S., not China, wrote and enforced the rules of global trade. All but 22 of the more than 1,000 provisions in the tpp have been carried over to the cptpp.

The tpp was signed by the same 11 signatories of the cptpp, plus the U.S. The agreement had not yet gone into force when President-elect Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of the tpp on his first day in office, saying the agreement was “a potential disaster” for America. By the end of his first week in office, Trump had signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the tpp.

U.S. isolationism has again opened the door for other powers to rise, and Japan has taken over where the U.S. has left off. Japan is now spearheading the new free-trade agreement.

“Japan’s role in the global free-trade system has changed from that of a participant to a leader in building 21st-century common trade rules, as well as a coordinator and standard flag-bearer of the entire system,” said Japanese Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

This is a massive step for Japan. A few years ago, Japan would have refused to take part in ventures that did not include the U.S. It is clear now, however, that the postwar world order is gone.

America is expected to suffer significantly from this new deal as the price of goods from non-cptpp countries will become more expensive, making its goods less competitive. cptpp countries are likely to undercut the U.S. For example, Japan is one of America’s top markets for beef. Australian beef could soon replace American beef now that tariffs on beef imports into Japan from a pact member will eventually be cut by 27.5 percent.

It is a similar story in other markets. With tariff cuts, by 2020, Canadian wheat will be $70 cheaper per metric ton than American wheat.

The impact on non-cptpp European nations is expected to be less severe with the recent EU-Japan trade deal.

The Peterson Institute for International Economics calculated further impacts to the American economy. Had the U.S. stayed in the tpp, income was set to increase by $131 billion annually. Now, as well as missing out on those gains, it will lose an estimated $2 billion in income resulting from the disadvantages of being outside the deal. While Trump may have been right in citing several negatives for America in the deal, that does not negate the fact that from now on there will be increased pressure on U.S. goods.

More importantly, the U.S. has forfeited its role as world leader and no longer calls the shots in global trade.

The Bible clearly prophesies that in the end time the greatest nation ever to exist in world history will suddenly have its might and superpower status taken away.

Even while the U.S. was still powerful and reaping the birthright blessings, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, “You need to wake up to the fact that the United States, even still possessing unmatched power, is afraid—fears—to use it, just as God said: ‘I will break the pride of your power.’ … The United States is fast riding to the greatest fall that ever befell any nation!”

America is falling, and it is falling very quickly even now.

Isaiah 23 prophesies of a “mart of nations” (verse 3) that will form in this end time and contribute to America’s rapid fall. This is a massive trade alliance between a German-led Europe and Asia that exists for the sole purpose of competing with America and Britain. managing editor Brad Macdonald discusses this coming trade bloc in his article “Trade Wars Have Begun.” He wrote:

In Isaiah 23:1, China is called by its ancient name, Chittim. The same verse calls the German-dominated European combine Tyre, which was a major economic power extant at the time the prophecy was written.

In this prophecy, the end-time Tyre is shown to be in a trade relationship with China and other Asian peoples. The mention of the sea (verses 2, 4, 11), oceans (“great waters,” verse 3), ships (verses 1 and 14), and seaborne merchant traffic (verse 8) indicates this is a trade alliance. Verse 3 calls this a “mart of nations.” Mart means emporium, trade or merchandise. Verse 13 mentions Italy (Chaldea). Italy is here depicted in association with Germany, whose biblical identity is Assyria, or Asshur.

Clearly, this is a prophecy about an end-time trade axis between Europe and Asia!

The cptpp is just the latest massive trade alliance that excludes the U.S.

The fulfillment of this prophecy in light of the cptpp is even more telling when you realize that Isaiah 23 identifies Japan as a member of this alliance. Verse 14 says that the “ships of Tarshish” will play a major role in this mart. “Herbert W. Armstrong’s Ambassador College taught over 40 years ago that Tarshish is Japan in Bible prophecy for today,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in his booklet Isaiah’s End-Time Vision. “So this verse is referring to the supertanker fleet of Japan.”

Japan is leading the cptpp alliance. And just last month, Japan entered into a historic trade agreement with the European Union, which created the world’s largest trade bloc. Japan’s role in both of these agreements and its alliance with the EU is fulfilling the Isaiah 23 prophecy. The coming economic siege will inflame the riots and unrest prophesied in Ezekiel 5 to hit America.

In his book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet, Mr. Flurry writes:

Prophecy indicates that the German-led European Union will soon join forces with Russia, China and Japan to shut the U.S. out of more and more markets (see Isaiah 23). As the U.S. and Britain become less and less competitive worldwide, unemployment will steadily increase. …

The United States and Britain are going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Asia, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce. These nations of Israel are going to be literally besieged—economically frozen out of world trade!

To understand these end-time prophecies more deeply, order Mr. Armstrong’s free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy and read “Trade Wars Have Begun.”

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Why Britain Is Making a Dog’s Dinner of Brexit

Union jack flag and iconic Big Ben at the palace of Westminster, London - the UK prepares for new elections - Stock image

Why Britain Is Making a Dog’s Dinner of Brexit

Your guide to Brexit—and what is next for Britain and America

Guess who is the second-most powerful nation in the world? No, it’s not China. Nor Russia. Nor Germany. Nor Japan.

It’s us! The United Kingdom!

That’s according to the Audit of Geopolitical Capability published January 4 by the Henry Jackson Society. Based on over 1,000 data points, the study’s authors conclude that it shows “a stinging rebuke to ‘Britain’s army of doom-and-gloom mongers,’” according to the press release.

“The audit finds that the UK retains a military might greater than that of China and technological prowess far in advance of Russia,” the press release states. “However, it attributes much of the UK’s comparative power to its diplomatic, financial and cultural capabilities and links around the globe.”

It would be easy to quibble with the figures. But the study is right about one thing. On paper at least, the United Kingdom is still quite a powerful nation.

So why is it making such a pig’s ear of Brexit?

The UK is supposed to leave the European Union on March 29, but even that is uncertain. Just today, Parliament passed legislation designed to push the government to remain in the EU if Parliament does not approve a deal. Meanwhile, Parliament seems set to defeat Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal when (or if) it is voted on next week.

It seems almost impossible to get any deal through Parliament—yet Parliament won’t approve a no-deal either.

“Parliament is deadlocked,” wrote one M.P. in the Spectator. “Our country is bitterly divided. It is no exaggeration to say we face the greatest political and constitutional emergency we’ve had in peacetime.”

Britain managed to create one of the largest empires the world has ever seen. Yet it now seems incapable of leaving a jumped-up trade bloc.

Why the change?

What did Britain have in 1800, as it really began to rise to greatness, that it lacks today?

The figures don’t give you much of a clue. France and the Habsburg Empire had larger populations. Just about every empire in Europe had a bigger army at the time. Britain didn’t even lead in industrial production. In 1800, Britain’s share of the world’s manufacturing output had just edged ahead of France’s, but was behind Russia’s and well behind China’s.

If you know where to look, there are indications, even in 1800, that Britain was about to burst into greatness. But based on the 1800 numbers, few would have labeled Britain the world’s No. 1 or even No. 2 power.

So what did Britain have then that it doesn’t have now?

The simple answer: God.

Our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy relates how God promised to bless Britain and America—and that those blessings would begin in 1800. Those blessings didn’t come because of the righteousness of our nations. God promised Abraham, unconditionally, that his descendants would become mighty nations (Genesis 22:16-18). The British are among those descendants.

With this in mind, the reason Britain struggles with Brexit becomes clear. It’s not because voting “leave” was a mistake. It’s not that the nation is racist. It’s because God isn’t blessing the nation anymore. In fact, He is punishing the nation because, even with all those blessings, we have refused and continue to refuse to obey Him.

Britain’s struggles today match exactly how God said He would curse the sinning descendants of ancient Israel. God gave Britain a vast amount of material blessings, and many of those blessings have been removed. But there is still a lot that remains. Enough for the Henry Jackson Society to rank us No. 2 in the world.

God promises to remove even these blessings too—but first, He has cursed the crucial intangible elements that constitute a nation’s power.

In Isaiah 3, He says that He has taken away our great leaders—at all levels: great statesmen, captains of industry, eloquent orators who can galvanize a nation in a time of crisis. In Hosea 7:11, God forecast that Britain, the descendant of the Israelite tribe of Ephraim, would suffer from a foolish “silly dove” foreign policy. In Leviticus 26:19, God says He will “break the pride of your power”—there is still power there. Even as far as Britain has fallen since the height of its empire, it still has some power. But it has no will, no national sense of purpose to use it.

It is hard to measure these crucial elements of national power—even if you do use more than 1,000 data points. But these are the ones He took away first. Britain is left like a moth-eaten garment (Hosea 5:12). Take a quick glance, perhaps looking only at quantitative data, and things look great. But put that garment to the test, by merely taking it off the hanger, and it all falls apart.

The Bible is your perfect guide to Brexit. Its forecasts make sense of the bewildering array of blunders coming out of London.

The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong, will explain to you what the Bible says about modern Britain. It will give you the “all-important master key” to understand world events.

But more importantly, it will prove that the Bible is a now book. Its prophecies explain the news you see around you. Chaotic and confusing as world events are, God does have a plan for this world and for all nations in it. He is in control.

The United States and Britain in Prophecy proves that God has a plan, and it gives the hope behind all the bad news we see in the headlines—the reasons for the curses hitting our nations today.

“This very eye-opening, astounding identity” of Britain and America “is the strongest proof of the inspiration and authority of the Holy Bible!” Mr. Armstrong wrote in that book. “It is, at the same time, the strongest proof of the very active existence of the living God!”

To learn more about this active, living God and His plan for the world, all nations, and you, read The United States and Britain in Prophecy. As with all our material, it is completely free, including shipping, with no hidden catches or small print. We’re not trying to get something from you. We’re just so excited about the message it contains that we want to get it out to the largest audience possible.

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Storm Usman Devastates the Philippines, Kills More Than 100

People wade through a flooded street in the town of Baao in Camarines Sur province on December 30, 2018.

Storm Usman Devastates the Philippines, Kills More Than 100

In order to pinpoint the cause, we need to look to the Bible.

Tropical depression Usman made landfall in the Philippines on December 29 in the Bicol region, killing more than 100 people and still counting, according to a January 7 government report.

In a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 126 people were reported dead. In addition, 26 are still missing and 75 are injured. Most of the casualties were killed in their homes when heavy rain caused landslides, said Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the council.

More than 682,000 people were affected in the aftermath of the storm. About 57,600 people are being cared for in storm shelters.

The council estimated the agricultural and infrastructure cost of the storm’s damage at nearly $81 million. Most of the affected areas were flooded. In some areas, the water level reached the height of an adult.

Bicol resident Audrey Tongco described to the Trumpet her experience of the storm and its aftermath: We were traveling to church. The winds and rain here were nonstop. Streets and roads were flooded. Some of the members in our church weren’t able to make it [to services] because of the storm.” She continued:

The authorities are still excavating the remains of the people from the landslide. In Camarines Sur, the flood is head-level. The diversion road going to Manila was broken and prevented people from traveling there. It took some of my friends 20 to 24 hours to travel from Bicol to Manila when it should only be 12 hours. I am a student, and classes were supposed to start today, but it got postponed because of the damage caused by the storm.

Storm Usman has already left the Philippines and has been downgraded to a low pressure system, but people who were affected still suffer from the aftermath. Those personally affected by the storm need answers.

There is a cause for every effect. And the cause of many of the world’s “natural” disasters is not climate change, as most would point to. Our booklet Why ‘Natural’ Disasters? states:

The God of the Bible claims that He controls the weather and natural phenomena! He says He causes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. He sends the snow and ice as well as drought and heat.

The author of Psalm 148 understood God’s power over the elements. He wrote in verse 8 about “Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word.”

According to your Bible, God is the orchestrator of the weather. Since God controls the weather, He uses it to fulfill His purpose. “Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy” (Job 37:11-13). God uses this power to bless nations if they obey Him and curse them if they disobey Him. Why ‘Natural’ Disasters? continues:

The God of the Bible is omnipotent. He wields the punitive sword of flood and mildew—and also that of drought (Deuteronomy 28:22; 11:17). Sometimes He uses both at the same time in order to heighten their corrective power …. God causes these weather disasters! In one region God sends a drought—in another region, floods—and it all happens right before harvest time.

Almighty God tells us that the real cause of our upset natural conditions is sinwhich is the breaking of His laws (see 1 John 3:4). God uses weather to correct and discipline His creation—to help us realize the error in our ways!

God’s ultimate purpose is to bring mankind back to Him. The weather is one of many ways God uses to correct our sins and bring us back to Him in obedience. “Natural” disasters, such as the storm and flooding in the Philippines, are the results of our sins and God bringing us back to Him in obedience.

To understand more about this subject, please request your free copy of Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?


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Sebastian Kurz Sets His Sights on Jerusalem

Sebastian Kurz Sets His Sights on Jerusalem

The Holy Roman Empire’s quest for Jerusalem continues.

The first stone of the foundation of the Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family in Jerusalem was laid on New Year’s Eve 1856. Today, the pilgrim’s house has reason again to celebrate. With Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the hospice has found its strongest supporter since the end of the Habsburg dynasty in 1918.

In 2018, one century after the collapse of the Habsburg dynasty, Kurz and Vienna Archbishop Christoph Schönborn have again joined forces to revive its legacy. One small part of this legacy is a seemingly insignificant hospice in Jerusalem that lost its historic importance after the end of World War i. In 2018, the Austrian government and the Catholic Church together invested $3 million in its restoration.

By itself, this is of little-to-no significance compared to the earthshaking events that happen almost every day.

But because of its history, the restoration of the Austrian Hospice is far more significant than offering improved accommodations for travelers. The hospice has been a key part of the Vatican’s involvement in the Holy Land. Its restoration symbolizes the revival of relations between Austria and the Vatican—and their ambitions in Israel.

Through the centuries, the Holy Roman Empire has claimed rulership of Jerusalem. But in only very few cases did it ever actually rule the city and then only in a limited way. The empire’s claim over the city caused some of the world’s most bloody conflicts and is prophesied to be the center of yet another world war.

The Holy Roman Empire’s last attempt to gain control of Jerusalem failed in the 14th century. While later emperors of the Habsburg dynasty claimed to be the true “king of Jerusalem,” they themselves have never even set foot on its soil and neither had many of their subjects. But this changed with the establishment of the Austrian Hospice in the 18th century.

The hospice opened the way for Catholic monarchs to enter Jerusalem. In addition, it proved crucial in housing hundreds of thousands of pilgrims over the years.

While the hospice remains as nothing more than a temporary stay for pilgrims, it speaks volumes for Europe’s desire to rule Jerusalem. Schönborn and Kurz understand the hospice’s religious and historic significance and seek to strengthen it.

Restoring the ‘Flagship of Christian Austria in the Holy Land’

After the building’s outer wall was damaged in 2003, besides the repair work the hospice’s management decided to build an extension that adds 12 more guest rooms to the existing 32, as well as a storage room, a shelter, a laundry, a workshop and an archive to house the memorabilia and documents of the hospice’s 163-year history.

The repair and construction work began in 2016. The hospice raised funds of over $918,000 and the dioceses of the Catholic Church in Austria contributed over $1.5 million for the project. Upon Schönborn’s request, Austria’s states and government donated more than $1.5 million in March 2018.

Schönborn said in 2017 that the pilgrims’ hospice is “the most important institution of the Catholic Church in Austria for local pilgrims in the Holy Land.” Schönborn is the designated protector of the hospice. Its accommodations serve approximately 80,000 guests per year. Until 1918, it also served as the residence of the Austrian consul. It is “an open house for all pilgrims,” especially from the area of the former Habsburg monarchy, Schönborn said.

Schönborn said that Austria’s financial support would “secure a piece of Austria in the Holy Land” and contribute to a positive “relationship between Jews, Muslims and Christians” in Jerusalem. Consequently, an unprecedented number of visitors came to the hospice during the 2018 holiday season.

Kurz said in March 2018: “For more than 150 years, the Jerusalem Hospice has been an important representation for our country in the Middle East.” The hospice serves as “host and bridge builder at the same time,” as well as the “flagship of Christian Austria in the Holy Land,” he said. “We would like to further strengthen its important role and therefore support the work of the Austrian Catholic Church in Jerusalem.”

Kurz visited the Austrian Hospice during his visit to Jerusalem in June 2018.

Reestablishing the Patriarchal Seat in Jerusalem

The cooperation between Vienna’s archbishop and Austria’s ruler is not without historic precedent. It was this exact cooperation that led to the creation of the hospice in the first place.

In the 19th century, Archbishop Joseph Othmar von Rauscher and the Habsburg dynasty, which ruled the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time, joined forces to create the temporary dwelling place for pilgrims. The property for the Austrian Hospice was acquired in 1855 after a visit by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph. The hospice was then built at Rauscher’s direction, who referred to it as a “home away from home.”

The Legation Secretary of the Austrian Representative Office to the Sublime Port, Franz Ritter von Reyer, wrote at the time to Vienna:

It won’t just be the most beautiful hospice, but the most solid building far and wide in the Orient, worthy of the powerful Catholic state that commissioned it.

The Catholic Church and the Habsburg dynasty didn’t just want a pilgrim house, they wanted a visible presence in the Holy Land. The Catholic Church in Austria and Sebastian Kurz now seek to expand that presence.

But Europe’s history in the Holy Land goes further back than that. At the time, Rauscher and the Habsburg monarchy sought to revive the centuries-old roots of the Holy Roman Empire in the region. Concerning this history, the official website of the hospice states:

In 1847, it fell to Pope Pius ix to reestablish the patriarchal seat in Jerusalem, which had been abandoned since the late 14th century. The fact that the seat was under exclusive control of the French Protectorate led the Austrian monarchy to consider establishing a visible presence of its own in Jerusalem.

The pope wanted to reestablish the seat of the Holy Roman Empire in Jerusalem, which was previously established by crusaders in the 11th and 13th centuries. The hospice is one of the Holy Roman Empire’s few marks on the city and is deeply significant for the Catholic Church today. But the church’s ambitions are far more momentous.

Claiming the Title King of Jerusalem

In the First Crusade in 1095–1099, the Franks seized control of Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks and established the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Less than a century later, in 1187, the Muslims regained control of Jerusalem until the time of the sixth crusade in 1228. Through a treaty with the Ottomans, Frederick Barbarossa (Frederick ii), emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation regained control of Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem, and crowned himself king of Jerusalem.

But the Holy Roman Empire’s control of Jerusalem was again short-lived. It totally vanished in the 14th century. The Habsburg monarchs, like prior emperors, however, continued to claim the title “King of Jerusalem.” The website The World of the Habsburgs, sponsored by the Austrian government, comments:

The title “King of Jerusalem” might seem rather strange. Already used by Charles v in 1520, it lent a religious dimension to the titles which otherwise related to regions and properties. In fact, the designation “King of Jerusalem” can be traced back to the Crusades (11th to 13th centuries), but the issue of its claim is confusing. Opaque inheritance and marriage policies justified the use of this disputed title at least for the Holy Roman emperors.

More than anything else, the title “King of Jerusalem” is an atrocious claim by the Holy Roman Empire to rule Jerusalem. But neither the Habsburg dynasty nor the Holy Roman Empire has ever been able to gain its desired full control of the Holy Land. Thus, its quest has continued through the centuries.

The hospice in Jerusalem gave the monarchs of the Habsburg Empire a piece of real estate in Jerusalem, in addition to its intangible claim to be the true rulers of Jerusalem. While the hospice is really nothing more than a place for pilgrims, it symbolizes the Catholic Church’s desire for a visible presence in the region. The hospice website recounts:

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 presented Emperor Franz Joseph, whose title encompassed that of king of Jerusalem too, with the welcome opportunity of visiting Jerusalem’s holy sites and making an impressive entrance in the Holy Land on behalf of the Habsburg monarchy. He was the first crowned head of a Catholic country to come to Jerusalem since the Crusades. Not only did the emperor reside in the hospice, but he intentionally gave his multifaceted stay in Bethlehem and Jerusalem the character of a pilgrimage. From that time onwards, the religious character of pilrimage to the Holy Land was bound up with a sense of patriotism.

Until 1918, the hospice was the center of the Austrian presence in the Orient. But after the collapse of the Habsburg dynasty at the end of World War i, Austria’s presence in the Holy Land diminished. Since then, the hospice has seen various owners and purposes, including that of a military hospital. While the Catholic Church of Austria regained ownership of the hospice in 1985, it wasn’t until the administration of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in 2018 that the hospice also regained its political significance.

The Holy Roman Empire’s ambitions for Jerusalem have always been dimmed by reality. The Bible, however, prophesies that Catholic Europe’s strongest quest for Jerusalem is yet ahead and in our imminent future. What Kurz currently does in Austria is a mere foreshadow of Europe’s future policy. The Bible prophesies that 10 kings, sharing the same mind (Revelation 17:13), will rise in the heart of Europe soon, and they will do on a large scale what Kurz is doing today in a small way.

Many conservatives in the Catholic Church who seek to revive the Holy Roman Empire celebrate Sebastian Kurz for what he has done. But it will take more than a leader in Austria supporting a hospice in Jerusalem to satisfy their desire to rule Jerusalem.

Germany’s influential former defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, said in an interview with the Austrian daily newspaper Kurier: “I would like to see some other European heads of government take a close look at how things are currently managed in Austria.” In an interview with regional weekly newspaper of Lower Austria NÖN, he said: “I would like to see other European leaders take [Kurz] as an example.” Would Guttenberg also like to see all of Europe become more involved in Jerusalem? Not only do Guttenberg’s statements indicate this, but his actions do as well.

Watch the Key of David program below by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry to learn more about Guttenberg’s deeply prophetic statement.

Baron Guttenberg is a descendant of the Habsburg dynasty and thus a dual citizen of Austria.

The Bible prophesies that in this end time, 10 kings will rise to resurrect the gory deeds of the Holy Roman Empire (Daniel 2; Revelation 17). We at the Trumpet believe that Guttenberg will lead all of Europe to do what Kurz is doing today. Mr. Flurry comments in the program:

When you think about 10 kings or 10 nations that are going to come together and form the Holy Roman Empire, and now we already see one in Austria that has formed the Holy Roman Empire in its nation, the rule of the Holy Roman Empire. And here’s another man coming along and saying, Well, we need to expand that! I’m telling you that this is the beginning, almost, you could say, the official beginning of the Holy Roman Empire, that dreadful empire that’s going to be a part of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord. So says your Bible, and so says many prophecies.

Now, is Mr. Guttenberg giving us a sign or a signal where Europe is headed? Well, that is a resounding “Yes!” Yes, he is!

Mr. Flurry adds that we are witnessing a “terrible turning point in Europe.” And though we are only seeing the beginning of the resurrection of this old empire, history and prophecy tell us that things will get far worse.

The Holy Roman Empire has always sought to dominate Jerusalem. While some attempts were peaceful, others used brutal force. In times past, even the seemingly most peaceful pilgrim hospices have turned into military bases for crusaders. In essence, a crusade is nothing more than an armed pilgrimage legitimized by the Catholic Church.

Like Kurz, Guttenberg is keenly interested in what is happening in Israel and especially in Jerusalem. He believes that Europe is doing too little in the region. For that reason, Guttenberg cofounded the Friends of Israel Initiative. The initiative’s website states that its founders are most concerned “about the onslaught of radical Islamism as well as the specter of a nuclear Iran, both of which threaten the entire world.” For years, Guttenberg has called on Europe to stop radical Islam led by Iran.

Iran is leading an Islamic power bloc that, among other things, threatens Jerusalem. Bible prophecy clearly foretells that a strongman in Europe will rise to lead Europe’s military to confront radical Islam and Iran (Daniel 11:40). Request a free copy of The King of the South, by Mr. Flurry, for a detailed overview of this prophesied clash.

Afterward, Europe’s strongman will set his sights on Jerusalem.

Europe’s armed forces will be invited to “enter also into the glorious land” as a peacekeeping force (verse 41). Verse 45 shows that through his deeds, the Vatican will then set up its headquarters in Jerusalem: “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.”

Beginning with Kurz, endorsed by Guttenberg, we are seeing the early stages of the fulfillment of this prophecy. But notice where it leads: “he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.”

The Coming of the Real King of Jerusalem

Whoever assumes the rulership of the Holy Roman Empire will again claim the title “King of Jerusalem.” This time, Europe will seek to ensure its right to the city with overwhelming military force. But its military might will be broken by a far superior power. Jesus Christ, the real King of Jerusalem (Luke 1:32-33; Hebrews 7:1), is about to return to put an end to the “Holy” Roman Empire.

There is much more you need to learn about Europe’s centuries-long quest to rule Jerusalem. The world is heading toward the worst religious war it has ever seen, but beyond that lies the greatest hope it could ever know. This hope has to do with God’s chosen city, Jerusalem. Request your free copy of Jerusalem in Prophecy, by Gerald Flurry, for more inspiring insight into what God has planned for that glorious city.

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2019 May Bring Europe’s Biggest Trade Deal Yet

2019 May Bring Europe’s Biggest Trade Deal Yet

EU officials believe that world trade will drastically change in 2019 as they sign a trade agreement with South America.

For years, the European Union has hoped for a breakthrough in its trade policy with South America, but the odds never favored an agreement as they do in 2019. After years of negotiations, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström told the German Press Agency that she expects talks with the mercosur trade bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) to be finalized in 2019.

In recent years, the EU has finalized trade pacts with Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua. But since 2000, the potential enormous trade deal with mercosur has remained elusive. Now after concluding a trade agreement with Japan, “the EU intends to reach an agreement with the South American Confederation of mercosur as soon as possible,” Handelsblatt reported (Trumpet translation throughout).

The trade agreement with mercosur would mark the EU’s largest trade deal ever. It is predicted to far surpass the agreement with Japan that comes into force on February 1 to create the world’s largest trade bloc. The total of the trade duties this deal would reduce is four times the size of the agreement with Japan.

2019 might bring the decisive turning point in the negotiations between these two economic power blocs. What differentiates 2019 from prior years is its changed political landscape. Prior to the election of United States President Donald Trump, the EU’s focus was on finalizing a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the U.S. Dreams of such an agreement ultimately shattered with his inauguration; he has strongly opposed any trade deals that could harm the U.S.

The EU’s new top priority is to urgently conclude trade deals with the rest of the world. With more than 260 million people and a gross domestic product of approximately $2.9 trillion, mercosur is one of the world’s largest economic blocs. Europe urgently needs to conclude a deal with South America to make its trade policy work.

Yet another major stumbling block that hindered the EU’s negotiations will be removed in 2019. Malmström said that the recent elections in Brazil and the preparations for its change in government hindered the negotiations. But with the new government having taken over in Brazil on January 1, the negotiations are expected to speed up drastically.

Headed by Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s economic powerhouse will help drive South America back to its historic partner: Catholic Europe. Just after Bolsonaro’s election victory in October, we asked on “Will Brazil’s New President Open the Door to the Holy Roman Empire?” Bolsonaro’s Catholic background at the time indicated that his election would shift Brazil’s focus to Europe. Trumpet contributor Andrew Miiller commented:

Bolsonaro is a populist who rails against the political establishment, like many of the populist strongmen currently rising to power in Eastern Europe. He is advised on foreign policy by 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 the growing influence of China and want Brazil to draw closer to Europe and the United States.

Brazil’s pivot from China to the West may actually be good news for the U.S. in the short term, but the Bible reveals that it will ultimately be Catholic Europe that reaps the rewards of this geopolitical shift.

Concerning the newly inaugurated government in Brazil, Malmström said that there are no indications that further negotiations would be hindered. “The new foreign minister has told us that they would like to conclude the agreement and that they are looking forward to continuing the negotiations,” she said.

Malmström also pointed out that Bolsonaro had announced prior to his election that his country would hold true to the Paris Climate Agreement, which President Trump rejected and French President Emmanuel Macron strongly endorsed. Macron at the time stated that the EU’s free-trade agreements would be conditional on its partners accepting the agreement.

Bolsonaro has not always supported the Paris agreement. In August 2018, he announced that Brazil would exit the climate-change agreement like President Trump. His about-face in October may have been caused by Brazil’s desire to strike a deal with the EU, which has strongly pushed the climate-change agreement.

For decades, the Trumpet and its predecessor the Plain Truth have predicted that Europe and South America would form another Holy Roman Empire alliance due to their common religion and language. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his free booklet Isaiah’s End-Time Vision:

Herbert Armstrong long prophesied, and we expect, the alliance between Europe and South America to grow extremely strong. The most significant factors that will cement this connection are religion and language: Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion of Latin America.

Late theologian and editor in chief of the Plain Truth Herbert W. Armstrong prophesied of this coming alliance even after Germany was defeated in World War ii. He predicted that Germany would rise again and lead a united Europe that would turn against America. Until recently, Europe sought a trade deal with the U.S., and until the inauguration of President Trump, few doubted a successful implementation. But the May 1962 Plain Truth boldly declared 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.”

Europe is already turning its back on the U.S. and seeks to pull Latin America to its side. Request a free copy of our booklet He Was Right and read “Europe’s Inroads Into Latin America” to learn how Mr. Armstrong was able to make these stunning predictions and how they are being fulfilled step by step.

How could Mr. Armstrong know that this would happen? He did not rely on the opinion of geopolitical experts, but rather insisted on the accuracy of Bible prophecy. The Bible has a lot to say about who will dominate world trade in the end time, just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 23, in connection with Ezekiel 27 and Revelation 13 and 18, clearly shows that Europe and, secondarily, China will dominate world trade. Isaiah 23:3 prophesies that Europe will become the “marketplace for the nations” (New King James Version) that connects world trade.

We are now seeing the fulfillment of this prophecy.

For a short overview of the specific Bible prophecies on this subject, read our article “The Great ‘Mart of Nations.’