One Piece of a Frightful Economic Puzzle

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One Piece of a Frightful Economic Puzzle

A positive jobs report is only one part of the picture.
From the March 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

On January 4, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics released its December employment figures, causing much rejoicing in America. A total of 312,000 new jobs were created, far surpassing the estimated 176,000 jobs. Wages were found to have grown 3.2 percent over the same time last year, again beating the 3 percent increase economists predicted. That year-over-year jump tied with October for the best month since April 2009.

This was positive news for the U.S. economy, coming amid growing concerns of a global recession setting in. After a week of terrible losses, new life surged into the stock markets. Many declared that the U.S. could push aside fears of a recession.

But while the job numbers were very favorable, they are only one part of the economic picture. Add a few more pieces to the puzzle, and the real picture of America’s economy appears.

A Few More Puzzle Pieces

Here is the first piece: One underreported fact from the December job report was who is being hired. The majority were workers 55 years and older. In contrast, the number of people in the prime age group (ages 25-54) decreased by 11,000. This says a lot about America’s financial situation. More and more Americans of retirement age are returning to the workforce, most likely because they can’t afford to retire. This also explains why wages increased more than expected.

Those of retirement age lack sufficient savings for retirement, and younger Americans are not saving for retirement. Data released last year by the Federal Reserve found that 4 in 10 adults couldn’t cover an unexpected expense of $400, and would have to go into debt or sell something to cover the cost. While this is an improvement from 2013, when 50 percent of adults couldn’t spare $400, it still shows how unprepared people are for even a small financial hardship. The most recent study on the issue found that 78 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent the previous year.

Here is the next puzzle piece: Not only are Americans without savings, they are maxed out on debts they cannot pay. The same Federal Reserve report found that more than one fifth of adults are unable to fully pay all their current month’s bills, which means they are stuck in an ever worsening debt trap. Consumer debt in the U.S. continues to smash records. Credit card debt, along with student and auto loans, are at all-time highs.

This is a problem from the personal level all the way to the federal level. In 2018 the U.S. government added an additional $1 trillion to the national debt, bringing the total to nearly $22 trillion.

This has some people worried, like Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said the government will soon have “no choice” but to face this issue. But most, including President Donald Trump, seem unconcerned. On January 8, he tweeted that he longed for interest rates to return to zero percent so he could have something to “play with,” like the last administration had, implying that he would add even more to the debt.

House Democrats also appear unconcerned with reining in spending. Now that they control the House, one of the first things they did was vote to revive the “Gephardt Rule.” This rule makes debt-ceiling increases automatic each time Congress passes a budget that would blow through the debt limit. But they have made the rule even worse. As Conservative Review explained, “Obviously, Republicans control the Senate and are unlikely to cooperate with a Democrat-passed budget resolution from the House, so any Democrat budget will not become law under a concurrent resolution. To that end, for the first time in congressional history, Democrats are deeming just the House-passed resolution (without the Senate) as if the debt ceiling law was suspended for that chamber, thereby shielding their members from taking a separate vote” (January 3).

Thus, whatever budget the House approves can exceed the debt limit. It doesn’t need the Senate’s approval. With the new rules, the government need not worry about a balanced budget or having to fight to raise the debt ceiling to cover ballooning expenditures. There’s nothing to hold the government accountable for its spending. It can run up the debt as much as it wants.

Snapshots From Around the Globe

When you put these pieces together, a clearer picture emerges. Yes, jobs are being created, but that in itself doesn’t prove the nation’s financial soundness. What gets reported in the news is just a veneer of prosperity covering up a panoply of financial problems. The majority of Americans are unprepared for even a small economic crisis. The federal government isn’t ready either. The reality is that America’s economic dominance is waning, and quickly.

Consider these stories, all of which broke in the second week of January:

  • A study by the Standard Chartered Bank said that China is likely to become the world’s biggest economy some time next year, surpassing the U.S. China is already the largest economy by some measures, but now it is ready to surpass the U.S. in all parameters. By 2030, it expects America to fall to third, with India hurdling into second place.
  • The Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, shook the financial world by stating that the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency was about to change. He stated, “[U]ltimately we will have reserve currencies other than the U.S. dollar.” He pointed to the Chinese yuan as an alternative. While nations that could be considered enemies of the U.S. have worked to discredit the dollar, it is surprising for a U.S. ally to question its hegemony.
  • Russia, which discloses financial data with a six-month lag, announced that in the second quarter of 2018 it had dumped $101 billion in U.S. holdings, exchanging it for euros and yuan. Fifteen percent of Russia’s total holdings are now in Chinese yuan, up from 5 percent at the end of the first quarter. This puts Russia’s yuan share at about 10 times the average for global central banks. Its total holdings of the currency account for about a quarter of the world’s reserves in yuan, according to International Monetary Fund data.
  • At the end of December, China increased its gold holdings for the first time in two years, adding 1,853 metric tons. China is just the latest nation to begin hoarding gold. Last year, Hungary increased its gold reserves by 1,000 percent, while Poland made its biggest gold purchase in over 20 years, raising its holdings to a 35-year high.

Add these pieces to the puzzle, and a more serious picture emerges. The strength of the dollar is being questioned by America’s allies, while hostile nations are pivoting to the yuan. Meanwhile, nations are hedging their central banks with gold, a tangible asset. The U.S. dollar isn’t backed by gold. So why would these nations increase their holdings unless the see a need to return to the gold standard? The only reason for that would be if the dollar collapsed.

Look at the Cause

While the markets celebrated the December jobs report, a much bigger picture needs to be examined. America’s economy is not flourishing. In fact, it is in decline and under assault.

What is the cause of all this economic trouble? Is it just poor fiscal policies in Washington? Or are there deeper issues?

For more than 80 years, the Trumpet magazine, and its predecessor the Plain Truth, have forecast the economic ruin of the United States. Those forecasts are based on what is revealed in your Bible. Does it seem far-fetched that the Bible would have something to say about the major powers of this world? We have been proving for decades that God’s Word is inspired and accurate and is being fulfilled every day.

To understand what is soon to befall America, first read our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. This landmark book by Herbert W. Armstrong will prove from your Bible how America will fall, and more importantly the reason for its fall.

In this book, Mr. Armstrong pointedly asked, “Do you think so great a fall could not come to so great powers as Britain and America? Do you say, ‘It can’t happen here?’ … You need to open your eyes to the fact that Britain’s sun already has set! You need to wake up to the fact that the United States … is fast riding to the greatest fall that ever befell any nation!”

Why? Because America has rejected God and squandered the blessings that He gave to America. While Americans say, “In God we trust” and “God bless America,” they fail to obey His law, which would continue to bring blessings. As a result, God will correct the nation by stripping away the colossal, unprecedented blessings it has received.

God will halt these curses and offer escape to any nation or individual that turns to Him in repentance. This requires us to act on what He reveals. God wants us to turn from sin—from breaking His law—and live and do as He commands.

Mr. Armstrong concluded The United States and Britain in Prophecy by writing: “Most people, we know only too well, will take this serious warning lightly—put it out of mind—turn to other immediate interests of no importance by comparison! That is why a loving, just, all-wise, all-powerful God is going to take away from them these unimportant counterinterests, and apply such intensified correction that they shall, finally, come to their senses, and turn to Him and His way which will bring them eternal happiness and abundant blessings!

“But you need not have to suffer this intensified correction, greater than any trouble ever suffered by humans.

“By God’s direction and authority, I have laid the truth before you! To neglect it will be tragic beyond imagination! To heed it will bring blessings, happiness and glory beyond description!

“The decision is now yours!”

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America Is Back … ing Out

America Is Back … ing Out

The Trump administration condemned its predecessor’s weak Mideast policy—while withdrawing troops from Syria. Is this the beginning of the end for American power in the Middle East?
From the March 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

jerusalem

On January 10, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech repudiating the Obama administration’s Middle Eastern foreign policy. Delivered in the same city as Obama’s infamous Cairo speech 10 years ago, Pompeo sought to reassure allies that America had learned from Obama-era mistakes, that the United States is reliable, that it will stand with its allies. America was there to stay.

He said, “Remember: It was here, here in this city, that another American stood before you. He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology. He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East. He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed, quote, ‘a new beginning,’ end of quote. The results of these misjudgments have been dire” (emphasis added).

Pompeo summarized the results of President Barack Obama’s policy this way: “So today, what did we learn from all of this? We learned that when America retreats, chaos often follows. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with enemies, they advance. The good news—the good news is this: The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering. Now comes the real new beginning.”

A speech announcing, in effect, “America is back” should have reassured U.S. allies, with leaders in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and Israel nodding their heads in agreement.

But the speech fell flat.

Why? Because a dramatic shift has taken place in the Middle East—a shift specifically prophesied in the Bible.

Withdrawal From Syria

As late as September 2018, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the U.S. would maintain a military presence in Syria as long as Iran is there: “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias.”

On December 11, Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter isis, announced the U.S. would stay in Syria after the Islamic State’s defeat. “I think it’s fair to say Americans will remain on the ground after the physical defeat of the caliphate until we have the pieces in place to ensure that that defeat is enduring.”

“Nobody is declaring a ‘mission accomplished.’ Defeating a physical caliphate is one phase of a much longer-term campaign,” he said. “[O]bviously, it would be reckless if we were just to say, Well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now. I think anyone who’s looked at a conflict like this would agree with that.”

Reassuring words for America’s Middle Eastern allies—except that just eight days later, President Donald Trump decided to pull all 2,200 American troops out. By all accounts, he made this decision alone and against the advice of his military and political advisers. The next day, it emerged that Secretary of Defense James Mattis was resigning over the issue.

Some believe criticisms of Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces are overblown; after all, the U.S. had only 2,200 soldiers in Syria. However, the presence of American soldiers on the ground has an outsized impact, no matter the number. This is undoubtedly true in the complicated Syrian war, especially for the Kurds in north Iraq, which is why many are viewing the withdrawal as a betrayal of the Kurds.

U.S. Marines drive along a road in Syria.
Delil Souleimant/AFP/Getty Images

Heightening this perception is the fact that President Trump made his decision after a phone call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in which Erdoğan said Turkey could take care of the remnants of the Islamic State.

American forces in Syria have sought to train and equip Kurdish forces in the fight against the Islamic State. The Kurds have proved to be one of the most effective forces in the fight. However, America’s support has long upset Turkey, which believes a stronger Kurdish presence in Syria could destabilize the Kurdish population inside Turkey. Turkey’s mission in Syria has been to prevent the Kurds from growing too powerful. U.S. forces embedded with the Kurds have deterred Turkey, Iran and Russia from attacking them.

Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake wrote that President Trump’s decision could be seen as giving in to Turkey and abandoning a U.S. ally: “Capitulating now to Turkish demands would send a terrible message. Erdoğan would conclude that threatening U.S. interests pays off. Meanwhile, other groups that have joined the American side in the Middle East would conclude the U.S. is an unreliable ally” (Dec. 20, 2018).

As commander in chief, the president has the right to overrule his advisers and withdraw U.S. forces. However, its jarring break from his administration’s public assurances that the U.S. would stay in Syria renders any future statements from his subordinates as hollow.

That includes these most recent statements by Secretary Pompeo. His words were accurate, but they packed no punch. They didn’t come from the real decision maker in Washington. And even then, had it been President Trump himself in Cairo, the fact that American policy in the region can turn on the swiftness of a tweet has eroded the trust of America’s allies.

Encapsulating this reality is the fact that while Pompeo states the United States will oppose Iran, U.S. troops are getting ready to board cargo planes outbound from Syria.

Ceding Syria to Iran?

In addition to training the Kurds, the U.S. currently occupies a base in a crucially strategic location on the Syria-Iraq border. The Al-Tanf base launches missions against the Islamic State. More importantly, it constitutes a roadblock on the Baghdad-Damascus Highway. Without it, Iran would gain control of the highway for hauling illicit arms to the Syrian regime and Hezbollah through Iraq.

Iran desires to control the vast swath of land from Iran, across Iraq, Syria and into Lebanon. Dominating this “Shia Crescent” is one major reason for Iran’s engagement in Syria’s civil war.

Until the withdrawal announcement, disrupting Iran’s command of this Shia Crescent seemed to be one of America’s main objectives in Syria. The Al-Tanf base’s stated purpose was for staging strikes against the Islamic State, but it also served as a valuable buffer between Iranian forces in Syria and Iraq.

Notice what Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said during a visit to the base on Oct. 22, 2018: “We don’t have a counter Iranian mission here. We have a defeat [the Islamic State] mission. But I do recognize that our presence, our developments of partners and relationships down here does have an indirect effect on some malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue down here.”

Words are nice, but nothing can replace the physical presence of troops wearing American flags on their shoulders. And America’s allies in the region know it. So do its enemies.

By withdrawing forces from Al-Tanf, the U.S. will no longer be positioned to stop Iran from controlling the roadway from Iran to Lebanon. As Tony Badran wrote, “Already, Iranian-led Shiite militias are operating at the edges of the U.S. zone and could move in swiftly and connect the Iraqi and Syrian terrains. This would provide Iran with overland routes to deliver advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, while building up offensive capabilities in Syria, including in the south, along the country’s border with Israel” (usa Today, December 19).

In his Cairo speech, Secretary Pompeo assured America’s allies that the U.S. still seeks to eradicate Iran from Syria. “In Syria, the United States will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot,” he said, “and work through the UN-led process to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people.” Yet how will the U.S. accomplish this after withdrawing its troops? Words are nice, but nothing can replace the physical presence of troops wearing American flags on their shoulders. And America’s allies in the region know it. So do its enemies.

The International Fight Against Iran

No one doubts that President Trump wants to counteract Iran’s march across the Middle East and block off the western part of the Shia Crescent. His withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran and the renewal of the financial sanctions are strong proof. He understands that financial inducements alone will not stop Iran.

However, President Trump does not understand why it must be United States forces manning the battle stations. He wants to bring U.S. forces back from Middle Eastern battlefields and force allies to pay their fair share in mutual defense.

Now Secretary Pompeo is busy trying to form an Arab nato force to block Iran. As he stated in his speech, “President Trump has made the decision to bring our troops home from Syria. … But as President Trump has said, we’re looking to our partners to do more, and in this effort we will do so going forward together.”

The idea of sharing the burden in countering Iran is reasonable. However, given that the president’s stated desire is to withdraw forces from the region, America’s allies now know that U.S. support is unlikely to include U.S. troops.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks in Cairo on January 10.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

According to Bahrain’s minister of foreign affairs, an Arab nato would include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan. No doubt Israel would be loosely affiliated, given it is the one strong power that has been willing to directly attack Iranian targets in Syria. However, America’s absence would make the coalition less effective tactically and more vulnerable to attack strategically.

An American ground presence in a battle zone, no matter the size of the contingent, has a stabilizing effect. It acts as a deterrent against potential attackers: Enemies who want to attack U.S. allies and troops know that doing so invites the wrath and retaliation of the world’s most powerful military.

If U.S. troops cannot be guaranteed, it is unlikely this multinational force will hold together in the face of Iranian aggression. That is—unless another power can replace the United States as the bedrock to such an alliance.

The Bible indicates this is precisely what will happen. And it tells us who that new power will be.

Where to Now?

President Trump’s withdrawal from Syria has damaged America’s credibility in the region. In the tumultuous Middle East, reliability and predictability are essential attributes in an ally.

Arab nations and Israel will gladly accept all the weapons and financial support America is willing to give. But given that the region is a powder keg, they simply cannot risk depending on the U.S. to come to their defense in the face of Iranian aggression, regardless of speeches by a U.S. secretary of state. The search for new allies is underway.

While some may rejoice over America’s withdrawal from the Middle East, the Bible reveals that its absence portends the most destructive period this war-weary region has ever seen. It is worth considering where these events are leading, especially as they will affect you and your family, whether you live in the region or not.

Every important biblical prophecy that takes place in the Middle East occurs in a power vacuum created by America’s exit. In fact, Bible prophecy indicates that the U.S. will have vacated so entirely from the Middle East that it will not impact it at all.

Every important biblical prophecy that takes place in the Middle East occurs in a power vacuum created by America’s exit. In fact, Bible prophecy indicates that the U.S. will have vacated so entirely from the Middle East that it will not impact it at all.

One of the Bible’s most critical end-time Middle East prophecies is recorded in Daniel 11:40, which states: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”

Here, in prophetic terminology, is described a war in the Middle East involving two powers leading two alliances.

For more than 20 years, the Trumpet has identified the “king of the south” as radical Islam, led by Iran. This power bloc has a violent, pushy foreign policy that will eventually provoke a violent response. Every night of news, including Pompeo’s speech, clearly shows that Iran is this king.

But notice that this prophecy does not state that the king of the south pushes against the United States. (The U.S. is one of the modern nations descended from the ancient Israelites; Bible prophecy identifies it as Israel, specifically the tribe of Manasseh.) The U.S. won’t even be part of the equation. The power bloc that this Iranian-led alliance pushes at is “the king of the north.” For more than 70 years, we have identified this power as a European empire led by Germany. Europe will respond forcefully and powerfully to put down Iran’s aggression.

Based on another prophecy found in Psalm 83, we anticipate Europe’s entrance into the Middle Eastern arena—a move that may be precipitated by the scramble for allies by Middle Eastern states following the U.S. withdrawal now underway.

Secretary Pompeo is trying to create an Arab alliance to counter Iran. The Bible indicates that such an alliance will form, but the United States will not be part of it. The Psalm 83 prophecy states that several moderate Middle Eastern states, including some in the proposed Arab nato, will ally not with the U.S. but with the “king of the north,” which is Europe.

The prophecies of Psalm 83 and Daniel 11:40 are for the end time, which is the time we are living in right now. They are crucial events on the prophetic time line that ends in one final Middle East battle at the return of Jesus Christ. An American withdrawal from the Middle East is necessary for these prophecies to take place.

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Why Brexit Is Breaking Britain

Why Brexit Is Breaking Britain

The vote that was supposed to restore British independence and strength has become a disaster—and Europe is loving it.
From the March 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

England is the mother of parliaments,” said 19th-century British statesman John Bright. He was right. More than 30 countries use the “Westminster system,” a legislative model named after the building that houses Britain’s parliament.

Britain’s system of government is far from perfect. But there’s no denying it has been successful. The nation’s last violent political upheaval occurred more than 350 years ago. Since then, Britain has survived and thrived while other governments suffer and fall because of one social problem after another.

Starting with the French Revolution in 1789, wave after wave of upheaval has swept across Europe. Monarchies fell in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Russia. In the 20th century, Britain was almost the only European government to remain unshaken by the twin threats of fascist and Communist parties, which weakened or destroyed other governments.

No wonder many ex-colonies of the British Empire have kept a similar form of government even after receiving their independence. No wonder other nations have adopted it. The British system of government seems to offer a stability unmatched by anything else.

And then came Brexit.

Few would extol the virtues of Britain’s political system now.

A nation that has stared down Napoleon and Hitler, that remained unstained by the bloodletting of events like the French Revolution, that led the greatest and best empire in world history, that still leads a commonwealth of nations, is now coming undone, trying to quit a glorified free trade agreement. Why?

A Dog’s Brexit

The Brexit process has been a shambles from the start. Britain voted to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016. As a result, pro-EU Prime Minister David Cameron resigned. The battle to succeed him looked like an episode from one of the nation’s many political comedy series. All the candidates self-destructed or stabbed each other in the back, except one. Theresa May became prime minister by default. She barely managed to fit in one campaign speech before her final rival resigned.

On March 29, 2017, Mrs. May triggered Article 50, which started the clock on a two-year countdown to leave the EU. Now the pressure was on to resolve a host of issues for which it had been relying on Europe for 40 years. If it wasn’t ready to stand on its own two feet when the two-year period was up, the nation would have to turn to the EU for help, and be vulnerable to European blackmail.

But Britain immediately got busy wasting time. In April 2017, Mrs. May called a general election. For the next two months, the nation fixated on the vote. Then, in a shocking result, Mrs. May and the Conservatives lost seats instead of gaining them. A radicalized Labour Party gained seats in Parliament, and the Conservatives stayed in power only with the help of the Democratic Unionist Party. Under this new configuration, if just a few members of Parliament were to withhold their votes, they could hold the entire government hostage.

Since this weak start, things have only worsened. While Brussels has remained strong, united and determined in its two years of negotiations over Brexit, Britain has been divided and indecisive. In November 2018, less than six months before Britain was due to leave, the two sides finally negotiated a Brexit deal. It was a terrible deal for Britain.

“If M.P.s vote for this deal, we are bowing our neck to the yoke,” wrote Boris Johnson, who was May’s foreign minister until he quit over her approach to the Brexit deal. “We are preparing to take colonial rule by foreign powers and courts. … In fact, we are surrendering control to the EU—and this 585-page fig leaf does nothing to cover the embarrassment of our total defeat” (Telegraph; Nov. 18, 2018).

Former Conservative Party Chairman Lord Norman Tebbit wrote that it was hard to see the agreement as “anything other than part of a punishment beating of our country for daring to claim the right to self-government lest other EU states should follow our example” (ibid; Nov. 19, 2018).

Cambridge history professor Robert Tombs wrote, “It is practically unheard of in modern international relations for an independent state to place itself under foreign jurisdiction and foreign legislation. One would have to think of colonial status (for example of the American colonies before 1776) for an adequate analogy. For a modern democratic state to deny its own citizens even an indirect voice in deciding the laws governing them for an indefinite period would previously have been unimaginable: taxation without representation, to the tune of £39 billion” (ibid; Nov. 17, 2018).

“No nation would normally accept such terms unless very small, or bankrupt, or first defeated in war,” wrote the Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on Nov. 14, 2018.

British Prime Minister May and EU Commission President Juncker leave a press briefing in Brussels.
John Thys/AFP/Getty Images
“The real problem, of course, is that our politicians have got themselves into such a hopelessly ill-informed muddle that there is no longer a Commons majority in support of any next move we might make…”

Meanwhile, the EU was delighted. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker boasted that the EU got “almost everything” that it wanted in the Brexit proposal. The European Commission produced a presentation that said the deal committed Britain to EU rules in a way that was “without precedent.” It said that it had a lot of “leverage” over Britain in future negotiations.

But this Brexit mess was not just the prime minister’s fault. Parliament was heavily involved in the negotiations, to an almost unprecedented degree. It didn’t improve the results.

“The real problem, of course, is that our politicians have got themselves into such a hopelessly ill-informed muddle that there is no longer a Commons majority in support of any next move we might make,” wrote the Sunday Telegraph’s Christopher Booker. “The various vociferous factions all know what they are against, but they cannot agree on any positive move that might dig us out of the gaping hole they have all unwittingly conspired to get us into. … One cannot think of any time in history when the standing of British politicians, either with the public at large or in the eyes of the outside world, has ever—quite deservedly—been lower” (January 11).

Booker’s one-time coauthor Richard North agreed, tweeting: “Today, we are seeing parliament in its death throes. Never more has it been so obvious that parliament is a failing institution, buoyed by an equally lackluster media which represents another failing institution” (January 15).

On January 15, Mrs. May’s deal finally came before Parliament. She received the biggest defeat of modern times: 432 voted against the deal; only 202 in favor.

The reviews were scathing. “British politics is broken,” wrote Politico. “It may not be fixable in time to solve the Brexit mess” (January 16).

“That’s not a loss, it’s a nuclear event,” wrote the Telegraph, “the biggest slap across the chops to any government in British political history” (January 15).

“This is only the end of the beginning, in a Brexit civil war that will last a generation,” wrote the Guardian. “There is no end in sight, no healing in prospect, no solution to hand, whatever the outcome of myriad votes” (January 14).

And hence the situation Britain finds itself in today, committed to leave the EU by March 29, but with no clear view on how to do so or what will happen next.

Why has Britain’s government failed so badly with Brexit? And what does the Brexit debacle reveal about Britain’s moral and spiritual health?

An Accurate Description

From the very day Britain joined what would become the European Union, Herbert W. Armstrong forecast it would leave. He did so because of Bible prophecy. As he proved in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Britain is descended from the ancient nation of Israel. God blessed Britain on account of its ancient ancestor, Abraham. But God promised that if Abraham’s descendants did not follow his example and refused to obey God, those blessings would be removed and replaced by curses. God prophesied that He would use Europe, as well as others, to punish Britain.

Europe would rise, and Britain would fall. The Bible describes in detail Britain’s spiritual health in the last days—and how the nation will fall.

In Hosea 5:12, God says He will be like a moth to Ephraim, the Israelite tribe that became modern Britain. “A moth-eaten garment looks good in the closet, but take it off the hanger and it falls apart,” writes Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in his booklet Hosea—Reaping the Whirlwind. “God says Britain is like a moth-eaten garment. … Even though certain things may look good on the surface, [it is] ready to fall apart!”

Clearly Britain has fallen far from the height of its imperial power. But many observers fail to realize how bad conditions really are. When Britain voted to leave the EU, many forecast a sunny future. Freed from the shackles of Europe, Britain could be great again. Despite the chaotic handling of Brexit, this view persists. The Audit of Geopolitical Capability published January 4 by the Henry Jackson Society proclaimed Britain the second-most powerful nation in the world—even ahead of China.

Yet Brexit is putting that moth-eaten garment to the test. And the longer time goes on, the more it becomes obvious that it is falling apart.

Other scriptures paint a similar picture. In Leviticus 26:19, God prophesies to the disobedient: “I will break the pride of your power.” 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.

These same scriptures also point to a critical lack of leadership.

“God says Britain is like a moth-eaten garment. … Even though certain things may look good on the surface, [it is] ready to fall apart!”

In Isaiah 3, God says that He is removing the leadership “from Jerusalem and from Judah.” Judah refers to the Jews. Jerusalem, which was the capital city of all of the Israelite tribes during the reigns of David and Solomon, refers to all the modern nations of ancient Israel, including Britain.

God says that He will remove “the stay and the staff.” Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament defines this as “the chief persons of a nation, on whom [the people] lean.” God goes on to list the specifics: “The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator” (verses 2-3). In the military and judiciary, and especially in politics, the great leaders are gone.

Isaiah 59 vividly describes the results of such a lack of leadership: “We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom. We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead. We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us” (verses 9-11; New Living Translation).

In the 1970s, conditions looked grim in Britain. The once great empire was quickly becoming the sick man of Europe. So the nation turned to the Continent in hope of a bright future. Decades later it was clear that, just as Mr. Armstrong said, there is no hope in Europe. Thus, the nation voted to leave. Yet that hasn’t brought the bright skies the nation searches for. Whichever way we turn, there is only darkness. Now we grope around, stumbling, unsure of what to do.

This chapter also reveals the cause of this lamentable state of affairs: “For our transgressions are multiplied before You” (verse 12; New King James Version). Isaiah 3 gives the same cause for our lack of leadership: “For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord …” (verse 8).

In the eyes of many euroskeptics, EU membership was the source of all Britain’s ills. Leaving would solve everything. The last two years have proven this notion false.

That is not to say EU membership was a good thing. In many ways, it was a curse. Hosea 7:8 states, “Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people ….” TheTrumpet.com managing editor Brad Macdonald explained this passage shortly after the Brexit vote: “This is a prophecy that end-time Britain would intertwine itself with foreign people, foreign customs, foreign religions and foreign entities—like the European Union. Verse 9 shows that this leads to devastation: ‘Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not ….’ Britain today, as Hosea prophesied, has no ‘strength,’ which means ‘might, power, substance, wealth and force.’ Britain is sick—very, very sick—and a major part of the cause is its embrace of foreigners and foreign institutions, like the European Union. This isn’t a politically correct message, but it is a truth backed by reality. (It isn’t biblical justification of racism and bigotry either!)”

The EU has caused a lot of Britain’s problems. But it is not the root cause. It is only a symptom of a deeper sickness: the nation’s embrace of sin.

The EU has caused a lot of Britain’s problems. But it is not the root cause. It is only a symptom of a deeper sickness: the nation’s embrace of sin. Britain has voted to leave the EU, but it has done nothing to leave behind its indulgence in sin. Instead, the nation is breaking God’s law more than ever.

This is becoming clearer every day: Brexit did not solve Britain’s problems. Only repentance of breaking God’s laws can do that, and there has been none of that since Brexit.

Instead, the curses from God for broken law will only intensify. “Many people in the UK were optimistic about the future last year when voters chose to leave the European Union,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in the September 2017 cover article. “But things have gotten very messy. … It has taken a few generations for the magnificent British Empire to fall from being the greatest empire in history. But 2017 has been unusually bad. Why?”

That article describes why God’s curses on the nation are coming faster than ever.

God has great plans for Britain. He made it the greatest and best empire in world history, not merely to bless its people, the descendants of Abraham, but to serve as a model to other nations, lifting them out of poverty, disease, erroneous religion and ignorance. He wanted other nations to look at Britain and say, “And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4:8). He wanted other nations to be inspired to copy Britain’s system of government and law.

But Britain’s parliamentary system is not what God wants the nations to emulate. He wants a nation that submits to Him. In blessing Britain, God gave the nation an opportunity to be that example to the world, but we did not take it.

And now God is correcting the modern nations of Israel, until they will turn to Him. Once that happens, Britain will have an opportunity to be far more than a mother of parliaments. It will help lead the whole world to God.

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America Is Being Besieged Economically

Gary Dorning/Trumpet

America Is Being Besieged Economically

Herbert W. Armstrong foretold the merger of two massive trade blocs—at America’s expense. That prophecy is about to be fulfilled this year!
From the March 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

The European Union is about to make its largest trade deal ever. The deal is with the mercosur trade bloc, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

The EU has wanted to make this deal for years, but it has encountered various obstacles. Now it appears an EU-Mercosur trade bloc will finally become reality; officials believe it will happen this year. It would be the world’s largest trade bloc.

We have been prophesying for over 60 years that this deal will happen. This forecast is based on biblical prophecy. And it will have repercussions we need to think about carefully. It is destined to lead to some very dark days for America, if we don’t heed prophecy and realize what God has to say about it.

One obstacle that has been cleared out of the way is the leadership in Brazil. Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, is Catholic and very sympathetic to Europe. He takes advice from Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza, a royal descendant of both Holy Roman Emperor Francis ii and Brazilian Emperor Pedro ii. Both of these men are concerned about China’s growing influence in Latin America; they want to reorient Brazil toward Europe. So Bolsonaro is enthusiastic about making this deal with the EU. (For more information, read our sidebar on page 14, and our online article “Will Brazil’s New President Open the Door to the Holy Roman Empire?”)

Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro
MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images

In our online article “2019 May Bring Europe’s Biggest Trade Deal Yet,” we wrote: “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” (January 8).

“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 ,” we continued. “Europe urgently needs to conclude a deal with South America to make its trade policy work.”

The mercosur countries possess resources that Europe needs. In return, Europe is supplying some of Latin America’s needs as well. The reality though is that by linking itself with Europe in this way, Latin America is contributing to the rise of a modern resurrection of the medieval Holy Roman Empire!

Few Americans are paying attention to the situation that is developing to our south. But I guarantee they won’t be able to ignore it indefinitely. This trade agreement will impact the whole world! It is going to affect your life dramatically. The seeds are being sown for a trade war and an economic besiegement that will help destroy America. This trade deal is that important!

Promises of Prosperity

To understand what Bible prophecy says about this Europe-Latin America deal, you need to know some crucial ancient history.

The story of America’s exalted position in the world today traces all the way back to the biblical patriarch Abraham. God called Abraham and put him through a severe test of his faith. When Abraham passed it, God made an extraordinary promise to him: “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou has done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies” (Genesis 22:16-17).

God promised to bestow real power on nations that would descend from Abraham—nations that are still on the scene in modern times! You can read the full story of how God kept this promise in Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, which we will be glad to send you at no cost.

What does it mean to possess the “gates” of your enemies? In practical terms, it means controlling worldwide trade.

What does it mean to possess the “gates” of your enemies? In practical terms, it means controlling worldwide trade.

Which nations is this referring to? God promised that they would become the greatest single nation and greatest company of nations this world has ever seen (Genesis 35:11). The United States and Britain in Prophecy identifies them. The U.S. and Britain have the name “Israel” today (Genesis 48:16). They received this birthright promise. God gave them fantastic prosperity and power.

God blessed our peoples because of Abraham’s obedience. Our wealth and power didn’t come because of our impressive ingenuity. It came because our forefather Abraham obeyed God!

Those blessings included the strategic gates of our enemies. “Although all wealth comes from the ground, prosperity and affluence on a national scale always have come also by industry and commerce. And commerce between nations has been transacted almost altogether by the sea-lanes of the world—by ships,” Mr. Armstrong wrote (op cit). Before World War ii, Britain and America controlled every major sea gate in the world: Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, Singapore, the Panama Canal, the Cape of Good Hope, Malta, Cyprus, the Falklands and many others. This was a significant part of the birthright promise from God. “So we must be modern Israel,” Mr. Armstrong wrote.

This is simply a matter of history. But what is the situation today? The fact is, a great deal of America’s and Britain’s power and prestige has come and gone!

Warnings of Curses

Read Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. There God instructs us and tells us how we can be blessed: by obeying His laws. But He also warns that if we disobey, we will be cursed. He desires that we choose blessings instead of curses. But we must choose.

America is making some wrong choices, and we are suffering the penalties. For example, America today has a $22 trillion national debt, and that figure keeps soaring higher. God promised that if we obey Him, we would lend to many nations, but never have to borrow (Deuteronomy 28:12). There was a time when this was fulfilled in Britain and America. But now, we borrow far more than we lend. Something is not right! We are not being blessed anymore. We are not prospering in our ways (verse 29). Because of our sins, our nations are losing our prosperity and international prestige.

Notice this specific warning of a curse for disobedience: “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee” (verse 52).

We trust in our walls today. We trust in our own power. We don’t look to the God who gave us that power. And God is taking that personally! God gave America and Britain those sea gates. He made Britain the greatest empire this world has ever seen, and America the greatest nation on Earth. We ought to acknowledge where our prosperity has come from. We ought to ask for forgiveness for using these blessings in a sinful way.

iStock.com/Frankramspott

These “gates” in verse 52 are the same gates that God earlier promised to give these nations. And now we see that most of the world’s strategic maritime passageways that America and Britain once controlled have been taken away! (You can read more about this in our free booklet He Was Right, in the chapter “Changing of the Guard.”)

This is a prophecy that America is going to be besieged in all our gates! The national economy will be battered by foreign competition.

Look at these prophecies in light of Latin America’s strategic position. America cannot truly be besieged unless Latin America is part of it.

Moses warned ancient Israel about something that applies to us “in the latter days”: “For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29).

We see this evil growing in the alliance between Latin America and Europe today. We need to watch the relationship between these two because it is certain to have a dramatic impact on the lives of every person in the United States!

Dependence on Europe

Our booklet He Was Right documents the accurate forecasting of late educator Herbert W. Armstrong, which he based on the Bible’s prophecies. This booklet also includes a chapter about the European-Latin American relationship. In it we write: “The Plain Truth [predecessor to the Trumpet] 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.’” (Request a free copy of He Was Right. It will give you in-depth insight into what is happening in this relationship today.)

That prophecy was written over 60 years ago! It is prophecy that could only come from God.

We continue, “Between 2002 and 2011, over 49 percent of weapons imported by South American nations came from the EU, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers Database. … It is also noteworthy that more arms from the EU came from Germany than any other nation.”

Latin American countries cannot manufacture their own advanced weapons, but they have avoided relying on the U.S. or Russia for them. Instead, they have chosen to side with Europe. “South America is welded to Europe’s military system,” we write. “The alliance is secure. South America’s military is hugely dependent on Europe” (emphasis mine). It is looking to Europe, and particularly Germany, to bolster its military armaments. This has been going on for years.

A strongman is coming on the scene to aid in the development of that union…I believe we could see this strongman appear in 2019.

Latin America possesses tremendous resources. Germany knows this very well. This country is leading Europe. And prophecy shows that it will soon also be leading Latin America, as head of a reconstituted Holy Roman Empire!

This relationship will probably take another step forward this year—a frightening development for the United States.

If this massive trade deal is finalized this year, then I believe we will see the current 28-nation European Union pared down to the prophesied 10-nation superpower this year as well. Before Europe can be closely tied to Latin America, something will have to change. The current politically and religiously disunified EU will have to become a politically, militarily and religiously unified Holy Roman Empire. Latin America is already quite united in its religion; the Holy Roman Empire will have to become united in its religion as well. And the only way to remove the division is by reducing that union to 10 nations. It is prophesied to happen (Revelation 17).

A strongman is coming on the scene to aid in the development of that union (Daniel 8:23). Only he can shape the Holy Roman Empire and take control. I believe we could see this strongman appear in 2019.

This European power is destined to become the number one superpower in the world!

‘Two Gigantic Trade Blocs’

Europe will draw a lot of power from its relationship with Latin America. Mr. Armstrong foretold that this combined power bloc would overtake the U.S. His Plain Truth magazine stated in May 1962 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.”

Mr. Armstrong prophesied precisely what we see happening today! This is a union that will be stronger than Russia and China. It will be stronger than the United States.

It will instigate a massive trade war—and America will be frozen out!

As we wrote in our January 8 online article, “Europe is already turning its back on the U.S. and seeks to pull Latin America to its side.” What a monumental change!

Bible prophecy shows that Europe is about to become an economic powerhouse. It is going to be part of an enormous “mart of nations” (Isaiah 23:3). (For more information on the meaning of this verse, read our article “The Great ‘Mart of Nations.’”)

Europe is going to become the world’s number one superpower. It is already equipped with nuclear bombs. So you can be sure that once it gains that kind of economic clout, it will be a power that will terrorize the world.

We can avert that terrible crisis if we just look to the great God who inspired Bible prophecy!

God’s Wrath—and Then Hope

Latin America and Europe have forgotten about all the foreign aid America has given them. They are turning to one another—and are already beginning to leave America, as Mr. Armstrong’s Plain Truth said, out in the cold.

We must remember: America cannot be besieged economically and in a trade war unless Latin America is a part of that siege. With Latin America joining in, America is surrounded. Please read our article “Preparing to Storm America’s Castle,” and study our infographic, to better grasp this reality.

Yet the United States has deferred to these powers as our “lovers” (Hosea 8:9). We trust other nations rather than God. But God warns that we had better beware. Our spiritual Father is angry because we are trusting in men! Now He is putting it in these foreign powers’ minds to undermine and attack the U.S.

This will be difficult for many people to believe. But there are many prophecies in your Bible that tell you exactly what is going to happen. The trouble is, most people do not read their Bible, and those who read it don’t believe what it says!

“Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations” (Ezekiel 5:8). This warning should wake people up! God Himself is telling the nations of Israel that He is against them! Not only are our enemies against us, but God is as well. This should strike terror in our minds!

Through all this suffering, we are going to come to know God. God wants to know each individual person. He doesn’t want us to be killed by evil men. But sadly, it will take a lot of suffering for God to get through to stubborn mankind.

There is no hope for us to avoid the Great Tribulation—the worst period of suffering in human history (Matthew 24:21)—if we fail to heed God’s warning. Responding in repentance will save our physical lives. We should seek that with all our being.

“Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord God; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity” (Ezekiel 5:11). God is upset with how we are living.

But we need not suffer. In Ezekiel 6, God tells His people to “prophesy against” Israel (verse 2). God wants to save His birthright nations! God says there is a small number of people that He will protect (symbolized by His telling Ezekiel, “bind them in thy skirts”—Ezekiel 5:3). God says that if you obey Him and do His work, He will protect you from these looming troubles. He will try and test us—but in the end He will protect those who turn to Him, be it individuals or nations.

Through all this suffering, we are going to come to know God (Ezekiel 6:10). God wants to know each individual person. He doesn’t want us to be killed by evil men. But sadly, it will take a lot of suffering for God to get through to stubborn mankind.

Even if you don’t repent today, after the worst suffering this world has ever experienced—the Great Tribulation—God is still going to lead this world into the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. You won’t see any more Holy Roman Empires. You won’t see any more wars. The Earth will be filled with happiness, joy and peace. What a wonderful time that is going to be!

That time is very close. You are surely going to see it come!

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Six Projects That Will Transform the Chinese Navy—in 2019 and Beyond

The People’s Liberation Army Navy is rapidly maturing.

The Chinese Navy is rapidly transforming into a more capable and more lethal 21st-century force. The People’s Liberation Army Navy is also developing some new projects in 2019 and beyond that will significantly accelerate that transformation.

1. Aircraft Carriers

In early January, China’s first domestically designed and built aircraft carrier—the Type 002—returned from its fourth round of sea trials. This is China’s second carrier. Since it has now completed around 90 percent of its testing, it is expected to be commissioned into service in April.

The Type 002 is a 65,000 ton vessel with advanced radar systems that can carry 32 aircraft. Once it enters commission, the carrier will significantly enhance China’s ability to project its power in the disputed territory of the South China Sea.

A third Chinese aircraft carrier—the Type 003—is also being built. With a displacement of 80,000 tons, the Type 003 will be considerably larger than China’s first two carriers, and will be the world’s largest non-American warship. It will incorporate an electromagnetic “catapult”-style aircraft launch system, increasing the longevity of the aircraft and facilitating quicker launches. This represents a major improvement over the ski-jump systems of China’s first two carriers. The Type 003 is expected to enter service as early as 2022.

China’s ambition to build a world-class navy with blue-water capability is no secret, and the Type 002 and Type 003 aircraft carriers and two other carriers to enter service by 2030 are major steps toward that goal.

2. The Type 055 Destroyer

The Chinese have had the Type 055 in development since 2014. Last year, the first two were launched from their dry docks in Dalian. They are now advancing through the testing phases and are expected to be transferred to the Navy this year.

China also has six other Type 055s in development, with plans in the works for two more, bringing the total anticipated number to 10.

The Type 055s are guided-missile destroyers, intended mainly to accompany China’s aircraft carriers. Since they are designed with considerable versatility—for long-range air defense and antisurface, anti-air and antisubmarine warfare—analysts expect them to significantly boost China’s naval capacity.

3. Type 054B Frigates

The Chinese Navy has 24 Type 054B frigates currently on order. These are multirole warships with a displacement of 5,000 tons. They can travel at up to 30 knots and have a cruising range of more than 7,000 nautical miles.

The new model is a major upgrade form its predecessor, the Type 054A, mostly due to enhanced antisubmarine warfare capabilities, improved hull shape, increased size and an all-electric propulsion system.

The combination of this electric propulsion system and the Type 054B’s larger size means it can carry more fuel and equipment than its predecessors. That translates into considerably enhanced combat capability.

Reports say the order of these 24 frigates to the Navy will be completed by 2025.

4. KJ-600

The KJ-600 has been called the “aircraft that could help China’s navy rival America’s.” It is a fixed-wing Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft, and it is being developed for use on China’s aircraft carriers. The KJ-600 crew of six is equipped with a larger Active Electronically Scanned Array radar than its counterparts, enabling it to detect inbound threats earlier. It is expected to enter service in the early 2020s.

China’s development of this particular aircraft reveals a lot about China’s ultimate ambitions. Dr. Collin Koh, a research fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, spoke about this in an interview last year with the South China Morning Post. He said, “If China’s carrier group is designed to operate closer to its coast, it would rely on shore-based early warning support. But with the carrier-based aew&c planes, it implies that these carriers are designed for distant sea operations.”

5. Type 075 Landing Helicopter Dock

The Type 075 is a landing helicopter dock that functions as an amphibious assault ship. The vessel has a displacement somewhere between 36,000 and 38,000 tons, which makes it the world’s largest non-U.S. landing helicopter dock by a considerable margin.

The Chinese Navy has ordered three of them, which will complement existing fleets of amphibious transport ships. Each one is able to carry 20 armored vehicles and four helicopters, so they are expected to bring the Chinese Navy capabilities closer to the U.S. Navy’s in terms of capacity to incorporate helicopters into operations. China’s first Type 075 is expected to launch this year and enter into full service sometime in 2020.

6. Fifth Generation Fighter Jets

China is also developing fifth-generation carrier-borne fighter jets.

There are two competing designs in the works, one at Shenyang and the other at Chengdu. The Navy has reportedly not yet chosen which one will be mass-produced. Both models are believed to be ski-jump capable and catapult compatible so that they can be used on the Navy’s two existing aircraft carriers as well as on the more advanced Type 003 and any future carriers.

The prototypes of this fifth-generation, carrier-borne fighter are expected to take their maiden flights within the next five years.

‘Everything Is Headed in the Direction of War’

These advances in the Chinese Navy are happening rapidly and they will significantly help the nation in its goal of asserting control over the South China Sea. That is where the rise of China’s navy takes on importance in terms of Bible prophecy.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written about China’s increasing control over the South China Sea and how it connects to Bible prophecy. In a July 2016 Trumpet article, he wrote:

[T]he American military is retreating, and other great powers are coming in to fill the vacuum. … China is intimidating the nations of Southeast Asia into submission to its will. … Everything is headed in the direction of war.

Mr. Flurry explained that his understanding of China’s rise is based on Bible prophecy. In Deuteronomy 28:52, God warns Israel that if it rejects Him, He will transfer control over the world’s strategic sea gates to its enemies.

Mr. Flurry explained that this is “a prophecy for the modern-day descendants of Israel,” which mainly means America and Britain.

Today we see China taking control of the South China Sea and many of the sea gates that allow access to it. And this is happening in locations that just a few short years ago were under the control of the United States and Britain, which shows that the prophecy in Deuteronomy is in the process of being fulfilled.

The rapidly rising power of the Chinese Navy could now hasten the fulfillment of these prophecies even more.

To better understand the prophetic significance of China’s rise, order a copy of our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

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Why the Pope Preaches Against America

Pope Francis presides over an evening vigil with young people at the Campo San Juan Pablo II in Panama City, on January 26, 2019.
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Why the Pope Preaches Against America

At World Youth Day celebrations, the pope brought a revolutionary message of a new world.

America is led by a “crazy” and “unchristian” leader. That’s the opinion regularly spouted by the far left—and it’s also the belief of the world’s most widely respected Christian leader.

In 2016, Pope Francis called border walls “unchristian,” right after holding mass just on the Mexican side of America’s southern border. Last week, he returned to the subject, as he returned to the region.

On the pope’s flight to Latin America, a journalist asked him about a U.S. border wall. The pope said that walling off the entire border “is madness.”

“It is fear that makes us crazy,” he said.

Then he arrived in Panama for the Catholic World Youth Day celebrations (January 22 to 27). Held every two to three years, this is a major event on the pope’s calendar. The audiences he addresses sometimes number in the millions.

This year’s event was on the smaller side, probably a sign of how the sex-abuse scandal has damaged the Catholic Church worldwide. Even so, several hundred thousand people came to hear Pope Francis. He used the occasion to exhort them to build a very different world.

Popping up in the pope’s speeches at World Youth Day were criticisms of migration control. He used one homily to speak against the “senseless and irresponsible condemnation of every immigrant as a threat to society.” People should instead be “builders of bridges,” he said.

He explained that walls are, in fact, so bad that locking people in prisons is wrong. “This attitude spoils everything, because it erects an invisible wall that makes people think that, if we marginalize, separate and isolate others, all our problems will magically be solved,” he told a group of prisoners. “When a society or community allows this, and does nothing more than complain and backbite, it enters into a vicious circle of division, blame and condemnation.”

As usual, another recurring theme in the pope’s speeches was climate change. He said in prayer that “Your Son’s way of the cross continues in the plea of our mother earth, profoundly wounded by the pollution of her skies, the barrenness of her fields, the contamination of her waters, trampled underfoot by disregard and a fury of consumption beyond all reason.”

But the pope’s message was more than a list of condemnations—of conservatives, climate change and capitalism.

He also exhorted the young people to “say yes” to changing the world—through social activisim.

God’s vision for the world is not “a promise far off in the future, having nothing to do with the present,” he told young people. Instead, he told them, God “calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out.”

He spoke to them about a “new world now being born.”

World Youth Day, he told them, would turn Panama from a hub of migration into a “hub of hope” for “a more humane world.”

It was this call for social activism that led George Neumayr at the American Spectator to comment, “His sermons could have been written by Nancy Pelosi.”

“Pope Francis spends much more time talking about this life than the next one,” Neumayr wrote. “He is given to statements such as ‘Another world is possible,’ but he isn’t referring to heaven. He is referring to a revolutionized political order.”

It’s a good observation. The pope puts forward a vision of the gospel very different from the one in the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote that if our hope is in this life, this world, “we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). Paul described society as “this present evil world” and exhorted Christians to instead put their hope in “the world to come.” Jesus Christ told His disciples to change their actions. And He was not afraid to criticize leaders in the world, especially religious ones. But He never urged Christians to overthrow the Roman Empire and build a new world.

The pope, however, made clear last week that he doesn’t want his followers to wait for this new world to arrive, but to go out and build it in a very “practical” way, now.

In the past, Pope Francis has made clear that he wants to topple the global system of free-market capitalism. He has called it “a new tyranny” and “the dung of the devil.”

When the pope insists that nations must open their borders, that Christ demands more spending on climate change, and that capitalism is from the devil, who is he condemning? When he exhorts Christians to create a new world, whom do they have to tear down to make that happen?

It is very clear the pope is preaching against the United States of America. And last week, just like during his 2016 trip to Mexico, he was doing so on America’s front porch. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote at the time:

If Pope Francis is to be taken at his word, he could not possibly wish for the leader of the capitalist system to thrive and prosper, continuing to inflict its “tyranny” on the world. If he believes the free market is a force of destruction, then he would feel not only justified, but obligated to use his power to weaken it. …

This is a pope who will hug dictators, and then reserve his harshest criticism for the world’s most powerful democracy that has led the world in promoting true freedom. … [T]his pope has made clear that he is staunchly opposed to some of America’s foundational ideals.

The Bible makes clear that God’s Church is not involved with politics of this world. But it describes another church that is. Revelation 17 describes a woman “with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication” (verse 2). In biblical symbolism, a woman represents a church. God describes His Church as the Bride of Christ in Ephesians 5. But this woman in Revelation 17 is not married to God—she is committing fornication with the major powers of the world.

“This church holds significant political influence with ‘the kings of the earth,’” wrote Mr. Flurry. “Such a description could only apply to one church in human history—a church that has exercised power over many great leaders, that has been deeply enmeshed in national politics and international affairs.” He continued:

When this biblical truth is viewed alongside Pope Francis’s recent activities and statements, it becomes clear why this should deeply concern us all. But most people are asleep to the danger.

Fifty or 60 years ago, no pope would have dared say some of the things this pope has said. Intervening in America’s political system would have provoked a major backlash. Today, it has stirred little more than amused talk about Donald Trump versus the pope.

The pope is a world leader, and he is stirring public opinion against not just the U.S. president but America’s core principles. He clearly preaches against free markets and limited government—core principles of the U.S. Constitution.

Herbert W. Armstrong warned for years that the Catholic Church would play a major role in opposing the U.S. He said that it would help cement Europe into a united power against the United States. “In only one way can this resurrected Holy Roman Empire be brought to fruition—by the ‘good offices’ of the Vatican, uniting church and state once again, with the Vatican astride and ruling,” he wrote (Plain Truth, January 1979). In 2017, Pope Francis called on Europe to come together as a “federal community.”

Just over a week ago, Mr. Flurry dedicated his Key of David television program to the subject of Europe’s influence in Latin America.

In 1962, the Plain Truth, under Mr. Armstrong’s leadership, wrote 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.” What can solidify such an alliance? The Catholic Church is a major part of the common cultural bonds between the two.

America should be very concerned that such a prestigious figure is traveling around the world as a diplomat of anti-Americanism. To learn the reason why, read our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.