WorldWatch

From the March 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Germany, France sign friendship treaty

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron signed a new treaty of friendship on January 22. The Aachen Treaty complements the 1963 Élysée Treaty, which began German-French reconciliation 18 years after World War II.

The Aachen Treaty lists more than 60 projects for strengthening Franco-German cooperation, including “a cross-border employment agency, an investment program for the border regions, joint research programs, and a common investment fund for start-ups,” Germany’s n-tv.de reported (January 9; Trumpet translation throughout).

A Times headline declared, “Paris and Berlin Herald New Era of Integration.” The article called the treaty “an unprecedented ‘twinning’ pact regarded as a prototype for the future of the European Union” (January 10).

With Britain leaving the EU, Germany and France are by far the bloc’s strongest economies. American influence is a fraction of what it was when the 1963 treaty committed Germany to American institutions. Now, if Germany and France agree, no one in the EU will be able to stop them.

The treaty also states that a priority of the German-French diplomacy will be to seek a permanent seat for Germany in the United Nations Security Council. It also enables Europe to act more “independently” in foreign and defense policies and allows for joint training of soldiers, joint armaments projects and joint units deployed for stabilization missions.

Thus, the treaty calls for a merged military of both nations, independent of the U.S. To learn more, read Gerald Flurry’s article “France Rejects America—and Empowers Germany!

EU-Japan relations at ‘a whole new level’

The world’s largest free trade area officially began on February 1, as the European Union and Japan opened a new trade zone.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement covers 635 million people and about one third of the world’s gross domestic product. The partnership will remove nearly all duties on exports to Japan, saving the EU $1.1 billion per year, and will eliminate several regulatory barriers. Japan’s consumers will receive increased access to EU agricultural products and many other key exports.

The EU currently exports about $66 billion of goods and $31.8 billion in services to Japan every year. This new economic agreement is likely to see trade between the EU and Japan grow.

The second accord that was signed, the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement, “will lead to further deepening of EU-Japan relations, strengthened foreign and security policy dialogue, and engagement across a wide range of global, regional and bilateral thematic issues,” according to the European Commission.

Isaiah 23:1-3 prophesy of an end-time “mart of nations,” or economic alliance, between Europe and Asia. This passage identifies those involved in this trade bloc by their ancient names: Tyre (German-led Europe), Chittim (China) and Tarshish (Japan). A specific fulfillment of this alliance between Europe and Japan is happening right now.

Austria focuses on the Middle East

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz hosted leaders of Christian churches in Iraq and Syria on Dec. 11, 2018, to discuss the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Christian communities across the region have faced heavy, violent persecution and may be exterminated unless something is done to save them.

Due to violence by the Islamic State and other radical Islamists, the number of Christians in Iraq has declined dramatically—from about 1 million in 2003 to fewer than 300,000 today. The destruction of church buildings has resulted in worshipers scattering, fleeing the country, converting to Islam or being killed.

The Austrian government has committed to fight the persecution of religious, especially Christian, minorities. It has specifically pledged to act against religious extremist ideologies such as political Islamism.

On Dec. 12, 2018, the Austrian Council of Ministers granted $1.1 million to support persecuted Christians in the Middle East. The Austrian government is also restoring the historic Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem, which was established in 1855. In 2018, Kurz and Austrian Archbishop Christoph Schönborn joined forces to help the Austrian government and the Catholic Church to invest $3 million in restoring the hostel.

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.”

Austria’s and the Vatican’s determination to counter Islamist attacks on Christians points to biblical prophecies of a coming religious war between Europe and radicalized Muslims—one that Europe will win.

China arms warship with railgun

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

A photograph of a railgun mounted on the deck of the Haiyang Shan testbed warship was posted by a Chinese defense blogger on Sina Weibo, one of China’s main social media networks. On January 3, China’s government-controlled 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 stunned analysts because United States intelligence had estimated that China would not deploy railguns before 2025. If the weapon is already operational, it would mean the Chinese Navy has crossed a major technological milestone six years early—a milestone the U.S. is still years from reaching.

Rather than using gun powder to fire projectiles as cannons have done for some 500 years, railguns use electromagnetic pulses. Besides making them far cheaper to operate than cannons, this also means they fire at hypersonic speeds of Mach 5 or higher. This gives the weapons a range that could profoundly alter the nature of military altercations.

China’s railgun technology could tighten the nation’s control over the South China Sea, giving the development biblically prophetic significance. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in July 2016 that China’s increasing control over the South China Sea is fulfilling specific Bible prophecies. “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.

To study the Bible prophecies that Mr. Flurry’s analysis is based on, read his article “China Is Steering the World Toward War!

China to militarize the ‘belt and road’

Projects in Pakistan that China has insisted for years were purely for peaceful purposes are becoming more overtly military in nature, confirming fears that China’s Belt and Road Initiative (bri) is intended partly to boost Chinese military power.

Since 2013, China has been building the bri, a chain of infrastructure development projects in more than 60 countries. From the earliest days, Pakistan was a bri darling, with China spending $60 billion to build a deepwater port on the country’s southern coast and linking it by road and rail up to the China-Pakistan border. Chinese officials have long claimed that in Pakistan and all other nations, the trillion-dollar bri is for peaceful purposes.

But the New York Times reported on Dec. 19, 2018, that confidential documents regarding China’s bri-related activities in Pakistan reveal that “China is for the first time explicitly tying a Belt and Road proposal to its military ambitions.”

The documents show that a special bri economic zone will expand Pakistan’s construction of Chinese fighter jets and that the two nations will jointly build navigation systems, weaponry and other military hardware in facilities in Pakistan. The plans also call for boosting China-Pakistan cooperation in space, a frontier China has been actively militarizing in recent years.

To understand more about the rise of China and where the Bible says it is leading , request your free copy of Russia and China in Prophecy.

Russia considers constitutional change to keep Putin in power

During a meeting of the ruling United Russia Party on Dec. 25, 2018, Russian politicians discussed revising the nation’s Constitution to allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in power after his current term ends. Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, broached the issue, saying the Russian Constitution, which limits a president to two consecutive terms, “isn’t dogma.”

Volodin reminded party members that the current Russian Constitution was written 25 years ago at a time when the people of Russia had “lost faith in the authorities.” The situation is different now, with most Russians supporting Putin, and Volodin said the quarter-century anniversary is a suitable time to reevaluate some aspects of the law. This shows Putin’s government may be preparing the Russian people and the world for a constitutional change.

The Trumpet keeps a watchful eye on Putin and his grip on power because Bible prophecy shows that as head of Russia, he will play a central role in a soon-coming third world war.

In Revelation 9:16, the Apostle John described a future military force, saying: “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand.” Revelation 16:12 associates this 200 million-man army with “the kings of the east,” showing it to be a group of Asian countries. Ezekiel 38:2 says the force will be led by the “prince of Rosh,” which is a variation of an ancient name for Russia, once called Rus (Young’s Literal Translation).

In the September 2014 Trumpet, editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote: “I strongly believe Vladimir Putin is going to lead the 200 million-man army. Just look at the power he already has. Can you think of any other Russian politician who could become so powerful and have the will to lead Russia into the crisis of crises? I see nobody else on the horizon who could do that.”

So whether Putin alters Russia’s Constitution to stay in power or the world descends into conflict before the question becomes pressing, the Trumpet believes he will be at the helm of Russia during the most tumultuous period in mankind’s strife-filled history. To understand both the danger and the hope revealed in these prophecies, order your free copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’

Lebanese to Hezbollah: renounce Iran

Lebanon held its first parliamentary elections in nine years in May 2018. But since then, the nation has failed to form a government. Lebanese citizens are growing increasingly critical of the main malefactor in the crisis: Hezbollah.

Hezbollah means “Party of Allah.” The Islamist Shiite group openly admits it receives orders from Iran. Together with its allies, Hezbollah controls more than half the seats in Lebanon’s parliament. After the election, it demanded that key government positions be granted to its preferred legislators. Other parties resisted the power grab, but Hezbollah refuses to back down.

Lebanese citizens are also incensed after news surfaced that Hezbollah built secret tunnels into Israeli territory for a planned large-scale invasion. The Lebanese are wary of provoking Israel into war.

On Dec. 24, 2018, the Middle East Media Research Institute published a series of comments from Lebanese lawmakers and media personalities expressing outrage against Hezbollah.

These developments indicate Lebanon could experience a political revolution that undermines Hezbollah’s influence there. Bible prophecy shows that somehow, Iran will lose its domination over Lebanon. Psalm 83 describes an end-time alliance of nations that includes biblical Gebal, or Lebanon, and the “inhabitants of Tyre,” referring to southern Lebanon. Other nations in this alliance are Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. This coalition of moderate Middle Eastern nations is largely an anti-Iranian alliance, further indicating that Lebanon will become an Iranian adversary. This could not happen if Hezbollah maintains its power in Lebanon. This trend is explained in “Why the Trumpet Watches an Alliance Between Arab Nations and Europe.”

Europe finally sanctions Iran

“EU just agreed to enact sanctions against an Iranian intelligence service for its assassination plots on European soil. Strong signal from the EU that we will not accept such behavior in Europe.” This statement was made on Twitter by Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen on January 8, a day he described as an “important day for European foreign policy!”

The European Union is accusing Iran of assassinating two Dutch citizens of Iranian origin in the Netherlands in 2015 and 2017. It also says it foiled Iran’s attempts to assassinate Iranian dissidents in Albania in March 2018, bomb an annual conference for a Paris-based Iranian opposition group in June 2018, and assassinate the leader of an ethnic Arab separatist group in Denmark in October 2018.

These are the first EU sanctions against Iran since EU members Britain, France and Germany signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran in 2015 along with China, Russia and the United States. The U.S. withdrew from the agreement in 2018, but the EU remains party to the deal. Now “the EU faces conflicting pressures over ties to Iran,” the Wall Street Journal reported on January 8, “with the bloc seeking to salvage the nuclear deal while confronting hostile Iranian behavior in its region and beyond.”

Bible prophecy reveals that Europe’s response to Iran’s terrorist activities will not be limited to economic sanctions. Daniel 11:40 reveals that Iran and its terrorist proxies and allies will “push” at Europe to the point that Europe will respond “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.” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry expounds on this prophecy in his free booklet The King of the South.

South Africa faces race war

At a political rally on Dec. 9, 2018, a South African leader demanded that his followers kill white people. “For each one [black] person that is being killed by the taxi industry, we will kill five white people,” Andile Mngxitama told a cheering crowd.

Mngxitama is the president of Black First Land First, a Communist political party that demands the seizure of white-owned land without compensation. He was expelled from Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters in 2015 for accusing Malema of being soft on land reform. (Malema was himself expelled from the ruling African National Congress for being too radical, and was tried by South Africa’s Equality Court for promoting a song that calls for the shooting of white farmers with machine guns.)

Malema has been only slightly less blatant than Mngxitama in inciting racially motivated murder. He said in an interview with trt World, published June 9, 2018: “I’m saying to you, we’ve not called for the killing of white people, at least for now. I can’t guarantee the future.”

The Bible prophesies of the political and racial violence which South Africa is currently facing. But thankfully, it also guarantees a significant improvement in race relations. It describes a future when there won’t be any talk of race wars or seizures of farmland. In fact, each family will receive its own God-given land, and produce will be so bountiful that the harvesting and planting seasons will overlap. Amos 9:13 prophesies, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine ….”