Why Has Emotion Replaced Reason in America?

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
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Why Has Emotion Replaced Reason in America?

The surprising answer
From the April 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

“Facts are stubborn things,” American founding father John Adams famously said. But in modern America, facts are not so stubborn, and you don’t become famous by clinging to them. You become famous by being stubborn with your emotions. More stubborn than facts, truth and logic are emotions, feelings and “personal truth.”

“We no longer live in a democracy. We live in an ‘emocracy’—where emotions rather than majorities rule and feelings matter more than reason,” historian Niall Ferguson recently wrote. “The stronger your feelings—the better you are at working yourself into a fit of indignation—the more influence you have” (January 27).

Examples are everywhere. Consider just two.

Newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a socialist and has been called the future of the Democratic Party by the party chairman. In a January 6
60 Minutes interview, Anderson Cooper challenged her regarding her use of inaccuracies to support her political views. Cortez condemned those who would dare call her out: “If people want to really blow up one figure here or one word there, I would argue that they’re missing the forest for the trees. I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually and semantically correct than about being morally right.”

It doesn’t matter if you make a few things up—what’s important is being morally right. She doesn’t define what makes something moral: Her views are “moral” regardless of facts. She is like many today who are less concerned with facts than with their narrative and their “truth.”

Take another example: the January 25 arrest of Roger Stone. No less than 29 heavily armed Federal Bureau of Investigation agents took part in the arrest of the 66-year-old former adviser to President Donald Trump at 6 a.m. at his house—on charges related to lies in an interview by Special Counsel Robert Mueller regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Stone quickly made bail and was back out of custody. To say that he is not considered a threat to anyone is an understatement.

As former House Speaker Newt Gingrich put it, “Is this really America when at 6 in the morning somebody who is not violent, has no record of violence, has armed fbi agents in full battle vests pounding on the door at 6 a.m.? While cnn covers it? There is something despicable about what’s happening in America today” (January 25).

Is this about facts? Is this about justice? Or is it about politics, ideology and will? The only reason this case was handled this way was because it supported the popular but false narrative, promoted incessantly by the media regardless of facts, of “Russian collusion.”

It seems that what matters most—more than facts, morals, or anything else—is simply winning, whatever the cost.

These and many other bizarre, unprecedented and dangerous trends are evidence of an unseen destructive influence on our society that few people ever think about.

That is the influence of the invisible spirit world on the spirit component of the human mind. Ephesians 6:12 states that we are not actually striving against other human beings but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [evil spirits] in high places.” There is a real spirit world!

The Bible perfectly describes the conditions we see: 2 Corinthians 4:4 says Satan is the god of this world; Ephesians 2:2 says human beings walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” “People simply do not realize that there is an invisible spirit power injecting into their minds these hostile attitudes,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages. It’s not that the average person underestimates the power of Satan’s influence. We don’t even realize it’s there.

This destructive influence is worse now than in any previous generation. In these last days, the Bible tells us about a universe-shaking, spiritual “war in heaven.” Michael and his angels prevailed against Satan and his demons, and there was no more space in heaven for those evil beings; they are now confined to Earth (Revelation 12:7-9, 12).

Why is our world coming apart in so many ways? Why are nations rising up against other nations? (Luke 21:10). Because Satan is influencing human minds, and he has been cast down to Earth! He is the cause. He is the father of murder, lies and deception (John 8:44). And he surcharges the air with his spirit of unrestrained emotion: anger, bitterness, strife, jealousy and envy.

These are the emotions taking over America. The louder you are with your uncontrolled emotion, the more credible you seem! Yet uncontrolled, unbridled emotions lead to catastrophe.

God gave us emotion, but He also gave us His law to show us what is right and wrong, so we can direct our emotions. But people in the world today are not looking to the Bible or to God for answers. They are not seeking guidance from above. They are not interested in reasoning together with God (Isaiah 1:18). And they have made themselves deeply vulnerable to the influence of the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air.

That is why, in America today, facts are no longer stubborn things. Emotions are.

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Serve God With Passion

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Serve God With Passion

From the April 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Are you passionate? I belong to a book club that has studied three dynamic personalities over the last two years: Winston Churchill, John Adams and Napoleon Bonaparte. We have found that these great leaders were active, assertive and passionate.

God is also passionate about what He does and about His plans. Bring more of God’s passion and energy into your life, and you can conquer even your worst sins, weaknesses and obstacles.

The Holy Spirit is a spirit of power (2 Timothy 1:7). The Greek word here for “power” is dunamis—the root word for dynamite! God’s Spirit supplies explosive spiritual power! And you need nothing short of that to win your spiritual war. Those who are so passionate that they conquer their sins are those who will rule with God on His throne (Revelation 3:21).

Military leaders sometimes sum up their ethos, their purpose, their passion in a single phrase. Semper Fidelis. Invicta. Duty first. Who dares wins. For king and country. God tells His Christian warriors, “Fight the good fight of faith …” (1 Timothy 6:12); “Strive to enter in at the strait gate …” (Luke 13:24); “mortify the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13); bring your body into subjection (1 Corinthians 9:26-27). These are the bold actions of passionate people!

Here are three areas to build more passion in your life:

1. Prioritize prayer and study.

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7). “The fact that Christ’s return is so near should change our behavior.The knowledge of Christ’s imminent return should make us urgent spiritually,” my father writes in The Epistles of Peter—A Living Hope. “Because Christ is almost here, we must be very concerned about our prayer life.”

Don’t try to work up passion yourself. Stirring up human emotion leads to temporary and sometimes dangerous results. Your passion must come from God. Go to Him in prayer—not in a dreary routine, but drinking in energy, spiritual strength and inspiration from God. Our passionate Father will respond and fuel your passion, energizing your life and producing growth, excitement and more passion! Your prayers will get results (James 5:16).

In Hosea 7:14, God corrected His people for their indifferent prayers: “[T]hey never put their heart into their prayers” (Moffatt translation). Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “[N]ever have I received an answer from God except when I prayed earnestly from the heart. I have never known of a real answer coming from God of a casual, routine prayer” (Plain Truth, August 1978). Make sure your prayers are not casual, listless or said while half-asleep. Psalm 62:8 tells us to pour out our hearts to God. Hezekiah “prayed and cried” to God (2 Chronicles 32:20). Christ prayed to the Father with “strong crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7).

In the same way, ask God to help you bring passion into your Bible study. Romans 10:1-2 describe people who are filled with misguided zeal that differs from God’s knowledge. Studying the Bible fills you with God’s knowledge and gives your passion direction. Pursuing your own desires and your own righteousness, causes you to miss out on the entire purpose for your existence. Ground your routine and your life in deep Bible study. The truth you learn will have you bubbling over with passion and pointed in the right direction. If you study God’s Word with a humble, obedient attitude, it will become a burning fire in your bones (Jeremiah 20:9; 23:29).

2. Study the lives of passionate leaders.

Our book club has studied a prime minister, a president and an emperor—and all three were voracious readers. These great men studied great men. “Napoleon Bonaparte said that if you want to be a great general, you must study the great generals of the past,” my father writes in The Former Prophets. “That is good advice for us spiritually as well. Bible history is the greatest history of all because it’s God’s history.”

My father writes in his booklet on Chronicles that if we don’t study history and the lives of great men, we are in danger of being caught up in the present and forgetting the prophetic and historic overview. As a young man, Mr. Armstrong studied the biographies and autobiographies of great men, as well as the stories of great leaders in the Bible. Studying passionate leaders teaches us how to be passionate ourselves.

3. Build passion for God’s work.

John Adams was called the “colossus of independence” because of his urgency, unrelenting drive and passion for the fledgling United States. He was passionate for a physical goal. We should be far more passionate for our spiritual goal: supporting and doing God’s work.

Jeremiah was. He did God’s work by “rising early and speaking” (Jeremiah 7:13; 25:3; 35:14). He was urgent and hard-working about getting the work done.

Jesus Christ certainly was. He attracted huge crowds, not only because of His healings and miracles, but also because He had a powerful message that He delivered with power and conviction. His messages left people amazed and astonished (Matthew 22:33; Luke 2:47; 4:32). After Christ was gone, His disciples said, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).

Doing God’s work effectively takes real passion! We should be bold and courageous in our mission, knowing God’s Kingdom is the solution to the world’s evils and troubles.

Use these three points. They will help you to become truly passionate about what God is passionate about.

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From the April 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Democratic Party swings hard left

The Democratic Party has drafted a new strategy to defeat United States President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election: Shift even harder to the left. Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced her candidacy for president on January 15, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris on January 21, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren on February 9. Several others are seriously considering runs. This lineup is the most left-wing Democratic presidential field in U.S. history.

So far, Senator Warren is the biggest name in play. Unlike some of her colleagues, she does not openly embrace socialism. She says she wants to “fix” capitalism, rather than replace it. Yet the details of her economic proposals would actually “constitute the largest seizure of private property in human history.” In August 2018, she introduced a Senate bill proposing that the government should manage every U.S. business with more than $1 billion in revenue. That would turn more than 1,000 American companies (90 percent of American businesses by sales) into state-run entities.

Senator Harris’s proposals on free college for households earning less than $125,000 per year and “Medicare for all” are far from centrist. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 2016 presidential candidate and self-described socialist, advocated both of these proposals. According to a George Mason University study, the “Medicare for all” program would cost about $3.3 trillion per year (93 percent of the total projected 2019 tax revenue).

Senator Gillibrand called on Congress to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, effectively erasing the nation’s border. She has embraced legal marijuana and endorsed a plan for government-guaranteed jobs for all Americans. Taken together, her proposals would allow illegal immigrants to pour into the country, claim a guaranteed job, and openly indulge in drugs. All of these proposals would have been unthinkable just one election cycle ago.

To understand the biblical significance behind the Democratic Party’s shift left, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Communism in America Today.” (theTrumpet.com/go/communism).

Social media addicts struggle to make real friends

A survey of 3,053 British adults commissioned by the French beverage company Pernod Ricard found that social media addiction makes it harder to make new friends and keep old ones. In the survey, released at the end of January, 55 percent of respondents agreed that spending time on social media has made their friendships more superficial.

The survey found that the average Briton has 12 “real” friends, but only feels close enough to four of them to confide personal details. The average respondent said he or she had drifted apart from seven friends, blaming time spent on social media as a primary cause.

Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Social media is creating a world where people have hundreds of Facebook friends and few real ones.

Women run the military-industrial complex

Men no longer dominate the United States defense industry. As of January 1, women lead four of the nation’s five biggest defense contractors: Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Boeing’s defense division. The U.S. military’s top weapons buyer, the government’s top arms control negotiator, and the chief overseer of the nation’s nuclear stockpile are also women.

This historical first is “a watershed for what has always been a male-dominated bastion,” reports Politico deputy defense editor David Brown, “the culmination of decades of women entering science and engineering fields and knocking down barriers as government agencies and the private sector increasingly weigh merit over machismo” (January 2).

Major news outlets are enthusing over the trend. In the past, some scholars, such as Francis Fukuyama and Steven Pinker, have argued that women filling such positions could make the world more peaceful. This hope will prove illusory. Bible prophecy reveals that female dominance in military industry will do nothing to prevent impending conflict.

A prophecy in Isaiah 3 refers to a time when God removes “the [men] of war” and “the captain[s] of fifty” from end-time Israel, and replaces them with women and childish leaders. This change will not to lead to a more enlightened, peaceful future, but will “destroy the way of thy paths” and leave the nation desolated by war (verses 1-12). To learn why God is removing strong leaders from America and Britain, read Isaiah’s End-Time Vision.

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From the April 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

End of INF brings mankind closer to nuclear brink

The United States announced on February 2 that it is suspending compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty due to Russia’s ongoing violations of the deal. The 1987 agreement between the U.S. and Russia bans both countries from developing or using land-based, medium-range nuclear missiles. Such missiles give even less warning than long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles or incoming aircraft, meaning decisionmakers have minutes or seconds to decide if an inbound threat is a false alarm.

Beginning in 2008, Russia began developing a new missile system that clearly violates the inf deal. “[T]he United States has … raised Russia’s noncompliance with Russian officials, including at the highest levels of government, more than 30 times,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on February 1. “Yet Russia continues to deny that its missile system is noncompliant and violates the treaty. The United States will therefore suspend its obligations under the inf Treaty ….”

The decisions were made by Russia and America, the effects are most dramatic for Europe. This treaty’s demise puts Europe’s historic cities in the nuclear crosshairs. If intermediate-range nuclear missiles are launched, they will be inbound, not for Washington or Moscow, but for Berlin, Warsaw, Paris and Rome. The inf treaty covers shorter range, mobile missiles more suited to surprise attack than longer-range, larger counterparts. Russia has already developed and deployed new types of these weapons. “If you think Europe is under strain now, wait until it faces a new nuclear arms race,” wrote Edward Lucas in the Sunday Times (February 4).

But Germany is already showing signs of a strong response. After the deal’s suspension, a Handlesblatt headline read, “New Arms Race: As Nuclear Treaties Dissolve, Germany Wakes Up to New Responsibilities.” Europe is no longer relying on America for its security, but on Europe—which means it is relying on Germany.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s former vice chancellor and foreign minister, wrote an article titled “Europe and the New Nuclear-Arms Race.” He wrote, “Europe is now entering a potentially dangerous period and must play a much more active role in the nuclear-arms debate” (February 5).

Roderich Kiesewetter, a defense expert with Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union party, said, “If Russia doesn’t dismantle its systems, we must ensure Europe’s security and shouldn’t exclude any options, even nuclear ones” (Spiegel Online, February 5).

This is a controversial issue and could be another major headache for the coalition. But several in the cdu want Europe to strengthen its nuclear weapons. If Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to reject all forms of cooperation, “one must, if need be, consider nuclear retrofitting in Europe,” said Elmar Brok, a cdu member of European Parliament (ibid). T-Online wrote that Germany is stumbling “into a debate about nuclear armament, reminiscent of dark times” (February 4).

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has long focused on the role that fear of Russia has played in uniting Europe. In the January 2004 Trumpet, he described how the rise of strongman Putin “strikes intense fear in Europe … that will hasten the uniting of the European Union.” Ten years later, Mr. Flurry described how Putin shocked Europe with his invasion of Ukraine. “Europe’s dreadful fear of Vladimir Putin—its next-door neighbor—is going to help shape and form the Holy Roman Empire rather suddenly,” he wrote in the May 2014 Trumpet.

With the demise of the inf Treaty, that fear has grown. Watch how Europe responds. Watch the debate about nuclear power in Europe. This fear will bring some massive and long-prophesied changes to Europe.

The signing of the inf Treaty was a positive development for mankind. But it was never a guarantee of lasting peace, and now it is collapsing. None of man’s various treaties and plans are able to secure sure and lasting peace. In all such ideas, there is no guarantee that unfathomably destructive weapons will not be used. And there is no cause for hope.

But there is hope in the Bible. “Only God can solve our number one problem: that of human survival,” Mr. Flurry writes in his booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’

Mr. Flurry makes the Bible’s plan for a sure solution clear. But he shows that the Scriptures also say that man’s peace efforts will increasingly fail and that nuclear war will soon erupt. Matthew 24:21-22 reveal that this future war will threaten to end every human life. The suspension of the inf Treaty brings this alarming prophecy closer to fulfillment.

But end-time prophecies do not end with war wiping out mankind. Matthew 24:22 says the nuclear war “shall be shortened.” Before the nations detonate enough weapons to obliterate all people, Jesus Christ will return and cut the violence short. He will usher in an age of lasting peace.

“We are now at the edge of this nuclear abyss!” Mr. Flurry writes. But he adds that as these “horrible signs come to pass, we know Christ is about to return.” To understand these prophecies and the profound hope at their core, order a free copy of Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’

China expands navy and air force, downsizes army

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is undergoing “transformational changes” to boost the size of its navy and air force and to downsize its land-based army by nearly half, the nation’s official Xinhua news agency wrote on January 20.

China is using its expanding naval power to assert greater control over the South China Sea. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said its tightening grip on the region shows that “China is steering the world toward war.” In the July 2016 Trumpet, 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’s analysis is founded on Bible prophecy. Deuteronomy 28:52 records God warning the people of Israel that if they reject Him, He will give control of the world’s maritime choke points, or “gates,” to their enemies. Mr. Flurry wrote that this is “a prophecy for the modern-day descendants of Israel! Two nations in particular represent Israel in this end time: America and Britain.”

Its naval expansion will soon enable China to block the U.S. and Britain out of not just the Asian sea “gates” they once controlled, but even those that lie thousands of miles from China. To understand this Bible prophecy, and the hope that is tied to it, read Mr. Flurry’s free book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet.

Pentagon: Rising Chinese military targeting Taiwan

China has made major military advancements and developed new weapons as it improves its ability to wage war over places such as Taiwan, a January 15 report from the United States Defense Intelligence Agency said.

“Beijing’s long-standing interest to eventually compel Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland and deter any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence has served as the primary driver for China’s military modernization,” the report said.

For decades, the Taiwanese have lived in fear of military invasion from China. But they have managed to stay free due to the support of the United States.

But in 1998, after U.S. President Bill Clinton publicly opposed Taiwanese independence, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said it showed that Taiwan would eventually be forced under China’s rule. In the August 1998 issue, he wrote that “Taiwan is … going to be forced into the Chinese mold; and it is going to happen for one reason: because of a pitifully weak-willed America.”

To understand China’s increasing aggression in the context of Bible prophecy, order a free copy of our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

‘Long arm of the Islamic Republic’

On February 2, Iran successfully test-launched what Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami described as the “long arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran”: the Hoveizeh cruise missile.

The long-range missile was manufactured by the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Aerospace Industries Organization, but was derived from the Russian Kh-55, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. During the test, held on the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, the missile “accurately hit the set target” from a distance of 750 miles, according to Hatami. He said the missile “flies at a very low altitude” and “can be ready in the shortest possible time.”

Five days earlier, Iranian Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said that his nation’s strategy was “to erase Israel from the global political map.” Three days later, he vowed that a new war would “result in Israel’s defeat within three days.”

The test followed a particularly tense period: On January 20, Iran’s Quds Force launched a ballistic missile from the outskirts of Damascus, targeting an Israeli resort in the Golan Heights. Israel successfully intercepted the Iranian-made rocket with its Iron Dome anti-missile system and retaliated the following day with three waves of air strikes against Iranian intelligence facilities, weapons warehouses and a training camp near Damascus.

Iranian leaders also threatened Europe, though less blatantly. “If today the Europeans or others try to plot and pursue Iran’s missile disarmament, then we will be forced to resort to a strategic leap,” General Salami said on the same day Iran tested the Hoveizeh. “All that hear me today, come to terms with the new reality of Iran’s missile might: There are no obstacles or technical limitations to us increasing [our] range.”

All of Israel and parts of Europe are already within range of Iran’s longest-range advanced missile. So far, Israel has borne the brunt of those missiles—and retaliated accordingly. While most of Iran’s rocket and missile attacks on Israel have been conducted via proxies, Iran has proved willing to confront Israel more directly since Feb. 10, 2018, when it launched an armed drone into Israeli airspace from Syria. Bible prophecy shows that Europe will soon be the target, and when it retaliates, it will result in the end of Iranian terrorism.

Venezuela chaos: Not just a problem for Venezuela

Venezuela has two competing presidents. One is the incumbent President Nicolás Maduro, who was sworn in for a second six-year term on January 10 after a dubious election result. The other is Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president on January 23.

Government officials in the United States, the European Union, Canada, Brazil and 10 other Latin American countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. But Venezuela’s military still backs Maduro, as do the governments of Cuba, China, Iran and Russia.

Security experts are unsure how this situation will play out. The Bible, however, gives a strong indication of Venezuela’s future.

A decade ago, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry forecast the formation of a brief economic alliance between a German-led European Union and an Asian bloc. He based this forecast on a prophecy in the biblical book of Isaiah. These two economic powerhouses are going to team up against the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel (the U.S. and Britain, primarily). (All of these biblical identities are explained in Mr. Flurry’s booklet Isaiah’s End-time Vision and the late Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

Logistically, the U.S. cannot truly be blockaded unless Latin America participates in the siege.

Venezuela’s language (Spanish) and religion (Roman Catholicism) make it a natural ally of Europe. If Maduro is forced into exile, it is likely that opposition forces will realign their country toward Europe and the U.S., and away from Russia and China. But ultimately, the Bible reveals that Europe will turn its back on the U.S., make common cause with Russia and China, and use its Latin American allies to besiege and invade North America.

America negotiates defeat in Afghanistan

A report in the New York Times on January 28 indicated that America’s longest-running war is about to end. After nearly two decades of fighting, the United States is about to enter into peace negotiations with the very enemy it sought to destroy in Afghanistan: the Taliban.

But before Americans rejoice over a possible end to the war, it’s worth remembering that victory over the Taliban was one of the main objectives of the war in the first place.

The Trumpet forecast this shocking display of lack of will to destroy a far weaker enemy repeatedly over the past two decades.

How could we know that the Afghan war would end in such failure? It’s because God prophesied that He would break the will of the United States. Referring to what God says in Leviticus 26, the Trumpet wrote in 2006, “It is time to remember that ancient prophecy God declared against a rebellious nation caught up in deepening moral and spiritual decline.” Notice: “And I will break the pride of your power … And your strength shall be spent in vain … if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me” (Leviticus 26:19-21).

To understand the full weight of this prophecy and its ramifications for America, read The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.

America’s Achilles’ heel: EMPs

The United States Air Force released an Electromagnetic Defense Task Force report on Nov. 28, 2018. The report concluded that an electromagnetic pulse generated by a solar flare or a nuclear weapon could cripple communication systems that are crucial to the military.

Such an event would fulfill a major Bible prophecy that Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has highlighted for over two decades. In the January 1995 Trumpet, he said the U.S. military’s Achilles’ heel is its dependence on information technology. If an enemy could sabotage this technology, it could conquer the nation. One way to sabotage information systems is cyberwarfare. But there are others.

The high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon over North America would theoretically incapacitate power grids for months, crippling major cities. The U.S. military is ill prepared to respond, as it depends on the advanced electronics that would be destroyed in such a scenario. Communication between military bases could be cut off. Many weapons systems could be rendered useless.

In 1995, Mr. Flurry described an end-time Bible prophecy that could be fulfilled by a cyberattack or EMP attack. Ezekiel 7:14 says, “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.” The trumpet of war will be blown in the nations descended from ancient Israel (mainly America and Britain). People expect the military to mobilize, but nobody goes to battle.

To see what the Bible says concerning America’s misplaced trust in military technology, read Mr. Flurry’s updated article “America’s Achilles’ Heel—and Germany.”

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Sodom and Gomorrah Proved!

Public Domain

Sodom and Gomorrah Proved!

Recent scientific evidence corroborates an ‘impossible’ biblical miracle.
From the April 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Sodom and Gomorrah—cities utterly destroyed by fire from heaven. So says your Bible.

And now, so says archaeology.

The biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah’s heavenly destruction is legendary. “Sodom and Gomorrah” is a term universally understood to represent sin, sexual license, immorality—and horror and destruction.

The biblical account is far from being merely a fable, however. Scientists have now found evidence of a catastrophic event unmistakably akin to the one described in the book of Genesis.

From Paradise to Sheol

The Dead Sea zone was once home to a thriving civilization—particularly the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, according to the Bible. Genesis 13:10 describes the location as a veritable “garden of the Lord,” “well watered every where.”

Archaeology has revealed flourishing prosperity in this area—right up until it came to a sudden, jarring end around 3,700 years ago. This is the same period at which the Bible places the “fire and brimstone” destruction. In the centuries following this abrupt end of civilization, the territory has remained lifeless and uncultivatable. To this day it is utterly saline and quite literally dead.

Landscape along the Dead Sea.
iStock.com/1001slide

According to the Bible, because of the widespread evil in Sodom, God condemned it to fiery destruction, sparing only Lot and his family. “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground” (Genesis 19:24-25).

God demolished the terrain, and fused Lot’s wife into salt after she looked back longingly at the city. The Bible associates salt with total destruction; for example, after Shechem was conquered, salt was scattered throughout the city (Judges 9:45). Appropriately, the area is home to what is known as the Salt Sea (Dead Sea), the world’s deepest hypersaline lake—10 times saltier than the ocean.

Archaeological Evidence

Jordan’s Tall el-Hammam is a possible location of biblical Sodom. Excavations there have revealed utter destruction and an instantaneous end of civilization, dating roughly to the 1700s b.c. More destruction was found at five nearby excavated sites, and indicated by ground surveys at 120 other, smaller settlements in the region. Excavation director Prof. Phillip Silvia recorded his team’s discoveries in a detailed analysis: “The 3.7kaBP Middle Ghor Event: Catastrophic Termination of a Bronze Age Civilization. The details are almost incredible.

Mud brick structures were found to have suddenly disappeared, leaving only burned stone foundations. Bricks showed signs of incineration. Skeletons lay mangled. Clay pottery fragments were discovered to have melted into glass. Zircon crystals in the pottery, upon analysis, were shown to have formed within one second, the result of superheating to temperatures perhaps as hot as the surface of the sun. A “tidal wave” of boiling hot salt had swept over the land. There was evidence that mineral grains had rained down, carried by scorching, high-force winds. Ash and debris, several feet thick, were left behind within the wider 193-square-mile area of destruction—a scene of utter carnage of biblical proportions. The estimated regional population of 40,000 to 65,000 people would have been killed instantly by the strange event.

What caused such a catastrophe?

An Exploding Meteor?

Silvia’s team of scientists working at Tall el-Hammam has estimated that the scene of devastation was caused by an exploding meteor. They base this hypothesis on a massive airburst that occurred in 1908 in Siberia, leveling 772 square miles of forest yet leaving no crater. Scientists’ best guess at what caused this Russian blast was a meteor breaking apart three to six miles above ground. In 2013, a fiery meteor streaked across Russia, causing explosions and injuring hundreds. The Tall el-Hammam scientists posit that a similar event must have occurred around 3,700 years ago, causing a dramatic fireball, a superheated air blast, and a fallout that wiped out the region below.

Effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. View from the top of the Red Cross Hospital looking northwest. Frame buildings erected afterwards. 1945.
Wikimedia Commons

Based on research by atomic energy researcher Samuel Gladstone, the Tall el-Hammam scientists have estimated that a 10-megaton airburst yield in the atmosphere would have been sufficient to cause the destruction evidenced on the ground. That is just over 666 times the blast yield of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

While scientists can debate whether or not such extraordinary destruction was caused by a meteor-type event or other heavenly phenomena, what is not debatable is the effect. And that destruction—in location, time and description—directly matches the biblical event.

Fire and Brimstone

To this point, archaeology has confirmed dozens of personalities in the Hebrew Bible (53, according to this count), dozens of places, dozens of wars, etc. Here, at the northern tip of the Dead Sea, we have scientific corroboration for a biblical miracle. The New Living Translation of verses 24-28 read: “Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt. Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace.”

The finds at Tall el-Hammam and the surrounding area have confirmed just such an event. Some kind of heavenly firestorm instantly incinerated not only the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but all the “other cities and villages of the plain,” carbonizing them with temperatures perhaps akin to the surface of the sun. “[E]very bit of vegetation” was wiped out, and evidence shows that the land remained uncultivable and inhospitable for the next 500 years (see also Deuteronomy 29:23). Even today, the region remains synonymous with death.

Given that much of the area was blanketed in boiling salt in the conflagration, it’s not surprising that Lot’s wife would also be cemented into a superheated column of salt for her sin of looking back in longing for the depraved cities. And certainly, the damage would have created billowing clouds of smoke visible for hundreds of miles around—such as what Abraham saw.

Why?

Why the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? For thousands of years, it was believed that the cities were destroyed primarily for their sexual sins, especially homosexuality. However, due to the current popularity of homosexuality, some biblical apologists argue otherwise. They posit an alternative interpretation: that the prime sin of Sodom was the lack of hospitality toward foreigners.

Does this explain why Sodom and Gomorrah, above all cities on Earth, were wiped out? What about those like the Assyrians, who lined city walls with the heads and skins of foreigners? Why weren’t they destroyed by a nuclear-like fireball?

Several scriptures make clear Sodom and Gomorrah were glutted with sexual sin—especially homosexual sin—and that this specific sin is directly related to the fiery conflagration. The context of Genesis 19 makes this clear. The men of the city demanded that Lot send his “male” guests out to them, “that we may know them” (verse 5), referring to sexual relations. This wasn’t just one or two men. This was “the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter” (verse 4). Lot refused, and offered instead his virgin daughters to the mob, girls “which have not known man … and do ye to them as is good in your eyes” (verse 8). The context makes clear what the men of the city wanted. The Moffatt translation (among others) renders verse 5: “Where are the men who came to visit you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may rape them.”

As a result of this exchange, the angels who were with Lot blinded the men outside his home—and still the sex-crazed men grappled for the door (verse 11).

Today’s world is fast approaching—or has already surpassed, in many cases—the saturation point of sin prevalent in Sodom and Gomorrah, especially in sexual sin. Isaiah 3:8-9, speaking of our time, condemn our people who proudly “declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not.” Never in history has sodomy been so openly celebrated.

The idea that homosexuality isn’t a sin contravenes several other scriptures that condemn the practice (e.g., Leviticus 18:22; 20:13). “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7). These are the chief sins identified with Sodom and Gomorrah—sexual sins—going after strange flesh. Of course, this was concurrent with many other sins that contributed to their downfall. The Prophet Ezekiel wrote of Sodom and “her daughters”: “They were haughty and practiced abominable deeds” (Ezekiel 16:49-50; New English Translation).

The mortal danger of such sin is not only to those directly engaged in it, but to those exposed to it. The attitude of “as long as it doesn’t affect me” is dangerous, as Lot found out the hard way. He detested the sins of the city, but the gross sexual immorality had rubbed off on his family—to the point that his betrothed sons-in-law refused to escape, his wife looked back longingly at the city as they fled, and his own two daughters raped him soon afterward in order to conceive children (Genesis 19). Such actions by Lot’s daughters certainly aren’t the result of a mere “lack of hospitality” rubbing off on them. They are the result of growing up in a society saturated in sexual sin.

Today’s world is fast approaching—or has already surpassed, in many cases—the saturation point of sin prevalent in Sodom and Gomorrah, especially in sexual sin. Isaiah 3:8-9, speaking of our time, condemn our people who proudly “declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not.” Never in history has sodomy been so openly celebrated.

Homosexuality does go beyond affecting those who directly engage in it. Your Bible says society’s sins are leading to another “fire and brimstone” event—this time worldwide. This coming calamity is going to be “greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom” (Lamentations 4:6).

Not only does the Bible present a witness of fiery judgment for sin, so too does archaeology. Perhaps these recent discoveries are actually an omen of what is soon to come upon us.

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What Is True Repentance?

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What Is True Repentance?

Most people do not know—yet this vital truth is a matter of life and death!
From the April 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

True repentance is one of the most misunderstood doctrines in mainstream Christianity today. It is also one of the most important for a true Christian to understand.

Before Jesus Christ’s ministry, John the Baptist boldly proclaimed that mankind needed to repent. Christ started His ministry by emphasizing the exact same truth. And at the beginning of God’s one true Church, Christ’s apostles continued proclaiming the need for true repentance.

As a reader of the Trumpet magazine, perhaps you have thought about repentance. You may have heard this subject discussed at your local church. But do you really know what repentance is?

What does a person repent of? Who is repentance toward? It is vital you understand this subject. No person will inherit eternal life who has not truly repented. It is truly a matter of life and death.

Not Just Sorry

“Repentance is not merely being sorry for something one has done—or even many such sins,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his book The Incredible Human Potential. “It is a real repentance of what one is and has been—of his whole past attitude and life apart from God.” Have you ever thought of repentance to that degree and depth? This is what your Bible teaches.

Repentance is more than just being sorry. Many times, individuals have thought that they have repented of a sin. Yet merely asking God for forgiveness is not true repentance. It is important that we confess our sins before Him and ask for His mercy and forgiveness, but true repentance goes much deeper than that.

“It is a total change of mind and heart and direction of life,” Mr. Armstrong continued. “It is a change to a new way of life. It is a turning from the self-centered way of vanity, selfishness, greed, hostility to authority, envy, jealousy and unconcern for the good and welfare of others to the God-centered way of obedience, submission to authority, love toward God more than love of self, and of love and concern for other humans equal to self-concern.”

If you are to reach the deep level of repentance God seeks, then you need to pray about and meditate on what you just read. To truly repent, you must honestly see yourself for what you are and who you are apart from God. This is what we all must do!

Human nature is filled with the evil fruits of “vanity, selfishness, greed, hostility to authority, envy, jealousy and unconcern for the good and welfare of others,” as Mr. Armstrong wrote. We have to recognize this reality about ourselves, but can only do that if we get God involved in the process. Then, with His Holy Spirit and His perfect love shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5), we can begin to learn and think differently. We can have that “change of mind and heart” we so desperately need—the change that is true repentance.

What Do You Repent Of?

Mainstream Christianity today sometimes speaks about repentance. But do they really understand the kind of repentance God requires? Do they even understand what one must repent of?

Notice the answer in 1 John 3: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (verse 4). We repent of breaking God’s law.

One of the greatest deceptions in so-called Christianity is the notion that God’s law is done away. If that is the case, then what do we repent of? If you think God’s law is done away, then you cannot understand true repentance.

God’s law is His way of thinking; it is His perfect way of life. Anything contrary to that is sin. That is what we must repent of. That is more than being sorry for doing something wrong. It is about changing—a complete turnaround and moving forward in the other direction. Repentance is about going in the opposite direction of sin.

The process of repentance requires that we know what sin is and that we come to recognize it in our own lives. Otherwise, how could we overcome it? Again, understanding the law of God is vitally important.

True faith—the faith of Jesus Christ—is critical as well. The Apostle Paul wrote, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Do you diligently seek God? Do you approach Him with faith? Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Elsewhere, Paul states that whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

Not doing what God says to do is sin. Doing things that God says not to do is sin. Not walking by faith is sin. Anything contrary to living and thinking like God is sin. That is what we must change. In all cases, the common denominator regarding sin is God’s law.

True repentance has more to do with the future than with the past. Yes, we should have remorse. We should be sorry for the wrong ways of our past. But true repentance is about turning around and going in a different direction. It’s about changing and moving in a new, different and right way.

God Leads You to Repentance

However, not one of us can do this on our own. Without God, we are woefully inadequate. To be successful, we need to beseech God for help. When we go before God, we must know that He will hear and answer us. Remember, as the Apostle Paul wrote, that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Notice what God can do for us: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). God expects us to come to Him with a humble and teachable spirit. Then with the power of His Spirit, He will lead us to true repentance. We cannot work up true repentance on our own. It can only be done by the power of God.

Humbly and diligently ask for God’s help! Go before Him in faith with a humble and teachable spirit, desiring to learn to think and live like Him. If you want to live according to His way, then ask in faith for Him to lead you to repentance. That will lead to a total and complete separation from your former ways. Let it cut deeply to the point that you want to change your ways.

Repentance Is Toward God

Another very important aspect we must understand is found in the book of Acts. “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). We must have faith toward Jesus Christ, yes—but our repentance is toward God the Father. He is the great Lawgiver. When we break His law, our repentance must be toward Him. When we sin, we are violating His way of life and what He has established as right.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written a booklet titled How to Be an Overcomer. We want to send you this book free of charge. Take the time to study it deeply. It shows you the attitude you must have in order to totally repent. In fact, the first chapter is titled “Repentance Toward God.”

That booklet highlights King David’s example. David made some serious mistakes and committed some terrible sins. But he knew how to truly repent toward God. Because of his attitude and the changes he made in his life, God called him a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). That is quite a reputation for this king! God would never have called David that if he didn’t know how to repent.

We have all sinned, just like David (Romans 3:23). But do you want to be a person after God’s own heart?

In the first chapter of How to Be an Overcomer, Mr. Flurry writes: “Sin is something that needs to horrify us. We must be aware of what Christ did for us. Grow in ‘repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Have faith in that sacrifice. Then repent toward God, who planned the whole thing. You know, especially if you’re a parent, that the Father must have suffered horribly along with Christ.

“If you have problems that keep recurring in your life, evaluate yourself by this measure. Are you repenting toward God? Realize your evil before God!”

Think about what Jesus Christ and God the Father did for you. We need to come to a depth of repentance where it is as though our own firstborn was pierced! (Zechariah 12:10). God the Father had His own Son brutalized, crucified and a spear pierced into His side. Sin should horrify us as it does our spiritual Father.

A Message Through the Ages

Even before Christ’s earthly ministry, emphasis was placed on true repentance. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2). John the Baptist was telling those gathered around (ahead of Christ’s ministry) to repent. The time had come for God to begin preparing pillars, helpers and leaders for the Kingdom of God. It all starts with repentance. It starts with us recognizing who and what we are apart from God. It starts with us seeing the need to change and to begin learning how to become more like God. It is a complete change from sin to living and thinking like God.

We have to make that change permanent. Some in John the Baptist’s day did not like his message. They did not want to change. “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (verses 7-8). They were told they wouldn’t be baptized. No matter how much they tried to be righteous, they didn’t show evidence that they were changing from their own carnal way. Where were the fruits? Where was the evidence that they were striving to change? Where was evidence that they were submitting themselves to God and He was leading them to repentance?

We have to ask ourselves those same questions today. What are your fruits? Are there fruits in your life to show that you are truly repenting and changing, humbling yourself and allowing God to lead you to repentance? As covered earlier, only by God leading you can you achieve true repentance.

Now notice how Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Christ’s message was for people to repent first and foremost. Otherwise, the full weight of the gospel couldn’t be understood.

Why don’t you hear people in this world talking about the Kingdom of God, a literal kingdom and government that is going to rule this Earth? After all, that is the message Christ brought (Mark 1:14-15). He instructed His disciples to do the same: to go out and preach “that men should repent” (Mark 6:12). That is instruction for anyone who serves under Christ.

After Jesus Christ was resurrected, the true Church of God was established. Christ had prepared leaders. The foundation was laid. Acts 2 describes the history of the very first Pentecost. This was a momentous event in Church history! Notice the message that was preached in the very first sermon: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy [Spirit]” (Acts 2:37-38). Once someone hears and believes the true gospel message that Christ brought to this Earth, he or she must repent! True repentance is the beginning of the entire process.

This theme of repentance appears over and over again! Think about how prominent repentance is in the verses at the beginning of the New Testament and at the foundation of God’s true Church. Clearly this subject is important to God!

Paul wrote, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1). Here Paul is listing the basic doctrines of God’s Church. At the top of the list, he points to repentance! Repentance is absolutely critical for any of us if we are going to have a future with God.

The Path to Joy

True repentance will bring joy into your life. Sin brings misery and complications. Remember this: Obedience to God and His law will simplify your life; disobedience will always complicate your life.

Mr. Armstrong said that it was in surrendering to God in complete repentance that he found unspeakable joy in accepting Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and his present High Priest. You can find that same joy! But you must repent and accept Christ as your personal Savior. That is what God instructs us to do.

We must understand and be brought to true repentance in order to enter into God’s Family and receive eternal life.

Remember this crucial point, as well—as you go through the process of being led by God’s goodness to real repentance, never get negative, discouraged or depressed. Never give up! In The Incredible Human Potential, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “The truly converted Christian will find that he often stumbles, under temptation, and falls down—even as a physical child learning to walk often falls down. But the year-old child does not get discouraged and give up. He gets up and starts out again.” You do not have to get discouraged. You do not need to give up. You do not need to be down. You need to repent. Then God will help you; He will lift you up and continue leading you to overcome.

Mr. Armstrong continued: “The truly converted Christian is not yet perfect!

“God looks on the heart—the inner motive—the real intent! If he is trying—if he gets up whenever he falls down, and in repentance asks God’s forgiveness, and sets out to do his very best not to make that mistake again—and to persevere with renewed effort to overcome, God is rich in mercy toward that man in his striving to overcome.”

There is so much hope in true repentance! Strive to more perfectly repent toward God, reaping the abundant joy and blessings that come from true, godly repentance.