Where the U.S. - Germany Relationship Is Headed

Where the U.S. - Germany Relationship Is Headed

Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited President Bush in Washington last week. Time will reveal the deep significance of this meeting.

In June last year we wrote that if Angela Merkel became chancellor of Germany, Berlin’s relations with the United States would improve significantly. Seven months have passed, and it appears this scenario is coming to fruition.

Just months after her assuming leadership in Germany, signs are emerging that the German chancellor is seeking stronger relations with her counterpart and friend across the pond. In what could prove a major milestone in German-U.S. relations, Chancellor Merkel visited with President George W. Bush in Washington last week. The significance of the change occurring within German-U.S. relations cannot be underestimated.

Last Friday, Stratfor analysts also noted the importance of the German chancellor’s visit with the American president that was to occur that day. “Geopolitics teaches that place is everything and that personalities are unimportant. But from time to time, an exceptional individual emerges who is able to affect the world in unique ways and make more of himself or herself—or more importantly, his or her country—than the average leader. …

“Similarly, on occasion there are critical events that so drastically affect the world that one cannot help but wonder if it really is all about location. …

“While it is difficult to identify such key moments without the benefit of hindsight, we may have arrived at another of these critical junctures: German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush, due to take place in Washington on Friday” (January 13; emphasis ours throughout). Stratfor described the event as a watershed event in world history—but the truth is quite different from what these analysts understand.

Regarding the meeting, the article continued, “This is a meeting about business. About Iran, about the European Union, about Russia, about Iraq, about China. About what happens when Chirac is gone, or Berlusconi is ejected from office, or Russia turns off natural gas exports again.

“This is a meeting about how two allies who were once incredibly close can be close once again.”

Chancellor Merkel’s visit to America clearly signals a dramatic shift away from the anti-American stance of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. As the largest and most influential nation in Europe, Germany, in improving its relations with the United States, will likely set the tone for an improvement in European-American relations. Considering that both political powers have mutual concerns on the global scene—such as Iran’s growing belligerence toward Europe and America and the volatility in Russian energy supply—it is highly likely that European-American relations will continue to perk up.

Over the next few months it will become clear that during the German chancellor’s recent visit to America, the foundation of a mutually beneficial—yet, ultimately, short-lived—relationship between America and Europe was established.

In a follow-up article after the summit, Stratfor again highlighted the significance of the event, and its likely repercussions on the global scene. “In her first press conference on U.S. soil, new German Chancellor Angela Merkel indirectly repudiated the long-time Franco-German axis—and planted the seeds for a deep revamping of U.S.-German relations” (ibid.) With a history plagued by conflict and mistrust, German-American relations definitely appear to be on the mend.

“For his part, Bush also played not only to the German crowd, but was sure to do so in a way that made clear that U.S. interests are in lockstep with Berlin’s, going out of his way to emphasize that Germany is the ‘heart of Europe’ and enthusiastically extolling Merkel’s virtues” (ibid.).

As this occurs though, it is important to bear in mind the history of America’s relations with Germany. The United States defeated this nation in two world wars. It would be naive of America to view Germany’s present warmth without reservation as a gesture of a long-term desire for peace and friendly relations.

There are fundamental divisions between the German and American peoples. A definite undercurrent of anti-Americanism clearly remains within the minds of many Germans and Europeans. The Economist stated that a 2005 poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project demonstrated that “skepticism about the future of their union does not imply that Europeans want closer transatlantic ties. Half or more in every non-American country surveyed said they wanted Europe to be more independent of the United States, and huge majorities—between 70 percent and 80 percent—said they thought the world would be better off if America faced a rival military power” (June 23, 2005).

In the long run, friendship with the U.S. is not something that Germany or Europe needs, or even wants. Europe has a well-established history of making policy decisions based on a principle of competition—not cooperation—with the U.S. Whether it be in the area of technology, trade, military or diplomacy, a German-dominated Europe has been challenging the U.S. as it emerges as a superpower in its own right. Time will prove the current friendship with America to be purely a short-term relationship of convenience.

But the most compelling evidence of the transience of this relationship is Bible prophecy.

The Bible clearly describes an end-time flowering of German-U.S. relations, such as we are seeing today. But it presents it within a blood-curdling context: This unity immediately precedes a tragic backstabbing by a united German-led European union of nations.

Notice this striking prophecy in Ezekiel 23:9: “Wherefore I have delivered her [discussing America primarily] into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians [end-time Germany], upon whom she doted.” If you study this passage, it shows a perverse relationship between these two nations that ends with Germany, after gaining America’s trust and support, fatally betraying the U.S. in a tragic double-cross.

Over the next few months and years, watch for America to increasingly become “lovers” with Germany, foolishly looking to the greatest war-mongering nation in history for friendship, peace and safety. Fooled by rhetoric, America will lie vulnerable to German betrayal.

The Trumpet’s editor in chief wrote in the September-October 2000 issue: “The U.S. trusts Germany—our lovers, as Ezekiel calls them (Ezekiel 23:4)—more than we trust God! That could be the worst foreign-policy mistake we have ever made—or ever will make.”

The seeds of Germany’s future betrayal of America can be seen in the pro-American policies espoused by today’s German government. Germany—and Europe’s—relationship with the United States is sure to improve, but time will prove it to be a short-term fling. As inconceiveable as it might seem, the Bible clearly tells us that America will eventually be dumped and betrayed by her European “lovers.”

China, India Improve Relations

After many years of competition between their two countries, Chinese and Indian officials are now drawing up energy agreements. What does China have to gain?

China and India have set aside their longstanding rivalry to forge an energy alliance. On January 11, India’s petroleum minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar, attended three days of talks to create energy agreements with the Chinese.

Both China and India are highly reliant on imported oil: India imports 70 percent of its oil; China ships in about half its supply. Demand for petroleum in both areas—the two most populous countries on Earth—is increasing rapidly. Aiyar believes India’s need for imported oil will have risen to 85 percent of consumption within 15 years.

These talks come at an especially volatile time on the world energy scene. Many countries fear that the supply of oil from Iran—given the unpredictability of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—will soon become unreliable. Thus, one result of his nuclear standoff with the Western world is a tidal wave of new energy agreements. Russia also alarmed many nations when it temporarily stopped gas shipments through the Ukraine. Setting up stable energy supplies is a primary focus for many countries—especially those highly dependent on imported oil like China and India.

India’s reasons for wanting to do business with the Chinese are obvious. India was recently outmaneuvered by Chinese companies in its attempts to acquire oil fields in Angola, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Ecuador. As analysts at Stratfor said, with Chinese companies consistently outbidding their Indian counterparts, India approaches these negotiations “with the desperation of a player that knows it has no options” (January 12).

China’s motivation to do business with India is less clear. In recent months, Chinese officials have had similar negotiations with Vietnam, Iran and Turkmenistan—even rogue state North Korea. Stratfor points out, though, that China’s dealings with India will produce far less money than its other ventures. China’s main reasons for engaging in these talks is not economic. Nor is it simply a grab for resources.

Rather, China wants to build for itself a friendly and strategically beneficial political standing in the region.

While these deals will gain political points with New Delhi, China will also “bolster its regional image as a cooperative and caring neighbor” (ibid.). Rather than appearing as an economic juggernaut that could crush Indian competition, China is representing itself as a friend—not only to India, but to the entire region. China is actively working to lead the Asian economic community and to create a free-trade zone through asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

As a first step, India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp. and state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. have jointly purchased a Syrian oil field. India’s Aiyar pointed to this deal as a model for future cooperation between the two governments.

The Trumpet has long predicted that relations between China and its neighbors will improve. Bible prophecy tells us that Asia will align both politically and militarily; in fact, Bible prophecy shows that this region will form the most powerful army in history—200 million soldiers!

To learn about this scriptural forecast and study where world events within Asia are headed, please request Russia and China in Prophecy.

Sharon’s “Third Way”—Sowing the Wind

Ariel Sharon’s policies garnered support among Israelis and in the Western press—so much so that his new party could fare well without him. But they come with high costs.

Genius. That’s what a January 6 column in the Washington Post, “A Calamity for Israel,” called Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s third way policy.

Before Sharon was elected in 2001, there were two main alternatives to dealing with the Palestinian equation. First was the idea that Israel should compromise with the Palestinians; the alternative was to stiffen Israeli resolve and refuse to give in to a “peace partner” bent on Israel’s destruction. For a generation, Israeli politics see-sawed between these opposing views.

Then Ariel Sharon introduced a third way.

“Sharonism … consists of the following principles. First, ongoing warfare, particularly the intifada that have been waged by the Palestinians, is unbearable to Israel. Second, the prevention of intifada—and particularly of suicide bombings—must consist of two parts: The use of decisive force against the commanders of the rising, and the creation of some sort of settlement that would remove the Palestinians’ motivation for waging the war. Third, since no one speaks authoritatively for the Palestinians—the Palestinian National Authority (pna) cannot control Hamas, for example—a traditional path of negotiation is impossible. And thus, fourth, Israel should impose a settlement on the Palestinians—one that includes the creation of a Palestinian state and the withdrawal by Israeli forces from the bulk of territories occupied in 1967” (Stratfor, January 9; emphasis ours throughout).

Sharon’s strategy uses unilateral withdrawals. By vacating specific territories, Sharon envisioned the move bolstering Israel’s security. With improved security, Israel could focus on improving its citizens’ quality of life.

The Washington Post column was effusive in its praise of this strategy: “The success of [the security] fence-plus-unilateral-withdrawal strategy is easily seen in the collapse of the intifada. Palestinian terrorist attacks are down 90 percent. Israel’s economy has revived. In 2005, it grew at the fastest rate of the developed countries. Tourists are back, and the country has regained its confidence” (op. cit.).

This is simple arithmetic, they say. Take one piece of occupied land, minus Israel’s occupation and you arrive at the answer: peace, security and economic prosperity.

Even American President George Bush hoisted himself on the bandwagon. “I can understand why people think this decision is one that will create a vacuum into which terrorism will flow,” he said in an interview with Israeli television. “I happen to disagree. I think this will create an opportunity for democracy to emerge” (Chicago Tribune, Aug. 17, 2005).

Clearly, some read the facts to suggest that Sharon’s strategy was working. Polls anticipating Israeli elections in March show a sizeable percentage of Israelis backing Sharon’s new party, Kadima, despite the general having suffered a debilitating stroke, and party leadership being turned over to lesser-known individuals. Plenty of people appear to believe that this “third way” held promise.

The reality on the ground, however, is quite opposite that painted by the Washington Post and President Bush. Consider what has happened since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

First, the third way has emboldened Israel’s enemies.

Israel’s retreat from the Gaza Strip was viewed as a momentous victory for terrorism by the Palestinians. A joint Israeli-Palestinian public opinion poll last June found that 71 percent of Palestinians saw the turnover of Gaza as a triumph for the Palestinian armed struggle against Israel. Leaders of terrorist groups boldly claimed credit for the withdrawal, and their popularity among Palestinians swelled. To the Palestinians, 400 attacks in Gaza over the previous five years had paid great dividends. And how could they not view it this way? Does anyone believe Israel would have given up conquered territory to its enemy if 1,200 of its people hadn’t been killed in the previous four years?

In the end, the message from Israel to the Palestinians using unilateral withdrawal is clear: violence works. So, why should the Palestinians quit while they are ahead? They will not. Rather, they will continue to use violence to shake up Israel’s psychological mind-frame with the goal of extracting as much land from Israel as possible.

Second, terror used as a political tool has not abated to any large degree.

According to the Israel Security Agency’s 2005 terrorism report, last year was marked by the tahdia (“calm”) declared by Palestinian groups “committed” to refraining from perpetrating acts of violence against Israeli citizens. However, the depth of that commitment was demonstrated by the fact that during that same year, 2,990 terrorist attacks against Israeli targets were catalogued, with no abatement in frequency after the Gaza disengagement.

Gaza black market arms dealing plays a major role in arming the intifada. Comparing the last four months against the first eight, 2005 also saw an explosion of armament smuggling into the Gaza Strip. During the first eight months, while Gaza remained under Israeli control, “approximately 200 anti-tank rocket launchers, approximately 50 anti-tank rockets, approximately 1,800 automatic weapons and a considerable amount of ammunition were smuggled in.” Compare those statistics to the four months that followed Israel’s pullout: “Since 12 Sept., 2005, over 5 tons of explosives, approximately 200 anti-tank rocket launchers, approximately 350 anti-tank rockets, approximately 5,000 automatic rifles, over 1 million rounds of ammunition and a limited number of anti-aircraft rockets have been smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. The bulk of this smuggling occurred between 12-18 Sept., 2005” (ibid.). Not exactly reassuring statistics for Israeli citizens.

Third, using demography as an excuse to cleave territory from Israel threatens the existence of the nation-state.

During a television address on Israeli television the week the Gaza pullout began, Ariel Sharon argued that rapid Palestinian population growth meant Israel would be bred out of certain areas. Sharon made this case to his people: “We cannot hold Gaza for good. More than a million Palestinians live there, doubling their numbers every generation” (Associated Press, Aug. 15, 2005).

Actually, Sharon and other prominent politicians feel that the demographic bomb is one of the greatest threats to Israel’s existence. According to Reuters figures published in a January 13 report, before the Gaza disengagement, of the 10.5 million people living under Israeli control, 49 percent were Jewish and the other 51 percent Arab. The Gaza pullout cut the Arab figure to 40 percent.

According to University of Haifa academic Arnon Soffer, who has met Sharon on a number of occasions to discuss the demographic problem, the percent of Palestinians attributable to Israel’s population would drop to 16 percent if Israel were to evacuate 85 percent of settlers and troops in the West Bank, including much of East Jerusalem.

But it should be clear that Israel cannot continue to hand over land based on fertility rates and population statistics. Ultimately, a nation—particularly one as tiny and difficult to defend as Israel—only has so much land to give. Continual whittling away of territory threatens the existence of the state itself. It is suicide.

This leads us to our concluding point: Israel’s enemies are using democratic means to further their goal of pushing Jews out of the Middle East.

Should Hamas do well in the Palestinian legislative elections this month, as they are widely expected to, Israel is staring down the barrel of a Hamas-dominated Palestinian Authority. After Hamas’s success in municipal elections last year, analysts envision the terrorist group eclipsing the ruling Fatah and controlling the Palestinian government.

Hamas is responsible for most of the Israeli deaths in terrorist attacks. And though it is poised to win a majority in the Palestinian elections, it refuses to back down from its position that Israel should cease to exist. According to a January 12 International Herald Tribune article, Mahmoud Zahar, the most prominent Hamas leader in Gaza, said “that his faction would not recognize Israel even if his party won the Palestinian elections on January 25, adding that the faction would not give up its weapons and that its resistance movement would continue.”

Any hope that Sharon’s third way is the path to long-term peace is misguided. Hamas is not giving an inch as Israel gives away its sovereignty. The unilateral withdrawal from Gaza has stiffened the resolve of Israel’s enemies to seek its eventual collapse.

The policy has emboldened Israel’s enemies. Weapons are being smuggled into Gaza at sky-high rates, and Hamas, one of Israel’s deadliest enemies, is about to become a legal fixture in the Palestinian territories. The future looks bleak.

But don’t take our word for it. Weigh the words of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He, when campaigning for re-election in 2003, said this about the policy of unilateral withdrawals: “A unilateral withdrawal is not a recipe for peace. It is a recipe for war”—a morsel of wisdom he subsequently forgot.

Israel is about to reap a whirlwind of consequences. “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind …” (Hosea 8:7).

Whether or not Israel will continue to pursue this strategy remains to be seen. But the consequences of its having been pursued even to this point are already beginning to build. As these rise like hot mercury under the sweltering sun, Israel is prophesied in the Bible to get so desperate that it will turn to Germany to solve the Palestinian question.

What will follow is a whirlwind of trouble for Israel, and the world. For more understanding on this topic, see The King of the South.

Russia, Germany and Energy Politics

Russia, Germany and Energy Politics

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Russia and Germany are caught up in a high-stakes game of energy politics. The fallout will shape the order of European international relations for the foreseeable future.

Halfway through her first 100 days in office, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has been thrust into stormy waters that are proving both a test and a serious challenge to her government’s tenuous hold on foreign policy. At stake is a trade-off between territory and energy in Europe.

During the previous chancellorship of Gerhard Schröder, Germany appeared to enjoy warm and close relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was a convenient politico-economic relationship: Russia got German investment to kickstart its ailing economy, and in return Germany received preferred access to Russia’s massive energy resources.

However, the Russian president’s clever and deliberate ploy to use energy colossus Gazprom as a lead arrow in his pouch of foreign-policy quirks has the German public suddenly realizing that they appear to have placed too many eggs in the Russian energy basket.

Germany presently relies on Russia to supply a whole third of its oil and gas supplies.

On the surface, such a level of dependence poses a significant geopolitical conundrum for Germany and a nice bargaining tool for Russia. But nothing is always as simple as it may first appear.

Earlier this month, in the dead of winter, Germans watched as their gas supplies fell markedly. When they suddenly realized that Russia had screwed down the tap, the media, certain politicians and the public within Russia’s major economic partner-client cried foul. What happened is that, using an apparent spat with the Ukraine over gas prices as the excuse, Russia deliberately cut gas supplies to Ukraine, full well knowing that by doing so the pressure would drop all the way across the chilled landscape of Central Europe to its main customer, Germany.

How could this be? How could the deliberate, detail-conscious Germans have overlooked the prospect of being held to ransom by allowing themselves to become so heavily dependent on a single foreign monopoly for the provision of a large portion of their energy? Even more so, how could German foreign-policy gurus have allowed such a state of affairs to occur, given the history of Russo-German relations?

Added to this, the lumbering Russian bear, known for its long-term perspective on things, would hardly have ignored the prospect of a sharp reaction from Germany, its strongest foreign-policy ally, by permitting such a thing to happen. Russian President Putin is too shrewd of a political strategist to have not thought this thing through. Something does not quite gel in this whole scenario.

To fully understand this situation, one needs to divorce Russo-German politics from EU-German politics. The two are quite different things.

There is no doubt that Vladimir Putin’s hiring of ex-chancellor Schröder into a chief position as project chairman of the Baltic Sea gas pipeline is one vital key to understanding the Russo-German component of this equation. The die was cast last September in an agreement between Russia and Germany to link the two countries by routing a strategic pipeline direct from the Russian town of Babayevo to the coast at Vyborg, thence under the Baltic Sea to the town of Greifswald in northeastern Germany. This pipeline will bypass not only the Baltic countries, but, crucially, Ukraine and Poland, delivering gas to Western Europe through the gateway of Germany.

Thus, regardless of the current shenanigans involving Russia’s demonstrated power to turn off the gas to Ukraine, it will no longer need Ukraine’s cooperation in distributing gas unhindered to the European Union, its largest customer. By 2010 it will be able to hold Ukraine to ransom by turning off the tap, with no effect on the rest of Europe, which will receive gas routed through Germany instead.

But, as Hamlet said, there’s the rub.

As long as Germany and Russia remain friends, Germany will have the power to control the gas flow from Russia to EU nations. The EU draws a quarter of its energy needs from Russian sources. This is a powerful strategic tool for Germany to possess in bargaining with other EU nations. Just as the Germans have ensured that they control the gates on the much-used canal and river routes from East to West Europe, they will hold the whip hand when it comes to controlling the supply of gas as well.

In all of this, Ukraine will be left out in the cold by both Germany and Russia, for Ukraine is the bargaining chip within the whole scenario. The deal is simply this. Behind the scenes, Germany has quietly agreed to trade off Ukraine’s efforts to join the EU for access to Russian energy. In exchange for Germany’s energy deals, Russia gets its great breadbasket of the great Ukraine plain, and a buffer zone to boot between an eastward spreading EU and a historically unpredictable ally, Germany. The EU, on the other hand, courtesy of Germany by 2010, gets access to Russian gas.

By 2010, when the Baltic Sea pipeline is completed under the guiding hand of Chairman Schröder, Germany will strategically control the flow of gas to the principal EU powers in the Western segment of the EU. As Russia demonstrated last week, that’s a weapon that can make or break a government’s will, or bend it to the power of the controller.

East Jerusalem to Palestinians in 2006?

East Jerusalem to Palestinians in 2006?

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This year could bring major changes to the Middle East. The most dramatic will likely involve the Jews losing East Jerusalem—an event to watch for as Israeli elections approach in March.

You need to watch Jerusalem as never before. We are going to see one half of that city fall very soon. It could happen this year—2006!

I made that statement on our Key of Davidtelevision program, which aired the weekend after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke—but I recorded that program weeks prior to this.

With Sharon gone, Israeli politics are at a crossroads. The next election could measurably speed events along.

Zechariah 14 contains an end-time prophecy about half of Jerusalem falling to the enemy. When half of Jerusalem falls, it starts a chain reaction of events—an avalanche of crises—that leads directly to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

Did you know that much of the world is even now discussing how the Jews must give up East Jerusalem to the Palestinians? The United Nations, America, Europe, the Palestinians and even the Middle East Jews themselves are discussing how they must surrender East Jerusalem.

What does that mean? It means that the prophecy in Zechariah is now in the early stages of being fulfilled, even though the world doesn’t know it.

“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee” (Zechariah 14:1). This verse talks about the end time—the Day of the Lord—which is a time of great suffering, and also the time of the return of Jesus Christ to this Earth!

“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (verse 2). Note the big overview Zechariah gives us. There are three phases to this crisis. Zechariah starts at the Second Coming of Christ, the third phase, and works his way back.

The verse starts with Christ conquering the European and Asian powers. Then there is a semicolon, which means all these events in verse 2 are linked and closely associated.

The first semicolon introduces the second phase of this violent time. The city shall be taken, houses rifled and women ravished. This is when a superpower comprised on European nations conquers the whole city of Jerusalem, as several other biblical prophecies explain (also America and Britain—Jerusalem is also a type of all the nations of Israel today, particularly the U.S. and Britain, as our free book proves), shortly after he conquers an Iran-led Middle Eastern coalition.

Then there is another semicolon, then is described the first phase, when half of Jerusalem goes into captivity—suggesting some violence in the process. (This sequence of events is explained in our booklet The History and Prophecy of the Middle East.) Watch Israel, because this first phase could happen any time—half of the Holy City is about to go into captivity! The Palestinians, backed by Iran, will almost certainly do this violent deed.

So why are these three events linked and so closely associated? I believe there is only one logical answer. The falling of half of Jerusalem triggers a violent and massive chain reaction that leads to Christ’s Second Coming.

The Palestinians will take half of Jerusalem. They say even now that they must have East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. If they were to take the Temple Mount, you could see a strong link to more war. The Temple Mount is holy to three great religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. It is the Jews’ holiest site. The Arabs consider it their second or third holiest site. Christians put more emphasis on the whole city, especially the Roman Catholics. (Remember the Crusades?)

The Palestinians could—and, I believe, will—conquer the Temple Mount and refuse access to anybody else. This would certainly unite Europe and the Middle East Jews against the Palestinians. This would also intensify the “push” by the king of the south against Europe (Daniel 11:40). It could in itself provoke Europe to attack and conquer radical Islam. Europe would then control much of the Jerusalem area. Then it will quickly double cross and conquer the Middle East Jews, America and Britain at the same time.

This would then alarm the Asian powers and cause them to think they would be Europe’s next victim. So the Russians and Chinese will unite and plan an attack against Europe (Daniel 11:44-45). At that point, Christ gathers the armies of both these powers in Megiddo (Armageddon) and leads them down to Jerusalem, where He will conquer them and set up the Kingdom of God.

So you can see how all of this is linked. The trigger to all of it is the fall of half of Jerusalem. Then begins a step-by-step series of crises that leads to Christ’s electrifying return to Earth.

You urgently need to see where these events are headed.

East Jerusalem is comprised mostly of Palestinians. They are absolutely committed to getting Jerusalem, with the Temple Mount, as their capital. They are getting stronger as the Jews get weaker, along with Britain and America (who usually, and inexplicably, pressure the Jews to give in to the Palestinians).

For over 200 years, we have been living in the times of Israel. Now we are rapidly moving into the times of the Gentiles.

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). “Jerusalem shall be trodden down” also includes America and Britain. God is now cursing biblical Israel and they are about to go into captivity.

God’s prophetic Word is 100 percent reliable. His reputation is on the line. His Word never fails.

You are now seeing spectacular prophecies being fulfilled. America, Britain and Judah are going down like a sinking ship. At the same time, the Gentile powers are rising like a rocket.

We are entering extremely dangerous times. The good times for Israel are fading fast, just as God prophesied.

A poll published in Yedioth Ahronoth in the middle of December 2005 showed that 49 percent of Israelis support giving up parts of Arab East Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians. That is astonishing of itself. But according to biblical prophecy, the Jews are going to lose more than just “parts” of East Jerusalem. They want to make a “peace deal,” even though none of those peace deals have been honored by the Palestinians!

A Dec. 13, 2005, Jerusalem Newswire article by Ryan Jones had this to say: “Finance Minister Ehud Olmert, the prime minister’s top deputy and a man known for releasing ‘trial balloons’ regarding future policy, has on more than one occasion stated Israel would eventually have to relinquish the dream of an eternally united Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty.” That gives you a good idea of where Sharon’s party would try to take the country if it gains power in the March election!

The article continued, “Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia reminded [Israel’s political leadership] Monday they would fail without serious concessions in the holy city.

“There can be no ‘Palestinian’ statehood and therefore no Middle East peace unless the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, comes under Arab rule, Qureia told a gathering of European representatives.

“The European Union recently clarified its position on Jerusalem in a still-unpublished report slamming Israeli activity and the imposition of Israeli law in the eastern half of the city, where several hundred thousand Jews live in the neighborhoods of Gilo, French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and others. …

“Many in Israel fear that as the ‘peace’ process progresses, a combination of ‘Palestinian’ intransigence, Western disregard for Israel’s ancient rights, and a headlong rush by leftist leaders such as Peretz and Sharon to conclude a final peace deal at almost any cost means the division of Jerusalem may not be far off.

These Jewish fears are well-grounded. But will the Jews willingly give up the Temple Mount, their holiest site? I don’t think so. Even though it is considered the Arabs’ second or third holiest site.

So the Temple Mount impasse could be the reason that Palestinians take East Jerusalem by force.

Regardless, half of Jerusalem is going to be lost! I believe that will include the Temple Mount.

You can see why that crisis would bring at least three powers into war, which includes people around the world. It would involve many nations. That is why this event will be such a strong, explosive link leading to Christ’s Second Coming!

Do you realize how close we are to this emotional and violent explosion in Jerusalem? We are about to see the worst suffering this world has ever experienced. It is shockingly near.

Men work to have peace and always get war. Only God knows the way of peace. You can always trust Him. That is the lesson all this bloody violence is going to teach mankind!

Armies have fought to gain control of Jerusalem for thousands of years. But they will never rule that city for long. God has chosen Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:13). He did not choose London, New York City, Paris or Moscow. He chose Jerusalem.

Thankfully, the best news that men have ever heard is also just around the corner (Zechariah 14:3-4).

Jerusalem is the city from which Christ is going to rule the Earth. And that is the city from which the Father is going to rule the universe—with His Family. Jerusalem is going to become the capital of the universe. No city in the universe will ever be close to it in beauty and importance!

It is time that mankind learns about Jerusalem, the majestic city God has chosen. Watch Israel closely, because the trigger that will start the chain of events leading to Christ’s rulership over that city is about be pulled—right in the heart of Jerusalem!

Post-Christmas Credit Card Blues

Post-Christmas Credit Card Blues

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With the American and British economies so dependent upon lavish consumer spending in order to stay afloat, signs of consumer overstretch are particularly worrisome.

Consumer spending is the backbone of the American economy. And more and more, society is geared to encourage us to spend.

The commercialization of Christmas is particularly demonstrative of the importance of consumer spending. Months prior to Christmas—even before Thanksgiving— advertisements start plastering the airwaves. “Buy now—pay later” and “no payments to 2007” have become synonymous with our guilt-free view of living for the present moment.

As many of those commercials demonstrate, debt has fueled much of the recent consumer spending. But few consider that debt is a form of enslavement. Few seem to remember the biblical proverb, “The borrower is servant to the lender.”

America’s consumption-based economy is at the tipping point, and increasing debt payments might be the bump to push it over the edge. As Martin Cantor, director of economic development with Sustainable Long Island, an advocacy group, says, “No matter how bad the economy has gotten, everybody pointed to increasing consumer activity to sustain it …. If that goes, there’s nothing left” (Newsday, Dec. 11, 2005).

How long can we keep spending money we don’t have?

Since the end of the last recession in November 2001, the average worker’s wage has not increased. In fact, inflation-adjusted average wages are still below what they were when economic recovery began more than four years ago (Wall Street Journal, January 4).

Instead of cutting back on spending when faced with a dip in real wages, consumers decided to maintain or improve their standard of living—even if that meant spending their savings and taking on more debt.

Consequently, as was highlighted in the December 2005Trumpet, the personal savings rate plummeted from 10.4 percent in the early 1980s to 1.8 percent in 2004. In 2005, for the firsttime since the Great Depression, the annual personal savings rate was negative.

Among the many record-breaking occurrences over the past year, the negative savings rate may be the most underrated and underreported sign of sickness in the U.S. economy yet—because a negative savings rate means that the consumer might finally be getting spent out.

In view of the fact that consumer spending now accounts for over two thirds of U.S. economic activity, if spending falters, so does the economy.

One of the means by which consumers have been able to continue to spend more than they earn is through easy debt provided by credit cards. But for many Americans, the cost of easy credit has just gone up. This past December, new legislation requiring credit card companies to increase minimum payments went into effect.

Approximately 40 percent of Americans carry a monthly balance on their credit cards. Of that number, 7 percent pay only the monthly minimum (Financial Times Information, January 3). That equates to more than 8.2 million Americans who will be forced to shell out higher monthly minimum payments.

In a decade, average credit card debt per household grew from $4,640 to $7,300 in 2004 (Newsday, op. cit.). Last year, the trend continued. Credit card company Visa recently announced that holiday shoppers charged 18 percent more money on its credit cards during the three months leading up to Christmas than they did last year.

As these consumers pay more to service their credit cards and pay off their bills, they will be forced to cut spending elsewhere.

For an economy so reliant on high consumer demand, this is not good news.

But American consumers are not the only ones who have been feeling the pinch of too much credit card debt. The Legal Services Commission of Britain is warning that Christmas spending could be “catastrophic for more than 6 million families in Britain already struggling to meet their debt repayments” (Irish News, Dec. 14, 2005).

According to accountancy firm Grant Thornton, a record number of personal insolvencies are predicted for first quarter 2006 in England and Wales. Approximately a third of those will be occur because of “excessive Christmas spending” (Independent, January 3).

Amazingly, two thirds of total EU credit card debt is British. It is no wonder that more personal bankruptcies are expected to occur in Britain during 2006 than in any other year since records on personal debt began to be kept 45 years ago and that bankruptcies are surging at an annualized rate of more than 30 percent (ibid.).

The American and British economies are more precarious than most people think. The mountains of debt that now face American and UK consumers are about to come back to haunt us—even enslave us! Most people do not want to accept reality, but it is time for people to wake up and get their financial house in order.

The Trumpet can state with certainty that the American and British economies will collapse—bringing on a global crisis of unrivaled proportions!

If you want to know why this economic collapse is coming and where it is leading, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. It will prove to you where the U.S. and British economies are headed and how that will subsequently affect the world economy. Are you willing to face reality?