China’s Plans for Global Empire Take a Great Leap Forward in Cambodia

Cambodian naval personnel are seen on boats berthed at a jetty at the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province on July 26.
TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images

China’s Plans for Global Empire Take a Great Leap Forward in Cambodia

The Communist Party of China is using its mix of rapid aggression and official denials to change the facts on the ground.

China and Cambodia have signed a deal granting the Chinese military use of a naval base on Cambodia’s coast. This is the latest milestone in China’s quest to become a global military power.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story on July 22, noting that, while the Chinese and Cambodian governments have denied the reports, “United States and allied officials” obtained “an early draft” of the agreement and were certain that “a deal had been done.”

The agreement grants China’s People’s Liberation Army exclusive rights for 30 years to a 62-acre section of the Ream Naval Base, allowing it to station soldiers, weaponry and warships there.

Meanwhile, a state-run Chinese company is building an airport near Ream in Dara Sakor, Cambodia. Upon opening next year, it will be Cambodia’s largest airport, considerably larger than the international airport in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. China insists that the airport is strictly for commercial use. But satellite imagery shows that the runways being built there are far longer than those needed for commercial aircraft and of a suitable length for Chinese military transport aircraft and long-range fighter jets. China and Cambodia are clearly working toward a goal they have not publicly disclosed.

The capacity to launch military operations from the naval base and airport would considerably boost China’s power to enforce its claims of sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea. A military presence on Cambodia’s coast would also increase China’s influence over the strategically vital Strait of Malacca, through which 90 percent of South China Sea crude oil shipments transit.

The Japan Times said that China’s foothold in Cambodia “would mark a critical moment in Southeast Asian security and potentially transform the regional security outlook.”

This transformation is partly because, since 2014, China has also constructed and militarized seven artificial islands in the South China Sea, mainly in the Spratly and Parcel chains. Adding a military position in Cambodia to China’s existing presence on these islands would give China a triangular perimeter around the entirety of mainland Southeast Asia.

“If you have a naval base in Cambodia, it means the Chinese Navy has a more favorable operational environment in the waters surrounding Southeast Asia,” Charles Edel, a former U.S. State Department official, told the Wall Street Journal. “You have all of a sudden mainland Southeast Asia potentially sitting behind a defensive Chinese military perimeter. This is by far the biggest implication.”

A Worrying Pattern

The denials from China regarding the deal also fit into a worrying historic pattern.

During its first several years of building artificial islands in the South China Sea, China’s ruling Communist Party repeatedly denied that they had any military purpose. In September 2015, for example, Chinese President Xi Jinping stood in the Rose Garden in the U.S. and promised that China did not plan to militarize the islands. “Relevant construction activity that China is undertaking in the Nansha Islands does not target or impact any country, and there is no intention to militarize,” he said, using the Chinese name for the Spratly archipelago. Even as it fortified and armed the islands, China continued to deny their obvious true purpose.

Likewise, the Chinese leadership vehemently denied having plans for foreign military bases, up until it opened its military base in the East African nation of Djibouti.

In both cases, China changed facts on the ground as it issued denials—until it was too late for other powers to challenge the new reality with anything short of a major diplomatic, economic or even military conflict. And the pattern seems to be playing out once again in Cambodia.

Cambodia’s exiled opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, told the Financial Times, “I’m afraid Cambodia is becoming a de facto Chinese colony.”

A Loss for the U.S.

United States officials have been taken aback by Cambodia’s decision to make itself a “de facto Chinese colony.” This is largely because the U.S. has invested considerable resources over the years into building up Cambodia and striving to win it over as a partner nation.

The U.S. has pumped billions of dollars into the nation for military assistance, education, poverty reduction and economic growth. It has helped train the Cambodian military and built defense installations there, including some facilities at the very same naval base that Cambodia is now opening up to China.

Despite all the spending and all those efforts, Cambodia is turning its back on the U.S. and giving China invaluable access to its territory.

One concerning way China’s foothold there could challenge U.S. power is in the event of an attack on American allies and partners in the region, such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. Should one of these nations come under attack, some of the U.S. forces charged with defending them would normally transit the Strait of Malacca. But by using forces based in Cambodia, China could block or complicate such a passage.

The agreement with Cambodia represents the latest boost in China’s capacity to project military power around the world, at the expense of U.S might. This development simultaneously advances three trends that are significant in the context of Bible prophecy: the dawning of “the times of the Gentiles,” the coming together of “the kings of the east,” and the decline of the United States.

‘The Times of the Gentiles’

During His ministry on Earth, Jesus Christ said that shortly before His return the world would enter into an era called “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). Editor in chief Gerald Flurry discussed this epoch in the July 2014 Trumpet issue, explaining that the term Gentile refers to non-Israelite peoples. Israelites make up “a lot more than the little nation in the Middle East,” he wrote, adding that in end-time prophecy, Israel refers to modern-day America and Britain primarily. (For a thorough explanation, order Herbert W. Armstrong’s free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

“Once you understand who Israel is,” Mr. Flurry wrote, “then you can understand how the Gentiles—the non-Israelite peoples—have started to take charge of the world right now. … While there are many Gentile nations around today, when this prophecy is completely fulfilled there will be two major powers.” One of the two will be headed by Germany, he explained, and the other by Russia and China.

When the world is fully in the midst of these “times,” U.S. influence will have dried up. Gentile nations such as China will have filled the vacuum of power.

“These ‘times of the Gentiles’ are yet to be fully realized,” Mr. Flurry wrote. “However, we are in the outer edges of this catastrophic storm.”

Cambodia’s decision to turn its back on the U.S. and invite China into its borders blows this “catastrophic storm” closer.

‘The Kings of the East’

Revelation 9:16 speaks of an Eastern army that will form shortly before Christ’s return. It will consist of 200 million soldiers. The largest militaries in history have consisted of about 12 million personnel. Revelation 16:12 calls this future Asian force “the kings of the east,” with the pluralized kings indicating that this will be a multinational bloc comprised of several Asian countries. Ezekiel 38 provides numerous details about this Asian military alliance, including the fact that it will be led by Russia, with China in a position of secondary leadership.

When Asian nations such as Cambodia rally behind China today, they are laying the foundation for “the kings of the east” prophecy to be fulfilled.

The Decline of ‘Israel’

World-renowned educator Herbert W. Armstrong forecast decades ago of the collapse of America’s power. Just after America’s failed invasion of Cuba in 1961, he pinned the blame not on the U.S. military or even the Kennedy administration, but on the American people: “Unless or until the United States as a whole repents and returns to what has become a hollow slogan on its dollars: ‘In God we trust,’ the United States of America has won its last war! [T]he God America has deserted gave it its most humiliating defeat! What does the Cuban debacle mean? It means, Mr. and Mrs. United States, that the handwriting is on your wall!” (Plain Truth, October 1961).

Mr. Armstrong understood that America’s might was eroding and that the country was heading for collapse because the people had deserted God. And he made his forecasts with confidence because they are based on Bible prophecy. The Bible includes a remarkably specific and recognizable forecast for the descendants of Israel, which include America. God said that if the nations of Israel rejected Him, He would “break the pride of [their] power” (Leviticus 26:19).

In the decades since Mr. Armstrong wrote those words, the people of America have hastened their desertion of God. They have hardened in their disdain for His law. And in the time since, America has inserted itself into dozens of military altercations. Each of these halfhearted campaigns has drained a little more of the country’s pride in its power.

The Cambodians see that America is deeply divided, war-weary and seemingly ashamed of its power. As a result, as with several other Asian nations, it is rallying around China.

Christ said these trends are quickly leading to a time of unparalleled global conflict and suffering when “men’s hearts” will be “failing them for fear” (Luke 21:26). But in the very next verse, He says that the conflict will conclude with the most transformative event in history: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (verse 27).

These devastating times of the Gentiles, the outer edges of which the world is already in, will transition directly to Jesus Christ’s return! He will usher in an age of peace and prosperity for the peoples of China, Cambodia and all countries. Regarding this future age of global peace, Isaiah 2:4 says: “[N]ation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

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Is Donald Trump Saving Britain?

President Donald Trump participates in a full honors welcome ceremony for new Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper, on the parade grounds at the Pentagon, on July 25, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia.
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Is Donald Trump Saving Britain?

To say that United States President Donald Trump is saving Britain is unpopular here in England, but consider the facts.

Our new prime minister, Boris Johnson, is relying heavily on the American president in his strategy for bringing Britain out of the European Union. He has penciled in plans to meet with Mr. Trump three times before the Brexit deadline on October 31—including “quality time” with the president in August. A trade deal with the United States is one of his government’s top priorities.

This relationship strengthens Mr. Johnson’s negotiating position against the EU. We don’t need a deal with you, he can tell Brussels, we’re best friends with one of the largest and most powerful economies on Earth.

But how different would it be if the current president of the United States were Hillary Clinton?

“I make no excuse for being against Brexit from the start,” Clinton said during a speech to Queen’s University Belfast in 2018.

“[I]t may well go down as one of the greatest and most unnecessary self-inflicted wounds of modern history,” she told students. In 2017, she told the Sunday Times that Brexit supporters “voted against modern Britain and the EU, believing that somehow this would be good for their small village. It made no sense.”

She said this after 17.4 million British voters (52 percent) voted to leave the European Union. Forcing Clinton to choose between the EU and Britain, she said, was forcing her to choose the EU.

While receiving an honorary degree at Swansea University in Wales in October 2017, Clinton reiterated her solidarity with the EU: “I personally continue to believe in the value of the European Union, and more broadly of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.”

We saw what this looked like in practice when Barack Obama was in the White House. He told the world in April 2016 that his top priority would be a trade deal with the EU and that if Britain chose Brexit, he would put it “in the back of the queue.”

Leftists in the U.S. love the EU. They love its system of rule by experts, power centralized in one super-bureaucracy, and minimal interference by the actual voters. That is exactly the way they want to change the United States. If they could, they would probably bring the U.S. into the EU.

Rule by experts, centralized bureaucratic power, and minimal power for citizens is exactly the model Brexit voters rejected. It was clear before the referendum, and it is clear after the referendum, that a Democratic administration in the U.S. would never side with Britain over the EU.

Right now, “President” Hillary Clinton would not be promising any lucrative deals to Prime Minister Johnson. She would instead be on Europe’s side, forcing Britain to accept a deal with the EU that makes it a humiliated, all-but conquered supplicant—an example of punishment to warn others not to put democracy over bureaucracy.

When Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016, almost everyone believed a Clinton presidency was inevitable. Former President Obama had an infamously frosty relationship with the United Kingdom. He kicked Winston Churchill’s bust out of the White House. Mr. Obama said that “we don’t have a stronger friend and stronger ally” than France, and that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was his “closest international partner.” And Britain? A congressional think tank unveiled a secret memo that said, “The UK may not be viewed as centrally relevant to the United States in all of the issues and relations considered a priority on the U.S. agenda” (emphasis added throughout).

With President Obama’s former secretary of state about to take power, little seemed set to change. But then Donald Trump won the election.

Mr. Trump loved Brexit even before he was voted into office “I love to see people take their country back,” he said after the Leave vote won. He has consistently promised to fast-track Britain to the front of the queue. The most powerful and prosperous nation in the world suddenly switched from enemy to ally when it comes to Brexit.

Ideally, Mr. Johnson would like to leave the EU with some kind of deal. He wants to make Britain its own proper sovereign nation again, and also find a way to keep trade flowing smoothly with the EU, to benefit both. President Trump’s offer of a trade deal helps him enormously. Without it, the British would appear desperate, with no good trading options except for going back to the very Union from which they are trying to extricate themselves. Europe would have gambled that Britain would pay a high price—even surrendering sovereignty—in order to gain trade concessions from Brussels.

The Europeans may still gamble, but that is now looking much less likely. A Britain with other options is a Britain in a much more powerful position.

The prospect of a trade deal helps on the home front too. Many members of Parliament want to avoid a “no-deal Brexit.” Whether Mr. Johnson wants to use no-deal as a credible threat to EU negotiators, or whether he’s truly willing to go through with it, he has to keep his own Parliament from shutting down a no-deal. It will be hard, and he may fail. But that task would be much harder if President Trump were not holding out hope for a strong trade agreement with America.

Would Conservative M.P.s and party members have had the confidence to elect someone like Boris Johnson if it weren’t for Mr. Trump’s promise of support and friendship?

Getting Britain out of the EU without it vengefully smashing the economy won’t be easy. But without President Trump, it may have been impossible.

Last week I focused on Bible prophecies of a modern-day Jeroboam. 2 Kings 14:27 states that the ancient kingdom of Israel was about to be destroyed, but God “saved them by the hand of Jeroboam.”

Other prophecies indicate that God will save modern Israel—primarily Britain, America and Israel in the Middle East—through a modern type of King Jeroboam ii. You can study this in detail in Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s May-June 2018 article “Saving America From the Radical Left—Temporarily.”

“Those people [radical leftists] were getting control of the government,” wrote Mr. Flurry in the August Trumpet issue. “Justice in the land was destroyed. Rule of law was twisted and perverted. People were losing faith in the government. If this trend had continued, it would have meant the end of our republic!

“But God was not ready for that. He was going to save America—along with Britain and the Jewish nation. However, this would be only temporary, unless they deeply repent. There is no evidence this is going to happen.”

So is Donald Trump saving Britain? No. But when you look at this prophecy, and compare it to the facts on the ground, could God be using President Trump to save Britain?

It certainly looks like it.

It’s important to note that this rescue is temporary. God still prophesies that Britain and America will be punished unless they repent and turn to Him—and we see no sign of either nation doing that. But the reprieve, the punishment and what will come afterward all stem from God’s love.

God is punishing our nations. But He is carefully measuring those punishments. He wants our people to repent. He will make sure they have time to hear His warning and act on it. He is saving our nations temporarily to make sure that happens. Then, if they do not change, they will be punished for their own good. That punishment will ultimately enable them to receive wonderful blessings.

Events around the world are evidence of a loving God who has a plan for Britain, America and the whole world. If you’re not familiar with that plan, please read The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong. With millions of copies distributed, it would be considered a bestseller—but we don’t sell it, we give it away. This book explains the causes of world events and the loving God behind them.

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European Commission President: ‘My Aim Is the United States of Europe’

Ursula von der Leyen addresses the European Parliament during her application speech to become the new EU Commission president.
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European Commission President: ‘My Aim Is the United States of Europe’

New push for European unity prepares the way for a strongman.

July 16 marked the day that Ursula von der Leyen, then defense minister of Germany, was voted president of the European Commission. The vote was a triumph for European unity, a disaster of bickering and disagreement, and a preview of how a stronger European leader will soon emerge.

United States of Europe

“Anyone that is with me in wanting to see Europe grow stronger and to flourish and blossom can count on me as a fervent supporter. However, anyone that wants to weaken or divide Europe or rob it of its values will find in me a bitter opponent. There is only one option for me: to unite and strengthen Europe.”

Though these words could have been uttered by a Frankish emperor from the seventh or eighth century, they were said by Ursula von der Leyen in Strasbourg on July 16. It was one of many statements that left no question about which direction she will take the European Union.

Her other pledges included introducing a number of EU-level financial institutions, including a complete banking union, EU-wide minimum wage, and EU-wide taxes on tech companies. “If by the end of 2020 there is still no global solution for a fair digital tax, the EU should act alone,” she stated.

She also “called for a comprehensive ‘European Rule of Law Mechanism’ to ensure the primacy of EU law over the national laws of EU member states,” explained Soeren Kern, a senior analyst for Transatlantic Relations at a Spanish think tank, writing for the Gatestone Institute.

As Kern wrote, this amounts to a major power grab:

An examination of von der Leyen’s main policy proposals reveals that she is calling for a massive expansion of top-down powers of the European Commission. Her proposals would substantially increase the role of Brussels in virtually all aspects of economic and social life in Europe—all at the expense of national sovereignty.

Von der Leyen’s own words best explain her goals. “My aim is the United States of Europe, on the model of federal states such as Switzerland, Germany or the United States,” she told German magazine Der Spiegel in 2011. “I imagine the Europe of my children or grandchildren not as a loose union of states trapped by national interests,” she told Die Ziet in 2016.

When Europe becomes more federal, it will develop the capacity to act far more quickly and decisively. In 1966, the early days of European unification, France postponed indefinitely the day when votes would move toward the majority system. In recent months, however, EU officials have been exploring shifting to voting by simple majority instead of unanimity. Italian journalist Luigi Barzini wrote in his book The Europeans that transitioning to majority voting would hasten Europe’s unification, adding that it “would eventually have turned a mere loose customs union riddled with loopholes into a compact confederation like Switzerland or the United States.”

The reality is that much integration has taken place since the 1960s. Europe has come a long way from the loose customs union it once was. Given the right leadership, how much faster could Europe unite today?

EU Army

Von der Leyen has also called for an end to unanimous voting to decide matters of foreign policy. Notice what else she said to the European Commission on July 16:

The world is calling for more Europe. The world needs more Europe.

I believe Europe should have a stronger and more united voice in the world—and it needs to act fast. That is why we must have the courage to take foreign-policy decisions by qualified majority. And to stand united behind them.

Such terms as “defense union” and “army of Europeans” are her catchphrases for her vision of Europe’s military force; she has called for “further bold steps in the next five years towards a genuine European Defense Union.” She believes Europe needs “an integrated and comprehensive approach” to security and “a stronger and more united voice in the world.”

Various tensions around the world are pushing Europe to militarize. Based on previous interviews with various sources, it appears von der Leyen will likely support further military preparations to deter Russian aggression, as well as contain Chinese influence.

“[Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin does not appreciate weakness. Currying favor or indulgence does not make him friendlier,” von der Leyen told Spiegel Online in 2018. She “sees the facts: Russia has annexed Crimea; it is strangulating eastern Ukraine. Aleppo has been buried under a carpet of bombs by Russian planes.”

She further warned, “Where Russia attacks militarily in the cyberarea, China attacks with economic means. … China woos us with a friendly face. And that’s why we often overlook how single-mindedly it pursues its goals. And how cleverly.”

Europe’s new Commission president will likely push for greater readiness to counter Russia in Europe’s land and air forces, as well as attempt to strengthen European cyberwarfare capabilities.

Von der Leyen has one very determined opponent, however. And he is not Russian or Chinese.

Nigel Farage, British member of European Parliament, described von der Leyen as “a fanatic for building a European army.” He is skeptical of an EU army, because “what is there for defense can also be used for attack.”

Of von der Leyen’s EU army ambitions expressed in her July 16 speech, Farage said:

What you’ve seen from Ursula von der Leyen today is an attempt by the EU to take control of every single aspect of our lives. She wants to build a centralized, undemocratic, updated form of communism that will render [obsolete] nation state parliaments, where the state controls everything, where nation state parliaments will cease to have any relevance at all.

The EU under von der Leyen’s leadership will focus strongly on unification, regardless of the cost to democracy. This will progress even faster after Brexit, when British members of European Parliament, who are often opposed to sweeping EU power grabs, will be out of the way.

Cracks in the Commission

Von der Leyen has good reason to speak so often about unifying Europe: The Continent is severely divided.

Her election was hailed a victory for Europe by those who champion her as the first female Commission president. But from a votes perspective, it was a disaster. Von der Leyen was elected with the narrowest margin a president of the Commission has ever received: She received just nine votes above the minimum 374. The last Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, was the leading candidate for the largest group in the European Parliament. Von der Leyen was not a candidate for any party. Her appointment has led to much criticism of Europe being out of touch and undemocratic.

“The collateral damage has been huge,” wrote the EU Observer. “Make no mistake, Europe is increasingly rudderless. And Europe is floundering because Germany refuses to lead.”

Though currently divided, Europe will soon get the strong leadership it is asking for.

Wanted: Strong Leader

An opinion piece for the EU Observer captured the mood of Europe’s search for leadership:

A new chancellor, an able German Commission president and Brexit present a new opportunity to reset Berlin’s vision for the future of Europe.

By placing itself confidently at the heart of Europe, Germany needs to set out its vision for the future of the EU. …

But to do this, to really lead and shape Europe, Berlin must realize that you can’t live in fear of the future by trying to remedy the past. Germany deserves more, so does Europe.

Even though Ursula von der Leyen is moving Europe’s institutions and laws in the direction of unification, she is not the kind of leader who can galvanize the everyday people of each nation. Europe wants a German leader who is not shackled by guilt over the nation’s past.

It will get one.

Calls for strong leadership from Europe are relatively new on the world scene. But one source predicted this far in advance.

‘By Flatteries’

“Strong leaders are rising on the world scene today in several nations, including Russia, China and Iran. But what about Europe? What about Germany?” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry asks and answers this question in his free booklet A Strong German Leader Is Imminent.

“A strong German leader is imminent!” he writes. “When he comes to power, this world will be shocked as it has never been shocked before.”

How can he make such a dogmatic statement when Europe has backed away from the world stage for decades?

Mr. Flurry bases his forecasts on God-inspired Bible prophecy. The Prophet Daniel wrote about a power known as “the king of the north” (Daniel 11:40). This power bloc refers to a German-led, united Europe that will burst onto the world scene in our time. In his prophetic passage, Daniel foretold that this European superpower would be led by a strongman who was not elected but instead would “come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (verse 21).

Explaining this scripture, Mr. Flurry writes:

This soon-coming ruler could literally be called a king. Even if he is not, the Bible gives him that label. When the Bible talks about a king, in most cases it’s saying that this is not a democratic government. Even if he doesn’t have that title, he is going to lead like a king. This vision in Daniel shows that the European empire is about to become a lot more authoritative.

Daniel 11:21 prophesies that this strong leader will come into power “by flatteries”—probably not by votes, but through a coalition government of some kind. We need to watch Germany and Europe carefully.

Germany has been struggling through fragile coalition governments for over a year. That disagreement is now extending to the vital European Commission, where rival factions are bickering over the controversial and undemocratic appointment of Ursula von der Leyen.

While she is not going to be the strong German leader described in the Bible, she is certainly throwing the door wide open for a strongman to be undemocratically appointed in the near future. And when a strongman who can truly lead and unify the citizens of Europe does appear, Europe’s institutions and military will be ready, thanks to von der Leyen’s work.

You need to watch Germany closely. Order a free copy of A Strong German Leader Is Imminent to get the full, clear picture of where Germany’s complex leadership crisis will end, and why it should matter to you.

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China Releases ‘Peace-Oriented’ Defense Paper

A Chinese military vehicle takes part in the Vostok 2018 (East 2018) military exercise held jointly by the Russian Armed Forces and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Li Chun/China News Service/VCG

China Releases ‘Peace-Oriented’ Defense Paper

And reveals its orientation toward inflicting ‘warfare like this world has never seen.’

China has stated that its military exists for peaceful purposes. On July 24, China released its latest defense paper, “China’s National Defense in the New Era.” China’s state-run news agency said that the paper “is solid proof that the country’s military policy is defense- and peace-oriented.”

Some disagree.

“The Chinese nation has always loved peace,” the paper states. But it reveals an increasingly militaristic country.

China’s defense goals outlined at the outset of the paper include: “to deter and resist aggression”; safeguard its political and citizens’ security; ensure social stability; oppose separatists in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang; safeguard China’s sovereignty, unity, territory, maritime rights and interests, outer space and cyberspace interests; and to support sustainable development of the Republic.

Day-to-day reality in China shows that it is pursuing these defensive goals with an offensive spirit.

Consider its bullying of Malaysia and Vietnam in the South China Sea.

China has long claimed that its actions in the South China Sea are not militaristic. During a 2015 joint press conference with former United States President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China “does not intend to pursue militarization” of the South China Sea. But its 2019 defense paper states, “China exercises its national sovereignty to build infrastructure and deploy necessary defensive capabilities on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, and to conduct patrols in the waters of Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.”

What China is doing in the South China Sea should terrify the world. One third of the world’s maritime trade sails through this body of water, and China has the power to seriously disrupt it.

The paper also writes that China’s People’s Liberation Army needs to urgently improve in “mechanization” and “informationization,” as it lags behind the world’s leading militaries and confronts “risks from technology surprise.” Analysts note that Chinese hardware is improving but its software continues to lag behind.

In June, former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work described China’s approach as: “[W]e do not care how many ships we sink; we do not care how many planes we shoot down. All we care about is if we can pry apart the digital network the U.S. uses to apply force, and we will prevent the United States from achieving its campaign objectives.”

The Chinese defense paper also highlights the importance of China’s increased collaboration with Russia, saying, “The military relationship between China and Russia continues to develop at a high level, enriching the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era and playing a significant role in maintaining global strategic stability.” Together, they see themselves as the balancing power to the U.S.’s “growing hegemonism,” which it states has “undermined global strategic stability.”

Finally, the paper has strong language against Taiwan’s independence. It identifies separatist forces as the “gravest immediate threat” and “the biggest barrier hindering the peaceful reunification of the country.” China, which is controlled by the Communist Party, has consistently pushed for control of Taiwan, which is democratic. The paper states, “We make no promise to renounce the use of force, and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. … The [People’s Liberation Army] will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs.”

Elsa Kania, senior fellow for the Center for a New American Security, said these were some of the most explicit threats aimed at Taiwan to date.

China is not pursuing peace. Its true intent, as has been revealed through the “more sure word of prophecy,” will soon be on full display.

The Bible says that in this end time, Russia and China will ally with other Asian powers to lead a massive offensive military force. Russia and China in Prophecy states:

A giant Asian superpower, with a modernized Russia and China at the helm, will dramatically affect the course of history. This emerging power bloc—a conglomerate of peoples which comprise over half of the world’s population—will be deeply involved in the tumultuous tide of events that will lead to the conclusion of mankind’s 6,000 years of self-rule! … Keep your eye on China. Within a few short years, this nation—the ascendant, proud China that has emerged today—will dazzle the world.

Ezekiel 38 identifies several of the Asian nations that will form this alliance, including China (Magog) and Russia (Meshech and Tubal). For more detailed information, request Russia and China in Prophecy. The Bible calls this alliance of nations “the kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12) and reveals that they will field a combined army of 200 million men (Revelation 9:16).

China’s defense paper attempts to assuage public concern by reiterating that it “will not attack unless … attacked, but … will surely counterattack if attacked.” This is a very telling statement to those who understand Bible prophecy.

For more information on China’s rise, read the Trends article “Why the Trumpet Watches the Rise of China as a Superpower.”

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Capture the Jerusalem Vision!

Herbert W. Armstrong visited Jerusalem dozens of times. This was his first visit at the Wailing Wall with his wife, Loma, in 1956.
Trumpet

Capture the Jerusalem Vision!

The past, present and future of this city holds a hope-filled perspective you need.
From the September 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Wise King Solomon once wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). Vision is a mental image of what the future will be or could be. We all need vision—and hope and inspiration—or we perish!

I want to explain the tremendous vision—a hopeful and inspiring vision that you need—in the city of Jerusalem. In its future, as well as its past, and even its present.

No city on Earth has a past, present or future filled with such meaning and hope. There is vision in the Old City, in the City of David and on the Temple Mount; there is vision in the hills of Judea and on the coastal plains. There is vision in the ancient ruins that testify of this land’s incomparable history, and in the many sensational artifacts that have been uncovered in archaeological excavation, illuminating Israel’s ancient past.

Israel today is also the epicenter of major issues and trends, both regionally and globally. Though the news media do not convey it, there is enormous vision in this daily news. Israel’s domestic politics, the terrorist threat, the ongoing conflict with Iran and its proxies in Lebanon and Gaza, and many other events, become staggeringly meaningful when viewed in light of Israel’s past and the writings of its prophets. These writings place events in their historical context. More importantly, the ancient prophets explain where today’s events are leading.

These sacred writings also foretell of a magnificent future for this incomparable city—a future, soon to be realized, that should set our hearts aflame!

Watch Jerusalem

King Solomon wasn’t the only one to discuss vision and its importance to individual and national health. Many biblical priests, prophets and leaders talk about vision, especially the importance of the Jerusalem vision.

In Psalm 137:5-6, the psalmist wrote: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, If I remember thee not; If I set not Jerusalem [a]bove my chiefest joy” (Jewish Publication Society). Written in Babylonian captivity, this beautiful song expresses the deep yearning of God’s people for this city of God. It is a perpetual reminder to hold fast the vision of Jerusalem.

The Bible is filled with passages like this—passages that describe how important it is to cherish the Jerusalem vision.

Anciently, God instructed Abraham to uproot himself and move (Genesis 12). Abraham obeyed, and was a stranger and a pilgrim on this Earth. Hebrews 11 tells us that he “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” This is speaking of new Jerusalem—prophesied in exquisite detail in Revelation 21. Abraham was unconcerned about his physical whereabouts because he knew his spiritual destination. He held a vision of Jerusalem’s ultimate future, when it will serve as God’s headquarters for all nations and even the universe!

The Prophet Isaiah wrote extensively about Jerusalem. Consider Isaiah 40, which is about both the past and the future, and illuminates the Jerusalem vision. Verse 9 says, “O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, Get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, Lift up thy voice with strength; Lift it up, be not afraid; Say unto the cities of Judah:Behold your God!’” (jps).

Jerusalem and the State of Israel are filled with history and events that declare, “Behold your God!” Traveling that land is like walking through the Bible. There are biblically significant archaeological excavations, artifacts and ruins all over the country. Many political events and trends in Israel are connected to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In its own way, each of these declares, “Behold your God!”

Jerusalem and the State of Israel are filled with history and events that declare, “Behold your God!” Traveling that land is like walking through the Bible. There are biblically significant archaeological excavations, artifacts and ruins all over the country.

This message, though, must also be specifically declared and made plain, or people will not recognize it. In recent decades, it has been trumpeted by a specific individual—a man who has been called a modern-day “prophet” for Jerusalem.

Jerusalem’s ‘Prophet’

From 1965 to 1993, the mayor of Jerusalem was Teddy Kollek. He had a vision for the city and was able to turn much of that vision into reality. He oversaw the development of Jerusalem after its reunification in 1967 and brought it into the modern age. He has been called “the greatest builder of Jerusalem since Herod the Great.”

After his fourth reelection as mayor in 1983, Kollek was hosting a luncheon for a friend of his, with whom he could share, develop and expand his vision of his beloved city: Herbert W. Armstrong. Mayor Kollek deeply respected Mr. Armstrong’s understanding of the Bible and of Jerusalem’s paramountcy in its history and prophecy. After Mr. Armstrong toasted the mayor’s electoral success, Mayor Kollek smiled and responded from his chair, “Jerusalem at this time does not have a prophet. You will have to be our prophet.”

Mr. Armstrong meets with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
Trumpet

That statement showed profound insight. Mr. Armstrong was chancellor of Ambassador College, headquartered in Pasadena, California. A prolific author, educator, philanthropist and theologian, Mr. Armstrong traveled the world teaching the true causes of the problems facing humanity and their ultimate solutions. He published the Plain Truth newsmagazine, read by 1 out of every 583 people on the planet; broadcast the World Tomorrow program, seen on 382 television stations and 36 radio stations. Mr. Armstrong directed many important projects, but his greatest passion, especially in the final decades of his long life, was for the Jewish state and for Jerusalem. Between 1967 and his death in 1986, he visited Jerusalem more than 50 times. He personally befriended all of Israel’s prime ministers and presidents during this time. In 1968, Mr. Armstrong and Ambassador College formed what Israel’s tourism minister at the time called “an iron bridge that can never be broken” with Hebrew University and the State of Israel. Mr. Armstrong and Ambassador College supported several archaeological digs in the Old City, including the massive Temple Mount excavations led by Prof. Benjamin Mazar and Hebrew University. When Mr. Armstrong visited, he would often walk arm in arm with Mayor Kollek around the city. The mayor would share his vision of modern Jerusalem, and Mr. Armstrong would give the mayor feedback and ideas about his projects and plans.

Like the biblical prophets and the great Jewish figures of antiquity, Mr. Armstrong had an extraordinary vision of Jerusalem and the Jewish state. He understood that there is tremendous hope and inspiration bound up in the past, present and future of this city and nation. And he devoted a lot of energy to sharing this hope.

In 1967, I was attending Ambassador College. Mr. Armstrong was about ready to deliver a message in Israel. In a letter to co-workers at that time, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “[T]he living Christ has moved swiftly to open the all-important door that has been closed since the days of the original apostles!” In the first century, Jesus Christ came to Jerusalem with a message, and the people killed Him!—something God the Father vividly remembers and has deep feelings about (Revelation 11:8). The people of God went to Pella, a place of safety, in a.d. 69. In all the centuries since, the truth of God was not again broadly preached in that city! God slammed the door on Jerusalem! God allowed Jerusalem to suffer the terrifying holocaust of a.d. 70, the Roman siege that destroyed the city and the temple.

Yet in modern times, God inspired Mr. Armstrong to carry out the commission spoken of in Isaiah 40 about the voice “that crieth in the wilderness.” This commission was fulfilled by John the Baptist before Jesus Christ’s first coming (Matthew 3:3), but there was also to be an end-time fulfillment before the Second Coming—and that would be accomplished by Mr. Armstrong.

The king of Jordan had worked out a way with Mr. Armstrong for him to deliver that message via radio to Jerusalem. But before he could get there and broadcast, the Six-Day War broke out. Mr. Armstrong was deeply disappointed. He desperately wanted to deliver that message!

This proved to be the first of several major obstacles Mr. Armstrong faced while doing a work in Israel. Yet, Mr. Armstrong still managed to achieve extraordinary things there. There is a powerful lesson in this history for all of us.

Overcoming Obstacles

I have gone back and studied all that Mr. Armstrong accomplished in Israel and the challenges that arose, and I am convinced of two truths. First, the reason for those troubles was that Satan the devil hated what he was doing and worked fervently to oppose it. Second, Mr. Armstrong’s intense determination to surmount those obstacles showed his passion and love for Jerusalem! His knowledge of the Bible’s prophecies kept him focused on that city, and he found tremendous hope there. He saw its importance because he had vision!

During the 1970s especially, there was significant turmoil in the Church Mr. Armstrong founded. Some ministers staged something of a coup aimed at liberalizing the Church’s teachings. Ambassador College succumbed to these liberal forces in the faculty and student body. Mr. Armstrong had to disfellowship his own son, who then publicly maligned him. The state of California attacked the Church in what was later proved to be a totally unsubstantiated, unconstitutional assault. Many members and ministers left the Church.

Volunteers from Herbert W. Armstrong College excavate on Jerusalem’s Ophel in 2018.
Courtesy of Eilat Mazar

This is a compelling illustration of the truth in King Solomon’s proverb. These people lacked vision, and they were perishing spiritually!

All this occurred while Mr. Armstrong was undertaking his greatest efforts in Jerusalem! Satan knows the power of this Jerusalem vision. He repeatedly attacked Mr. Armstrong’s Church and its work in Jerusalem. Such activity in that city makes him very uneasy—and very wrathful! This is because when that Isaiah 40:9 commission is fulfilled, his evil work will end! (e.g. Revelation 12:12).

Mr. Armstrong confronted the problems forcibly, but he also didn’t allow them to undermine the work in Judah. If you follow that history in the 1970s, it seems Mr. Armstrong was unshakable! Some critics inside the Church chided him for traveling to Jerusalem when the college was “falling apart.” He responded by saying that if the college proved to be a distraction from God’s work, he would shut it down! He would not be sidetracked. He knew he needed to focus on Jerusalem, and carried right on doing so!

When you have the Jerusalem vision, even heavy trials will not stop you.

Gerald Flurry visits with Dr. Mazar in Jerusalem.
Trumpet

You would think that in the 1980s, while Mr. Armstrong was putting the Church back on track, he would have stopped the dig in Israel. Instead he joined more excavations. He also received a medal in the Knesset, and met with President Chaim Herzog and Shimon Peres. Prof. Benjamin Mazar, who led the Jerusalem digs, personally visited the Ambassador College campus many times.

The fruits show that God was inspiring Mr. Armstrong’s presence in Jerusalem. He was providing miracles and opening doors, and Mr. Armstrong always tried to walk through every door God opened! Some of the most outstanding universities in America were trying to be a part of those excavations—the most important digs on Earth. Yet a small college in Pasadena, California, was the one that received that honor! God was trying to get His people’s minds on Jerusalem and the vision it represents.

In 1986, Ambassador College students appeared on the cover of Biblical Archaeology Review—impressive prestige and publicity for any college. It was as though God was reminding His people that they needed to stay focused on Jerusalem.

Sadly, when Mr. Armstrong died, the Church members got their minds off that city. And where there is no vision, the people perish. Without vision, churches and colleges perish! That is what happened to Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God.

Thankfully, that is not where the story ends.

Behold Your God!

Within four years of Mr. Armstrong’s death, the organization behind this magazine launched with the express purpose of continuing the work his successors abandoned. Equipped with the same truth Mr. Armstrong proclaimed, and inspired by the same vision, we have resurrected the television program, magazines, book and booklet production and other media efforts. We have revived many other aspects of his work, including Public Appearance Campaigns, a primary and secondary school and summer educational programs for youth, concerts and other cultural events, and a liberal arts college with campuses in America and Britain (now named Herbert W. Armstrong College).

We also have a work in Israel that continues Mr. Armstrong’s legacy. We raised the ruins of Mr. Armstrong’s humanitarian work in Jerusalem with the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation. We worked to restore Liberty Bell Park. Shortly after Dr. Eilat Mazar discovered King David’s palace in the City of David, we started a partnership with her. We sent our first students to assist in her excavations in 2006. That same year, we met Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski. Our students have since been heavily involved in several digs that have unearthed marvelous, biblically significant artifacts, including Nehemiah’s Wall, the bulla of Gedaliah (one of the Prophet Jeremiah’s persecutors), and Solomon’s Wall. God has clearly been abundantly blessing Dr. Mazar’s work, because she has made one discovery of mind-boggling value after another!

You need the vision of what is going to happen in this city. Soon, Jerusalem will be the capital of this world. It will be called a city of truth, and peace, joy and happiness will be abundant.

Mr. Armstrong’s presence in Jerusalem prepared the way for our work there today. Dr. Mazar probably wouldn’t even be working with us today if it weren’t for Mr. Armstrong working with her grandfather, Benjamin Mazar. She grew up interacting with the Ambassador College students on the excavations.

The message of Isaiah 40:9 still needs to be proclaimed to the cities of Judah and in Jerusalem. God is doing that today through this work. We are allowing God to lead us through any doors He opens for us in the modern Jewish state to announce Christ’s imminent return: “Behold your God!”

On March 30, the New York Times published an article titled “Can an Archaeological Dig Change the Future of Jerusalem?” It quoted former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro as saying, “It’s hard to overstate how moving it is for Jews to connect to David’s Jerusalem.” We operate a website, Watch Jerusalem (watchJerusalem.co.il), and are about to launch a new magazine, also with the title Watch Jerusalem. It will be aimed at connecting the people of Israel to David’s Jerusalem. We have a powerful message about that city that they need to hear, especially as the nation’s problems intensify in the time ahead—which they certainly will, just as they did before a.d. 70.

The 2018 Armstrong College volunteers and Dr. Eilat Mazar stand at the Ophel.
Courtesy of Eilat Mazar

God is reaching out to the people of Israel! Their own amazing history and heritage is being unearthed from the soil under their feet—artifacts that connect to prophecies of what is about to happen to them!

Jesus Christ is about to return! If He did not do so, every human being on Earth would be killed (Matthew 24:22). We must prepare the way for His Second Coming. We must declare to Judah, “Behold your God!” Your Messiah is coming! You crucified my Son, God the Father might say, but now He’s coming back. This is the Messiah you were looking for the first time around. You didn’t want the one who would be crucified—you wanted a powerful Messiah! This time, that’s what you’re going to get. BEHOLD YOUR GOD!

That is our message to Jerusalem! There is wonderful vision wrapped up in Isaiah 40. Everything we are doing in this end time is about “Behold your God!” And God is opening this door.

You need to watch Jerusalem! You need the vision of what is going to happen in that city! In a very short while, Jerusalem is going to be the capital of this world. It will be called a city of truth. Peace, joy and happiness will be abundant (Zechariah 8:3-6). People from around the world will flow to Jerusalem to be taught God’s law and to learn the way of peace (Isaiah 2:1-5). God’s education and truth will fill the Earth! (Habakkuk 2:14).

I want to encourage you to request my free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy. It explains these and many of the Bible’s other prophecies about what will happen in this city in the time just ahead, and in that coming utopia. The last chapter is called “Looking to New Jerusalem.” It explains how, after a thousand years of that world governed by Jesus Christ, all mankind will be resurrected, instructed, and given the opportunity for salvation (Revelation 20). Then God the Father will bring new Jerusalem—the city that has foundations, after which Abraham sought—down to this Earth, and establish that as His universe headquarters (Revelation 21). He will be united at last with His Family, which will be absolutely happy and have full joy. That is the beginning of the rest of eternity! What a vision!

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Another Mass Shooting Terrifies Californians

A sniper aims at a house in Gilroy, California, where police think the shooter from the July 28 mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival might be hiding.
Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Another Mass Shooting Terrifies Californians

How can America stop its epidemic of senseless violence?

A gunman killed three people and wounded 12 on July 28 at a food festival in Gilroy, California. Now that another mass shooting has struck a seemingly safe place, many are wrestling with one big question: Why?

Police responded quickly, and the suspect was killed after less than a minute, preventing further deaths. The Gilroy Garlic Festival is a local tradition dating back to 1979. Each year, thousands attend, expecting a relaxing experience of food, drink and live entertainment.

This year, they suffered a tragedy instead.

Attending the festival were the wife and son of Alberto Romero. His wife was shot but survived. His 6-year-old son, Stephen, did not.

Witnesses said that the shooter, armed with a semiautomatic rifle and wearing military fatigues, sprayed bullets indiscriminately at the festival-goers.

The shooting began near a children’s play area, food tents and a stage where a band was playing. As performers and audience members dove under the stage for shelter, singer Jack van Breen heard one person yell to the gunman, “Why are you doing this?”

The gunman reportedly responded, “Because I’m really angry.”

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee described the shooting as “a nightmare you hope to never have to live.” California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted, “This is nothing short of horrific.”

Festival-goer Herman Solis described the scene to the San Francisco Chronicle, “You could hear the bullets whizzing by. It was unreal. We ran and ducked for cover. It was chaos. At first I thought it was fireworks. Then I realized it wasn’t.”

“I could see him shooting in just every direction. He wasn’t aiming at anyone specifically. It was just left to right, right to left,” said another witness.

One woman is audible in a video, asking, “What’s going on? Who’d shoot up a garlic festival?”

Why such a terrible event occurred is a question that needs to be answered. If a mass shooting can happen at a culinary event totally disconnected from religious or political affiliation, where can any Californian feel safe?

Undoubtedly, over the coming days, investigators will pore over the shooter’s social media accounts and interview those who knew him. Reporters will write about the “solution” to prevent mass shootings, calling for stricter gun laws.

But all of this will fail to point people to the true cause of America’s mass-shooting epidemic: the spirit realm.

The spirit world is neither tangible nor material, yet it is real. Many Christians today are misled into thinking that they live in God’s world and cannot explain why God would allow such suffering. The Bible teaches, however, that the world is currently ruled by Satan.

This evil spirit being influences the emotions of all humans. He stirs feelings of anger and rage. The Gilroy gunman is a case in point. Revelation 12:12 states: “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

The mass shootings and violence demonstrated in Gilroy are only a foretaste of what the future holds. Soon, entire cities will be crippled by rioting and violence (Isaiah 1:7). This will happen because the vast majority of people refuse to acknowledge their Creator, a Spirit Being with the power to save and protect—if we would believe and obey.

Regardless of what physical, mental or social motivations the investigators may blame for the Gilroy tragedy, the Bible explains that the root cause of violence and anger in today’s world is the spiritual influence of Satan and his demons.

Although this is Satan’s world, you can resist his broadcasts and be protected from atrocities like this. If you would like to learn more about the spirit world, study your Bible alongside Chapter 2 of Mystery of the Ages, by Herbert W. Armstrong.