Germany on the Verge of Economic Crisis

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Germany on the Verge of Economic Crisis

Harbingers of a recession frighten German companies.

Recent data shows that German manufacturing output is falling and the nation is heading for a recession. With German politics already in turmoil following the migrant crisis, an economic collapse could easily bring major change to German society.

In June, German exports dropped 8 percent from the same period last year, marking the lowest rate in nearly three years, according to the Federal Statistical Office on August 9. Industrial production dropped 1.5 percent during the second quarter of 2019, far worse than the predicted 0.4 percent drop, according to data published on August 7 by Germany’s Economy Ministry. Compared to the previous year, output was down 5.2 percent, marking the lowest point in almost a decade.

DekaBank analyst Andreas Scheuerle said the data suggests that the German economy shrunk by 0.2 percent over the last quarter. If the economy shrinks in the next quarter, as is expected, the nation will officially be in recession.

“All in all, we would characterize today’s industrial production report as devastating, with no silver lining,” said ing chief economist Carsten Brzeski.

“The most important industrial sector in Germany, the car industry, is in crisis; the same is true for the second-most important, mechanical engineering, and also the third-most important, chemistry,” German newspaper Die Welt wrote on July 12. “Everywhere the German economy is crashing and rumbling. Are these really just isolated cases? Or harbingers of a full-blown crisis that we have allowed to happen?” (Trumpet translation throughout).

Everywhere you look, things look bad for the German economy. Germany is the third-largest exporter in the world, leaving it acutely vulnerable to global trade war. The United States’ trade war with China leaves many European businesses in uncertainty. U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening European powers with tariffs. The aftermath of the euro crisis is still limiting European domestic consumption. Germany is tightly connected to the European financial market, making it vulnerable to financial upsets in poorer eurozone countries. Add to this the likelihood of a hard Brexit, Germany’s diesel scandal, and negative interest rates, and you end up with the “perfect storm” that could flatten Germany’s economic stronghold.

For years, the symbol of Germany’s looming economic crisis has been Deutsche Bank. The nation’s biggest bank has struggled to keep its head above water, but until recently, it has dismissed rumors of a crisis. Last month, however, the bank accepted its fate and began eliminating 18,000 jobs. Rather than seeking to advance the bank’s reach, Deutsche Bank ceo Christian Sewing revealed a more limited approach: “We will only be where our customers want us.”

Germany’s biggest bank is not the only one struggling. Sewing’s statement reveals Germany’s overall need to downsize.

The car industry is also facing major challenges. In 2017, Volkswagen, Daimler AG, bmw, Audi and Porsche all faced billion-dollar penalties in a U.S. lawsuit for pursuing a coordinated strategy of misrepresenting emission results. Effects of the diesel scandal continue to this day. Diesel car owners in Germany have faced driving bans. Car manufactures have to provide costly software updates while the demand plummets for diesel cars.

And this isn’t the only challenge Germany’s biggest industry faces. The car industry is heavily dependent on exports. Its top five export destinations include the U.S., France, China and the United Kingdom. But Donald Trump’s presidency and Brexit make it nearly impossible for the car industry to compensate for its domestic losses with exports. Other German exports are also likely to decline significantly. Since other European nations, such as France and Italy, also face major economic problems, export increases in these nations are unlikely.

Germany’s domestic production challenges plus geopolitical uncertainties may prove devastating for its car industry.

The nation’s mechanical engineering sector is also struggling for various reasons. Its main robot manufacturer, Kuka, is majority-owned by the Chinese Midea Group and is heavily affected by the recent trade war between China and the U.S. In the second quarter of this year, its profits were half what they were at the same time last year. As a result, Kuka is reducing its staff in Germany.

The number of employees working part-time in Germany has doubled. This affects Germany’s overall economy. Because of the reduction in work time, employees and their families often have to drastically reduce their standard of living. The uncertainty in the market has led many households to reduce their spending. Unless Germany’s geopolitical struggles change for the better, more and more people will be affected in a downward spiral.

This economic crisis is coming at perhaps the worst possible time. Since the start of the 2015 refugee crisis, Germany has taken in more than a million refugees. Refugee centers and shelters have been established all over the country. But the cost to facilitate their stay increases by the day. Many are seeking stable jobs. Yet even when the economy was stable, the occasional news report highlighted the frustration unemployed Germans feel as jobs are being taken by refugee neighbors. So what will happen as economic conditions worsen and the hunt for employment becomes increasingly more difficult?

Its history under Soviet rule left Eastern Germany more economically disadvantaged than Western Germany. Correspondingly, Eastern Germany has always been the first to experience economic problems. Recent sanctions on Russia have hurt many businesses in the region. The economic challenges, feelings of being disadvantaged, and other trends have led East Germans to drastically different political views than West Germans. Recent polls show that the liberal Green Party is soaring in the West, while Germany’s far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is soaring in the East.

But will West Germans still care about eco-friendly policies once the economic crisis hits their wallets?

If you add the occasional crimes and terror attacks committed by refugees to the fact that they’re taking away many jobs from Germans, you end up with an explosive mixture. The tense climate has led many East Germans to vote for the AfD, a trend that, to a lesser extent, has already happened in Western Germany. As economic conditions worsen, expect social trends between the two sides of Germany to align.

This wouldn’t be the first time that an economic crisis suddenly gave way to the drastic rise of a radical political movement.

Leading up to World War ii, Germany was one of the most liberal countries in the world. Adolf Hitler could have never stirred nationwide hatred for Jews and foreigners if it hadn’t been for the global financial crisis of 1929 that preceded his rise. Only after the crisis hit did millions of people begin to believe Hitler’s propaganda. His accusations that Jews were infiltrating banks gave the people a common scapegoat for their financial trouble. The more they felt the effects of the financial crisis, the more willing they were to support Hitler’s fight against the Versailles Treaty.

But Hitler didn’t use the economic crisis only to create fears; he also used it to create an empire. Large-scale infrastructure programs, as well as increased weapons production, brought the unemployment rate close to zero. This garnered Hitler the love of a hero. Millions would later follow him into a global war.

Is it possible this could happen again?

The idea that this history could repeat itself seems surreal, especially considering Germany’s decades of liberalism and economic prosperity. But the harbingers of another financial crisis are all around us. No one can deny the fact that Germany’s far right is on the rise among those who struggle economically. Imagine how a large-scale economic crisis could spread this trend throughout Germany and Europe.

We are seeing just the beginning of this trend, but Bible prophecy tells us where it will end. For decades, the late theologian Herbert W. Armstrong prophesied that a large-scale financial crisis would again hit Europe. Based on various Bible prophecies and recent history, he predicted that a massive banking crisis in America “could suddenly result in triggering European nations to unite as a new world power, larger than either the Soviet Union or the U.S.” (co-worker letter, July 22, 1984).

For this prophecy to be fulfilled, Germany’s and Europe’s markets have to be on shaky ground prior to the sudden collapse of the dollar. The stage is being set for this prophecy to be fulfilled. (For more information on Mr. Armstrong’s many Bible-based prophecies, request our free booklet He Was Right.)

Bible prophecy also indicates that crises, such as an economic collapse, will lead to Germany’s demand for yet another strongman. This leader will not be brought to power in a democratic election, but rather “come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Daniel 11:21).

Germany today is a liberal democracy. But a major political and economic crisis could change this rapidly. Watch as Germany’s economic condition worsens, and you will see the Bible’s forecasts fulfilled. Read “How the Global Financial Crisis Will Produce Europe’s 10 Kings,” by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry, to learn more about how today’s looming financial crisis is prophesied to radically change all of Europe.

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Silent Ethnic Cleansing Underway in Crimea

Ukrainians in Kiev’s Independence Square hold placards and portraits of the detainees and missing Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists in Crimea during a rally on February 27, the fifth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
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Silent Ethnic Cleansing Underway in Crimea

Putin amasses power, as he strives to revive the Soviet Union.

Since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, the region has undergone significant degrees of ethnic cleansing. This process would normally spark outrage around the world, but Russia’s methods have gone relatively unnoticed and unreported. Meanwhile, an entire ethnic group is silently being uprooted from their homeland.

Ethnic cleansing, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “the expulsion, imprisonment or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity.” This is exactly what Russian President Vladimir Putin has been doing with the Crimean Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group. But unlike genocide, Putin’s method of “encouraging” the emigration of certain groups and the immigration of others much more readily flies under the radar.

Since 2014, Putin has led the expulsion of 30,000 to 40,000 Crimean Tatars and the destruction of many of their schools, religious and cultural monuments, and institutions, according to Eurasia Daily Monitor.

Russia has managed to avoid the public outcry by leading a “slow-motion” ethnic cleansing.

This pressure to choose “assimilation or expulsion,” as Eurasia Daily Monitor described it, is done by provoking Crimean Tatars so that they move or accept Russian citizenship. The disobedient are imprisoned to intimidate others.

Rosstat, Russia’s statistical service, reveals this trend in Crimea. Between January and May 2019, Rosstat recorded the emigration of 12,740 people from Crimea and the immigration of 15,329 others. Rosstat does not specify the ethnicity of either of these groups; however, these numbers are almost assuredly the emigration of Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians and the immigration of ethnic Russians. Eurasia Daily Monitor wrote that this has been the trend since 2015 “but is now becoming increasingly dramatic.” Although the specific numbers may vary from source to source, what is undisputed is the large numbers of Crimean emigrants and Russian immigrants.

Radio Free Europe–Radio Liberty also reported on this trend in May 2018. According to Russian statistics, approximately 247,000 Russians have moved to Crimea since March 2014, while about 140,000 Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians have left the peninsula. According to Ukrainian officials, however, those numbers are much higher.

Borys Babin, the Ukrainian president’s Crimean representative, said, “We can say with certainty that we are talking about hundreds of thousands of people. An enormous number of bureaucrats are moving in with their families, and those family members are looking for work.” He went on to say that about 40,000 Crimeans registered as displaced on the Ukrainian mainland and many more have left but not yet registered.

Crimea’s Tatar leader even suggested that the number of Russian immigrants could be as high as 850,000 to 1 million. But, he said, “this is held as a military secret because they know perfectly well that it is a crime.”

Putin’s actions in Crimea, and the process of ethnic cleansing that he is leading, reveal his role as the biblically prophesied strongman of Russia.

A prophecy in Ezekiel 38 states, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (verse 2; New King James Version).

In his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia,’ Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry identifies Meshech as a variation of the Russian spelling of Moscow and Tubal as the city of Tobolsk, named after the Tobol River. He writes:

Tobolsk was once the seat of Russian government over Siberia and was basically considered Russia’s Asian capital. … Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, once called Rus. Many encyclopedias and commentaries (such as the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary) recognize this. So who is this “prince” of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk? The use of all three names shows that this is an individual ruler of all the peoples of Russia, from the west to the east. … This giant swath of land indicates the prince will probably conquer more nations of the former Soviet Union.

When you study these scriptures alongside current events revealing modern Moscow’s imperialist direction, you see that Russian President Vladimir Putin could well be the prince of Rosh. We strongly believe he is.

The “prince of Rosh” is prophesied to lead the end-time “kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12). This massive Eastern alliance of many Asian nations, including China, Japan and India, will wield a 200 million-man army (Revelation 9:16). Its leader, this “prince of Rosh,” will have considerable power at his disposal.

Through Putin’s actions today, we can see the makings of a strongman who could lead this formidable alliance.

Mr. Flurry says that this leader will “probably conquer more nations of the former Soviet Union.” This is exactly what Putin has done in Georgia and Crimea. In 2005, he called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”

Putin is “the dictator of Russia,” we write in Russia and China in Prophecy. Even though he does not “appear to exercise the kind of brutality of some of his predecessors, … he certainly is intent on using whatever power is necessary to secure his country’s resources and make Russia into a global power!”

Today’s ethnic cleansing in Crimea is a perfect example of this statement. Putin is doing exactly what former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin once did, only through much more inconspicuous means.

In 1944, Stalin accused Crimea’s Tatars of collaborating with the Nazis during World War ii. In truth, less than 5 percent of the population had supported the Nazis and some 80,000 others had actually fought in the Soviet Army. But Stalin used this lie to excuse a mass deportation of all Crimean Tatars. Over the course of a few days, they were loaded onto trains and transported to Central Asia. The deportation was carried out with excessive brutality, and some families were given only a 15-minute warning before being deported. Many Tatars who were accidentally left behind were beaten to death and thrown into the Black Sea. Those who survived the brutality were not given official permission to return to their homeland until 1974. The 1944 deportation has been labeled an act of genocide. But Putin has achieved a nearly identical objective, yet silently and with barely a passing mention.

Putin is quietly amassing power that will soon propel him into a powerful leadership position over many nations. To more thoroughly understand the end-time role of the prophesied “prince of Rosh” and the kings of the east alliance he will lead, read Mr. Flurry’s free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’

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The Danger of Fed Cuts

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The Danger of Fed Cuts

What will happen when the next recession hits?

In response to pressure from United States President Donald Trump, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates on July 31 for the first time since the 2008 recession. The decision came amidst concerns over America’s trade war with China. The trade war is making some goods more expensive for U.S. consumers, but the lower interest rates are intended to offset the increase by encouraging them to borrow more easy cash.

According to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, “The outlook for the U.S. economy remains favorable, and this action is designed to support that outlook.” He described the rate cut as an insurance policy against potential speed bumps for the economy, including rising trade tensions and a slowdown in global growth, saying there is no reason the expansion can’t keep going.

Interest rates are now between 2 and 2.25 percent. President Trump is arguing for even lower interest rates from the Federal Reserve. Morgan Stanley analysts are predicting that interest rates are actually going to sink to near 0 percent. However, these cuts will only put America further into debt.

Interest rates are normally lowered during economic recession, allowing consumers to borrow more and afford more expensive goods. This stimulates the economy while times are bad, tiding the people and nation over during the downturn. When the economy eventually recovers, interest rates are then generally raised to encourage less borrowing and more saving.

The current rate cuts mean that even as the economy is booming, the government is encouraging borrowing. The danger is that when a recession inevitably hits, there will be no protective buffer to fall back on.

All this would be bad enough without factoring in the fact that America is deeper in debt than it has ever been.

With an ever increasing debt, now at $22 trillion, America’s economy is in profound trouble. Federal spending shows no signs of slowing, and the budget deficit is growing. To make matters worse, the national debt is higher than America’s gross domestic product, meaning the country owes more than it makes. It’s similar to a household being $2,150,000 in debt, with a salary of $333,000 a year, while spending $410,000 a year.

The most remarkable aspect of the economic problems that the U.S. now faces is that they were foretold in Bible prophecies written thousands of years ago. God inspired His servant Moses to write: “[I]f thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee” then “the stranger … shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:15, 43-44).

In The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong explained how this and the bulk of the Bible’s numerous prophecies concern the United States and Britain, which are the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel. These scriptures refer to the curses that are currently befalling these nations because they have refused to “hearken unto the voice” of God. Today, America and its citizens are mired in increasingly debilitating debts of all kinds. This tragedy, a direct result of the nation’s disobedience to God, is leading to a mighty fall.

To learn more about America’s place in Bible prophecy, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

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Is the World ‘Rigged’ Against Women?

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Is the World ‘Rigged’ Against Women?

Scientists have measured it. Here’s what they found.

America’s Democratic presidential candidates are weighing in on one of the big issues of our day: sex inequality. “This toxic culture, this pernicious patriarchy in this country, has to stop,” says Cory Booker. “Since 1963 when we passed the Equal Pay Act, we have been talking about the fact women are not paid equally for equal work. Fast-forward to the year of our Lord 2019, and women are paid 80 cents on the dollar,” says Kamala Harris. “The game is rigged when women earn less than men for doing the same work. It’s rigged,” says Elizabeth Warren. “The systemic devaluation of women in our society” is undeniable, says Kristen Gillibrand.

These are fierce condemnations. Are they true? What’s the evidence? How much worse do women have it? Can we measure it?

A group of scientists sought the answer. Researchers from the University of Missouri and the University of Essex in the United Kingdom calculated a way to quantify it. Called the Basic Index of Gender Inequality, it measures educational opportunities, healthy life expectancy and overall life satisfaction. These folks analyzed data for 134 nations, representing 6.8 billion people.

So, do men have it better than women? You’ll be surprised by what they found.

I only saw a news report on this last week, but the study was published January 3 in PLOS ONE, a leading peer-reviewed journal on science and medicine.

This effort to create an unbiased, reliable index to show gender inequality found that in poorer countries, women are worse off. Their opportunities for education are often limited, and their satisfaction with life is lower than that of men. These researchers found a relative disadvantage for women in 43 countries. At the bottom of the list were Chad, Benin, Liberia, Yemen, Mali, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Pakistan and several other countries, mostly African or Muslim or both.

What about women in richer countries, in the West—in America? Are women worse off than men?

Researchers found that here, the situation is actually reversed. The index showed that in 91 countries, men are worse off than women.

In rich countries, women have better educational opportunities, they live longer and healthier lives, or they have higher overall life satisfaction. In many nations—including the United States—all three of these factors favor women.

How is this possible when the whole system is supposedly “rigged” against women?

The study in PLOS ONE says we haven’t been measuring correctly. The way these issues are typically studied poses problems and distorts reality. “Apart from political agendas, research on gender inequality has also almost exclusively focused on issues highlighted in the women’s rights movement,” the study says. “Issues disadvantaging more men than women have been understudied … and are not heavily weighted (if at all) in widely used measures of gender inequality, such as the highly cited Global Gender Gap Index (gggi). Further, the gggi truncates all values such that no country can, by definition, be more favorable for women than for men.” Unsurprisingly, when you look at only half the picture, you find disadvantages for women everywhere.

“As a result, existing measures do not fully capture patterns of well-being and disadvantage at a national level,” the report continues. “This is an important oversight, as there are issues that disproportionately affect boys and men. Among the many examples are harsher punishments for the same crimes and an overrepresentation (93 percent worldwide) in the prison population; compulsory military service …; the large majority of homeless people without shelter are men; higher levels of drug and alcohol abuse; higher suicide rates; more occupational deaths; underperformance in schools; and men are more often victims of physical assault in general … and within schools, thus limiting educational opportunities. Men are also overrepresented in occupations that are risky (e.g. exposure to toxins) and physically taxing, such as front-line military duty, firefighting, mining, construction, or sewage cleaning.”

By these measures, there are plenty of areas in modern life where men are worse off. But people cherry-pick areas where women don’t perform as well, and use it as proof that women are systemically mistreated. They insist that every discrepancy is caused by sexism and discrimination.

This is the way many people have come to view every problem in society: Wherever they see differences, they blame bigotry.

The reality is, many factors contribute to differences and inequalities. These are inherent in human existence. Equality as it is being defined and sought after is impossible. In fact, I would argue it’s not even desirable.

For an idea of how misguided the quest for equality is, look at the U.S. women’s soccer team. Earlier this year, its players complained of inequality in their sport. They win more games than the U.S. men’s team does, so they decided they should get paid the same or more than the men. They filed a sex-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

This move earned plaudits from commentators and politicians. “The women make just as much of a sacrifice, put in just as much mental and physical energy, absorb just as much risk of injury as the men who play for our national team,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said. “Yet, when you break it down, a women’s national soccer team player earns a base salary of $3,600 per game while a men’s player earns $5,000.”

This implies that the only reason the women make less money is because of sexism. It is a great applause line for ignorant people.

But here are some very pertinent and irrefutable facts: The Women’s World Cup generated $131 million in revenue this year. The Men’s World Cup generated $6 billion—over 45 times more.

Blame it on whatever you’d like, but spectators for men’s soccer far outnumber those of women’s soccer. The same is true of basketball, football, baseball, golf, rugby, cricket, track, swimming, boxing and virtually every other sport. Athletes are not paid based on how much they sacrifice, or the mental and physical energy they expend, or how much they risk injury. They are paid based on how much money their contributions bring in. Just like everybody else in the economy.

That is how a free economy works. You can’t arbitrarily decide what someone’s pay should be based on whatever virtues you choose. If your work doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make money. If it isn’t creating paying customers, no matter how much sacrifice or energy or risk you take, it won’t pay.

That explains the pay gap in soccer. Not sexism. Not a toxic, “pernicious patriarchy.”

The broader pay gap between men and women has similar causes. Work tends to play different roles in men’s and women’s lives. Men tend to focus more on pay. Women tend to prioritize other things—family, flexibility, personal fulfillment. They’re less likely to move for a job. They are likelier to decline promotions. They tend to choose lower-paying fields. They tend to work fewer hours—the U.S. Census Bureau says full-time men average 2,213 working hours a year versus 1,796 for full-time women.

Ignore all these factors, and you will find “unequal pay.” But as economist Thomas Sowell said, if it were true that you can plug a woman into a position for 80 cents to the dollar compared to a man, every smart employer would hire all women. If he didn’t, any competitor who did would make thousands or millions more every year and probably drive him out of business.

The pay gap is a myth that explodes when met with facts. The facts are irrefutable and clear. Nevertheless, we keep hearing about the pay gap because, to unprincipled people, it’s politically useful.

If Chuck Schumer or those Democratic presidential candidates really care about women’s rights, why are they fighting on this battlefront? This study says, if you want to find disadvantaged women, look at the developing world. Where are the feminists seeking redress for their aggrieved sisters in Nepal, Morocco, Angola, Nigeria or India? There are countries that weren’t even a part of this study, like Afghanistan, where women are forced to wear burkas and girls are forced into arranged marriages with old men. That is real inequality between the sexes! Why aren’t they trying to help the lives of those women?

But those who focus instead on the supposed sexism in America want to highlight grievances, manufacture problems, and stir people into discontentment—even if they have to ignore reality and lie to do it. As with every social justice crusade like this, no matter how much “progress” is made, there is always “more work” to do. Its advocates simply change the standard; they redefine the “equality” they seek. And information like this study is pushed aside. People aren’t interested in the truth.

Here is some truth. God made men and women. He made us male and female (Genesis 1:26). And He did so for a beautiful reason. When we study into why God did that, we see there was design and purpose and strategy in it. We see that He made us equal in our wonderful potential. We see that we are “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7)—that we have equal opportunity to please God and to attain the Kingdom of God. We see that there is neither male nor female in Christ (Galatians 3:28). We see that neither sex is superior or inferior.

We also see that God made us different in mind and body, as two parts of a whole. We see that He intends men to fulfill one role, within the family and within society—and for women to fulfill a different, complementary role.

This is something society fights against. But the fact is, whenever we fight God—we lose. Society loses.

Our society has worked hard to guarantee equality—and has created a situation where men are disadvantaged. And still people talk almost as though we are putting women in burkas and social straightjackets.

Here is what God says. He doesn’t just say women have comparative advantages to men. In Isaiah 3:12, a prophecy of our day, God says, “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.” We may say we have a pernicious patriarchy, and rail against our systemic devaluation of women—but God says the women rule.

The way these researchers are measuring sex inequality is useful in some ways. But what we really need to strive for is for both men and women to attain their full potential as God intends. We don’t need to be comparing ourselves to each other. We need to be putting our whole effort into fulfilling the role God has given us to do!

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Iranian Cyberattack Reveals Desire to Control Bahrain

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Iranian Cyberattack Reveals Desire to Control Bahrain

Test run of Iran’s technological capabilities is leading to a global confrontation.

A series of high-level cyberattacks against Bahrain last month illuminate Iran’s use of cyberterrorism as a destructive weapon to expand its empire.

The Wall Street Journal reported on August 7, “Suspected Iranian hackers infiltrated [Bahrain’s] critical infrastructure and government computers” and “shut down several systems” in a cyberattack that is believed to be a “test run of Iran’s capability to disrupt the country.”

On July 25, the alleged Iranian hackers broke into the offices of the Ministry of Interior and prime minister, as well as Bahrain’s chief criminal investigative authority’s systems. Last month, Bahraini authorities stated that Iranian hackers gained “command and control of some of the systems” of its Electricity and Water Authority.

Iran is increasing its malicious cyberactivity. “The intrusions, according to people familiar with them, rose above the normal level of Iranian cyberactivity in the region,” the Wall Street Journal continued. While Iran has targeted several of its Middle Eastern adversaries with cyberattacks, “the Bahrain intrusions may be a sign of increased aggression”—aggression that even has the United States concerned.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (cisa) director Christopher Krebs said:

cisa is aware of a recent rise in malicious cyberactivity directed at United States industries and government agencies by Iranian regime actors and proxies. We will continue to work with our intelligence community and cybersecurity partners to monitor Iranian cyberactivity, share information, and take steps to keep America and our allies safe.

Iranian regime actors and proxies are increasingly using destructive “wiper” attacks, looking to do much more than just steal data and money. These efforts are often enabled through common tactics like spear phishing, password spraying, and credential stuffing. What might start as an account compromise, where you think you might just lose data, can quickly become a situation where you’ve lost your whole network.

“This is an actor that has previously demonstrated a willingness to go destructive,” Krebs said last month. “They’ve done it regionally. If their calculus changes, they could go global.”

Confrontation

According to the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook, Bahrain is about 74 percent Muslim. However, it is widely accepted that about 70 percent of Bahrain’s population are Shiite Muslims; Iran also has a Shiite majority. Iran’s elite expeditionary force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, is actively working in Bahrain to overthrow its Sunni ruling elite. Bahraini officials have even accused Iran of meddling in their nation’s affairs.

Iran is working to bring Bahrain under its control, just as it has been in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his free booklet The King of the South, “The stage is being set for an Islamic group of nations to be led by Iran as the prophesied king of the south.”

Notice the beginning of an end-time Bible prophecy in Daniel 11:40: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him ….” This coming radical Islamic, Middle Eastern power bloc will be the dominant force in the region. It will be led by a radical nation with an extremely aggressive and pushy foreign policy—Iran.

However, Iran’s belligerence will soon come to an end.

Mr. Flurry continues, “Iran has also heavily infiltrated Yemen and Bahrain, and it is deeply entrenched in Afghanistan. Many moderate Arab nations fear, and are afraid to offend, Iran.” As a result of Iran’s tyrannical and brutal use of power, “[t]he ‘moderate’ Arabs today are going to join forces with Germany,” writes Mr. Flurry. “Germany has also supplied Bahrain with naval patrol boats dating back to the time the Middle East was destabilized by the deposing of the shah of Iran. In more recent years, German arms exports to Bahrain have been stepped up, especially arms of a type traditionally used to put down insurrection” (ibid).

Notice the rest of the Daniel 11:40 prophecy: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” In response to Iran’s belligerent behavior, “the king of the north,” or a German-led Europe, will “come against him like a whirlwind.”

Psalm 83 contains a list of nations that will survive this whirlwind attack by aligning themselves with Germany. One of the peoples listed are the Ishmaelites, whom Saudi Arabia claims to be descendants of. Their connection can easily be proved by tracing the lineage of the 12 princes of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13-15). Each of the 12 princes became their own tribe situated on the Arabian Peninsula. Throughout history, many, if not all, of the tribes remained on their ancestors’ lands. It is possible Bahrain could be one of those tribes and, therefore, is included in the prophetic Ishmaelites who align themselves with Germany.

Iran’s attack against Bahrain was just a “test run” of its capabilities. Watch for future Iranian attacks against Bahrain, as it attempts to bring the Shiite country under its control. And watch for Germany to take a stand against this increasingly belligerent Iran.

For more information about this coming confrontation, request a free copy of The King of the South, by Gerald Flurry.

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German-French Cultural Representative Idolizes Charlemagne

Armin Laschet, deputy co-chairman of the German Christian Democrats and governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, poses for a brief portrait prior to speaking to members of the Foreign Journalists’ Association on February 25 in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

German-French Cultural Representative Idolizes Charlemagne

Meet Armin Laschet, a culture-loving fan of Charlemagne.

Armin Laschet, the premier of Germany’s most populous state, North-Rhine Westphalia, recently devoted himself to reviving the legacy of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire. The push may seem like a standard cultural project, but Charlemagne’s history shows that it has deadly implications.

As the culture of the Holy Roman Empire is being revived as a political tool, uniting nations of different backgrounds and languages, it’s imperative to remember its origin and what the Bible says about it.

Last year, Aachen Cathedral held a weeklong festival celebrating its 40th anniversary as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (unesco) World Heritage Site. The event was attended by 73,000 visitors and heavily featured the cathedral’s founder—Charlemagne. Laschet was a keynote speaker at the event.

Laschet loves European history and culture. As a staunch supporter of Charlemagne, he keeps a large sculpture of the emperor in his office. But his idolization of Charlemagne isn’t restricted to private admiration.

Since January, Laschet has served as the German-French Cultural Representative. While the form of culture that he promotes is nothing new, it hasn’t been at the forefront of European politics for centuries. In response to his appointment as culture representative, Laschet said: “In the next few years—as Europe is reorganizing itself—science, culture and education will become more important” (Trumpet translation throughout). Laschet believes that cultural exchange is at the heart of Franco-German relations. The culture that these countries share has historically enabled them to overcome their rivalries at times.

“For me,” Laschet explained in an interview with Die Welt, “historically there are two main pillars that shape our society to this day: Christianity and education.” Both of these pillars, as Laschet further explained, were established by Charlemagne. “Charlemagne attached great importance to education in Aachen Chapel. Although he was illiterate, he brought the brightest thinkers of his time from all over Europe to his court.”

Laschet continued to praise Charlemagne as a true European: “Charlemagne never thought nationalistically about one country; always about Europe as a whole. Maybe ‘transnational’ would be a better word. He sought the union of the various peoples of his empire and found this cohesiveness in Christianity. In this respect, people who now like to refer to the ‘Christian Occident’ as an argument for demarcation and nationalism should take a look at Aachen Cathedral.”

At the close of the anniversary celebrations, Aachen Cathedral Provost Manfred von Holtum said:

Being a Christian is culture. And this can go both ways: Christianity established culture; here in the Aachen Cathedral through worship and prayer, through pilgrimages and the very different expressions of religious activities, through music and cathedral tours, through readings of contemporary literature and through celebrations such as the awarding of the Charlemagne Prize or the Medal for Combating Deadly Seriousness [awarded during Carnival]. But it is also true that culture is a path to religion. How many people are brought into contact with religion—the Christian religion—each year by visiting this church, for the first time or after a long period of religious abstinence or after a break away from one’s own Christian past?

Europe’s culture is closely connected to Christianity as shaped by the Catholic Church. Through culture, Charlemagne spread Christianity. Through Christianity, Charlemagne united an empire. For this reason, European leaders want to spread the culture of the Holy Roman Empire again.

In the August 1978 Good News, late theologian Herbert W. Armstrong wrote: “[T]hey well know there is but one possibility of union in Europe—and that is through the Vatican.”

In a pursuit to control Europe and ultimately gain world dominance, European leaders have historically allied with the Roman Catholic Church. We are seeing the resurrection of this church-state axis throughout Europe today because European leaders know that Continent-wide unity cannot be achieved without the help of the Catholic Church. European leaders are following the tradition of Charlemagne, who followed in the tradition of the Roman Empire. Other emperors over the centuries have done the same.

A church will, in fact, lead Europe again. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explained in “A Monumental Moment in European History!”: “The church leading the Holy Roman Empire is not God’s true Church. But God does allow this church to gain control of this German-led European beast power. Expect the Catholic Church to become more vocal and for this church-state axis to become more evident.” Mr. Flurry knows that a future church-state axis is coming because Bible prophecy makes this plain.

Revelation 17:3 shows that the Catholic Church will again lead a united Europe, the Holy Roman Empire. There are seven consecutive resurrections of the Holy Roman Empire: “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space” (verse 10).

God revealed the truth in Revelation 17 to Mr. Armstrong when Adolf Hitler, the sixth prophesied king, was on the scene. Hitler was also fascinated with Europe’s culture. Before he became dictator, he studied art. Like Charlemagne, his mind was on establishing an empire that demonstrated cultural excellence. Every time he conquered a nation, Hitler brought the most precious artifacts back to Germany.

But the Bible reveals that there will be one more European leader to ally with the Catholic Church and revive the culture of the Holy Roman Empire. (Request your free copy of The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy to learn more.)

While Laschet is currently in an influential position to revive this culture in Europe’s most powerful countries, he is also in contact with yet another influential advocate of Europe’s culture: Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

In 2017, Guttenberg told a Bavarian audience in a campaign speech for his Christian Social Democratic party:

When we are not ready to love our culture, then others will start to define our culture. And it can’t be our goal to leave that what grew over centuries and is seen in the church towers, which is seen in the club culture, which is grown in a Christian-Jewish Western society, to others that come in to us.

While some see Laschet as a possible chancellor candidate, we at the Trumpet believe that Guttenberg will soon lead not only Germany but all of Europe. The Bible prophesies that Europe will again rise to become an empire with a transnational leader. This empire will broadcast the culture of the Holy Roman Empire. While the Bible doesn’t reveal which specific individuals will lead this empire, we already see the stage set for the fulfillment of these key prophecies that will lead to the worst destruction this world has ever seen. But the prophecies don’t end there.

The final result of all of this will be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Revelation 17:14). Read the “The Holy Roman Empire Goes Public—Big Time!” by Gerald Flurry to learn more about the rise of this empire and what God has prepared for a better world to come.