Is Friedrich Merz Germany’s Future?

Friedrich Merz, vice president of the cdu Economic Council
Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images

Is Friedrich Merz Germany’s Future?

The man people say could replace Chancellor Merkel

Friedrich Merz is one of the front-runners to become the next party leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (cdu), economics minister or even chancellor. Few know who this man is, but judging by his popularity in Germany, he could soon drastically change the nation’s course.

Merz has the backing of former finance minister and president of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, and many other conservative party members. Concerning Germany’s leadership, former Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told the German Press Agency on January 17: “For me, there is only one politician in the [Christian Democratic] Union left, who I consider perfectly suitable for this task and who I would vote for: Friedrich Merz.”

cdu party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced her resignation on February 10, giving urgency to the subject of German leadership. The new leader of the cdu will most likely be the party’s chancellor-candidate.

The head of Germany’s government is the most powerful leader in Europe and thus has a major impact on the world. Therefore, we need to ask: Who is Friedrich Merz? And where will he take Germany?

Merkel’s Longtime Rival

This is not the first time Merz has been considered a possible chancellor-candidate. From 2000 to 2005, he was considered a real contender for the chancellery. However, Angela Merkel won, and he drifted out of politics. Nevertheless, Merz continued to be one of Merkel’s strongest critics.

After leaving politics, Merz went into the business world, becoming a multi-millionaire as a corporate lawyer. Until recently, he worked for an American investment bank.

Merz attempted a political comback in 2018, competing with Kramp-Karrenbauer for the cdu’s leadership. While Kramp-Karrenbauer stood for a continuation of Merkel’s policies, Merz wanted to shift to the right.

The Far-Right’s Fear

Ms. Merkel took the cdu to the left—but lost millions of votes to the far right in the process. The rise of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) happened under her watch. Its rise in popularity has been so dramatic that almost half of all German political experts expect the AfD to form part of the national government by 2030.

Although Merz hopes to end the AfD’s rise, he actually helped pave its way. In 2005, Deutsche Welle wrote:

Germany was successful in rebuilding its bombed and charred cities after World War ii, but it was less successful in healing the deep wounds German culture and the national psyche suffered after 12 years of Nazi rule.

For decades, the phrase “German pride” was considered an oxymoron, something that had been rubbed out of existence after Auschwitz. But that began to change after reunification, and in 2000, conservative politician Friedrich Merz asked the question publicly: Could Germans be proud of their achievements and should there be common cultural guidelines that people ought to live by? It evoked some angry responses.

Pride in Germany’s history and achievements is a major theme for the far right, but it was Merz who introduced the idea into Germany’s mainstream party.

Many Germans desire a leader who represents some of the same political views of the far right, without appearing like a Nazi. Merz does that in a fabulous way. Foreign Policy wrote last week:

Though Björn Höcke, the leader of the party’s far-right splinter group, is often presented as a charismatic strongman, he remains divisive even within the AfD and is almost entirely despised outside of it.

Instead, it is ostensibly centrist leaders like Merz who present the greatest threat. That Germans would consider voting for a far-right leader should hardly surprise close observers of the country’s politics—an undercurrent of right-wing radicalism has always infected German politics, including in the cdu. Indeed, there are many figures in the party who may be to the right of Merz: Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, for example, or Hans-Georg Maaßen, the former head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s internal security agency. Furthermore, a number of long-term sociological investigations have found widespread support for right-wing radicalism within the German populace. That a centrist party like the cdu might be led by a politician making nativist claims and praising his own business acumen can hardly be seen as unprecedented, either within Germany or in the midst of a global shift to the right.

If Merz wins the race to succeed Angela Merkel, we can expect a sudden change to the right and quick end to Merkel’s legacy.

The Economy’s Hope

One of Germany’s greatest fears is an economic recession. Last year, the nation saw the most financial uncertainty since the financial crisis of 2008. Recent trade disputes and the challenge to adapt to new technologies are burdening its economic output. Thus “Merkel’s Successor Must Confront Germany’s Decline,” as the Financial Times noted.

Here again, people are putting their hope in Friedrich Merz.

During his time as a politician, he became famous for his pro-business stance and his demand for tax reform. Today, he is a successful businessman and addresses Germany’s economic problems and solutions in clearly outlined speeches. For these reasons, many entrepreneurs favor Merz as the cdu’s next chancellor-candidate.

“This is Friedrich Merz’s hour. He can best fulfill the hopes from business—especially from family businesses,” Roland Mack, cofounder and managing partner of Europa-Park, told Die Welt.

A European Army and a Catholic Revival

Merz’s Roman Catholic faith guides his politics. Zeit Online noted that part of the reason Merz wouldn’t enter into cooperation with the far right is due to his religious beliefs. His faith is also reflected in his demand for a guiding culture that would orient itself with Christian values. He also supports fighting against the worldwide persecution of Christians.

In a contribution for Welt am Sonntag, he noted that there is a new “cultural struggle” for the future of the free liberal order. He also noted that the increased persecution of Christians around the world is “an attack on our freedom.”

Many religious leaders have previously drawn attention to these rising numbers of persecuted Christians. But it appears Merz would be willing to use military force to secure the lives of Christians in the Middle East and other places. Consider also that Merz is a strong proponent of a European army. On Oct. 25, 2018, he signed a letter alongside five other “leading German thinkers” that strongly endorsed a European Union army. Europe, he said, should “work toward the goal of a common European army”; Europeans “no longer need national armies.”

Discussion of a European army is yet another controversial topic that many politicians have avoided. Yet Merz is willing to discuss it. If he were to become chancellor, we could expect an emphasis on Germany’s Catholic roots and a push for a stronger European military.

When it comes to combating the Islamic State in the Middle East or building a European army, Merz thinks similarly to French President Emmanuel Macron. When it comes to a guiding culture and preventing the influx of refugees in Europe, he thinks similarly to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. These three men also share the same Roman Catholic faith.

The history of the Holy Roman Empire shows that these factors have united Europe in the past. Motivated by the Catholic Church, European kings have united their armies to fight against Islamic invasions and other threats.

Europe’s Coming 10 Kings

It is still very uncertain if Merz will replace Chancellor Merkel. But he’s certainly one we will be watching closely.

The Bible has a lot of critical prophecies about modern Germany. Merz could bring Germany closer to fulfilling these prophecies. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains in The King of the South, Europe is prophesied to confront radical Islam.

Revelation 17 describes a beast—an empire in biblical symbolism—made up of 10 nations that share their power. This empire is led by a woman (verses 1-2), a church in Bible prophecy. This is why we forecast that the EU will become a 10-nation superpower, led by the Catholic Church.

Other scriptures describe a strongman, an overarching leader, who rules over the 10 kings. We believe that former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is a strong candidate to fulfill these prophecies.

Consider: In recent years, Guttenberg has spoken very favorably of Sebastian Kurz, Emmanuel Macron and, most recently, Friedrich Merz.

In a Nov. 17, 2018, interview with the Austrian daily newspaper Kurier, Guttenberg said that he would like to see more European heads of government take a close look at, or follow the example of, Kurz. Concerning Macron, Guttenberg further said that Germany should finally respond to his visionary ideas for Europe.

Merz could help pave the way for the German strongman. He could even end up as one of the kings under this strongman. As Mr. Flurry noted in the Dec. 5, 2018, Key of David program, the overall leader could come to power as leader of Germany—ruling as one of the 10 kings. Or he could be an additional ruler, ruling over all 10 kings.

It remains to be seen how these prophecies will be fulfilled. But as we watch Germany’s leadership crisis, we ought to diligently study God’s Word. “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man,” Jesus Christ admonished in Luke 21:36.

“Jesus Christ is about to reign forever, bringing peace and joy and happiness to all mankind!” Mr. Flurry said. “Watch vigilantly: The imminent arrival of this prophesied European strongman connects directly to this inspiring, fast-approaching reality!”

In whatever way this man comes to power, it is a sign that Jesus Christ is about to return to this Earth! These kings will cause great havoc on this Earth just prior to Christ’s intervention.

Realizing we are about to see the fulfillment of these prophecies ought to give us the urgency to turn to God and live our lives according to His laws. Order a free copy of Daniel Unlocks Revelation, by Gerald Flurry, to understand why God gives prophecies, how we can understand them, and where they are leading.

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What Next for a ‘Westless’ Europe?

What Next for a ‘Westless’ Europe?

World leaders gathered for the Munich Security Conference over the weekend in one of the most important military and foreign-policy conferences of the year. This year’s theme was “Westlessness.”

No, that’s not a typo. Instead, the conference focused on a fundamental shift in world order.

Since the end of the Second World War, “the West” has been one of the key players in world events. While not totally unified, the West includes the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Western Europe, with Eastern Europe joining after the end of the Cold War. This bloc has held similar values—freedom, democracy, relatively free market economies—and is held together by a series of overlapping alliances, like nato and the European Union.

Westlessness is the end of this worldview. This bloc wields less power on the world scene. It is less unified. Parts of it are turning against its core values.

In focusing on Westlessness, the conference exposed one of the most important trends in world events.

With leaders from both the U.S. and Europe giving their thoughts on the big issues of the day, the conference exposed the massive divide between the two. “The two sides aren’t just far apart on the big questions facing the West (threats from Russia, Iran, China), they’re in parallel universes,” wrote Politico.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier openly blamed many of their problems on the U.S. Yet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted, “The West is winning; we’re collectively winning.” His triumphalism was met with stony silence. Many in the room no longer consider themselves on the same side as the U.S.

“One thing is certain: There will be no return to the heyday of close trans-Atlantic ties,” wrote Deutsche Welle. “Rhetorically, at least, the Europeans have been shaken awake from that dream. There is much talk of Europe becoming a sovereign, strategic, political power. There are demands that Germany once again learns the language of power, which French President Emmanuel Macron has already seemed to master.”

Macron really drove the agenda. His push for a strong European military received strong support. Deutsche Welle approvingly noted:

The highlight of the conference was perhaps the appearance of French President Emmanuel Macron. The French president brings incredible dynamism to the European debate. He fights for European independence. He wants a common foreign and defense policy. And if that does not work for all 27 remaining EU members after Brexit, then Paris would be happy to work with those that do support the idea repeatedly advocated at the conference: to create a Europe capable of action in the face of the “rivalry of the great powers.”

Mr. Macron said that Europe must avoid being America’s junior partner. He has a grander destiny in mind.

He said he was “convinced that we need a much stronger Europe in defense.” Some European states—particularly those in Eastern Europe—would rather stick close to the U.S. than have Europe go alone and create its own separate, powerful military. That opinion was also on display at the conference. But Macron’s message was that Europe must simply move on without them, even it is only a smaller, “core” group of nations that become a military power.

Mr. Macron’s comments were enthusiastically endorsed by the German participants. Armin Laschet, one of the top candidates to replace Angela Merkel as Germany’s chancellor, said, “I would like to apologize on behalf of the German government” for not moving more quickly on Macron’s proposals. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she “completely agreed” with Macron. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the “construction of a European security and defense union” within 10 years.

Some of this renewed push for a military union is already bearing fruits. The day after the conference, EU leaders agreed to a new military mission to enforce an arms embargo on Libya. Maas made clear he envisioned more such missions. German security is defended “in Iraq, Libya and the Sahel,” he said at the conference.

Macron even raised the prospect of France helping this military union by sharing its own nuclear weapons. Currently, many European countries rely on American nuclear weapons for their nuclear umbrella. Macron wants to end that dependence. “We have to think in a European way as well,” he said. Shortly before the conference, he invited Germany for talks on the subject of nuclear weapons with France—further indicating that France may be willing to share its nukes.

Mr. Macron also indicated that Europe could move closer to Russia as it moves away from the U.S. He said U.S.-led sanctions against Russia were “totally inefficient.” Europe, he said, “will reengage in a strategic dialogue.”

American officials worked hard at the conference to encourage Europe to move away from China. They failed; European nations will continue their close cooperation despite pressure from America.

It is clear that “the West” is no more. There are two power blocs: a German-dominated Europe on the one side; the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand on the other.

Understanding this divide is fundamental to all the forecasts we make at the Trumpet. As Herbert W. Armstrong proved in his free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—along with others, including the Jewish State of Israel in the Middle East—are descended from ancient, biblical Israel.

This European power, in contrast, is the force God is raising up to punish Israel. These two have fundamentally different backgrounds and different destinies. They appeared to be one bloc in the postwar world, because America was powerful, and Europe, devastated by World War ii, was weak. But as Europe rises, the divide is clearer than ever—so clear that it’s obvious to the organizers of the Munich Security Conference.

This is the true source of “Westlessness.”

America still believes this German-led Europe is its closest friend. To Secretary of State Pompeo, the relationship between the two is great.

This side of the relationship is also prophesied.

Biblical prophecy warns that Israel will trust in lovers—foreign allies—that will destroy it. “All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not,” God warns the nations of Israel in Jeremiah 30:14.

“They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom,” says God in Ezekiel 16:33. Could this apply better to any nation other than the modern United States?

America has given Europe nuclear weapons. They’re stationed in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and elsewhere—and ready to fly on German planes. The U.S. spends nearly $700 billion on defense, while the EU spends much less than half that. These European countries can have their generous welfare states because the U.S. is paying for most of their protection.

U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to change this and cut back on some of the “gifts.” Europe is responding by saying that the relationship is over, and it is all America’s fault. If Europe isn’t receiving the gifts, it doesn’t want the alliance. It’s not really an ally America can trust.

France’s role in this is important to note. France is also descended from biblical Israel. Yet it is playing a major role in creating this new European power—all with the strong encouragement of Germany. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry described this betrayal in his article “France Is Resurrecting the Holy Roman Empire” in the latest Trumpet issue.

But God says He is the one ultimately behind this trend. “All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy,” God reveals in Jeremiah 30:14. In Ezekiel 16:37, God says, “I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure … I will even gather them round about against thee ….”

Why? God explains in Ezekiel 23:35 that Israel “hast forgotten me, and cast me behind thy back.” We have rejected God. We have not trusted Him for protection, and we try to make up for that lack of protection by looking to foreign powers. America invests all this money into the nato alliance because previous leaders have believed it makes America safer. They believed that if they made Europe powerful, Europe would embrace America’s values and help defend America from its enemies. Mr. Trump is pulling away from that policy, but he’s not looking to God for protection either.

God’s problem with American foreign policy is that America trusts in foreign nations and not in Him.

Senior figures in the Trump administration quote 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” They are right: This verse applies to America. God promises protection—but with conditions. It requires the nation to “turn from their wicked ways,” a part of the verse they often leave out of the quote.

Instead, we trust foreign powers.

Mr. Armstrong explained that in doing so we violate the first and great commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37).

“We violate that as a nation,” he said in a World Tomorrow broadcast in the 1980s. “Now I don’t think we realize we are doing it—I don’t think we do at all. I think we sincerely think—we’ve just kidded ourselves into thinking—we’ve been deceived into believing that we are really relying on God.

“But then you know, we think that God is sort of a myth, and He’s far off. Maybe He is not real? And maybe He couldn’t really help us? So we must depend on something that is real. We must depend on something that we can see. And so now we are so afraid of Russia that the United States government feels that it must take what we call a ‘calculated risk,’ … and try to build up Germany and Central Europe against Russia.”

The United States built modern Europe. Its prosperity and security rest on American foundations. And now the Continent is turning against America exactly as the Bible warns.

God is behind what Europe will do to America once it turns on the U.S. But He does it out of His love. It will be painful for America to experience the consequences of its actions, to watch its lovers betray it. But God has a purpose. He says that ultimately “ye shall know that I am the Lord God” (Ezekiel 23:49). This breakup of a relationship that never should have developed will ultimately lead America to return to the one who loves the nation with a sincerity and power that no foreign country can match.


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Seven Ways to Grow in Happiness

Seven Ways to Grow in Happiness

How can you be happy? It’s a question that has perplexed philosophers, theologians, psychologists and the rest of us.

Why? Often, it’s because we don’t understand what happiness actually is. Most people in our society now sincerely believe that happiness is hedonism, brief physical or mental satisfaction or pleasure. But pursuing this counterfeit happiness only compounds anxiety, emptiness, despair and financial problems.

Intractable unhappiness has caused us to turn to compulsive behaviors like substance abuse and other self-destructive indulgences.

True happiness is a state of mind that comes from a sense of well-being, contentment and inner peace. That fundamentally comes from living a life of noble purpose. In addition, here are seven practical things you can do to be happier.

1) Create Happiness Habits

Much of what we do stems from habits. Happy people and miserable people have markedly different habits. We are what we repeatedly do, so if we make happiness a conscious part of our personality, we begin to see possibilities and joy in all situations. Instead of negativity, practice kindness. Instead of being hard-hearted, be compassionate. Instead of having malice, be forgiving. Take a realistic inventory of how you’re doing.

It takes effort to establish these habits. If you find your foot coming off the gas, push down hard again. The more habitual these actions become, the more resilient you will be, and resilience is a key to cultivating a happy life.

2) Ditch Materialism

Most of us believe to some extent that more money, a better job or a bigger house would substantially make us happier. Most of us already have what we need, we just want more.

Giving up your cell phone, getting rid of satellite television, or selling the second car is an unimaginable scenario for many. The more we acquire, as surveys show, the more we lose our ability to understand that luxuries are not necessities.

In his booklet The Seven Laws of Success, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote that “happiness is not material, and money is not its source.” Happiness is a state of mind, which explains why people with very little can still be very happy.

There simply is no clear linear relationship between happiness and wealth. They can often be mutually exclusive. Living beneath the poverty line reduces happiness in some ways, but studies show that excessive income doesn’t seem to buy much happiness either. Happiness comes only when you obey the principles of life that produce it.

3) Be Grateful

Many experts are now saying that gratitude is vital to happiness. People can become laser-focused on what they want, forgetting to appreciate what they have. For example, if you have good health, a roof over your head, and food in the fridge, be grateful because, for many, these things are conspicuously missing.

Life itself is also one of our greatest blessings. Other blessings are fleeting and may come and go, but the gift of life offers us the privilege and responsibility to respond with gratitude.

According to the Journal of Science and Behavior, grateful people tend to appreciate the simple pleasures in life, experiencing much less anxiety. That’s because “[g]ratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings,” according to William Arthur Ward. So flex your gratitude muscle, because contentment brings happiness!

4) Control Emotions

How many times have you witnessed someone who is moody, complaining, temperamental or rude? These are examples of immature behavior triggered by allowing our emotions, rather than considered reason, to dominate our minds.

It’s a deeply rooted, habitual reaction that starts in the relationship between what we think, how we feel and react. Negative, self-defeating and abrasive thoughts make us feel bad and we lash out.

Stunningly, many experts advocate being able to “vent” when we get angry; to let off steam. But this contradicts Proverbs 16:32: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Social psychologist Carol Tarvis, in her book Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion, agrees that venting is unhelpful. She says only when we repress anger does it cause less stress.

This doesn’t advocate bottling up feelings, but rather reflecting on a bad situation, deciding on a reasonable response, and then executing in a calm and effective manner. If we do so with the intent of being more understanding and tolerant of others, then our actions are deflecting negativity, rather than absorbing it.

5) Become a Giver

The saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” isn’t just a soundbite, but a principle perpetuating good health. We can give by volunteering, spending time with others, or giving to those in need. We also give by making someone laugh or providing encouragement. The more effective our communication is, the better our ability to give help to someone.

Giving never gets old, even when done in identical ways. It still gives us relative pleasure the more we do it. So if you want happiness, spread happiness. That’s how it works.

6) Show Yourself Happy

“You become what you pretend to be,” is an old saying worth remembering. Even if you have trouble being happy, smile like you mean it, says a 2011 study by Michigan State University.

Smiling attracts people. Try it next time in a conversation and watch the positive response from the other person. Your hearty enthusiasm and congenial smile will make others say, “There goes a happy man!”

7) Trust God

The key variable to the happiness equation comes not from what you have but from doing what God reveals is right. “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3).

The previous six points help our behavior change based upon getting command of our thinking. Here, God says if we act and step up to do what He wants, He will change our thought pattern and provide us with happiness.

Trusting God allows Him to do the heavy lifting for us, and that is the surest way to bring about inner peace and banish worries, stress and fears.

For more information on achieving happiness through abundant and successful living, request The Seven Laws of Success, by Herbert W. Armstrong.

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Turkey and Syria Trade Blows in Syrian Crisis Escalation

A Turkish military mobile rocket launcher fires from the Syrian province of Idlib toward Syrian government forces in neighboring Aleppo province on February 14.
OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP via Getty Images

Turkey and Syria Trade Blows in Syrian Crisis Escalation

Where will Turkey turn for help?

The Syrian crisis intensified over the last two weeks when Syria and Turkey traded blows in northwestern Syria. The back-and-forth bombardments cost troops on both sides. As Russia continues to support Syria in the conflict, the question arises: Where will Turkey turn for help?

Shelling by the Syrian Army against the northwestern Idlib province this month killed 13 Turkish military personnel, according to several sources. On February 10, Turkey retaliated by firing on 115 Syrian government targets, destroying 101 of them, including three tanks, two mortar positions and one helicopter, according to Turkey’s Ministry of Defense. The Turkish retaliation killed at least 51 Syrian soldiers.

“The incidents are among the most serious confrontations between Turkish and Syrian troops in nearly nine years of conflict in Syria,” Reuters reported. “Turkey has said it will drive back Syrian forces if they do not pull back by the end of this month.”

After the escalation, Turkey deployed an additional 5,000 troops, hundreds of tanks and armored personnel carriers, and radar equipment over the border to bolster its forces.

In a speech in Ankara on February 11, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned, “The more they attack our soldiers, the heavier price they will pay,” claiming Turkey gave the “necessary responses” to the Syrian attack.

Though this is Syrian territory, Turkey is getting involved to protect its southern border and stop the influx of Syrian refugees.

With backing from Russian air strikes, Syrian artillery has flattened several towns and cities in Idlib over the last few weeks, killing hundreds of civilians and forcing about 850,000 more to flee their homes to seek refuge; many have attempted to start a new life in Turkey and even Europe.

Turkey is already saturated with Syrian immigrants; 3.6 million Syrian refugees have made their home there since the civil war began in 2011. According to a 2018 Pew Poll, 1 million Syrian refugees migrated into Europe, with the largest concentration in Germany, which hosts more than a half million displaced Syrians. The migrant crisis has been crippling to Europe’s economies, specifically in Germany, as they seek to find employment, food and shelter for 3.6 million Syrian refugees.

Turkey cannot absorb any more migrants, and neither can Europe.

Russia and Turkey have maintained close diplomatic relations throughout the years. The two nations share many economic and military deals and have met several times attempting to resolve the Syrian crisis. Despite this alliance, Russia continues to support Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Relations with the United States have been especially strained since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Turkey’s decision to purchase the S-400 air defense system from Russia in spite of pressure from the U.S. not to.

As a result, it is logical that the next place Turkey will turn for help will be from its neighboring continent with whom it shares the migrant burden from the Syrian crisis: Europe.

Turkey’s shift away from the U.S. toward Europe is a trend the Trumpet has followed for years. In September 2012, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote “How the Syrian Crisis Will End.” When he wrote the article, more than 10,000 people had been killed. The current death toll from the Syrian crisis now stands at about half a million.

“Keep your eye on Germany,” Mr. Flurry admonished readers in 2012. “Turkey has also been allied with Iran, but it too is going to side with Germany in the future! Why? Because it disagrees with what Iran is doing in Syria! While Iran supports the Assad regime, Turkey supports the rebels.”

The migrant crisis has brought Turkey and Germany closer together. Though the relationship is still strained at times, Turkey is one of Germany’s chief destinations for military hardware. Turkey operates about 750 German main battle tanks. These Turkish-owned Leopard ii tanks rolled into Syria in two offensives last year in January and October.

Because “Turkey and Germany share a common goal in Syria,” as Trumpet contributor Josué Michels wrote, these two nations will soon unite, just as the Bible prophesies.

Psalm 83 contains a prophecy about a group of Middle Eastern nations aligning themselves with Germany. Verse 6 says that the “tabernacles of Edom” and the “Hagarenes” will be included in this alliance.

In Bible prophecy, the Hagarenes refer to the modern-day nation of Syria. The Hagarenes were a semi-nomadic people who lived in the desert region between the lands of Gilead, Bashan and the Euphrates River, an area known today as Syria. They are mentioned as living in the same region from the 12th century b.c. during the time of King Saul (1 Chronicles 5:9-10) to 703 b.c., when they were referenced in Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser iii’s Summary Inscription.

In “Is Turkey in the Bible?Trumpet writer David Vejil explained that Turkey is actually the modern descendant of Edom, as mentioned into Psalm 83:6. He wrote, “The key to their identity and their origins lies in their name, Ottoman. This name actually appears in biblical prophecy. … This name is Teman—grandson of Esau … also named Edom (Genesis 25:30).” Anciently, the Edomites lived near Mt. Seir, as recorded in Genesis 26, but they eventually migrated to Central Asia where they gained independence from the Persians under Tur where they became known as the Turks. In the seventh century, many, but not all, of the Turks migrated into Asia Minor and established the Ottoman Empire.

Psalm 83 says that Turkey and Syria will dramatically shift away from Iran and into an alliance with Germany. The U.S. has already largely withdrawn from northern Syria, only keeping a small number of troops at the Al-Tanf military base as a counterterrorism force and to protect local oil fields; however, on January 8, U.S. President Donald Trump asked nato to become more involved in the Middle East, with the ultimate goal of the U.S. being less involved.

Since then, Germany has become considerably more active in the region. The start of 2020 has seen a sharp rise in German activity in the Middle East, from supporting an anti-Iranian naval mission to training Saudi military forces to hosting a diplomatic conference to resolve the Libyan civil war.

America is on the way out and a German superpower is emerging in its place. Watch for this dramatic change in the Middle East.

For more information, read “How the Syrian Crisis Will End,” by Gerald Flurry.

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Australia Celebrates 42nd Sydney Mardi Gras

Australia Celebrates 42nd Sydney Mardi Gras

Is this popular festival a sign of progress?

Thousands of people from across Australia and overseas converged onto the streets of Sydney on February 14 to celebrate lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer lifestyle at the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The festival is Australia’s most popular annual celebration of lgbtq culture. The 16-day festivities, ending on March 1, will culminate in a colorful parade attended by hundreds of thousands.

The parade has grown in popularity over recent years. The 2018 parade drew an estimated 300,000 attendees and over 12,000 participants. The 2019 parade drew an estimated 500,000 attendees and 16,500 participants. This year’s parade could attract more.

The Sydney Mardi Gras, however, wasn’t always popular. In 1978, a small group gathered for international homosexual celebrations. Police arrested many of them. The following year, the Parliament of New South Wales repealed the legislation that had allowed the arrests to be made. Since then, the event has grown in popularity. To the point where members of both the police and military participate in the parade—in their uniforms.

The growing popularity of the Sydney Mardi Gras is indicative of the growing acceptance of the lgbtq lifestyle. Australia legalized homosexual “marriage” in December 2017, when nearly 60 percent of the population in every state voted “Yes” in a postal referendum. For many Australians today, the acceptance of this lifestyle is far beyond a “shoulder shrug.”

Can Australia continue down this path without experiencing negative effects?

Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker explains in his booklet Redefining Family, “Until a few generations ago, the concept of marriage and family was taken for granted—generally accepted as desirable—as the basic means of rearing responsible children and producing a stable society.”

Australia has not been the epitome of stability over recent years. It has had five prime ministers in five years, widespread drug abuse, increased depression, increasing cost of living, as well as the worst drought in 400 years. According to the Australian mental health association Beyond Blue, 1 in 6 Australians is currently suffering depression or anxiety, or both.

To add to the economic pressures from the rising cost of living, Australia is dealing with what experts say could be the nation’s most expensive environmental disaster to date, the 2019–2020 bushfire crisis. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a bushfire recovery fund of $1.3 billion. Experts have said the fires will cost the country $3.5 billion.

These facts show that Australia needs more stability.

As Mr. Hilliker noted, a nation gains its stability from strong families. The question must be asked, then: Is the legalization and public celebration of homosexual values helping build stable, healthy families? Or is it aiding in the family breakdown?

Just because a nation legalizes same-sex “marriage” doesn’t mean that it is legal in the eyes of the one who instituted marriage.

In Why Marriage—Soon Obsolete? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

If we were mere animals, developed by evolution, marriage would never have existed.

Human men never did think out, devise or institute the relationship of marriage, with family and home life. Marriage was ordained by God—not by man. It is governed by the laws of God—and man has no jurisdiction over it, in God’s eyes.

The Bible is very clear in displaying God’s view on marriage and homosexuality. God emphatically condemns the practice of homosexuality. You can read about God’s stance throughout the Bible (e.g. Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10).

The unprecedented levels of instability and other problems Australia is facing now are due to the sins of the people, including that of the government.

Rather than blaming the government, Australians must look at themselves. In Leviticus 26, God states, “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit” (verses 3-4). As these Bible verses say, obedience to God’s laws results in blessings.

Contrast verses 3-4 with verses 14, 19 and 20: “But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments …. I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”

God uses the weather as an effective tool in getting people’s attention. God sincerely wants to spare people from the suffering that comes from disobeying His law, including the plethora of problems that result from family breakdown. God yearns to bless us. He can only do that if we are living by His wonderful law.

Breaking that law, and embracing things like homosexuality, destroy family and bring about unparalleled suffering. To save us from that suffering, God corrects us. He punishes our nations so we will turn to Him and change our destructive behavior. Homosexuality is such a destructive sin because it blinds us to what God is doing through man—it makes it hard for someone to understand the gospel.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in “Guardian Angel”:

The God Family is the issue of issues in the entire Bible! The true gospel is the good news of the coming Kingdom, or Family, of God. The true Church is the Family of God in embryo today, waiting to be born as God’s sons. The physical family is a type of the God Family. If the traditional family breaks down, so does God’s master plan for man!

For more information on why God has created the institutions of marriage and family and how Satan is actively working to hasten the crumbling of those institutions, read our free booklets Why Marriage—Soon Obsolete? and Redefining Family.

As Australia continues to accept and laud perversions of the traditional family unit, suffering caused by curses will only increase. But you don’t have to suffer those curses. You can enjoy the blessings of a marriage based on God’s wonderful law of true outgoing concern.

As thousands celebrate perversions of the God-ordained institutions of marriage and family, you can be sure that God is not celebrating with them. As Joel Hilliker wrote in his inspiring conclusion to Redefining Family:

We can be thankful to God that His supernatural intervention in the affairs of mankind, as prophesied in hundreds of biblical passages, is now just ahead of us. In the not-too-distant future, the world-ruling Family of God will vigorously teach all of mankind the perfection, the beauty, the blessing, the majesty and the vision wrapped up within the sacred institutions of marriage and family!

Book Club: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years | Meeting Five

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Churchill’s Final Warning

British statesman Winston Churchill sits at the writing desk of his country home in Chartwell, Kent.
Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Churchill’s Final Warning

The man who rallied Britain to face down the German threat and save Western civilization gave a warning to us. Shouldn’t we heed?

If Adolf Hitler had won World War ii, all of Europe would have been dominated by a homicidal madman. He threatened the survival of Western civilization itself! And he would have succeeded if not for one man: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Many historians recognize this truth.

Throughout the 1930s, Churchill warned Britain about the danger in a rising Germany, but no one heeded him. He tried to convince the leaders of Britain to rearm, but they only wanted to disarm. The nation’s leadership was dedicated to appeasement, and America was committed to isolationism. Somehow, the liberals thought that disarming would appease the tyrant. Instead, Hitler made slaves of most of Europe.

Churchill was alone. The media and academia scorned him. He risked his reputation, his political career, even his life, to publicize the truth about the threats facing the nation. God’s work must do the same—even to a world increasingly hostile to the truth. Churchill had to overcome a lot of personal fears to do what he did. We all must overcome fear. God offers the solution in 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear ….” We all have fear, but if we have the love of God, that will cast fear out and motivate us to do what needs to be done.

Churchill stood alone against a sea of enemies. Where would we be today without him? Would I be allowed to speak God’s message freely if Hitler had imposed tyranny on the Continent and then the world?

Only after all other options had been exhausted did Britain finally acknowledge that Churchill was right and turn to him for leadership. This experience should have taught the world a lasting lesson. Sadly, it did not.

Today, it is possible to deploy devastating nuclear weapons in war. The consequences of another worldwide conflict will be far worse than World War ii. Churchill delivered a warning about this—a warning about something terrible that would happen if we didn’t make some radical changes. Considering how accurate his vision proved to be before that war, surely we ought to listen.

What was that warning? And what changes must we make to avoid the fate about which he warned?

‘Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat’

Churchill’s main political rival was Lord Halifax, who came close to being prime minister. Halifax believed there was nothing heroic about fighting and dying for your country. He supported negotiating a surrender to Hitler.

Churchill refused to turn even slightly in that direction. So determined was he not to submit to Hitler that reportedly he told Halifax and the entire War Cabinet that “if this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”

On May 13, 1940, in his first speech to Parliament after being elected prime minister, Churchill said:

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

What a rhetorical masterpiece—powerful, poetic and precise. Even as Britain was on the brink of losing the war, Churchill kept talking about victory! He used that word five times in a single sentence. That is what his mind was fixed on. Staring down impossible odds, he remained stunningly positive! He simply refused to lose.

“I take up my task with buoyancy and hope,” he concluded. “I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all and I say, ‘Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.’”

He spoke of securing the survival of the empire with “buoyancy and hope.” He was determined to resurrect that force for good in the world—the empire God had given them.

This speech was only seven minutes, and it is one of the greatest speeches ever given in politics! It began to drive away the darkness over London, and shift the hearts of the British people. I have read that speech over a dozen times, and every time I am more impressed.

His speech was not well received by most in positions of power and influence. But he was encouraged by former Prime Minister Lloyd George. George said it was a good thing Churchill had been made prime minister, given “his dauntless courage, his profound study of war, and his experience in its operation and direction,” and said: “He is exercising his supreme responsibility at a graver moment and in times of greater jeopardy than have ever confronted a British minister for all time.” Those words brought Churchill to tears!

The reality was, in offering “blood, toil, tears and sweat,” Churchill wasn’t speaking empty words. He absolutely meant what he said. And those words changed history!

‘We Shall Fight on the Beaches’

It took a miracle at Dunkirk to prevent the Allied forces from being captured and massacred. In the evacuation, Britain had preserved its troops, but lost all its ammunition. M.P. Henry Channon wrote in his diary, “I wonder as I gaze out on the gray and green Horse Guards Parade … is this really the end of England? Are we witnessing, as for so long I have feared, the decay and perhaps extinction of this great island people?” It is true that nations can die! If you know history, you know many of them have.

Churchill was happy to save most of his troops from ruin at Dunkirk, but he knew this wasn’t really a victory. As he said, wars are not won by evacuations. But he remained steadfast when it seems nobody else did.

In a speech on June 4, 1940, Churchill declared his intent to fight Hitler wherever and for however long was needed:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous states have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender. And even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Churchill guaranteed continual warfare, even if the mainland were defeated! He was determined to move to other Commonwealth nations and keep fighting from there.

This speech helped mightily in rousing Britain to abandon its policy of appeasement and surrender, and to stand up to Hitler. It brought many members of Parliament to tears, and lifted the people’s spirits. Men were moved and stirred by these words, and became willing to risk their lives to stand up and fight.

Such strength and courage is desperately needed today.

‘Their Finest Hour’

Only two weeks after Dunkirk, German troops marched into Paris. On June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill again addressed British Parliament (emphasis mine throughout):

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

What Churchill said then is even more relevant today. The “new Dark Age” he warned about is upon us. Science has created even more-formidable, more-destructive weapons. The dangers threatening our world are proliferating. How could it be any worse? We must wake up and see reality! We need help from God! We all truly need to recognize that!

Churchill said that “the survival of Christian civilization” was at stake. How true—and it is even more so today! This reflected his historical vision—the perspective he had because he knew history. He had devoured history, which gave him an epic sweep of history and the lessons it taught. Can we learn from his perspective, and his history?

Churchill’s Final Warning

Over a decade before he became prime minister, Churchill delivered this warning. I call it his “final warning” because it is the message that applies most of all to our time. In 1924, he wrote:

Mankind has never been in this position before. Without having improved appreciably in virtue or enjoying wiser guidance, it has got into its hands for the first time the tools by which it can unfailingly accomplish its own extermination. That is the point in human destinies to which all the glories and toils of men have at last led them. They would do well to pause and ponder upon their new responsibilities. Death stands at attention, obedient, expectant, ready to serve, ready to shear away the peoples en masse; ready, if called on, to pulverize, without hope of repair, what is left of civilization. He awaits only the word of command. He awaits it from a frail bewildered being, long his victim, now—for one occasion only—his master.

We need to think about the world today and how Churchill’s warning applies to us. Those are powerful words, and they are more relevant than ever!

Churchill said the people then were living in a “fool’s paradise.” Today our fantasy world is far more distorted. If we don’t heed Churchill’s warnings, a nuclear war will quickly put everything into perspective. But what a terrifying tragedy if we fail to heed.

Churchill warned of mass extermination. His warning fits the Bible description of the end time. Jesus Christ Himself warned about an end-time nuclear holocaust: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22). This is a prophecy that mankind would take himself to the brink of annihilation!

Why don’t you hear Christians teaching these prophecies of Christ? Christians are supposed to be followers of Christ. Christianity also got it all wrong about Hitler in the 1930s. It learned nothing from Winston Churchill. It is the guiltiest of all religions, because Christians should know better. They have been warned repeatedly. They don’t know God and they don’t know their Bibles!

Can we solve our problems? No. Only our Savior can. We need God’s help in this nuclear Dark Age. Thankfully, Christ also prophesied of the wonderfully inspiring conclusion: His return. Even if we don’t heed, He is going to intervene just before we destroy all human life on this planet!

God doesn’t want anyone to suffer. In Ezekiel 33:11, He asks, “Why will ye die?” Our nations are choosing death! Many nations are pursuing nuclear capability with feverish urgency! If you are paying attention, you see that the dangers Hitler posed are coming from many quarters in today’s world, and the potential for destruction on a scale Hitler never accomplished is frighteningly high! The threat of nuclear devastation is very real!

We need to heed Winston Churchill’s warning. But most of all, we need to listen to Jesus Christ! Heed his warning about this horror of horrors! We can heed this warning and avoid the worst suffering ever on Earth. Each one of us must choose. The consequences of that choice are truly monumental!