Negotiating With the Enemy: America’s Failed War on Terror

Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Nazryate activists in Quetta celebrate the signing of the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban on March 1.
BANARAS KHAN/AFP via Getty Images

Negotiating With the Enemy: America’s Failed War on Terror

Half measures, fake peace and a giant in retreat

United States President Donald Trump signed an agreement with the Taliban on Saturday affirming a temporary truce and a full-scale American withdrawal from Afghanistan. After 18 years of war, spending $1 trillion supporting the war effort, and the death of 2,300 American soldiers and more than 150,000 Afghans, America has conceded defeat.

America’s retreat from Afghanistan has been a long-standing Trumpet prediction. In November 2001, when the U.S. first started its war in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks, we predicted: “The U.S. won’t be the victors in this war. … As we now examine the facts emerging from this war, we can see unequivocally that the terrorist snake will survive America’s aggression—head intact and stronger than ever.”

Now, after America’s negotiated defeat in Afghanistan, this prediction rings louder than ever.

According to the New York Times, the peace deal signed with the Taliban—one of America’s main enemies throughout the 18-year war—affirms that the U.S. will withdraw all of its 12,000 soldiers from Afghanistan within the next 14 months. According to the Associated Press, immediately after the signing, America will reduce its troops to approximately 8,600 over a period of weeks. However, the U.S. will keep warplanes in the country in case the Taliban renews its offensive on the Afghan government, along with a small force to protect its embassy.

What did America receive in this deal? A promise of peace.

The peace deal calls for negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government to start next month, which should eventually lead to a nationwide ceasefire—though many experts question whether the two parties would ever agree to share power. The Taliban—guilty of suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Afghan and American troops—also agreed to not harbor terrorist groups, like al Qaeda, within Afghanistan’s borders.

The U.S. negotiated with terrorists and made a deal with the enemy.

Half Measures

The War in Afghanistan quickly became a quagmire for the U.S. As expenses and death rates increased, America increasingly wanted out of the miry mess. Nevertheless, no president was willing to completely withdraw from Afghanistan because each feared underestimating the threat and risking another terrorist attack on American soil. The motivations to stay were largely political. Because of these factors, American presidents have wavered: To stay, or not to stay—that was the question.

As a result, the War in Afghanistan became one defined by half measures.

On Sept. 20, 2001, then U.S. President George W. Bush said that the “leadership of al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban regime in controlling most of that country.” If not for al Qaeda’s support, the Taliban could not have controlled the government from 1996 to 2001. When American troops quickly ousted it from power and forced it into hiding, the Taliban leadership fled to the Pakistani city of Quetta to regroup. While there, it received financial and military support from the Pakistani government and al Qaeda.

With international help and a quick victory, the U.S. installed a new government in Afghanistan. But in 2006, the Taliban returned from Pakistan in a ferocious comeback. Within a couple of years, Afghanistan was again in turmoil.

Afghanistan’s economy was in shambles. Its insufficient infrastructure, nonexistent industry and poverty-stricken agricultural community led many local Afghans to blame the newly established government. As a result, many joined the Taliban as jihadist insurgents.

America responded with a troop surge in 2009 that peaked in 2011 with just over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan at one time. That year, Osama bin Laden was killed in Operation Neptune Spear. A poll later that year found that the majority of Americans believed the U.S. had accomplished its purpose in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama declared victory and ordered a mass withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Troop numbers plummeted to about 8,400 in 2016.

“Power players all over the Middle East were watching carefully as America … showed a will to fight, and then quickly tired of the whole affair,” Vali Naser writes in The Dispensable Nation. “Our only goal seemed to be getting out, first of Afghanistan and then the whole region.”

The number one enemy in America’s eyes was gone, and ever since, the U.S. has been begging for peace. The American people have simply lost the will to continue; they want out of Afghanistan. However, terrorism still runs rampant in the desert nation and the real head of the snake remains “intact, and stronger than ever.”

Head of the Snake

In his November 2001 Trumpet article “The Head of the Snake,” Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker wrote:

While the U.S. wants to eliminate terrorism and is becoming much more aggressive in trying to do so, its efforts will fall short. …

[T]he Taliban is just one tendril of the monster. … The real head of the snake of terrorism is referred to in end-time prophecy as the “king of the south” … likely being a potent Middle Eastern country leading a coalition of nations united by radical Islam.

America claimed that al Qaeda was the power behind the Taliban and the 9/11 bombings; however, recent findings reveal Iran to be the true source of the terrorist power.

In November 2019, the U.S. State Department released a report that drew special attention to the al Qaeda-Iran relationship. It states: “Tehran continued to allow an [al Qaeda] facilitation network to operate in Iran, which sends fighters and money to conflict zones in Afghanistan and Syria, and it has extended sanctuary to [al Qaeda] members residing in the country.”

Later in November, the Central Intelligence Agency declassified a large trove of documents from the 2011 raid (during which bin Laden was killed) detailing how Hamza, bin Laden’s son, was sheltered in Iran. According to the Atlantic, one 19-page document showed how negotiations between al Qaeda and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Tehran discussed the funding and arming of al Qaeda members to strike American targets. Several sources agree that evidence suggests this al Qaeda-Iran relationship even goes back two decades—before the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, which Iran also played a role in planning.

While America was busy pursuing al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the real threat, Iran, was free to continue expanding its military and funding terrorism throughout the Middle East.

In February 2002, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote (emphasis added):

We have spent billions [now trillions] of dollars and our young men have given their lives in the Afghanistan war. But Iran is reaping the benefits.

This is what happens when you don’t destroy the “center of world terrorism”—the king of terror.

In 1994, then Secretary of State Warren Christopher called Iran “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.” Most sources claim that Iran spends $1 billion a year supporting terrorism; others say this number could be as high as $16 billion annually.

Notice Daniel 11:40: “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.”

No other nation in the Middle East has the power, determination or resources to be this prophesied power. No other nation in the Middle East is as pushy as Iran. Iran is the king of the Middle East, the king of radical Islam, the king of the south.

The Trumpet has identified this king of the north as a united, German-led European Union. Iran will push at this emerging European superpower, and in response, as it says in Daniel 11:40-41, Europe will “come against him like a whirlwind” in a storm of fury and will “overflow” and conquer many countries.

But notice, the United States is not mentioned in this prophecy! In 2001, we wrote that “there will soon come a point when the U.S. won’t even be a factor in this war.” There is a reason why.

Broken Will

On February 26, Al Jazeera wrote, “After Vietnam and Iraq, the U.S. seems to have lost its third major war and the longest of them all.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Plain Truth, predecessor of the Trumpet, declared after World War ii that “the United States has won its last war!” The Trumpet has maintained that forecast.

Following in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps, Mr. Flurry declared that America would not win its war on terrorism. In 2003, he wrote, “If the Iranian leadership were eliminated, the whole course of Mideast history would change radically for the better, because it is the king. Sadly, Bible prophecy reveals that will not happen.”

At the time of America’s invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. State Department had listed five regimes that sponsor terrorism: Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan and Cuba. Afghanistan was not on the list. America dealt with the effect and ignored the cause.

By fixating on individual terrorist entities, the U.S. has gone after the pawns instead of the king. As a result, America’s strength has been spent in vain. This catastrophic failure of American policy was prophesied with remarkable accuracy in your Bible.

Leviticus 26:19-20 say, “And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain.” Because of disobedience, God said He would curse the modern descendants of Israel, primarily Britain and the U.S. (For proof about the identity of these nations, request a free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.)

According to this prophecy, America would still have its mighty military, but it would lack the will to use it.

Mr. Flurry continued: “Little Israel has more military might than Iran but fears to use it. The same is the case with Britain. And certainly that is true of America. But our nations fear to use their power—because of our sins. The ‘pride of [our] power’ has been broken! We simply lack the will to sustain our war against terrorism” (op cit).

The Afghanistan Papers, a confidential trove of more than 2,000 pages of government documents, revealed on Dec. 9, 2019, show the extent of America’s divided approach and its failure to go after the real threat. The reports revealed U.S. Army generals saying, “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan—we didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

One of the generals said that as a result of U.S. bureaucratic “dysfunction” in Afghanistan, thousands of Americans lost their lives “in vain.” Since 2001, more than 775,000 U.S. troops have been deployed to Afghanistan. According to U.S. Defense Department figures, 2,300 died and 20,589 were wounded in action. In the same period, the U.S. spent nearly $1 trillion, according to inflation-adjusted estimates.

All of the effort, money and manpower the U.S. has expended in its 18-year war in Afghanistan has been “in vain” and has only led to America negotiating its own defeat. The pride of our power has been broken.

Mr. Flurry wrote in 2003:

Our ultimate success will be determined by our relationship with God. If God is for us, we can’t lose. But if God is against us, we can’t win. And Bible prophecy relates that God is against us and is cursing us. We should repent and become a true superpower! … But even if we don’t change our evil ways, this is all leading directly to the return of Jesus Christ. That is the best possible news this world could ever hear! This evil world of terrorism and war is about to end forever. It will soon be replaced by a world full of prosperity and peace.

For more information about this prophecy, request a free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

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EU Wants to Create Huge Facial Recognition Database

EU Wants to Create Huge Facial Recognition Database

Orwellian fiction is becoming reality.

A leaked European Union report from November 2019, seen by the Intercept, sheds light on discussions between 10 member nations regarding the creation of an EU-wide facial recognition database. The goal is to pass legislation allowing all EU police forces to access each other’s facial recognition data. Austria, leader of the program, wants all databases to be connected “as quickly as possible.”

The report is not yet released to the general public, but what is known sheds light on the EU’s ambitious and secretive goals to exploit facial recognition technology. Considering the technology already exists, turning this into reality could take only a few years or less.

Though it sounds like something out of a spy movie or George Orwell’s 1984, facial recognition is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful weapons in the arsenal of European law enforcement agencies. A French police officer searching for a thief, smuggler or terrorist would be able to match the suspect’s face to surveillance footage captured in Belgium, Germany, Italy and anywhere else in the EU—possibly even in the United States. European police forces already use facial recognition databases. Countries whose police forces have this include Germany, France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Ireland and Finland, in addition to the entire UK. More countries are preparing to deploy it.

The databases already in existence could easily be linked together with existing technology. The only step remaining is to table and pass the legislation.

A Dutch member of European Parliament told Euractive that the approach to such powerful technology has become “technocratic” and has moved “like a thief in the night.” At the time the report was circulated, the EU was still telling the public it would put a five-year ban on such technology. Now, Europe’s true intentions have been exposed.

Considering previous data-sharing agreements, it is possible European police could access facial recognition data on Americans as well. This would happen if Europe’s national police databases are linked to the Prum database, which exists to facilitate visa-free travel between the U.S. and participating European countries. It holds dna, fingerprints and vehicle registration for millions of Europeans and Americans.

However, this runs into serious constitutional issues.

Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Intercept that giving national governments and law enforcement agencies access to such sensitive information carries serious risks for freedom. “Once you have the access, you ultimately have the ability to identify almost anyone, anywhere,” she said.

“It raises many questions,” she added. “How police are using facial recognition and gathering images, as well as in the U.S. with regard to due process and First Amendment expression.”

Unelected bureaucrats in the U.S. have a track record of spying illegally on American citizens. A prominent example was the fisa court ruling that illegally authorized spying on Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser. Facial recognition opens up even more possibilities for government overstep.

Today’s cities are full of cameras. Connecting them to a central monitoring station is the next step for governments that seek authoritarian control over their citizens. China has done this more completely than anyone so far, instituting social credit systems based on vast networks of facial recognition cameras.

In London, the average person is caught on camera 300 times throughout the day. London has one of the world’s highest numbers of security cameras, at about 68 per every 1,000 people. All cities with higher ratios are found in China. Though European cities have fewer cameras, they are still capable of tracking people and vehicles in real time. Not many cameras are needed to create a comprehensive surveillance state.

The EU will not necessarily become a police state right away. Europe’s leaders are not yet organized or unified enough to create a comprehensive EU police state. They are hampered by bureaucracy and the consensus voting system. In time, that will change.

Increased threats from terrorism and extremism are providing EU lawmakers an excuse to enact stricter laws. France’s digital tax and Germany’s hate speech bill are some recent examples. However, under the wrong leadership, this powerful technology could be used for more than just catching terrorists.

When a government has great power, there is great potential for its misuse.

An EU-wide facial recognition system will be promoted as a positive step toward establishing greater safety in a dangerous world. But it could also be used by a strongman to enforce pan-European policies, with disobedience leading to arrest.

The Bible prophesies that Europe will be hijacked by a German strongman. Daniel 8:23 discusses a “fierce king” who will lead Europe in the time right before Jesus Christ’s return. “This soon-coming ruler could literally be called a king,” writes Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in his free booklet A Strong German Leader Is Imminent. “Even if he is not, the Bible gives him that label. When the Bible talks about a king, in most cases it’s saying that this is not a democratic government.”

Germany is leader of the EU in all but name. Ursula von der Leyen, a German, is president of the European Commission. This year’s Commission has pushed its rules for the digital realm as never before.

The German economy is vital to the eurozone. And its security contributions to Europe also matter. When the world calls for stronger leadership from Europe, those calls are generally aimed at Germany.

German politics are currently beset by a leadership crisis. This will need to be resolved soon. Especially as terrorist attacks pressure Germans to find a strong leader.

The empire this German strongman will lead is prophesied to have a distinctive feature. The book of Revelation says “that no man might buy or sell” except for those who have “the mark” (Revelation 13:17). This is talking about a centralized government that has power to stop anyone from engaging in business if they fail to comply with state laws.

This system will operate with a strong religious element. Revelation 17:3 discusses a church, represented by a woman, which rides a beast, or secular empire. This church-state combine has risen repeatedly throughout Europe’s past and is forming again. The “mark” discussed in Revelation 13 is about the enforcement of religion within this rising superpower. Anyone who fails to obey will be shut out of the economy. (For proof, read Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?)

China has already shown how this is possible. Europe’s facial recognition technology could help turn this striking prophecy into terrifying reality.

Watch Europe’s crackdown on freedom. Few expect an undemocratic empire to rise in modern Europe, but your Bible warns that the rising European superpower will exercise tyrannical control over its subjects.

You can read more about what the Bibles says on this superpower and its use of surveillance technology in our article titled “Surveillance State: A Preview of Your Future?


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

Meeting 5, Feb. 27, 2020, Chapters 24-27

[01:45] General Grant: A Man of Action (9 minutes)

Unlike his predecessor, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was a man of action. Under his leadership, the North gained ground, and President Lincoln loved it. His victory at the Battle of Shiloh, though accompanied by thousands of deaths, was what set the stage for the fall of the Confederacy. Grant’s colleagues wanted him out, but Lincoln dismissed calls for Grant’s head saying, “I can’t spare this man; he fights.”

[11:00] General Lee and the War of the Wills (10 minutes)

Gen. Robert E. Lee fought for the Confederate South. Of all the generals the South had, he was one of the best. Sandburg wrote on page 301 of his book, “Lee had two rare gifts, patience with men and readiness with unforeseen circumstance.” More importantly, Sandburg pointed out that “Lee knew better than McClellan that war is a conflict of the wills,” and this strong will is what made Lee such a successful general.

Together with Stonewall Jackson, General Lee put up quite a fight against the North. They had the will to battle. As Lincoln was striving to help his generals see, the willingness to confront the enemy and fight was the only thing standing in the way of victory. The North had the numbers, but it lacked much of the will until General Grant came along.

[21:15] Open Discussion (12 minutes)

Return to main book club page


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Is CNN Guilty of Treason?

Members of the media watch the cnn Democratic Presidential Debate on January 14 in Des Moines, Iowa.
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Is CNN Guilty of Treason?

The mainstream media are spreading false information to overthrow the Trump administration.

Television news outlets should truthfully inform the public. They should not operate on behalf of an ideology or political party, nor should they “create” news to serve that end by using biased coverage and selective editing.

But today’s media bias has become rampant among all news media in the United States. It would not be unreasonable to claim that the political left virtually “owns” not only television news, but also the publishing and entertainment worlds as well. The most prominent of these contaminated news sources is the Cable News Network (cnn). By sacrificing its political neutrality, cnn has forfeited its credibility as a news source.

For almost three years, analytical observers have witnessed how cnn has pursued an incessant vendetta against the president while disregarding all negativity associated with the untouchable, ideologically insular Democratic Party. Any who care about democracy should be concerned over this development. This should alarm the entire Western world.

Sadly, most Western democracies seem to have fallen in line with cnn. They too support the deconstruction of the West’s social and political traditions in favor of some form of international socialism or globalism.

Whether or not Americans realize it, overseas viewers regard cnn as the voice of America. What effects does cnn expect its constant criticism of the president and his government to have on viewers overseas, especially among avowed enemies like Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea and China? The message they take away is surely that America is in a state of socio-political chaos.

What is really happening here? How should one describe the actions of cnn and its obvious cohort, the Democratic Party? The legal words for individuals or groups seeking to dislodge or unseat their legally elected government are sedition and treason. Sedition is conduct against a government that tends toward insurrection. Treason is criminal disloyalty to the state.

cnn’s tactics include deliberate misrepresentation, innuendo, slander, doomsday hypotheses, critical information from unidentified and unverifiable sources, and distributing classified information that could only have been obtained from treasonous government employees, possibly by illegal means.

If unidentified sources make significant political statements and claims critical of the president and his administration—yet are too cowardly to reveal their identities and political orientation—then what they say has no value and should be ignored.

Recently, cnn and Democrats expressed concern about President Donald Trump pardoning or reducing the sentences of several high-profile white-collar criminals. As usual, there was no balance in their reporting of these incidents. They purposefully omitted any specific comparison with similar behavior on the part of past presidents. No mention was made, for example, of the fact that President Barack Obama issued more executive pardons and commutations than any other president in U.S. history.

By the end of his tenure, President Obama had used his powers to dispense pardons, commutations of sentences, remissions of fines or restitutions, and reprieves to 400 individuals convicted of federal crimes. Of his acts of clemency, 1,715 were commutations (including 504 life sentences), mostly of criminals convicted on drug charges. On his last full day in office, he ordered 330 commutations, causing his total number of commutations to surpass the prior 13 presidents combined.

By way of justification, it was stated that the crimes committed were “victimless.” But none of those perpetrators cared about the violence that would, in some cases, result from the poisons they were peddling on America’s streets, nor about their effects on the nation’s youth. The individual rap sheets of the released criminals reveal that many had been armed during the crimes they committed, so these were by no means harmless criminals. A November 2015 National Public Radio report stated that the Obama administration was responsible for releasing 6,100 prisoners, sentenced primarily for drug offences and consisting largely of Hispanics and African-Americans, due to prison and sentencing reforms. Of these, 1,700 were undocumented immigrants, who would likely have otherwise been deported, and some went on to commit further crimes. Certainly, President Trump’s intentions regarding presidential pardons pales to nothing when compared to the actions of Barack Obama. But the mainstream media and Democrats would prefer to suppress such information.

With regard to those white-collar criminals Trump has shown concern for, Roger Stone stands out, and his case is most interesting. He was imprisoned for lying and refusing to provide information to a congressional investigative committee about President Trump’s possible illegalities. But surely, as the Senate found the president not guilty of criminal or impeachable misdemeanors, the issues for which which Stone was convicted have evaporated. And if no crime was committed, then it could not have been a crime to have concealed information about what happened. Thus, President Trump’s potential pardoning of Stone seems well justified.

cnn and other mainstream news outlets are going to extraordinary lengths to discredit Trump, his cabinet, and therefore their country. They are colluding with “deep state” agents to try to illegally overturn the results of a democratic election, all to the benefit of their own leftist ideology and that of their ally, the Democratic Party.

Describing the state of the world in the end time, the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). This is an apt description of the hypocritical mainstream media today.


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Why the Great Falling Away

One precise sign of Christ’s Second Coming has been fulfilled: The Church of God experienced a terrible apostasy. How could this happen? There was a specific reason—and you need to avoid making this mistake!

The Apostle Paul gave a specific sign of the imminent Second Coming of Jesus Christ that not many people pay attention to. Yet it has happened. This is a sign you can see. Anyone can see it—and you can prove to yourself from your own Bible this sign of the soon-coming return of your Savior. You need not guess or hope; you can prove and know.

What is this sign? Paul prophesied that nearly all of God’s people would turn away from Him in this end time.

What do you know about this great falling away? What could be more important than knowing the sign that Jesus Christ is about to return?

This was a massive spiritual revolt against God. And it happened in our lifetime.

Now, consider this crucial question: Why would such a thing happen? How could tens of thousands of true Christians turn away from God just before Christ returns?

You need to know the answer. Whether or not you have personal history with this rebellion, understanding why it happened is still extremely relevant. It reveals a spiritual flaw that you and I must avoid. The Bible shows that this is the only way we can escape grievous tribulation that is about to descend on this Earth. All of God’s rebellious people who fail to repent before the Great Tribulation will suffer through that dreadful period. And 50 percent of them, in spite of this punishment, are prophesied to refuse to repent and will lose their eternal lives!

Though this is a serious warning, it is also a beautiful and inspiring lesson God wants to teach us. And there is a faithful remnant of God’s people delivering this message—a message Paul said had to be delivered in this end time. These saints will share Christ’s throne and work with Him at universe headquarters in Jerusalem for eternity!

Why did so many of God’s people fall away? Let’s learn this lesson today.

The Man of Sin

Here is Paul’s prophecy: “Now we beseech you, brethren [he is talking to God’s own Church—his ‘brothers’ in the spiritual family], by [or concerning, it should read] the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ [this is the context: the Second Coming], and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled [or terrified, it could read], neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ [again, His Second Coming] is at hand” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).

Paul is talking about something that can shake or even terrify people! There is great danger and exceedingly high stakes.

“Let no man deceive you by any means,” verse 3 begins. Paul was fighting individuals who were deliberately trying to deceive God’s people! That word means to lead astray. This event is marked by deep deception and wickedness.

“[F]or that day [of Christ’s return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first …” (verse 3). Here is the sign: A massive “falling away” from the truth among God’s people. Other translations call this “the apostasy” and “the great revolt.”

The original Greek says this will happen first. Christ will not return until this has taken place. This falling away is a sign that Christ is almost here!

This Church-wide rebellion has happened! It was a disturbing, terrifying event in this end time. But realize: It is connected directly to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The New English Translation calls it “the final rebellion against God.” Why? Because Christ’s return comes next. There will be no rebellion at all until the very end of His thousand-year rule over Earth. Then Satan will be banished into outer darkness forever, and no one will ever rebel again (Revelation 20:1-3, 7, 10).

Paul’s prophecy continues by giving a lot more detail about what occurs in this falling away: “… and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Note: During this great falling away, an individual Paul calls the “man of sin … the son of perdition” is exposed. This man is “in the temple of God”—meaning in God’s Church. Perdition refers to destruction, damnation, perishing, waste and utter ruin. This man placed himself above God and taught God’s people the opposite of what God teaches! He led God’s Church into destruction!

The man of sin is a specific human being. If we are tuned into God and His message, then God reveals this man’s identity to us. Do you know who this man is? I absolutely do, and I can prove it. (Request my free book Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today to study this proof for yourself.)

The Moffatt translation says Christ will not return “till the Rebellion takes place first of all, with the revealing of the Lawless One.” You can know and see this man because his identity was exposed in that great “falling away.” He is “the Lawless One”—inside God’s Church! And because of him, God’s people are dying spiritually. Spiritual lives are at stake because God has called them and given them His truth, yet they turned away from it! God has to correct them for that, or they are going to lose their eternal lives!

The only other person in the Bible to be called the “son of perdition” was Judas Iscariot (John 17:12). Judas betrayed Christ Himself! Scriptures show that Judas was actually possessed by the devil (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). Satan actually entered his mind the last night of Christ’s life on Earth!

The implication is that this happens in this end time as well! This end-time man of sin is on the same sinful level as Judas. It is a betrayal of Christ. The Church rebellion is the epitome of betrayal! Satan loves betrayal. The devil infiltrated God’s Church as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and possessed the mind of this man of sin. Most of God’s people were so lukewarm and far from Him, they couldn’t discern Satan’s presence in this man and inside the Church.

Imagine Satan possessing a man—and God’s own people following that man, thinking they are following Christ! That shows you how easily we can be deceived!

How could this happen? I will show you a specific reason, and it is something that could happen to you or me or any human being, depending on how we react to God and His Word.

The Reason for Rebellion

We must understand Satan and how he operates. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed … Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9). The Revised Standard Version renders signs as “pretended signs.” It is all deceit. The man of sin is a fraud emboldened by Satan’s impressive power to deceive.

Revelation 12:9 reveals that Satan has deceived the whole world. But did you know that God’s very elect cannot be deceived? That is what Matthew 24:24 says. Nobody can deceive them! If you operate on that spiritual level, you never have to be deceived. But if we do not stay close to Christ and remain His very elect, we will be deceived.

Notice, though, that verse 8 of 2 Thessalonians 2 also says of this lawless man, “whom the Lord will slay with the breath of his mouth [His truth], and bring to an end by the appearance of his coming.” The man of sin is going to have to face Jesus Christ Himself at His Second Coming—and it will not be pleasant for him. Christ is going to end this man’s work!

Verses 10 and 11 reveal why almost every member of the Worldwide Church of God rebelled after Herbert W. Armstrong died in 1986. Speaking of the deceptive activity of the man of sin, it says, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish”—notice: These people are perishing spiritually! That is how serious this is! Then comes this illuminating statement: “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (verse 10).

Why were they deceived? Why was Satan able to have such success in deluding them? Because they received not the love of the truth. God’s own people didn’t love the truth—and passionately love God the Father and Jesus Christ. Now, they are perishing spiritually! What could be more serious?

John 17:17 says God’s Word is truth. That means both the Old Testament and New Testament. Christ told us we must live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4). But God’s people fell away from that! They possessed tremendous understanding and great truth—but didn’t love it. So they followed the devil who came as an angel of light, and were led away from it!

The Philips translation says, “They have refused to love the truth.” God’s own people just refuse! They will not obey God’s Word! “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). God allowed Satan to wreck the Church because the people stopped loving the truth.

You cannot fake loving God’s truth. Ezekiel prophesied of many people who say they love the truth, but who won’t do it and obey it! “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness” (Ezekiel 33:31). Saying you love the truth means nothing of itself. God demands action to back up our words.

Do you passionately love God’s truth?

If you want to avoid deception, love the truth of God. If you want the ultimate peace and happiness in your life, love the truth of God!

There is a little remnant of that church that shows by their fruits they love the truth by proclaiming and explaining this prophetic message of 2 Thessalonians 2. God’s loyal remnant delivers the truth, and obeys the truth, and proves by their fruits how much they love the truth!

God’s prophets and apostles, heroes of the Bible, loved the truth so much that they would die before they would give it up! No matter how difficult the circumstances, however severe the persecution, they simply would not give it up! The truth was more important than anything else in their lives. And even amid trial, they radiated with joy because they knew that if they clung to the truth, they would be able to enjoy life with God forever!

Do you want to escape deception? Do you want a life filled with happiness and peace? Do you want to serve with Christ for eternity? Then love God’s truth!

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The Graveyard of Failed Geopolitical Forecasts

Predictions of future world events always fail—or do they?

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Russia Tightens Grip on Arctic

The 50 Let Pobedy nuclear-powered icebreaker makes its way through the frozen waters of the Gulf of Ob, the Kara Sea.
Alexander Ryumin\TASS via Getty Images

Russia Tightens Grip on Arctic

A new set of policies will make Russia more mobile, capable and powerful in the increasingly important region.

As global attention is captivated by the outbreak and spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, the Russian government has quietly put plans in place for the Arctic that will dramatically boost its dominance over the increasingly important region.

Throughout most of modern history, the Arctic has experienced comparatively little of the geopolitical wrangling between nations that has defined more accessible global regions. But in recent decades, technological advancement and thawing ice have brought the region more openly into play for the countries with territory there: Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

Even before the new plans, Russia had emerged as the clear leader of the Arctic pack. In recent years, it used its unrivaled fleet of icebreaker ships to revamp Soviet-era airstrips, radar facilities and other military installations at various Arctic locations. The Russians also constructed new air bases, deployed anti-ship and ground-to-air missile systems, established four new Arctic brigade command units, and opened 16 ports. In 2017, Mikhail Barabanov, editor in chief of Moscow Defense Brief, told Reuters that the construction and modernization efforts were taking place at an “unprecedented pace not seen even in Soviet times.”

But those years of “unprecedented” development were still not enough. Now government officials have ratified new policy decrees that break open a path for Russia to construct still more infrastructure, launch a constellation of new satellites to help Russia survey and control the region, and build still more Arctic vessels, including heavily armed “military icebreakers.”

The new 84-point plan calls for these and a wide range of related activities. It is all designed to enable Russia to tap more deeply and broadly into the Arctic’s vast caches of natural resources, improve transportation through the Northern Sea Route, and build a military presence capable of blocking out other powers.

Black Gold in the Ice

During a recent visit to the Arctic, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “Natural resources, which are of paramount importance for the Russian economy, are concentrated in this region.”

The U.S. Geological Survey agrees with his assessment, estimating that the Arctic holds 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13 percent of oil. It is also known to contain copious quantities of gold, platinum and zinc. Putin said current estimates put the total value of the Arctic’s untapped resources at $30 trillion.

That’s 20 times larger than the current gross domestic product for all of Russia. So it isn’t difficult to see why Putin is increasingly determined to overcome any ice, cold, distance and geopolitical competition standing between Russia and these resources.

The Northern Sea Route—and the Bering Strait

In addition to exploiting the Arctic’s resources, Russia is also resolute about improving its options for shipping them out of the region to buyers around the world.

The Northern Sea Route, running along Russia’s Arctic coast from the Kara Sea to the Bering Sea and then down into the Pacific Ocean, is the main focus of these efforts. Through this route, Russia can ship Arctic gas and oil to energy-thirsty Eastern countries weeks faster than the time needed to ship it westward around Europe and through the Suez Canal. In the case of China, the thirstiest country of all, the Northern Sea Route slashes shipment durations by some 15 days.

Russia has already been focused on making major improvements to the route: In 2013, just 3.9 million tons of cargo passed through it. By last year, the combination of thawing ice and Russia’s increasing development of the route had boosted that volume to 26 million tons.

The new measures aim to expand it to 80 million tons by 2024, and 160 million tons by 2035.

If Russia’s operation of the Northern Sea Route were done in accordance with international law, it would be a boon to the global economy. But in March 2019, Russia announced a set of disquieting requirements for any foreign vessels transiting the route: They must request passage from Moscow 45 days in advance, bring a Russian maritime pilot aboard for the crossing, and pay exorbitant transit fees. Any ship that fails to obey can be apprehended and even “destroyed,” the Russian government said. And even if a foreign ship follows all the requirements, Russian officials say they can reject any transit request without explanation.

The troubling—and unlawful—aspect of these rules concerns the Bering Strait, which lies between Russia and the United States. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (unclos) stipulates that waters within 200 nautical miles from a given country’s coast constitute that nation’s exclusive economic zone (eez), and that the nation has control over them. But international straits such as the Bering are expressly excepted from eez practices. The unclos guarantees freedom of navigation for all.

But Russia asserts that all of the Northern Sea Route, including the Bering Strait, is subject to its regulations. Due to this unlawful policy, U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Sean Fahey recently warned that “the rights and freedoms all states enjoy to operate ships and aircraft in the maritime domain” might soon become “the most important strategic issue” in the Arctic.

And because of Russia’s ever increasing number of icebreaker vessels, military bases and other installations, it may soon be able to enforce its regulations for the entire Northern Sea Route even if other Arctic countries dispute their lawfulness. We should expect Russia’s control over the Northern Sea Route and the entire region to only get tighter.

‘A Dangerous New Era’

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia floundered through the next decade humiliated and with its sails in tatters. It washed out of the mainstream of international affairs, and many in the West ignored it. Then in 2000, Putin came to power and started righting the ship and altering its course.

In August 2008, he stunned the world by invading the former Soviet nation of Georgia and bringing much of its recognized territory under de facto Russian control.

That October, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote about what the move indicated for the future: “Russia’s attack on Georgia in August marks the beginning of a dangerous new era in history. This was the first military strike of a rising Asian superpower—and there will be more! … We have witnessed the beginning of a new era!”

Mr. Flurry then named which other former Soviet nation Russia might attack next: “Will a crisis occur over Ukraine? That area is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that as well.” Time proved that forecast accurate, with Russia’s 2014 invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and destabilization of Ukraine’s eastern regions.

Since then, Putin has continued wielding his might to prevent Georgia, Ukraine and other former Soviet countries from developing closer relations with Europe. He made Russia a major power in the Middle East, where it has undermined U.S. influence, helped the Syrian dictatorial regime stay afloat, and enabled Iran to keep pursuing nuclear arms. Putin has also transformed Russia’s military into a dramatically more modern and deadly force, including his militarization and control over the Arctic.

Putin is clearly reviving Russia’s power and lifting its international relevance back toward Soviet levels. And as Mr. Flurry wrote, mankind is now in a “dangerous new era.”

Bible prophecy states that in the near future, Putin will steer Russia into a still more belligerent direction. In his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia,’ Mr. Flurry explains that Putin is personally mentioned in Bible prophecies in Ezekiel 38 and 39. “We need to watch Vladimir Putin closely,” he writes. “I believe he is almost certain to be the ‘prince of Rosh’ whom God inspired Ezekiel to write about 2,500 years ago!”

Putin’s rule shows that “[w]e are entering into the worst crisis ever in man’s history,” he writes, but adds that trends now underway in Russia are “super-inspiring at the same time.”

Mr. Flurry continues: “Vladimir Putin is a sign, literally a sign, that Jesus Christ is about to return! This is one of the most inspiring messages in the Bible. What we are seeing in Russia ultimately leads to the transition from man ruling man to God ruling man! And it is almost here! It is just a few short years away.”

The rise of Putin’s Russia, including its tightening grip over the Arctic, shows that World War iii is close. That is a reality that should sober each one of us. But today’s developments are also closely tied to the most joyous news imaginable: Jesus Christ will soon return and usher in an epoch of unprecedented peace, harmony and abundance for the whole world. To understand more about this beautiful future and why it is vital to watch Putin in the lead up to it, order your free copy of The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’