Merkel’s new heir apparent

Germany’s Christian Democratic Union selected Armin Laschet as its new leader on January 16, making him the most likely successor of Chancellor Angela Merkel after German elections in September. Laschet is known to be a fan of and possibly even a direct descendant of medieval Catholic European emperor Charlemagne.

Charlemagne conquered and united most of Western Europe, reviving the Holy Roman Empire, and Laschet sees the European Union as reviving Charlemagne’s empire.

“Charlemagne never thought nationalistically about one country; always about Europe as a whole,” he told Die Welt in 2019. “Maybe ‘transnational’ would be a better word. He sought the union of the various peoples of his empire and found this cohesiveness in Christianity.”

Whereas Merkel is a Protestant and kept religion largely out of politics, Laschet is a strong Catholic and has championed religious education across Europe.

But what Laschet and other Catholic imperialists don’t mention as often is Charlemagne’s bloody, lifelong wars of conquest and religious subjugation, cruelly excessive even by medieval standards.

The English-speaking world would never dare promote the history of such a violent predecessor, yet Germany is more and more openly looking back to Charlemagne to chart its future.

Bible prophecy reveals that the Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne and today’s European Union are indeed connected. They are iterations of the same “beast” of Revelation. While Laschet won’t necessarily be Germany’s next leader, a modern Charlemagne will be.

To learn more, read “The Holy Roman Empire Goes Public—Big Time!” by Gerald Flurry.

Three days, two major European government crises

On January 13, the ruling coalition of the Italian government broke. On January 15, the government of the Netherlands announced its resignation over a welfare scandal. The pre-coronavirus phenomenon of right-wing populists rising in Europe is now reemerging.

In a strategic power play, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, leader of Italia Viva withdrew his centrist party from the nation’s ruling coalition. Current Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is struggling on, for now, leading a minority government. Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte has succumbed to a scandal in which about 10,000 families were wrongly accused of fraud and forced to repay tens of thousands of euros in daycare grants between 2013 and 2019. Just weeks before parliamentary elections in March, he resigned. Both Italy and the Netherlands face a politically complex and uncertain immediate future.

Last year, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in “Coronavirus and the Holy Roman Empire”: “One of the most important effects of the global panic over covid-19 has been almost overlooked. Europe’s response to the pandemic is accelerating the fulfillment of one of the most crucial end-time prophecies of your Bible!”

The coronavirus is hastening the arrival of the prophesied Holy Roman Empire.

Sweden and Greece strengthen their militaries

In October 2020, Sweden’s government announced that it would increase defense spending by 40 percent over the next five years, its largest increase in about 70 years. It also plans to double its number of conscripts. On December 15, Greece’s legislature voted to increase defense spending to 57 percent more than the budget for 2019.

Sweden is reacting largely to Russian provocation. Russian warplanes regularly enter Swedish air space, and two warships entered Swedish waters in November. Sweden’s legislature also voted to formally express interest in potentially joining NATO. Greece is reacting largely to tension with Turkey.

Meanwhile, Poland increased its defense spending by 11 percent over the previous year, Italy raised its defense spending for the third year in a row, and Germany voted to increase its spending for 2021. Yet at the same time, Europe is reducing its support for NATO.

“Europe will unite and it will become a formidable global dynamo,” we write in The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy. “The unity Europe attains will not be perfect; it will not come about easily or peacefully; and it certainly will not endure. But Europe is going to become a united superpower and a serious, daunting global power. The emergence of this new Europe will have far-reaching and dramatic consequences for us all.”

Read The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.

Germany arms the Middle East against Iran

Last year, the German government approved $1.42 billion worth of weapons exports to countries at war in Yemen or Libya. Its Federal Ministry of Economics reported that $923 million went to Egypt, $374 million went to Qatar, $27 million went to the United Arab Emirates, $63 million went to Kuwait, $28 million went to Turkey, $2 million went to Jordan and $2 million went to Bahrain. These nations, except Qatar, are part of a Saudi Arabian-led alliance in Yemen fighting Houthi rebels who are supported by Iran.

In Libya, Qatar and Turkey support Prime Minister Fajis al-Sarradsch, whose enemy, Gen. Khalifa Haftar, is supported by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Alliances in the Middle East are complex. Germany’s goal in the region is to oppose Iran and gain control over as much of North Africa as possible through both its diplomatic efforts and fueling certain aspects of military conflicts by supplying weapons. The Germans have decided that the negative consequences, both at home and abroad, of shipping billions of dollars in weapons to the world’s most unstable region are worth it—to oppose Iran.

Iran now enriching uranium to 20 percent

Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency on January 4 that it has begun the process of enriching uranium up to 20 percent purity. This concentration of uranium, which Iran hasn’t produced since before the 2015 nuclear deal, could reduce the time it needs to produce a nuclear weapon from three months to as little as six weeks.

Ali Akbar Salehi, president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Iran is also installing 1,000 new centrifuges to help increase the production of enriched uranium. He revealed that Iran has multiplied its stock of yellowcake in the last two years, from 4 or 5 tons to 35 to 40 tons.

The United States Treasury responded on January 5 by imposing new sanctions against Iran’s steel industry, an important source of revenue.

President Joe Biden has promised that America will re-join the 2015 nuclear agreement, which will ease pressure on Iran, if Iran returns to strict compliance. Yet, as its increasing stock of increasingly enriched uranium shows, Iran is becoming increasingly noncompliant.

2020: Record year for American weather disasters

A record 22 major weather disasters struck the United States last year, costing at least $1 billion in damages each. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on January 8 that wildfires, tornadoes, droughts, hurricanes and other disasters resulted in the deaths of 262 people and $95 billion in losses.

Last year’s 22 billion-dollar weather disasters shattered the record of 16 (which occurred in 2011 and 2017). Hurricane Laura, the Category 4 storm that struck the Louisiana coast in August, was 2020’s deadliest and most expensive weather disaster, costing 42 lives and costing $19 billion. Wildfires across the Western states of California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington killed 46 people, burned 10.2 million acres and cost a combined $16.5 billion. The Derecho windstorm that swept from South Dakota to Ohio in August damaged homes, buildings and power lines, costing about $11 billion.

Since the agency began tracking billion-dollar disasters in 1980, there have been 285 such recorded events, with the costs calculated with consumer price index adjustment for 2020. Nearly half of these, 141, occurred in the last decade. 2020 marked the sixth consecutive year in which 10 or more billion-dollar weather-related events impacted the U.S.

Many blame increasingly frequent weather calamities on pollution. The real question we should ask is: Why is the Creator of Earth and the human beings on it allowing this?

In the Bible God boldly states that He controls the weather. Jesus Christ demonstrated control over weather when He quieted a storm (Mark 4:39-41). Leviticus 26:4-5 show that God promises to give favorable weather and rain for crops, but there is a condition: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them” (verse 3). When we refuse to obey God and submit to His law, He brings storms, floods, drought, fiery heat and other disasters to correct us and turn us to Him (Job 37:11-13; Deuteronomy 11:17; 28:22; Amos 4:7; Nahum 1:3-4).

Request your free copy of Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?

Iraq economy nears collapse

Iraq devalued its currency against the dollar by 18.5 percent on December 19 in a attempt to stimulate its faltering economy after a disastrous 2020. Its debt now exceeds $125 billion and is projected to soar by another $2 billion this year. Its projected deficit is expected to increase further to $58 billion. That means that more than half of its annual budget ($107.5 billion) is debt, and 11 percent of that budget goes solely toward paying interest on the debt.

Iran claims Iraq owes $6 billion for electricity and natural gas payments, a debt Iran can use to its advantage, especially as the Iraqi economy and government become more desperate. In December, Iran cut natural gas exports to Iraq from 50 million cubic meters per week to only 5 million, worsening the standing of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi. Iran’s goal is to control Iraq, and it is in a strong position to do so.

Russia’s Arctic militarization accelerates

United States Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite warned on December 2 that Russia’s militarization of the Arctic threatens freedom of the seas in an increasingly important region.

Russia now has 10 operational airports or airfields in the Arctic, with six more under construction, as well as six operational ports and six multipurpose military bases.

“Russia has remilitarized the Arctic,” Braithwaite told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It should be an alarm to all of Americans, as an Arctic nation, that we should have a more formidable presence to ensure rule of law and freedom of the seas in that part of the world.”

Alaskan Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan said, “Russia has accelerated its provocative encounters in the North Pacific,” citing Russian forces “harassing American fishing vessels in U.S. waters” and “sending bombers toward Alaska’s shores.”

In 2008, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said Russia’s attack against the former Soviet nation of Georgia marked a turning point and a “dangerous new era” for the world. He based his analysis of Russia on Bible prophecies in Daniel 11, Revelation 9 and Joel 2.

Twelve years have passed since Mr. Flurry wrote that article, and it is clear that that Russian invasion of Georgia truly was a watershed moment. Since then, Russia has invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, pushed against U.S. power in the Middle East, and partnered with China to push against the global peace in most any way it can. And Russia’s dangerous militarization of the Arctic can now be added to the list. To understand the prophecies that informed Mr. Flurry’s forecast, read his article “Russia’s Attack Signals Dangerous New Era.”

Russia and China fly joint bomber patrol over Pacific

Russia and China flew a provocative joint bomber patrol over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea on December 22 in the latest signal of increasing military coordination.

The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement saying two of Russia’s Tu-95 strategic bombers and four Chinese H-6K bombers flew the mission, which “wasn’t directed against any third countries.” But South Korea reported that a total of 15 Russian and four Chinese aircraft were involved, and that all 19 entered its air defense identification zone. South Korea scrambled fighter jets in response and undertook tactical measures against the intruders.

The Russia-China mission marks the second joint aerial strategic patrol the two have flown in the Asia-Pacific region, with the first occurring in July 2019. China’s state-run Global Times said, “China-Russia joint aerial strategic patrols will become routine in the future.”

The bomber mission follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration in October that Russia and China could form an official military alliance. “[O]ur relations have reached such a level of cooperation and trust that it is not necessary,” he said, “but it is certainly imaginable.” Putin added: “[W]e are not going to rule it out.”

Considering the rapid increase in cooperation between Russia and China since 2003, developing a full military alliance would not be difficult to accomplish. It would almost be illogical to assume the two giants of Asia will not ally.

The Trumpet has been monitoring and reporting on this watershed trend for decades because the Bible prophesies that a multinational Asian alliance, led by Russia and China, will form in the end time. To understand those prophecies, order your free copy of Russia and China in Prophecy.

Japan’s Aegis plan includes preemptive strike capability

The Japanese government announced on December 9 that it plans to build Aegis-equipped superdestroyers equipped with missile capabilities that could potentially strike enemy launch pads before missiles are fired. The Cabinet also approved plans to construct standoff missiles able to be launched from land, air and sea.

The real bombshell in these plans is that Japan will be able not only to defend itself by shooting down incoming enemy missiles, but also preemptively strike enemy launch pads in anticipation of an attack. This aspect of the plan drew fire from opposition party lawmakers who argue that preemptive strikes violate Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution, which limits the nation’s use of force strictly to defense only.

For decades, Japan has been shifting away from those limitations and toward military normalization, but mostly in a discreet manner. If Tokyo follows through on the changes to its defense policies and weaponry, it will be a major, overt step in that direction.