North Korea test-fired three short-range ballistic missiles on Dec. 31, 2022, ending a year of steady provocations that included drones trespassing into South Korean air space, and more than 70 missile launches, many of which were of nuclear-capable models.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the launches were “a grave provocation” that challenges international peace. It said the South stands ready to “overwhelmingly” deter any provocation by North Korea.
The next day, however, Kim Jung-un ordered his military to complete an “exponential” expansion of a type of weaponry the South may be unequipped to deter: nuclear weapons. At the start of 2022, North Korea had only 40 to 50 viable nuclear warheads, compared to America’s 5,550 and Russia’s 6,257. Kim said he is determined to narrow this gap by “doubling down” on “efforts to strengthen our military power overwhelmingly to safeguard our sovereignty, safety and basic national interest.”
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol responded saying that America’s strategy of “extended deterrence”—promising to defend the South, even with U.S. nuclear weapons—is no longer enough to reassure the South Korean people. “If the issue becomes more serious,” he said, “we could acquire our own nuclear weapons.” He added, “[W]e can have our own nuclear weapons pretty quickly, given our scientific and technological capabilities.”
South Korea is a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, an international accord to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and technology. But if the North Korean threat intensifies, it may feel compelled to renege. “President Yoon’s comment could turn out to be a watershed moment in the history of South Korea’s national security,” Cheon Seong-whun, a former chief of the Korea Institute for National Unification, told the New York Times.
In his booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door,’ Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry points to Bible prophecy to show that a nuclear war will soon erupt that will be so cataclysmic it would erase all human life were it not for divine intervention. “Only God can solve our number one problem: that of human survival,” he writes. “Our only hope physically is to repent spiritually.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s war on Ukraine keeps raging on, and on January 13, Moscow said its forces have captured the town of Soledar. Controlling this mining town in Ukraine’s east could imperil Ukrainian positions in the nearby, fiercely contested city of Bakhmut. Since Bakhmut is a vital transportation hub for Ukrainian forces, this could mark a turning point in the war.
At the same time, a shake-up in the Russian military hierarchy—giving Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov overall command of the Ukraine war on January 11—signifies that in the months ahead Russia will go all-in.
Mr. Flurry wrote in his 2017 booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia,’ that Vladimir Putin is prophesied in Ezekiel 38 to lead Russia and its partners into wars in the modern age. “When you study these scriptures alongside current events revealing modern Moscow’s imperialist direction,” he writes, “you see that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the prince of Rosh.”
The new calendar year arrived in Europe with violence. On New Year’s Eve, some of Germany’s streets looked like a war zone. Police, firefighters and paramedics seemed overwhelmed with life-threatening situations. Authorities in France said the situation was “serene” because only 690 cars were burned, far fewer than in previous years. In Sweden, “rockets were fired,” “people as well as homes and cars were hit,” and “people were shot” according to theLocal.se. Like most of the media, the outlet carefully avoided saying who was firing and shooting: illegal immigrants.
Neukölln Integration Commissioner Güner Balci told Spiegel Online that the majority of people in her district “want a tougher crackdown, a stronger state.” This desire is shared by the migrant population. As our booklet A Strong German Leader Is Imminent shows, the Bible prophesies that Europeans will get a tough leader who will crack down on vandalizing migrants—and many others.
Iran has alarmed Europe recently. The United Kingdom launched a major counterterrorism operation after Heathrow Airport authorities discovered a package containing several kilograms of nuclear material arriving from Pakistan on Dec. 29, 2022. It was addressed to an Iran-linked firm on British soil. On January 8, following a tip from the United States, German police arrested two Iranian brothers, ages 32 and 25, suspected of plotting to carry out a biological terrorist attack. Europe-Iran relations are already at a low point, but they will deteriorate much further until they reach a crisis point. To learn more, see our Trends article “Why the Trumpet Watches Iran and Europe Heading for a Clash of Civilizations.”
Pope Benedict xvi died on December 31 at the Vatican at the age of 95. As pope, Benedict was leader of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City from 2005 to 2013, when he made history as the first pope to resign from office since Gregory xii in 1415. Since then, he had lived in a monastery in Vatican City with the new title “pope emeritus.” His successor, Pope Francis, presided over his funeral on January 5. His death has been met with an outpouring of praise, perhaps most remarkably from the UK. The archbishop of Canterbury called him “one of the greatest theologians of his age.” King Charles praised his “constant efforts to promote peace and goodwill to all people.” The Trumpet’s predecessor, the Plain Truth, stated in October 1961: “Europe will go Roman Catholic! Protestantism will be absorbed into the ‘mother’ church—and totally abolished.” One of Pope Benedict’s lasting legacies is bringing the Church of England much closer to Rome and to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people are the recipients of the 2023 International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen, the board of directors announced on Dec. 16, 2022. Awarded since 1950, the prize is given to “public figures or bodies ‘distinguished by their outstanding work toward European unity or cooperation between states.’” How has the situation in Ukraine contributed to European unity? Before Feb. 24, 2022, Europe had numerous significant obstacles for those who desired to form a powerful, united Europe. After that date, many of these problems have been bypassed. To learn how the Ukraine war specifically plays into Europe’s future, read our May-June 2022 issue, “Prophecy Comes Alive in Ukraine.”
Iran is back in the headlines, with links to possible terror plots in Europe (see below), its ongoing nuclear program, and now its first fighter aircraft purchase in decades. Its last known acquisition of foreign fighter jets was in 1990, from the Soviet Union. On Dec. 28, 2022, the Iranian government reported that it had purchased Russian Su-35 fourth-generation fighters, a major technological upgrade, and that Russian personnel would train Iranian pilots. But the main significance of the deal is its effect on the relationship between the two nations. United States National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Russia is offering Iran “an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their relationship into a full-fledged defense partnership.”
The United Nations appears to be ambivalent toward the deal and toward Russia and Iran in general. The nongovernmental organization UN Watch released a count of UN General Assembly resolutions aimed against countries in 2022: six against Russia, mostly due to its invasion of Ukraine, and only one against Iran, in the context of ongoing protests over the death of Masha Amini. This is despite the fact that Iran’s radical regime, among other things, responded to the protests by quickly becoming the third-largest incarcerator of journalists worldwide. The terrorist group Hamas, which rules Gaza as a de facto state and is committed to the annihilation of Israel, was the target of zero resolutions, even after it started a war against Israel. Meanwhile, there were 15 resolutions against Israel, more than any other country.
Israel was again in the crosshairs after a 13-minute visit by its national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on January 3. The United Arab Emirates, which signed a 2020 normalization agreement with Israel, responded by calling an emergency session of the UN Security Council. It did so on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and the Arab League (to which most Arab states belong). The Council met on January 5 and 6, but came to no binding decision. But the targeting of Israel, especially under returning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is about to intensify. There is a reason for the otherwise inexplicable negative obsession with the State of Israel. Learn where it comes from in your free copy of The Eternal Has Chosen Jerusalem.
America’s social fabric is shredded. Many of America’s largest cities are more dangerous for young men than Middle Eastern war zones. According to a study published by the JAMA Network on Dec. 22, 2022, young adult males from the most violent zip codes in Chicago, Illinois, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have a notably higher risk of firearm-related death than did American soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. This study of 129,826 young adults in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Philadelphia from 2020 to 2021 found that minority men in Chicago and Philadelphia were at the greatest risk. The worst Philadelphia neighborhoods were twice as dangerous as Afghanistan. The worst Chicago neighborhoods were three times as dangerous.
The War on Cops author Heather Macdonald argues that the recent surge of murders is a result of public hostility toward police in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting in August 2014, which has caused officers in minority neighborhoods to reduce their interactions with residents. Former Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. digs deeper and blames government entitlement programs for making his fellow black Americans in America’s inner cities dependent on the state, fueling a breakdown of families that exacerbates criminal behavior. One fourth of all American children are raised without a father, and in some cities, this figure goes up to one half.
Instead of working to strengthen America’s families, bureaucrats, academics and radical social engineers are further obliterating them. The Oxford English Dictionary added 18 words in 2022 relating to gender identity, and the Cambridge Dictionary quietly changed the definition of “woman” to “an adult who lives and identifies as female even though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.” Merriam-Webster updated its definition of “woman” two years ago. Radical leftists are literally redefining sex, science and reality. Learn why this is dangerous in our booklet Redefining Family.
Radical leftists also control the media, relying on networks of “dark money.” According to a study published by the conservative group MRC Business on January 5, left-wing billionaire George Soros spent at least $131 million between 2016 and 2020 to influence media groups such as the Marshall Project, Project Syndicate, Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, National Public Radio, ProPublica, Free Press and the federal government’s short-lived Disinformation Governance Board. This is just a fraction of the $1 billion that Soros’s Foundation to Promote Open Society gives to far-left organizations all around the world each year. Soros is considered one of the world’s foremost philanthropists, but his millions are powering radical socialism.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s book America Under Attack points out that Barack Obama “effectively created a new bureaucratic monster out of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence—a ‘fourth branch of government’ full of unelected deep state bureaucrats who are loyal to him, his ideology and his goals.” Obama is the head of a deep statew encompassing Washington, D.C., Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Soros is one of his biggest supporters on Wall Street and a vital component of the network trying to fundamentally transform America (Daniel 8:12).