What’s Wrong With ‘New’ Bible Translations?

What’s Wrong With ‘New’ Bible Translations?

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Over the past several decades, many new Bible translations have been released. Several of these newer translations are gaining wide acceptance across many religious fields. Are these new translations more accurate than the King James Version?

With so many different Bible translations, the obvious question we should ask first is why? Why so many different translations? After all, aren’t all of these translations put together by the most “educated” of this world? In the preface of the New International Version of the Bible you will read how over 100 scholars joined forces to bring us this new version. And the same scenario is probably true for the many other new versions. Why so many different translations? Because scholars simply cannot fully agree with the work of other scholars. Otherwise there would be no need for a new version. With so many versions available, which one is right for you?

First, it must be pointed out that no Bible translation is inspired. They were all put together by men. The only perfect translation of Scripture is what God Himself actually revealed to the apostles and prophets.

But, as most Bible students know, the Old Testament was preserved primarily in Hebrew while the New Testament was preserved in Greek. This presents an obvious opportunity for error when translating from one language, like Greek, to English (or any other language for that matter). But there are also other factors to consider. Much of the cause for mistranslation stems from the fact that most scholars today are basing their translations on faulty Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

But most people don’t know how to speak Hebrew and Greek. How can we know God preserved His inspired words precisely the way He revealed them thousands of years ago? How can we know which original texts are most accurate? There are, after all, thousands of “original” texts from which we get our translations. We must go to God for the answer. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1-2). God used the Jews to preserve the Old Testament. That is why it was originally inspired in Hebrew. Likewise, He used the Greeks to preserve the original writings of the New Testament. In preserving these original writings, God saw to it that the Jews and Greeks rejected the spurious manuscripts that have surfaced down through the centuries. Today, it is these same spurious manuscripts that many scholars are using to make these new Bible translations!

Preservation of the Inspired Text

A book titled Hebrew Text of the Old Testament discusses the demanding discipline of transcribers who worked from a.d. 70 to a.d. 500 to preserve the Hebrew text. Notice: “A synagogue roll must be written on the skins of clean animals, the length of each column must not extend less than 48 or more than 80 lines; the breadth must consist of 30 letters. No word or letter, not even a yod [smallest Hebrew consonant], must be written from memory. … Between every consonant the space of a hair or thread must intervene, between every book three lines. Besides this the copyist must sit in full Jewish dress, wash his whole body.”

Notice what the Companion Bible had to say about the Masoretes, those who safe-guarded the text from about a.d. 500 to a.d. 916: “The Massorah is called ‘a fence to the Scriptures’ because it locked all words and letters in their places. It records the number of times the several letters occur in the Bible; the number of words and the middle word; the number of verses and the middle verses, etc., for the set purpose of preventing the loss or misplacement of a single letter or word.” Can you imagine any group of people going through this kind of painstaking experience to preserve the Bible without God inspiring them?

But there still may be questions. If the Masoretic texts date back to a.d. 916, how can we be sure they are accurate since the very latest books in the Old Testament were written 1,300 years prior to that? Other manuscripts that have been used to cross-reference the Masoretic texts include the Targums (sixth century b.c.), the Samaritan Pentateuch (fifth century b.c.), the Mishnah (a.d. 200) and the Midrash (100 b.c.-a.d. 300). Careful comparisons with these works have only solidified the validity of the Masoretic texts, upon which the King James Old Testament is based. Though these different texts were not all exactly alike, the differences proved to be minor.

But there has been more proof, uncovered this century, that has substantiated the accuracy of the Masoretic texts. In 1947, one of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls was found. In it was a complete manuscript of the book of Isaiah which dated back to 125 b.c. (over 1,000 years before the Masoretic texts). Comparing the scroll to the book of Isaiah in the Masoretic text further proved the accuracy. Concerning this discovery, two men who authored General Introduction to the Bible, wrote, “In one chapter of 166 words (Isaiah 53) there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission—and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage.” The book went on to show that when compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the King James Bible is “98.33 percent pure.” But because of the near-precise accuracy in the copying of the Masoretic texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls should be evaluated compared to the Masoretic texts, not the other way around.

What About the New Testament?

Finding proof to verify the validity of the New Testament is overwhelming. According to the Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, “There are some 8,000 manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate and at least 1,000 for other early versions. Add over 4,000 Greek manuscripts (some say 5,000), and we have 13,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament.”

According to The Authority of the Bible, a booklet published by the Worldwide Church of God (wcg) under Herbert W. Armstrong, “The verification of the 27 New Testament books is easier than for any other piece of classical writing.” But while it has been said that no two of these thousands of manuscripts are exactly the same, the overwhelming majority generally agree with each other. This majority of texts has come to be be known simply as the Majority Text (some call it the Common Text or the Traditional Text). And it is from the Majority Text that the King James Version of the Bible was translated. There is abundant proof that God’s words have been inspired and that they have been properly preserved. But that doesn’t mean Satan won’t try to work in his false doctrines along the way.

G.A. Riplinger, author of New Age Bible Versions, wrote: “The variations among the Majority Text are minor, like the varieties of doves. On the other hand, the remaining handful of manuscripts are as diverse as dogs and dragons. This handful, not only disagree with the Majority, as to what the New Testament says, but disagree among themselves.” Riplinger then goes on to show how virtually all the new Bible translations today trace their roots back to a Greek text that was based upon this handful of faulty texts. Riplinger continued, “In 1881 this 1 percent minority text type supplanted the Majority Text with its almost two millennia standing. A ‘New’ Greek Text using the Vatican manuscript (B), was introduced by Westcott and Hort and has been used as the Greek Text for all subsequent versions.”

The two men Riplinger is referring to are Brooke Westcott and Fenton Hort, both of whom were Cambridge scholars in the mid-1800s. Their combined effort changed the world of Bible translations. Here is what the Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition) wrote about these two men and their famous project: “Their great work was published in 1881 under the title of The New Testament in the Original Greek …. Opinions DIFFERas to the correctness of the results reached by Westcott and Hort [or WH].”

The work of WH proved to be revolutionary because most of the subsequent Greek texts that have surfaced since then are very similar to theirs. And it is from these recent, corrupted texts that all of the new Bible translations have come from today.

Now there are those who may say the changes in WH’s work are minor. In New Age Bible Versions, Riplinger quoted Fenton Hort himself from a book titled Life of Hort. Hort wrote, “I do not think the significance of their existence is generally understood. It is quite impossible to judge the value of what appears to be trifling alterations merely by reading them one after another. Taken together, they have often important bearings which few would think of at first. … The difference between a picture say of Raffaelle and a feeble copy of it is made up of a number of trivial differences. … It is, one can hardly doubt, the beginning of a new period in Church history. So far the angry objectors have reason for their astonishment.”

You may want to read that again. Hort is basically saying, the objectors have reason to be angry because the changes made in WH’s Greek text are so monumental!

Today, over a hundred years later, we find literally dozens of new translations, relying on the work of WH as their main source! What does that mean?

King James Version Recommended

Those familiar with the late Herbert Armstrong know he recommended we use the King James Version, translated in 1611. That is not to say the King James is a perfect translation. No translation is. The King James, however, is approximately 99 percent accurate. The small percentage of error in this translation is primarily due to the lack of understanding of the original meaning of certain Hebrew and Greek words by the translators. Nevertheless, the King James translation comes from accurate Hebrew and Greek texts (the Masorah and the Majority Text), unlike many modern translations.

Mr. Armstrong recommended the use of other translations only to complement the King James. The King James Version was written almost 400 years ago. Over that span of time, the English language has changed somewhat. Some of the awkward and archaic phrases in the King James can be cleared up by checking a few modern translations. Mr. Armstrong often used the Revised Standard Version and Moffatt translation. But he was quick to advise Church members not to use these more modern translations as their main study Bible. It is the King James Version that should be the standard by which these new translations are judged for accuracy. If you find a new translation saying something quite different from the King James, more than likely, the King James is right. The ideal method of personal Bible study should be with the King James as your primary study Bible, along with one or two other translations for quick reference.

After Mr. Armstrong died in 1986, the church he founded, the Worldwide Church of God, underwent a plethora of changes away from the doctrines and traditions established in the church through him. Mr. Armstrong’s recommendation for using the King James Version was no exception. The June 16, 1992, Worldwide News reported: “Pastor General Joseph W. Tkach approved the New International Version of the Bible as the standard for the Church’s English-language publications.” The article then quoted Media Operations director Bernard Schnippert as saying, “We began to examine the versions to find one that is readable and one that is accepted by scholars as well as the general public.” The writer of the article then continued by saying, “The niv, a highly readable, nonsectarian and authoritative translation, is produced by teams of scholars and researchers from around the world.”

Gaining acceptance from scholars, of course, should have no bearing on whether it is a good translation or not. Just because scholars like it does not mean it is a better translation. As you will see, the niv is a very poor translation.

But what about the King James Version? The article continued, “Although the King James Version has been the most popular English-language Bible since its introduction in 1611, it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand as the English language changes.” Absolutely no mention is made of what Herbert Armstrong, the founder of that organization, had to say about the different translations.

Another wcg publication, The Bible—a Guided Tour, recommended the niv as the choice for a person’s first Bible: “It has been called ‘one of the best all-purpose Bibles available to English-speaking Christians.’”

In retrospect, the major doctrinal changes in the wcg explain why they gave such critical acclaim to the niv.

So what is wrong with the niv? Let us take a look at some of the alarming differences between the kjv and the niv.

Faith IN Christ, or Faith OF Christ

Mainstream Christianity would have you think that all you have to do to be saved is believe in Jesus Christ. The Bible indeed teaches that faith in Christ is the first step toward being saved. But it is not the final step. Jesus revealed in Mark 7:7-9 that it is possible to actually worship Christ while doing it all in vain! After repentance and baptism, God gives us His Holy Spirit so that we might go on and develop the faith of Christ—Jesus Christ actually living in us by the power of the Spirit. Therefore, the translation of those two little words, IN and OF, are very important!

With that in mind, let’s look at some crucial scriptures on this issue. These are scriptures Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Tkach BOTHused to prove their opposing beliefs! How could they use the same scriptures as proof when their teachings were virtually the opposite?

Notice the alarming difference.

Romans 3:22 states in the kjv: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” The niv reads: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

The kjv of Galations 2:16 says a man “is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, and we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” The niv says a man “is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

One more. The kjv translates Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God ….” The niv reads: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God ….”

The kjv mentions the faith OF Christ on nine different occasions throughout the New Testament. The niv? Not once. In fact, the niv only uses the words “faith offour times in its version. It is interesting to note how the niv translated these four verses: Romans 4:16 (faith of Abraham); Philippians 1:27 (faith of the gospel); 2 Timothy 2:18 (faith of some); Titus 1:1 (faith of God’s elect).

Curiously, the niv translators rendered “faith of” exactly the same as the kjv when it didn’t refer to Christ. But when it did refer to Christ, they changed it to “faith in”—every time!

(For more on this, read What Is Faith?)

Born Again, Not Begotten

Mr. Armstrong taught that a true Christian receives a small portion of the Holy Spirit after baptism and at that point becomes a begotten son of God. From that point, one grows and develops to the point of being ready for the birth which will occur at the Second Coming of Christ. (Read Just What Do You Mean … Born Again? for more on this subject.)

The popular Protestant teaching, however, says we can be born again now, once one accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior. The essential argument raised against Mr. Armstrong was his apparent lack of understanding of the true meaning of the English word begotten. This, critics (and the wcg after his death) feel, led him to misunderstand the meaning of the Greek word gennao (the word that is translated “begotten” or “born” in the kjv). In a nutshell, Mr. Armstrong taught that gennao was an all-inclusive term which covered the whole process of birth—including the begettal by the father, as well as the actual parturition by the mother (check almost any lexicon). And so whether or not gennao is translated “begotten” or “born” in various scriptures depends upon the context.

But the wcg changed that teaching—stating that gennao only refers to the actual birth. And what’s even more ridiculous is they say the English word “begotten” also means “birth.” (Please see Webster’s Dictionary for a concise refutation of this reasoning.)

But using the niv very much supports the wcg and so-called Christianity in this false teaching.

We know that Christ is the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). And Romans 1:4 reveals when that birth took place—when He was resurrected from the dead. So prior to that time, when Christ was born of the virgin Mary, He was the begotten Son of God. But not according to the niv. Compare these verses:

John 1:14 (kjv): “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the onlybegottenof the Father,) ….” The niv: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father ….”

The famous John 3:16 reads that God gave “his only begotten Son” in the kjv, whereas the niv states that God gave “his one and only Son.”

Other scriptures worth checking in both versions are Psalm 2:7; John 1:18; 3:18 and 1 John 4:9. If scholars can somehow reason that Christ was not begotten of the Father prior to the actual birth, then it only follows suit that neither can we, as Christians, be begotten. This is very much in sync with today’s popular “born again” teaching. In the kjv, the word begat can be found 225 times. The word begotten can be found 24 times—and beget, 10 times. That’s a total of 259 times. In the niv, the words beget and begat cannot be found while begotten appears only once!

In almost every case, the niv translates into “born” where the kjv has “begotten.” The only verse where the niv uses the word begotten is probably the only verse in the Bible where a direct reference is made to both the father’s and the mother’s role in child delivery (Isaiah 45:10). The niv translates it, “Woe to him who says to his father, What have you begotten? or to his mother, What have you brought to birth?” It’s as if the niv is forced into using begotten in this case without completely changing the verse around. How foolish it would sound to ask the father, “What have you brought to birth?” and then the mother, “What have you brought to birth?” However, with every other verse where it should read begotten, with a little word adjustment, it can be altered to born. And that’s exactly what the niv did.

As can be inferred from the above mistranslations of John’s Gospel, we can see where the niv is more in line with the unbiblical and false trinity doctrine. In John 1:14, instead of referring to Christ as the “only begotten of the Father,” the niv translates it, “the One and Only.” Traditional Christianity claims God is three hypostases in one (three in one—the trinity). I won’t take the space here to show it, but there are many instances in which the niv drops the words he and Son in favor of “the One.” For more on disproving the trinity doctrine, please read God Is a Family.

What Is the Gospel?

For over 50 years, Herbert Armstrong made it quite clear that the true gospel was a message about the Kingdom of God—the ruling Family of God. Four years after Mr. Armstrong’s death, his successor said: “The central core and theme of all our commission, all our work and all our lives is Jesus Christ” (Worldwide News, May 21, 1990).

Mr. Armstrong warned against this shift in going from the gospel of Christ to a gospel about Christ in the June 24, 1985, Worldwide News: “By a.d. 51, much of the Church in Galatia had turned to another gospel (Galatians 1:6-7). A violent controversy arose over whether the gospel to be preached was the gospel of Christ or a gospel about Christ. The latter won out.” Sadly, the latter also won out in the wcg. Should we expect any changes concerning the true gospel in these newer Bible translations? It’s only fitting.

In the New Testament, the word “gospel” is found 101 times in the kjv. The same word can be found 96 times in the niv. That’s not a great difference. But with so much reference to the word “gospel” in modern “Christianity,” we shouldn’t expect the word itself to be omitted from these new translations. After all, worldly churches have their many gospels. Where we should expect to find differences is where the gospel is actually defined in Scripture. Many, many times in Scripture (both kjv and niv) it just simply refers to “the gospel”—without really defining it. That makes the very few verses where the true gospel is actually defined very critical!

Notice this blatant error forced into the niv by its “scholarly” translators. Mark 1:1 reads, in the kjv, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ …,” and in the niv, “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ ….” Verse 14 reads (kjv): “… Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.” The niv: “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.

These two verses in Mark very clearly define the true gospel as long as you are reading from the kjv. In verse 1, it says it was the “gospel of Christ,” or the message He preached. And what was that message? The Kingdom of God. The niv blatantly changed both of these verses to suit what is more popular today. In verse 14, the niv omitted kingdom and changed gospel to good news. It is true that gospel means good news, but probably very few Protestants even know that. Their word choice is just an all-too-convenient way of hiding the real gospel from the average reader. The word gospel is only used in conjunction with the Kingdom of God in three other verses besides Mark 1:14. They are Matthew 4:23; 9:35; and 24:14. Together, these four verses provide overwhelming proof that the true gospel Jesus preached is about the Kingdom of God. You have already seen how the niv translators changed Mark 1:14. It is also interesting to note that they changed gospel to good news in Matthew 4:23 and 9:35 as well. That leaves Matthew 24:14 as the only scripture left in the niv that accurately reads, “the gospel of the kingdom.” Perhaps that one might even be changed in a future revision of the niv.

Notice one more blatant change in meaning the niv translators slipped in: the subtle change of moving the word glory after gospel. It changes the whole meaning. It went from being a glorious gospel to a gospel about Christ’s glory! (Note: This change also occurred in the New King James Version. That translation, though not as bad as the niv, is not as accurate as the old kjv.) Just as the Apostle Paul and Mr. Armstrong warned, they have subtly changed from the gospel of Christ to a gospel about Christ. It should come as no surprise then that the word Jesus appears 291 more times in the niv than it does in the kjv.

Other Major Changes

The instructions concerning Christian living, especially instruction against breaking God’s law, have become more vague and obscure in the newer translations. For instance, verses that used to warn against fornication in the kjv now warn against sexual immorality in the niv. Notice the following example: Galatians 5:19 says the works of the flesh are “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness” (kjv). The niv says they are “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery.”

That may seem insignificant until you look at the actual dictionary definition of the two terms. Webster’s defines fornication as: “1) Human sexual intercourse other than between a man and his wife.” So it is very clear then what God’s law does not allow according to the kjv. Here is how Webster’s defines immoral:broadly: conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles.” How deceitful! One Bible version clearly forbids sexual intercourse unless it is between a man and his wife. The other Bible version very unclearly forbids anything that goes against general or traditional “moral principles”!

The word fornication appears 39 times in the kjv while not appearing once in the niv. Conversely, immoral or immorality appear 33 times in the niv while not appearing once in the kjv!

Another alarming change in the niv is the increase of the word pride. It appears 49 times in the kjv and in most every case refers to vanity or conceit—something we do not want! Webster’s defines the word: “1) inordinate self-esteem: conceit. 2) proud or disdainful behavior or treatment: disdain.” In the niv, pride is used 69 times, 20 more than the kjv. Yet, in many niv verses, pride has replaced words like rejoice and glory—a different meaning altogether! (Compare Proverbs 8:13; 16:18; 29:23 and Mark 7:22 in the kjv with 2 Corinthians 5:12; 7:4 and Galatians 6:4 in the niv.) It is quite ironic that hundreds of scholars chose the word pride to be used as a positive thing. Do those scholars not understand the true meaning of the word pride?

Another area of a more watered-down translation is in the omission of several references to fasting. This is a very important part of Christian growth. Yet, it would seem to be not too important to the hundreds of scholars who translated the niv.

Notice Acts 10:30. The kjv translates it: “… Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house ….” The niv reads: “… Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon.”

In Mark 9:29, Christ says, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” The niv quotes Christ as saying, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Matthew 17:21, which says something very similar to Mark 9:29, is completely omitted from the niv! Hard to believe—but true. If you have an niv, you will notice that it just skips from verse 20 to 22. (Note: There are several other verses that are just simply omitted from the niv, like Matthew 18:11; 23:14; Luke 17:36; and Acts 8:37). Other verses that omit fasting in the niv include 1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 6:5; and 11:27.

Who Is the Real Culprit?

Much has been said about the many scholars who put together the mistranslation of the niv. But Satan the devil is the one who is actually behind this systematic tearing down of truth. He will do anything he can to suppress and, if possible, completely do away with truth. Rejecting the King James Version of the Bible, which is based on the most accurate Hebrew and Greek texts, in favor of newer translations based upon corrupted texts, is exactly what Satan wants.

Satan has even managed to omit himself from certain passages in these new translations. In Luke 4:8, where Christ is speaking to Satan himself, the kjv says, “And Jesus answered, and said unto him, get thee behind me Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” The niv: “Jesus answered, ‘It is written, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”‘”

Another glaring omission. But perhaps no omission is as tragic as this one in Isaiah 14:12 which reads: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! …” The niv reads: “How you have fallen from heaven, o morning star, son of the dawn! …”

In many new translations, Satan has successfully omitted the only reference to Lucifer in the entire Bible. But even more amazing is what they replace Lucifer with: morning star, which is what Jesus Christ is referred to in Revelation 22:16. Satan’s goal is to get people to believe that he is God (2 Corinthians 4:4). He wants people to believe he is Jesus Christ. And believe it or not, there is an increasing number of scholars today who believe that the passage in Isaiah 14 does not refer to the one who became Satan. The twisted and perverted beliefs of scholars have very subtly found their way into inspired Scripture.

What Should You Do?

With all of these examples in mind, you should be able to understand why we endorse the King James Version as the main Bible we quote for our publications. We occasionally quote from other translations, but we always specify when we do. We use other Bibles as Herbert W. Armstrong instructed us to: as a supplement to the King James.

Does this mean you should immediately throw away your niv if you own one? No. I have one myself, though I admit, I rarely used it until I wrote this article! The niv, even though a very poor translation in many areas, still has some value, as long as your primary Bible is the King James. It should also be stated that the New American Standard Version, another very popular translation today, is very similar to the niv in its many changes and errors. Be especially careful with these two translations. In addition to those two translations, any Bible version with a “new” in its title is guaranteed to be a less accurate translation than the kjv. The New King James Version is not nearly as full of errors as many other “new” translations. But it still is not nearly as good as the old kjv.

If you are thinking about purchasing a Bible, we recommend you buy a King James first. From there, two good choices to complement the kjv are the Revised Standard Version and the Moffatt. Mr. Armstrong used both of these on occasion. The Revised Standard is a good translation. But even the translators of that version have since come out with a “New” Revised. Stay away from that one.

Be very careful about which Bible you use for your primary study. The changes in the new translations can distort your understanding in many areas without you even realizing it. Used improperly, we can be deceitfully led in the wrong direction. If we use different translations properly, we can enhance and invigorate our Bible study!

Bush Approves Tax Rebates

Bush Approves Tax Rebates

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How effective will President Bush’s economic “stimulus” package really be?

In an attempt to revitalize the American economy and avoid recession, U.S. President George W. Bush signed a $168 billion economic “stimulus” package on Wednesday. This package will give hundreds of dollars back to U.S. families in an attempt to increase consumer spending and save the economy. President Bush’s economic stimulus package made it through Congress Thursday of last week. Agence France Presse reports:

Bush said the world’s largest economy had overcome shocks in the past and expressed confidence that the giant economic aid plan would help the economy through a “rough patch.” …Bush’s signature clears the way for one-time tax rebate checks to be mailed to tens of millions of Americans in coming months. The Economic Stimulus Act also calls for tax breaks aimed at firing up business investment.Economists are divided on the stimulus’s likely impact amid a two-year-long housing market slump and a related credit crunch, and after the economy lost 17,000 jobs unexpectedly in January.Some economists have called the plan an election-year gimmick, but others say it could help boost critical consumer and business spending, but not until later this year.

In a pleasant surprise, according to a survey cited by cnn, only about one fourth of Americans are planning to spend the rebate money they receive.

Nearly half (46 percent) said they plan to use the rebate to pay off debt and a quarter (28 percent) would save the money, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers and ubs Securities, which jointly commissioned the study of 1,005 households between January 31 and Sunday.

The problem is, with a $9 trillion-plus national debt, a massive trade deficit, and a record number of housing foreclosures, America’s economic woes go a lot deeper than what a few hundred dollars per family or a few tax breaks can fix. America is on its way out as the world’s economic powerhouse.

Iran Maintains Violent Presence in Iraq

Iran Maintains Violent Presence in Iraq

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The Islamic Republic shows it continues to be willing and able to hurt U.S. goals in the Middle East.

Iranian-backed groups in Iraq have increased their attacks over the past few months, according to a U.S. government official.

David Satterfield, the State Department’s Iraq coordinator, said last week:

Iran remains, we believe, determined to pursue its goal of departure of U.S. forces under as difficult circumstances as possible, both as a means of securing its ambitions in Iraq per se as well as projecting through and beyond Iraq its broader regional and … international ambitions. Iran remains lethally engaged in terms of providing training and equipment to the most radical and the most violent forces in Iraq. Attacks by those forces continue. …If there was any demonstration that there was a certain degree of toning down of that violence, the increased attacks on Basra Air Station, the increased efp attacks, would certainly vitiate that argument

Satterfield also pointed to the increase in attacks against the United States using armor-piercing weapons, believed to have come from Iran.

At the same time, Iran has announced that it will hold a new round of talks with the U.S. on the future of Iraq. Iran’s foreign minister has also announced that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Iraq before the Iranian new year on March 20.

Iran then, is demonstrating that it still has power in Iraq. Tehran wants to get the most concessions possible from the U.S. in future negotiations.

Analyst George Friedman brings out another interesting point in his weekly intelligence report:

The decline in intra-communal violence is attributable to two facts. The first is the alliance between the United States and Sunni leaders against al Qaeda, which limited the jihadists’ ability to strike at the Shia. The second is the decision by the Iranians to control the actions of Iranian-dominated militias. The return of Muqtada al-Sadr—the most radical of the Shiite leaders—to ayatollah school and his decision to order his followers to cease fire dramatically reduced Shiite-on-Sunni violence. That would not, and could not, have happened without Iranian concurrence. If the Iranians had wanted the civil war to continue unabated, it would have. The Iranians cannot eliminate all violence, nor do they want to. They want the Americans to understand that they can resume the violence at will. Nevertheless, without the Iranian decision to limit the violence, the surge would not have worked.

Al-Sadr called a six-month cease-fire between his troops, the Mahdi Army, and U.S. forces in August. It expires at the end of this month. As Friedman points out, Iran holds the keys to this cease-fire. If it wants to make life harder for Washington, it simply has Al-Sadr refuse to extend the cease-fire. Then Iraq will explode again.

The U.S. has repeatedly shown that it lacks the will to finish what it starts. Iraq will be no exception. Rather than dealing with the Iranian problem, watch for the U.S. to negotiate Iraq away in return for a temporary and uneasy peace.

Next U.S. President Will Demand More From Europe

Next U.S. President Will Demand More From Europe

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Clinton, Obama and McCain all want to rely on a stronger Europe.

The next U.S. president will demand more from Europe, according to the German government’s coordinator for U.S. relations. In an interview with Spiegel Online, Karsten Voigt explained how the three major presidential candidates—Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain—would rely heavily on Europe if they were in office.

On the two Democratic candidates, Voigt said:

Obama and Clinton embody different political styles and different generations. But their positions on foreign and security policy are very close. They will increase the power and the appeal of the usa. That also means they will approach their European allies more. That will be linked to demands for stronger involvement—be they civil, military, regional or global. Europe will become an increasingly important force in solving problems.

On McCain, he said:

McCain’s personal experiences have given him very firm convictions in foreign and security policy. He wants a very strong U.S. role—a stance he has in common with the Democrats. But he puts more emphasis on military security. Just like the Democrats he would urge the Europeans to make a stronger contribution in civilian terms, but especially in military terms.

Clinton has stated explicitly that the United States must rely more on Europe. “It is important to engage our adversaries but even more important to reassure our allies,” she wrote. “We must reestablish our traditional relationship of confidence and trust with Europe. Disagreements are inevitable, even among the closest friends, but we can never forget that on most global issues we have no more trusted allies than those in Europe.”

Her fellow Democrat, Barack Obama, agrees. “I will rebuild our ties to our allies in Europe and Asia and strengthen our partnerships throughout the Americas and Africa,” he wrote. Obama also called for other nato members to play a greater role. “I will rally our nato allies to contribute more troops to collective security operations and to invest more in reconstruction and stabilization capabilities.”

Similar sentiments come from the Republican side. “Americans should welcome the rise of a strong, confident European Union,” wrote McCain.

The bottom line is that all the candidates want a stronger, more powerful Europe.

The European Union, especially Germany, also wants a stronger Europe. The Lisbon Treaty, aka the EU constitution, will greatly increase the EU’s power domestically (for more, see “Ten Things You Might Not Know About the Lisbon Treaty”). As it consolidates power at home, it will increasingly look outward. Already the EU has troops in the Balkans, is sending a deployment to Chad and has a navy near the Middle East.

The U.S. is actively pushing Germany to send more troops to Afghanistan. Already it has agreed to send a rapid reaction force to the area. It is holding back on sending further forces in order to gain political leverage; Germany wants more power inside nato (for more information, see “Germany vs. nato: Playing Hard to Get”).

Under the aegis of nato, the EU has already been very successful in the Balkans. Watch for it to continue to work through nato to expand its power. Already, five of Europe’s most experienced military commanders have proposed a new nato manifesto, which is likely to be discussed at a summit in Bucharest, Romania, in early April. Watch for Europe to try and use the summit to change nato to its advantage.

The EU wants to expand its involvement in the world. The next U.S. president can be expected to urge it on. For information on where this rise of Europe will lead, see our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

The Anglican Betrayal of Britain

The Anglican Betrayal of Britain

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For nearly 1,500 years, the Church of England defined English national character and infused the country with an indomitable spirit of independence. Those days are clearly finished.

The famous Shakespearean epithet Et tu Brute? (“You too, Brutus?”) has come to symbolize the ultimate betrayal by one’s closest friend. That epithet was pronounced with dramatic emphasis in Britain last Thursday when Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, made the case for the simultaneous practice of English law and Islamic sharia law in Britain.

Et tu Anglicans?

Williams’s first jab at British law and government came in the form of a tedious lecture delivered before the Royal Courts of Justice. Long story short, the archbishop started out innocently enough, explaining that his aim was to “tease out some of the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state.” But Williams subsequently used the bulk of his talk to defend sharia law by explaining how grossly misunderstood it is, and cunningly making the case for the accommodation of Islamic sharia law in Britain.

For those with a heroic level of patience and an enjoyment for reading obfuscatory material, you can read the full diatribe against British sovereign law here.

The archbishop’s second jab came during an interview with the bbcWorld at One program, which was, ironically, supposed to quell the firestorm ignited by his lecture. With very little nuance or subtly, Dr. Williams defended Islamic sharia law in the interview and mused that the United Kingdom will inevitably have to accommodate sharia law if social unity and peace are to prevail.

A week later, the fiery bombardment of Canterbury continues, despite efforts by the archbishop and other Anglicans to douse the flames. The reason those efforts are failing, opined the Times’s Ruth Gledhill, is because “neither the archbishop nor his staff regard his speech as mistaken. They are merely concerned that it has been misunderstood” (emphasis mine throughout). Blind to the flaws of Dr. Williams’s remarks, the archbishop and many of his fellow Anglican leaders remain unrepentant.

The archbishop of Canterbury has been deluged with criticism since he made his remarks. Even the British prime minister has slammed Williams’s suggestions. But nothing highlights the magnitude of Williams’s treason—nor condemns the weak-willed response of Anglican leaders—more than the Church of England’s own history.

For nearly 1,500 years, the defining quality of the English church was its staunch refusal to concede authority and power to the imperialistic ambitions of a foreign power!

Most people are probably aware that the Anglican Church was formally established in the mid-16th century during the reign of Henry viii. The roots of Anglican independence, however, stretch as far back as the 5th century, when Roman influence began to diminish over its island colony.

“One of the reasons why the Reformation was successful in England,” writes British historian Paul Johnson, “was that there was absolutely nothing new about it. All its elements—anti-clericalism, anti-papalism, the exaltation of the crown in spiritual matters, the envy of clerical property, even the yearning for doctrinal reform—were deeply rooted in the English past” (The Offshore Islanders). There was nothing exceptional about the timing of Henry viii’s breach with Rome; it was an inevitable event that had been building for centuries.

On matters of doctrine, morality and spirituality, the church in Rome and the English church were, for the most part, united. So what was the exceptional issue that made the divorce between Rome and Canterbury inevitable? From the 5th century on, the characteristic distinguishing the English church from imperialist Rome was its distinct and enduring refusal to concede power to Rome.

This prevailing spirit of independence was once the defining quality of the Anglican Church, and the characteristic identifying it as a distinctly different breed of Christianity to that emanating from Rome. The credibility of the English church hinged on its staunch unwillingness to concede to the authority of foreign forces and influences.

That infectious spirit of independence was empowering. For centuries it infused Englishmen with a profound and enduring sense of national autonomy and inspired men, women and children to sacrifice blood, sweat and tears for “God, king and country.” It is the spirit of independence, once promoted and advanced by the English church, that lies at the heart of British national character. From the 5th century on up to the 1960s, English Christianity was a legitimizing force for the English government.

English kings and queens, empowered by the anti-clerical, anti-papal, independent spirit embodied in the church, used the church to establish government processes and build national unity. “The church became the principle instrument of civil government; the bishops were the king’s chief advisors, his chapel servants as well as spiritual ministers. The church codified the law, and put it in writing. Even before the church came, English society was developing a definite structure: but the church supplied the literate manpower and expertise to build a state machine” (ibid.).

But the English church’s connection with English law went beyond helping the government define and codify law; the church’s involvement in the national government gave legitimacy to English law, enhancing its role and reputation in the hearts and minds of Englishmen, and defended English law against attack from foreign powers and influences.

For nearly 1,500 years, the independent spirit of the Anglican Church was a source of courage for Britons, infusing the nation with an indomitable sense of independence and a uniquely strong sense of national unity.

History can be a merciless judge; but it’s the most honest of them all. The long history of the English church as a national bulwark against foreign attack and invasion powerfully and inexorably condemns the defeatist principles outlined recently by the archbishop of Canterbury.

Rowan Williams’s willingness to see Britain make judicial concessions to Islam guts the Church of England, and the nation of Britain, of its most defining and empowering quality: its long-standing ability to refuse to concede influence to invading foreign powers!

Without this quality, the Anglican Church lacks definition and strength. It becomes virtually worthless to the monarchy and national government, and it becomes nearly indistinguishable from any other Protestant church. Granted, that is the path that Anglicanism has increasingly pursued since being progressively drawn into Rome’s wide-open maw since Vatican ii. All that Rowan Williams has done is accelerate the process of Anglican confusion by not only being open to Rome’s beckoning call, but also being prepared to cave in to the Vatican’s chief competitor, Islam.

Without its historical spirit of independence and persistent refusal to concede authority to the influence of foreign powers, the Church of England transforms from a publicist of British sovereignty and a defender of British law to an enemy of the state.

The implications of what Rowan Williams suggested in his attack on English law are staggering, says Melanie Phillips:

One law for all is the very basis of legal and social justice and is the glue that binds a society together. Law is the expression of a society’s cultural identity. If there is no one law, there is no one national identity and therefore no society but instead a set of warring fiefdoms with their own separate jurisdictions.

Ultimately, the impact of last week’s remarks by the archbishop of Canterbury could break the back of the already ailing reputation of the Anglican Church. Time will tell. In recent years, the archbishop of Canterbury has deserted his role as the spiritual and moral bastion for the 80 million Anglicans around the world by loosening, even abandoning, the Church of England’s standards on issues such as the ordination of women as priests, premarital cohabitation and homosexuality.

The office of the archbishop of Canterbury, once the standard-setter of the Anglican Church and the empowering force behind that church’s—and the national government’s—defining sense of independence, has transformed into a law-despising, liberalized office used to appease foreign incursion rather than defend national sovereignty.

The implications of the devolution of the reputation of the Anglican Church will be tremendous. Most notably, the demise of the Church of England will create a massive vacuum in the Protestant world. But one church’s demise can be another church’s opportunity. Kept away from the levers of power in Britain for centuries, the church in Rome will exploit the opportunity and move to fulfill its dream of restoring its religious supremacy over what has been long known in Roman Catholic tradition as “Mary’s Dowry.” Already, as reported by the Times last year, “In a 42-page statement prepared by an international commission of both churches, Anglicans and Roman Catholics are urged to explore how they might reunite under the pope” (Feb. 19, 2007).

Expect Roman Catholicism to replace the Church of England as the rock of stability in the Protestant world.

For half a century, Herbert W. Armstrong served as editor in chief of the Plain Truth. He often prophesied of an event that for decades many considered an impossibility—the unification of Protestants with their Roman Catholic mother church.

In October 1961, the Plain Truth wrote, “The pope will step in as the supreme unifying authority—the only one that can finally unite the differing nations of Europe. … Europe will go Roman Catholic! Protestantism will be absorbed into the ‘mother’ church—and totally abolished.”

Today, that insightful forecast, which was founded on a prophecy in Isaiah 47, is coming to fruition, and the Trumpet is helping readers remain abreast of its development. Read, for example, two of our most recent articles on this subject: “Anglicans Submitting to the Pope” and “Anglicans Turning Catholic.”

The damage inflicted on the Anglican Church by the latest remarks from the archbishop of Canterbury will add fresh impetus to this momentous trend.

Germany vs. NATO: Playing Hard to Get

Germany vs. NATO: Playing Hard to Get

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As NATO struggles to gain support in Afghanistan, Germany seeks control.

The 44th annual Munich Security Conference wrapped up two days of intense discussion last weekend with seemingly no major issues resolved. A significant source of tension and division between nato partners at the meeting centered round the general lack of positive response from EU countries to a U.S. call for more support in the Afghan theater.

More than a hint of major division between nato members had already arisen during the meeting of nato defense ministers held in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, only days prior to the Munich Security Conference. Both these meetings precede and lay the groundwork for the three-day nato summit to be held in Bucharest 2nd to 4th of April.

Till fairly recently the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan had faded into the background due to its being greatly overshadowed by the far more fashionable (to the media) war in Iraq. However, as elections loom in Afghanistan, voices are increasingly being raised in concern at the aggressive return of the Taliban buoyed by a bumper opium crop funding the fresh acquisition of arms and supplies for the insurgents. Concern is increasingly mounting at the very real prospect of the country reverting to Taliban control unless more troops can be committed to that theater.

nato, through its International Security Assistance Force (isaf), currently has a 43,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan, the majority in areas of greatest conflict being U.S. troops supported by British, Canadians and Australians. At the Vilnius conference, nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stated that this was insufficient to meet the increasing dangers posed by the Taliban revival.

In an effort to stir EU member nations of nato into contributing a greater effort in Afghanistan, the nato chief told those assembled in Vilnius: “There are challenges, we need more forces … the situation in Afghanistan means sharing responsibility and sharing risk” (Reuters, February 7). U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was more pointed in his criticism of elements within nato, declaring “nato was at risk of splitting into members who are willing to ‘fight and die to protect people’s security and those who were not [the EU]’” (ibid.).

With such rhetoric as the backdrop to the annual Munich Security Conference, the heat was definitely on the EU member nations of nato to step up to the plate and accept more responsibility for the security of Afghanistan as the top brass gathered last weekend.

Convening from February 8th to 10th in the Bavarian capital, the conference was opened by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As if in an effort to heighten the sense of urgency in the minds of those attending, the conference slogan was “A World in Disarray—Shifting Powers—Lack of Strategies.” Within this context, the conference organizer, former adviser to ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Horst Teltschik, said, in a view expressed in advance of the conference, that “the number of conflicts in the world was growing and the international community was becoming less certain of how to deal with them. ‘There is a feeling of helplessness,’ he told a news conference. Among the topics under discussion will be the future of nato, Asia, the Balkans, Russia, disarmament and global flashpoints” (Deutsche-Presse Agentur, January 17).

That was a pretty heavy agenda.

Yet, ultimately, the real talk was about the need for greater support for nato engagement in Afghanistan.

Represented among the approximate 250 participants at Munich were 15 foreign ministers and 25 ministers of defense, in addition to nato Secretary General De Hoop Scheffer, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed El Baradei, and Russia’s deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung represented Germany at the conference.

Inevitably, taking center stage in discussions at the Munich Conference was America’s request for the EU nations to shoulder more of the burden in what is obviously a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. Germany was singled out by U.S. Defense Minister Robert Gates for particular criticism in this respect. Although Germany had announced on January 16 that it would cross a “magic line” by contributing a rapid reaction force into a potential combat role in Afghanistan (the first such potential combat deployment since the close of World War ii), Gates criticized that nation for only deploying its forces in the safer northern quadrant of Afghanistan, avoiding the southern region of greatest conflict where the U.S., British, Canadian and Australian forces are largely bearing the brunt of increasing Taliban attacks.

In actual fact, Germany is already contributing to the effort in southern Afghanistan, as reported by the journalists for German-Foreign-Policy.com: “The German press conciliatingly points out that already ‘German soldiers—communication, command services—have been operating nearly without interruption since the fall of 2006 in Kandahar, in the south’ [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 7]. The Bundeswehr’s Tornados are also flying a disproportionately significant number of sorties over the combat area” (February 8).

Below the surface of this debate between the United States, nato and Germany is an extremely significant strategy being played out by Berlin. It is not that Germany does not want to commit troops to combat in Afghanistan—the approval of its rapid reaction force is proof of that—it is that Germany simply wants a bigger say in the running of the war in Afghanistan. That will simply lead to a bigger say, in turn, within nato. With the future prospect—especially under any future Democrat presidency in America—of a faster drawdown of U.S. troops from areas of conflict, and a corresponding heightened role by nato in those theaters, this would simply translate into increasingly more assertive German military leadership.

That is the whole key to the current nato debate.

Germany is withholding approval of a greater contribution to the Afghanistan conflict as a bargaining chip at the negotiating table in exchange for a more direct involvement and control in the strategic development of that war, and any future deployment of EU troops—for where Germany leads, other EU nations are bound to follow. As German Foreign Policy observes, “As the German defense minister, Franz Josef Jung, announced, the German ‘Quick Reaction Force,’ scheduled for deployment, could well take part in combat missions in the south of the country. But the condition is the explicit approbation from Berlin [not nato, nor the U.S., nor the EU]. This exposes the German/U.S.-American contention, concerning the deployment in the south, to be nothing more than a power struggle, in which Berlin seeks to strengthen her influence over the way the war is being waged. Up to now this has been decided principally by the U.S. military” (ibid., emphasis mine throughout).

On the eve of the Munich Conference, U.S. Defense Secretary Gates sent a sizzling memorandum to his counterpart in Germany, Franz-Josef Jung, urging him to seriously consider the deployment of more German troops to assist in Afghanistan’s southern combat zone. In the immediate wake of the publicizing of that memorandum, conflicting messages emanated from ministers within Chancellor Merkel’s governing coalition indicating a clear divide between those who supported a more active role for Germany in Afghanistan and those who were against it. A more consistent line was pushed by the shapers of public opinion, Germany’s media, a large component of which is owned, and thus influenced, by Bertelsmann, the globalist publishing company that employs the Munich conference organizer, Horst Teltschik, who is assertively in favor of escalating Germany’s combat role in Afghanistan. Bertelsmann was involved in publishing propaganda for the Nazi war machine 70 years ago.

After the “magic line” was crossed, with the official public announcement of Germany’s first token combat force since World War ii being readied for deployment into Afghanistan, the German press started to come out in force supporting the concept of increased involvement of German troops in potential combat roles in that conflict.

In the days leading up to the Munich Security Conference, Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung claimed that criticism from the U.S. and Canada of Germany’s constrained role in Afghanistan was justified; Die Welt wrote in its online edition that Germany’s contribution to isaf is not a favor, but a duty; Bild Zeitung claimed that it was a responsible decision; Süddeutsche Zeitung observed that the Bundeswehr has to fill in the gaps left by the withdrawal of the Norwegians, Czechs and Danes. A hint of German strategy in all of this ongoing debate was given by Die Tageszeitung as it observed that Germany should fight for a new Afghanistan strategy at the nato summit in April.

German media could well become a powerful force in changing the whole postwar mentality and mood of the German people to one of favoring increased German involvement in international conflicts, conditional upon a heightened level of control from Berlin. Afghanistan could just prove to be the thin end of the wedge. The next two months will be crucial for Germany in the preparation of its platform for successfully arguing on both counts at the April nato summit.

One intriguing sidelight to all this is, coming hard on the heels of the Munich Security Conference, this week’s flying, and very timely, visit to Berlin by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The Israeli prime minister has met with Chancellor Merkel and President Horst Khöler to discuss Israel‘s security concerns, principally the threat posed by Iran.

This is Olmert’s second visit to the German hierarchy in 14 months. Deutsche Welle reported that Olmert was “to brief the German chancellor on peace negotiations he initiated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after a U.S.-led conference in Annapolis, Maryland, last November. ‘Germany and the European Union will do everything in their power to support the peace process …. Our goal is that a secure and stable Israel and a Palestinian state can live as neighbors in the region in peace and freedom,’ Merkel said on Saturday in her weekly online podcast” (February 11).

Of perhaps even greater significance was an Agence France Presse report that Olmert would discuss “the serious problem of Iran’s nuclear program,” quoting an Israeli official as stating that “We expect further efforts in terms of economic and political pressure on Iran to renounce its nuclear projects, and Germany is a key player in this” (February 11).

Watch for the April nato conference to shape up as one of the most crucial, in terms of its future, since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The U.S. has already sounded warning bells. In the wake of the Munich conference, EUobserver reported that “The United States has urged European leaders as well as the public to be more supportive of nato-led mission in Afghanistan, a cornerstone of the U.S. war on terror, or the alliance will be ‘effectively destroyed’ by a failure in the Central Asian country” (February 11).

One thing is for sure: Germany holds the aces in this game of playing hard to get. As it stands, this most powerful nation in Europe may choose one of two courses of action. Germany has the influence to threaten a real rift in nato, to the extent that the U.S. could cave in and grant Berlin a greater say in strategy in Afghanistan in exchange for a greater troop commitment from Germany and its fellow EU nations.

On the other hand, Germany has, by virtue of Berlin’s influence on Brussels, the power to work toward creating an unmendable rift in nato between its Anglo-Saxon members and EU member nations, to the point where nato ceases to be of any real relevance in military affairs, thus opening the way for the rise of the much-anticipated combined EU military force to replace it, with Germany at the helm.

Either way, with the decline of the U.S., the time is fast approaching when nato assets and personnel will sport the EU 12-star badge in exchange for that of the old Cold War Western alliance.

It was Herbert W. Armstrong who, well over half a century ago, not only prophesied Germany’s return to military dominance in Europe but also predicted that the Anglo-Saxons would encourage this to the point of handing over their own manufactured weapons to Germany’s control, only to find them ultimately turned back on themselves!

Watch the nato summit in April for profound events that will soon bear on the security of the whole world!

For more insight into this topic, request your own copy, gratis, of our booklet Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany.