How Does God Choose His Leaders?

From the June 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

The Bible contains biographies of several great men and women, many of them powerful leaders—kings, pharaohs, judges, priests, prophets, apostles.

What follows then is simply a matter of history: Within His chosen nation, Israel, and chosen people, the New Testament Church, what system did God use to place an individual into a position of authority?

And then—just as important—how did those leaders perform in their offices?

Studying this history provides some instructive contrasts to the system currently employed by superpower America.

The example of David, the renowned king of Israel for 40 years, is well known, and found in 1 Samuel 16. Israel was languishing under the despotic rule of Saul, whose reign was coming to an end. God sent the Prophet Samuel to a man named Jesse, explaining simply, “I have provided me a king among his sons” (verse 1).

There was no election, no conclave of officials—no campaigning, stumping or intriguing—no debate, no arguing or legal tussling. God Himself just looked down and single-handedly chose and appointed Saul’s replacement to lead the nation.

Not only that, but notice the method by which God made the choice.

When Samuel arrived and explained his intent, the proud Jesse presented before the prophet his eldest, and apparently most impressive, son. Here is what happened: “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (verse 7). Discerning the heart of this striking young man, God refused him.

In fact, not only him; God likewise refused each of several sons Jesse presented (verses 8-10). Other scriptures verify God’s omniscience, and His ability to discern a person’s thoughts (e.g. Job 34:21; Hebrews 4:13; 1 John 3:20). God perceived supernaturally that not one of these fine young men would be fit for the rigors and responsibilities of the kingship. Finally, Jesse had to call from the fields the youngest of his sons, David—whom no one had even thought worthy of consideration by Samuel.

Clearly, God chooses His leaders using an entirely different set of criteria than men do.

Elsewhere in the Bible we see this same pattern. Moses was 80 years old, tending sheep in the desert, when an angel of God appeared to him in a burning bush to give him the commission of leading the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3). Elisha was plowing in a field behind 12 oxen when the Prophet Elijah walked up and cast his mantle upon the young man, indicating Elisha would be his successor (1 Kings 19:15-21); notice too from this passage that God told Elijah the men He had chosen to be kings of both Syria and Israel, giving Elijah instructions to anoint them.

In the New Testament, the apostles selected other ministers by casting lots, putting the matter into God’s hands: “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship …” (Acts 1:24-25).

Another famous New Testament example: that of the religious zealot Saul, who was struck down by God Himself on his way to Damascus (Acts 9). Saul soon realized he had been persecuting the very people of God; he converted to their religion, and later became the Apostle Paul. Understandably, His initial presence in the Church caused much chagrin among the people he had persecuted. But God’s explanation was simple: “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).

One may reason that these were all spiritual leaders—priests, ministers—and perhaps God wouldn’t choose a civil head of government the same way. But in addition to the examples above of God choosing the kings of Israel and Syria, who administered the civil laws in those nations, there is the example of King Saul, who was specifically chosen to replace the reign of the Prophet Samuel with a secular-type king. Here was an instance where the people rose up to demand a change in government; God heard and allowed them to have the leader they wanted. A victory for democracy? No. Even in this special case, it was again God Himself who did the choosing (1 Samuel 9:15-17), to teach the people a vital lesson; and though Israel was pleased at first (1 Samuel 10:23-24), in the end Saul’s failure reinforced the lesson that the people’s judgment is hopelessly flawed.

Again, in God’s system of government historically, there are no political campaigns, no elections. It is not a democracy, but a theocracy. Rulership isn’t administered or ordered from the bottom up, but decidedly from the top down.

The only “election campaign” waged by God’s leaders is simply to become as righteous as possible—to develop character through obedience to God’s law. There is no need for them to convince anyone else of their plans, their competencies and capabilities. God places them in office and the people are obliged to follow.

But now, a vital question: How did these leaders perform? The simple answer is, exceedingly well—as long as they followed God!

After his death, though he made serious mistakes in his life, David was praised for having been Israel’s greatest king, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). Moses, despite having tremendous and binding authority, is described as being the meekest man on Earth (Numbers 12:3)—a godly trait most unusual, and beneficial, for someone in a powerful position. Elisha and Paul were among the most effective men God ever used.

The fact is, zealous, morally upright leaders who are humble and submissive to God bring great blessings upon those they shepherd. As a leader follows God, he leads his followers to God. That is how a nation can truly have the peace and prosperity that all people seek. “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2).

Who better to choose those leaders than the one and only Source of all righteousness?

Islam Pushes, Europe Reacts

The European Union’s tolerance of Islam’s incursion is reaching its limits.
From the June 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

Europeans have been tolerant of the inroads that Islam has made into their society over a period of decades. But things are changing. That tolerance has produced such strains on the Continent that it is now creating a political backlash.

Perhaps the first public display of European reaction to its creeping Islamization was the publishing by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of the Muhammad cartoons on Sept. 30, 2005. Just one year later, Pope Benedict xvi threw down the gauntlet to Islam during a provocative speech at the University of Regensburg.

Since then, Europe has gone on the offensive against the Islamic push from the south. Calls from responsible politicians across the board to stem the flood of immigrants into the Continent are getting louder. The contest between European Christianity and Islam is heating up.

A Religious Powder Keg

Two politically overt actions taken within a week of each other in March illustrate the point.

On March 22, Pope Benedict baptized, confirmed and gave the Eucharist to Magdi Allam, a well-known Egyptian-born Muslim resident in Italy. Allam is a senior editor for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in addition to being a high-profile author. His conversion ceremony seemed calculated for maximum exposure: It took place right at St. Peter’s Basilica on the eve of Easter Sunday, and was heavily covered by the Vatican and other news outlets.

Just five days later, Dutchman Geert Wilders released his controversial and long-anticipated film Fitna. The 15-minute film “consists of some of the most bellicose verses of the Koran, followed by actions in accord with those verses carried out by Islamists in recent years. The obvious implication is that Islamists are simply acting in accord with their scriptures,” the Jerusalem Post reported (April 3). Fresh Catholic convert Magdi Allam said Wilders’ main point was that “the root of evil is inherent” in Islam. That phrase, “the root of evil,” is so close to a quote employed by Pope Benedict in his Regensburg speech that the two seem to follow the same script.

None of this is surprising. The tolerance of the creeping Islamization of Europe shown by the socialist, center-left governments fashionable during the latter 1990s and on through the middle of the current decade was bound to place strains on European society to the point of explosion. The explosions occurred in Paris and other French cities in the rioting of Islamist thugs in 2005 and 2007. Some wanted to excuse the outbreaks of violence by blaming the unemployment and social problems rife in many of France’s poorer suburban areas. The question is, why have those problems arisen? Political scientist Ernst Hillebrand points directly to the soft policies of European governments on immigration. Singling out the left wing of European politics as the culprit, he observed, “Multiculturalism—the left’s answer to the significant rise in European immigration in recent decades—has failed. It has led to fragmented societies and ghettos of marginalized minorities in which the mutual frustrations of indigenous populations and immigrants have increased. This applies above all to immigrants from Islamic countries, among whom the second and third generations often have much more hostile attitudes to Western society than their elders” (Prospect, March 2008; emphasis mine throughout).

Why are unemployment and social problems endemic to France’s poorer suburbs? Simply because immigrants of a culture totally incompatible with that of France have been allowed to enter and settle without acculturating into French society. This has produced a cultural powder keg within not only France, but also many other west European countries.

Who has taken the lead in trying to address this growing problem? None other than the Vatican.

“Revive Your Roots”

For 30 years, Rome has been sounding a clarion call to Europe to return to its cultural and spiritual roots (see article, page 1). It started with Pope John Paul ii in 1981, who sought to beat back the onslaught of secularism, liberalism and pan-Islamism with this battle cry: “It can be said that the European identity is not understandable without Christianity and that it is precisely in Christianity that are found those common roots by which the Continent has seen its civilization mature ….” The pope then cried out to all Europe, “Find yourself again. Be yourself. Discover your origins, revive your roots. Return to those authentic values which made your history a glorious one and your presence so beneficent in the other continents.”

Pope Benedict xvi is repeating that call. In July 2005, he prayed for God “to stop the murderous hand of those who, driven by fanaticism and hatred,” commit acts of terrorism. He then returned to the same theme introduced by his predecessor: the need for Europeans to return to their Christian roots. He quoted John Paul ii’s “revive your roots” speech.

The pope’s speech in Regensburg, Germany, came 14 months later. In that speech, the world’s attention was caught by a quote Benedict used from a dialogue between Byzantine Emperor Manuel ii Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam: “Show me just what Mohammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Since then, Pope Benedict has increasingly emphasized the need for adherents to the Church of Rome to undertake a new evangelism for their faith.

It is a message that seems to be steadily bearing fruit. To quote Ernst Hillebrand again, “There are signs that in Western [European] societies, a creeping change of values is taking place …. In some countries the zeitgeist appears to have become conservative once again: Opinion polls indicate a slow shift in the direction of traditional values” (op. cit.).

The values to which Hillebrand refers are those that lie at Europe’s roots. They are the values that, as John Paul ii said, made Europeans’ history “a glorious one.” The history of Europe is the history of the Holy Roman Empire. It was the spiritual leadership of Rome combined with the military force and might of Germany that gave Europe the history which John Paul ii and Pope Benedict xvi refer to as “glorious.” It is that very history that is even now reviving within Europe, leading to a gradual return to European conservatism, with the increasing reassertion of the right wing in European politics.

A swing to the right across the European continent will not bode well for Islam.

Building to a Confrontation

There can be no doubt that the success of John Paul ii’s appeal to Europe to return to its Holy Roman roots galvanized Eastern Europe’s rebellion against Soviet communism. John Paul’s great success was the merging of the eastern leg of old imperial Europe with its western counterpart.

Benedict’s challenge is now to deal with the enemy within, the onslaught of Islam on European society.

What this pope started with that Regensburg speech is building to a confrontation between Rome and pan-Islam that will end in the heat of a whirlwind battle—and one thing’s for sure, Rome will not be the loser!

The papal call for Europe to return to its roots is engaging Europe’s ethnic citizenry. It is progressively engaging its politicians. With each threat against Europe spouted by an Islamic extremist, the battle heats up. Europe is clearly feeling the push from its south and is now reacting increasingly against it.

As Daniel Pipes observed, “Indeed, [Magdi] Allam and [Geert] Wilders may represent the vanguard of a Christian/liberal reassertion of European values. It is too soon to predict, but these staunch individuals could provide a crucial boost for those intent on maintaining the Continent’s historic identity” (Jerusalem Post, op. cit.).

That’s a statement that would surely warm Pope Benedict’s heart!

Continue to watch for a progressive swing to the right within both the electorate and key political parties in Europe. Watch for an increasingly imperialist Europe to work at fielding a stronger military presence, in particular under nato’s umbrella, within several theaters. Watch for the European Union to more willingly accept America’s request to take on a greater share of the burden of security within Eurasia and, in particular, the Middle East.

As you watch, know that there is coming a mighty clash between the German-dominated European Union and the increasingly Iranian-led Islamic powers. The evidence of the impending fulfillment of Daniel 11:40-41—the clash of the “king of the north” and the “king of the south”—is there for all to see. Not only is that explosion, which today’s events are preparing the way for, foretold, but so too is its outcome.

Make no mistake, Islam will soon be routed from Europe, by force!

Are You Watching the Food Riots?

Global civil unrest over skyrocketing food prices gives us an unpleasant glimpse at what human nature can do.
From the June 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

Watching civil unrest and riots spreading nation to nation like a communicable disease raises some important questions. We do ourselves no favors by ignoring them.

Rising energy and food prices are hitting pocketbooks worldwide. Developing countries—which tend to be the most populous—are being hurt worst, as staple foods grow too expensive or too scarce. Global grain supplies are dangerously low. Exporting nations, out of self-preservation, are getting stingy and turning the export spigot way down.

The resulting hunger pangs are being felt around the world. Why? Because they’re turning up on our television screens—in the form of angry protests, which are turning into violent food riots and social breakdown. Several African nations, including Egypt, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, have had citizens killed in riots. There is talk the government in Bangladesh could be toppled over soaring food prices. Unrest is breaking out in Central Asia, Southeast Asia and South America. In the Philippines, armed soldiers stand watch over rice distribution. Closer to home for Americans, demonstrations have seized Mexico and Haiti. The World Bank’s president estimates that 33 nations are at risk of “conflict and social unrest because of the acute hike in food and energy prices.”

That’s a lot of suffering. And suffering tends to bring out the worst in human nature.

It’s easy to click away or change the channel when you’ve got plenty to eat yourself. But America and other First World nations are hardly invulnerable.

Even in America

In fact, food rationing has already begun. At certain Costco stores across America, store managers have said no to shoppers wanting to purchase more than their allotted amount for certain food stuffs, including flour, rice and cooking oil. “Due to the limited availability of rice, we are limiting purchases based on your prior purchasing history,” read one sign in a store in Mountain View, California. In Queens, New York, quotas are being imposed on oil and flour purchases.

For over 12 years, the Trumpet has warned of food shortages gripping the United States; now, they are starting to arrive.

Stockpiles of wheat in the U.S. have hit a 60-year low. And 60 years ago, America had a population of less than half of what it does now.

The Department of Agriculture says that in the year ending May 31, U.S. wheat inventories could be down 47 percent from a year earlier, to 6.6 million tons. That means there is a U.S. emergency wheat reserve supply of only about 43 pounds per person. And low supply means high prices.

The dollar is quickly losing value, and the U.S. is more dependent on foreign food production than ever. Already, grocery bills are rising quickly. Coupled with energy prices pushing skyward, more and more Americans are feeling the pinch.

Not yet a pinch like Indonesians are feeling—but then again, Americans are used to a far higher standard of living. Suffering can be relative.

Also, that higher standard of living means we have much further to fall.

Look at those riots spreading globally, and ask yourself: What if grocery prices got completely out of reach here at home?

What If?

What if the convenient food ran out—if Americans by the millions faced boarded-up fast food joints and grocery stores with empty shelves?

What would happen if gasoline first became too expensive to afford—and then too scarce to find?

And in this age of nuclear terrorism, what if far more sudden and catastrophic disruptions multiplied these problems?

How much patience would Americans exhibit? For how long would they peacefully suffer such conditions?

How well would they work together under the rule of law?

Perhaps the vast majority would bear up relatively well. But what about the rest? And how long before the criminals emerged?

The reason these questions are so important to contemplate is that the Bible actually prophesies such terrifying circumstances besieging America—as well as Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other affluent countries.

Try to envision it.

Imagine that the U.S. economy continues to slump. The dollar is shedding its value. Factories are shutting down. The number of homeless and hopeless grows in the cities. Shipping grinds to a halt as companies close and energy prices climb.

The inner-city poor are hit hardest. Charity efforts are unable to meet demands. Lines form at grocery stores for dwindling supplies of food at rising prices. Some, desperate for sustenance, resort to crime.

Racial tensions and resentment against the government escalate. Police officers are trapped between restoring order and being indicted for discrimination. As more people are victimized, both by economic depression and rising crime, emotions boil over.

The evils of human nature begin to emerge in force. Riots and looting break out in a handful of cities.

And then, capitalizing on this edgy atmosphere, terrorists detonate a crude nuclear bomb in New York or Chicago.

Eighteen thousand people are instantly vaporized. Power is out; the sanitation system has been disabled; there is no water; electronic communication from the area dies; information is blacked out; interstates clog with city-dwellers desperate to escape and suffering the first symptoms of radiation sickness.

Emergency units from neighboring states rush in to tend to the untold tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands who are slowly dying from radiation exposure, straining state and federal crisis management resources to their limits within days. Vast mobs of refugees migrate to neighboring cities.

The ripple effects of the strike further paralyze the country’s already-crippled economy and overtaxed police force. Effects are felt nationwide. Reports emerge of people starving to death in what until recently was the most prosperous nation on Earth.

As disorder mushrooms, government intervention buckles. Urban predators go on the offensive. Gangs take over. Pillaging and rioting increase. Buildings burn in the night. The worse the violence and burning become, the worse the famine gets. The worse the famine becomes, the more intensive the violence gets.

In the midst of the chaos, reports emerge of a spreading sickness. Unsanitary conditions in the city have facilitated an aggressive outbreak of cholera and a particularly deadly influenza virus. People begin dying in dozens, then hundreds. Then, the diseases begin popping up in neighboring cities—spread there by the refugees. A massive quarantine effort is needed, but with local law enforcement at its breaking point and the military already maxed out, only so much can be done. The plague spreads, and with it the crime.

Don’t Be Caught Unawares

This is only one of a thousand possible scenarios we may soon witness. Independent analysts and federal officials are imagining such eventualities based on observable evidence in order to plan their responses and to mitigate the devastation.

What these individuals don’t realize is that—barring national repentance—these disasters are prophesied to claim the lives of an enormous number of the people within our borders. Read our book Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet to grasp the severity of these forecasts (available free upon request).

The human mind rejects such scenarios—even after we have seen them play out to no small degree in New York and Washington on 9/11, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Naturally we want only to put such thoughts out of our minds. We want things to stay as they are.

It is because of this tendency that Jesus Christ warned specifically, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day”—that is, the period of destruction just ahead of us—“come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35).

That day should not come upon you unawares; it need not ensnare you. The same great God who is measuring this destruction of America and the nations of Israel also seeks your repentance. And to those who truly turn to Him with supple hearts, He offers individual protection—escape—from the worst of the coming storms (verse 36).

There is purpose in prophecy. In the midst of terrifying and tumultuous events, prophetic warning is nothing less than our Creator reaching out to His creation.

A terrible period of darkness is prophesied to occur. But also prophesied is that within this darkness—shining in a sin-sick and war-weary, increasingly terrorized world—would be a burning light: a bold message calling for repentance and proclaiming, beyond the darkness, the glow of eternal hope.

Luke 21:27-28 declare that hope to the disciples of Jesus Christ: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

The Week in Review

The Week in Review

PT/Getty Images

The Olmert administration totters, the United Nations is no help in Lebanon, and virulent propaganda from the MP for Baghdad North.

Middle East

Gulf Arab oil-producing states may soon abandon their currencies’ peg to the dollar. According to a recent Merrill Lynch & Co. report, the U.S. Treasury Department has effectively given Gulf Arab oil producers the green light to break their currency peg to the dollar and instead rely on a currency basket for their financial stability. Merrill Lynch & Co. says that both the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will probably remove the dollar-fixated exchange rate and move to a currency basket within the next few months. Kuwait already enacted both of these measures over a year ago, and Saudi Arabia may do the same before the end of next year. The reason: skyrocketing American inflation. Over the long-term, ending the petrol-dollar peg means reduced global demand for dollars. However, if other countries with much larger dollar reserves, like China and Japan, try to offload some of their dollar holdings before the dollar further devalues, a dollar crisis will develop, and the disastrous consequences for the American economy will be immediate.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert confirmed on Sunday that Israel has been conducting secret peace talks with Syria, via Turkey, for more than a year. Meanwhile, Syria continues to cement ties with Israel’s greatest enemy, Iran. Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Hassan Turkmani visited Tehran May 24 and, in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, worked to consolidate defense ties between the Syrian and Iranian regimes. “Our cooperation with the Iranians against Israeli threats is nothing secret, and we regularly consult about this with our friends,” Turkmani said. In another meeting, Turkmani told Iranian Gen. Yahya Rahim Safawi, a trusted military adviser of Ali Khamenei, that “Iran and Syria share the same viewpoint regarding regional issues and efforts will be made to strengthen our shared interests and bilateral relations.” Shockingly, Prime Minister Olmert is proceeding with his Syrian negotiations as if nothing has happened. He seems to be ignoring the fact that his negotiation partner is still strengthening its military alliance with the nation that is unabashedly calling for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Meanwhile, Olmert’s days as prime minister appear to be numbered, as turbulent personal matters threaten his coalition and tenure in office. With the Israeli prime minister being investigated on charges involving bribery and business scandal, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, leader of the Labor Party, is calling for him to either step down until the crisis is resolved or face general elections. If Barak withdraws his 17 Labor Party mks from their coalition with Olmert’s Kadima party, the government would lose its parliamentary majority and general elections would have to be scheduled. Olmert thus far has refused to step down.

Now that Hezbollah has effectively taken over Lebanon, the United Nations seems to be doing all it can to avoid inconveniencing the terrorist organization. Rather than taking a stand against the forces that have transformed the country into an Iranian proxy, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (unifil), already an utterly ineffective force, is increasing its cooperation with the new Hezbollah-friendly government, sources say. One Lebanese security official said, “unifil used to coordinate with the Lebanese Army, but now that is only for show. unifil keeps Hezbollah informed of its movements at practically all times. There is no stomach for any misunderstanding that could lead to a confrontation.” As Iran establishes a terrorist proxy state on Israel’s northern border, unifil lacks the will to do anything about it.

Europe

Several small political groupings, including Europe’s main Euroskeptic group, will be eliminated from European Parliament if a proposed amendment is adopted. The pan-European Euroskeptic group, Independence and Democracy (Ind/Dem), which has only 23 members, would lose its speaking rights, committee positions and significant funding—privileges that come only from being an official political grouping. Judging by this and past actions, particularly surrounding the EU constitution, democracy and debate get in the way of the European Union. In order to function more efficiently, Europe must become less democratic. Watch for this trend to be reflected in future headlines.

Increasing Europe’s influence on the world stage will be France’s top priority when it takes over the rotating presidency of the EU on July 1, according to French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. Kouchner also stated that he wanted the EU to have a more effective foreign policy and better defense cooperation. Watch for Europe to become more unified in these areas.

France will also pursue closer ties between the EU and Ukraine during its presidency. “As head of the European Council I will want to propose an ambitious partnership for Ukraine,” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “When we are in Kiev, we are in a European city.” Ukraine is on the frontier between Russia and Europe. Both want to draw it into their respective sphere of influence. For more information, read our article “Black Sea—New EU Frontier?

Also this week, Sarkozy made it clear that Turkey does not belong in Europe. He said that he did not think of a state that is predominantly Muslim as European. Unlike Ukraine, Turkey is already a candidate for EU membership. Turkey will not join the EU, however, for the precise reason Sarkozy mentioned. Europe is a club of Christians, and Muslim Turkey will not be allowed to enter.

Asia

In Taiwan, the new president, Ma Ying-jeou, has supposedly opened a “new chapter of peace” with Communist China. On Monday, President Ma sent the highest-level Taiwanese political delegation to visit the mainland since the two sides split during the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949. This delegation met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday and the two sides agreed to resume talks on the establishment of direct flights between China and Taiwan and on allowing tourists from mainland China into Taiwan. The first round of these talks will occur June 11 to 14. Beijing, which has previously threatened Taiwan with invasion if the self-ruled island ever declares independence, is zealously taking advantage of the new Taiwanese administration’s pro-China stance to draw the island as close to the mainland as possible. While Ma Ying-jeou and the new Taiwanese government may think they can secure their home by negotiating with their Communist rival, the fact remains that while Taiwan may have given up its hopes of ruling over mainland China, mainland China has never renounced its ambition to rule Taiwan. The current negotiations between Taiwan and China are the first steps toward a coming annexation of democratic Taiwan to Communist China.

Tensions are increasing between Russia and Georgia due to the presence of Russian “peacekeeping” troops in Georgia’s breakaway province of Abkhazia. On Wednesday, one Georgian member of parliament stated that if Russia does not agree to gradually withdraw its troops so they can be replaced by a European-trained Georgian police force, the Georgian government may declare the Russian troops to be “occupiers” instead of “peacekeepers.” Russia is continuing to exert pressure on Georgia to ensure that it stays within the Russian sphere of influence and does not join the nato alliance. The Caucasus will continue to be an area of conflict between Russia and an expanding European superpower.

South America, Africa

On May 27, Argentine farmers began a third strike to oppose high export taxes. The government still refuses to negotiate, and these latest strikes threaten to cause severe food shortages.

Xenophobic attacks in South Africa have killed more than 50 people this month. Approximately 40 percent of the population is unemployed; more than 4 million earn less than a dollar a day. According to the bbc, South Africans are blaming foreigners for “stealing jobs and rising crime.” Many of these foreigners are refugees from Zimbabwe. Now that South Africa has become a danger zone where foreigners are beaten, women are raped, and houses are razed, some Zimbabweans are fleeing back across the border, despite continuing runaway inflation, governmental upheaval and chaos back in Zimbabwe. For more about the recent ethnic violence in South Africa, read “Black on Black in South Africa” on theTrumpet.com.

Meanwhile, the global race for African resources continues, and Japan wants in. This week, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda promised to increase trade with Africa, doubled developmental assistance to Africa to $1.8 billion per year, and offered $4 billion in loans to Africa at concessionary terms. Also, the Japanese government is creating a $2.5 billion fund to stimulate African investment in the private sector.

Anglo-America

The destruction and tragic death toll in the wake of China’s recent earthquakes has scientists speculating that Southern California could soon experience a quake of the same magnitude. On May 22, the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Geological Survey released a study evaluating the likely effects of the “Big One.” The study involved approximately 300 scientists, government workers, emergency responders and industry experts. It considers the devastating results of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake jolting the surroundings of the San Andreas Fault—an 800-mile boundary where the Pacific and North American plates grind against each other. An earthquake along this fault killed an estimated 3,000 people in 1906. The Associated Press reports, “The ‘Big One,’ as earthquake scientists imagine it in a detailed, first-of-its-kind script, unzips California’s mighty San Andreas Fault north of the Mexican border. In less than two minutes, Los Angeles and its sprawling suburbs are shaking like a bowl of jelly.” Such a tremor would last three minutes and cost $200 billion and 1,800 lives—tolls similar to Hurricane Katrina and September 11.

In Britain, vociferous and ill-founded self-loathing reached a feverish peak when Briton George Galloway delivered a public address in Jordan, aired on Al-Jazeera tv on May 15. Galloway said, “I have for 21 years sat in the British Parliament, the scene of many crimes. I had to sit in the same room for many years as Mr. Tony Blair …. Not since Caligula made his horse a minister has there been a more inappropriate appointment as the appointment of Tony Blair as the peace envoy to the Middle East. He’s dripping with the blood of the people of Iraq, of the people of Palestine, of the people of Lebanon ….” George Galloway is not a Muslim preacher; he is a member of Parliament. Known as the “mp for Baghdad North,” Galloway added,

In this case, the victims of terrorism are called the terrorists, and the terrorists are called the victims of terrorism. This terrorist state of Israel parades around the world as a legitimate government, being received as such even in some Arab countries, whilst Hamas, elected by the people of Palestine, are called terrorists, who must be starved and beaten into submission. … [A]ll my life I believed that Palestine could be liberated by the Kalashnikov and the armed struggle alone. This was a mistake. We need the Kalashnikov. We need the armed struggle. This is the hammer. But we need also an anvil … and that anvil has to be mass movements of the population, of the people. The most inspiring event, of the last—we can say—40 years, since Karameh, was when the people of Gaza, with their bare hands, in their thousands tore down the walls of their prison, and poured out of the siege into Egypt.

Abraham, Part 5: The Isaac Promise

Abraham, Part 5: The Isaac Promise

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God severely tested Abram’s patience. Waiting for an heir proved to be a challenge for him and his wife. Abram had to learn that God stands by His word.

God probed Abram.

God set out a plan to fully grasp what was in this human being’s heart. He had gigantic purpose for Abram. God needed to know the measure of the man. Though God’s efforts were difficult and challenging for Abram, his response to God’s actions was never negative. Abram moved forward loyally with hope-filled trust.

The Bible reveals the wonderful fruits of God’s handiwork in Abram’s life. Our people—the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh—still enjoy those fruits physically. We, the members of God’s Church, are enjoying his spiritual fruits. We own awesome spiritual treasure through Jesus Christ—the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1). Yet, we must produce even more fruit. How?

What we know of Abram’s walk with God gives us the pattern to follow. When God looks deeply into our lives—turns the spotlight on to our problems—it is all for our good. God’s probing into our hearts will bring incredible blessings to us now and will be a blessing to all the people living in the World Tomorrow. When God searches into our hearts—He always provides the help for the cleanup. We must remain upbeat and wait patiently for the unquestionably positive results of God working in our lives.

Abram the Giver

The Bible shows us what God learned about Abram. The man possessed a giving spirit. Abram’s treatment of Lot brings this fact into living color. Abram and Lot returned from Egypt loaded with wealth. During the stay in Egypt, both had gained flocks, herds and servants (Genesis 12:16; 13:5). The traveling uncle-and-nephew duo had grown into two small villages. Out of necessity, they had to separate. Their growing individual physical wealth was the source of their problems. Their combined holdings of sheep and cattle outstripped the land’s ability to provide provender. There were way too many animals for the grazing territory. Competition for the best grass arose between the two men’s herdsmen (Genesis 13:7). The peace among the families was evaporating in the emotional heat. The problem was also becoming evident to the neighboring peoples. Moses tells us: “… and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land” (verse 7). The tension within God’s little group was about to go public. God’s good name was in danger of being tarnished.

Not wanting to have any bad light cast on God’s revealed way of life, Abram came forward to solve the problem. With quality character evident, and in true meekness, Abram suggested that the two separate geographically. Surrendering his obvious right to command the situation, Abram gave Lot the first choice of territory (verse 9). With this act, Abram preserved the peace. He made sure that there were no hard feelings to further split the relationship. With the land opened up freely to him, Lot chose to move his flocks and herds to the green, grassy plains close to the Jordan River. It was the best land for feeding animals. Abram remained behind in Canaan.

In time, Lot’s decision would prove to be the worst one—spiritually. Why? He moved too close to Sodom and Gomorrah. He actually set up his tent facing Sodom. Moses alerts us to Lot’s future crisis by drawing attention to the fact that God knew that the men of Sodom were wicked and exceedingly evil (verses 10-13). Lot’s decision was fateful and would cause him intense suffering. Yet Abram’s willingness to give the best to Lot brought him even more blessings from God.

Just after Lot branched out from Abram’s presence, God expanded the promises made to the aging man. God said: “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (verses 14-17). Abram gave to Lot; God gave more to Abram. Get the vision God offered Abram. What man is able to count the dust of the Earth? Not one. Abram was promised that no one could count his family as it grew into the future. What a heart-stopping promise. God told him his children would not only possess Canaan, they would cover the Earth (compare this scripture with Genesis 15:5-8; 28:14).

Lot settled into a specific location that would become the homeland of his descendents. Yet God commanded Abram to continue walking the length and breadth of the land. God did not permit Abram to settle down. The man willingly moved on, stopping for a while in the plain of Mamre. To express his deep gratitude to God, he built a new altar near Hebron to worship God (Genesis 13:18). Things were going very well for the old traveler. While Lot’s life was heading for danger—Abram’s was not. His future was bright. So was his family’s that would come after him. The descendents of Abram were destined to spread out and possess the best lands on Earth. The spiritual children of Abram—the Church of God—will inherit the entire Earth.

Chedorlaomer: Fact or Fiction?

Abram’s benevolence toward Lot went far beyond giving him a choice of land. Abram was willing to give up his own life to save Lot. This man was deeply loyal to those close to him. Genesis 14 gives us the details on this aspect of Abram’s character. Even more, this chapter is a key that unlocks the knowledge about how God used this man to influence the world geopolitically.

This chapter is the true account of critical history that contributes greatly to our understanding of current world events. Bible intellectuals and scholars do not grasp the significance of the slaughter of the Assyrian kings. In fact, they reject the truth revealed here. Most have put this chapter into the category of Hebrew fiction. The Apostle Paul confirmed the account as history in Hebrews 7:1. We must learn that what scholars attack is often worthy of more personal attention from us.

The controversy surrounding this piece of Bible history focuses on the name Chedorlaomer. Since several known extra-biblical accounts had not used the name, intellectuals construed Chedorlaomer to be a myth. However, in time, archaeology unearthed native Elamite and Babylonian documents that fully supported the use of the name. In fact, every name listed in Genesis 14:1 is a perfect cultural match to the geographic area each king ruled (see On the Reliability of the Old Testament, by K.A. Kitchen, page 320). Yet, most scholars still cast an evil eye toward the ancient chronicle.

In a similar vein, this scene from Abram’s life baffles even these scholars who accept the saga. Many have a hard time reconciling that the deeply Spirit-minded Abram maintained a small army and was experienced in fighting. It is clear from the Scriptures that Abram was on a spiritual journey. Yet here is vital teaching about what a spiritual journey involves. The truly spiritual person must fight and win many battles.

In addition, we must not forget that God commissioned Abram to lay the foundation for the establishment of the physical nation of Israel. Abram conquered these Gentile kings—militarily. Why? Yes, this act did save Lot from certain slavery. More than that, however, it paved the way for the master plan of God to continue on schedule. Let’s be sure to get the meaning of this chapter.

Assyrian Kings Rising

We can gain a better sense of the importance of Genesis 14 if we compare it with Genesis 12:10-20. Notice in these verses that Moses does not mention the length of time Abram and Sarai were in Egypt. He does not discuss the political status of Egypt. He only focuses on the event surrounding Sarai and the fact that Pharaoh richly gifted Abram.

To obtain a clear understanding here we must look at whatis not said. It should be obvious to us when studying Genesis 12 that Abram and Sarai were accepted into the upper layer of society—that of Pharaoh and the Egyptian leadership. The accumulation of wealth described in Genesis 13:2 appears to be much more than what Pharaoh gave him and most likely means they spent a considerable length of time in the land of Mizraim.

From what little Moses tells us, we can presume that Abram’s bright intellect, talents and education had a positive influence in Egypt. There was good reason for this. Abram’s offspring would spend much time in Egypt. Moses would be trained as a prince of Egypt—a necessary event for welding the tribes of Israel into a nation. It is safe to assume that Abram likely established a large portion of the education Moses later received.

In Genesis 14, Moses opens by discussing the growing political and economic dominance of the Assyrian kings. Read through to verse 12, and you will agree there is a lot more detail here. Using brute force, the Assyrians were gobbling up the lands moving west from Shinar (verses 1-7). The violent bullies took control of the land from Babylon to Petra. They were cruelly enslaving the people of the various lands. Here is the dangerous point. They were sweeping through Canaan and moving toward Egypt.

We must not do just a quick read and pass over these verses. Truly, the names of the Assyrians are not as important to understand as is the situation.

Warrior Chief

The Assyrians’ actions posed a threat to what God planned to do with Israel and Egypt. It was not time for Assyria to ascend to power. That would come to pass centuries later, at the time of the Kingdom of Israel. God used Abram to stop the Assyrians at that time, just as He used the descendants of Abraham to stop them in World Wars i and ii. You may request gratis copies of The United States and Britain in Prophecy and Germany and the Holy Roman Empire for more details on this subject. This literature will open up to you fantastic understanding about the coming world dominance of the modern descendants of ancient Assyria.

Moses shows that the peoples remained subservient to these kings for a period of 12 years. Led by the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, the people rebelled (verse 4). On a bloody rampage, Chedorlaomer and his allies set out to crush the rebellion (verses 5-11). Murder, rape, pillage and captivity spread the message: Don’t rebel! The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies challenged Chedorlaomer in the vale of Siddim, near the Dead Sea (verse 8). Yet, being brave and bold helped them little. They were no match for the war-minded Assyrians. The battle was quickly lost.

Fearing death or slavery, the losing kings and their armies fled from the scene and fell into bitumen pits that covered the area. Abandoned and left helpless, an Assyrian trap slammed shut on the local people. Lot and his family became captives (verse 12).

An escapee informed Abram that the brutal, blood-thirsty Assyrians were transporting Lot, his family and all his goods to their homeland. Abram did not delay to take the necessary action. He set out to rescue Lot. This is proof that Abram harbored no ill feelings over the land problems with his nephew.

Take notice here. Moses gives us an amazing picture of Abram the warrior. In fact, Abram is the warrior chief. This view of Abram should greatly encourage all who are soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3). Well-armed for a fight, he chased after Lot with 318 of his own trained men and three confederate tribal leaders (Genesis 14:13-14). This means that Abram was no stranger to a righteous fight. He educated the men born in his own household to win. The tiny band of brothers caught up with Chedorlaomer and his army in what would later become northern Israel, the lands of Dan. It was nightfall. Abram waited patiently. In the Gentile camp, the kings and soldiers were wildly celebrating their victory. When they had put themselves into a drunken stupor, Abram made his move. Combining the power of God with military savvy and strategy into an element of surprise, Abram was able to create considerable confusion in the pitch-black night. We could speculate that God caused the army to turn on themselves. This is a battle tactic God employed many times to help Israel (e.g., 1 Samuel 14:20).

Meeting With Melchizedek

Abram snuffed out the lives of Chedorlaomer, his kingly allies and a large part of the army in the dark of night. He dealt Assyria a defeat that would take it centuries to overcome. Some of the badly beaten terrorists fled, still gripping Lot and his family in their clutches. Not dismayed, Abram tracked them down near Damascus (Genesis 14:15). He rescued Lot, and his family and wealth. Remarkably, he also brought back all the people and goods of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram proved to be an incredible blessing for Lot. More importantly, his future fledgling family nation would not suffer the dominance of Assyria until much later in its history.

The ending of this chapter holds great significance. Abram was welcomed home with great public ceremony. The king of Sodom came out to meet him in the king’s dale (compare Genesis 14:17 with 2 Samuel 18:18). More importantly, Melchizedek—the preincarnate Jesus Christ, Priest of the Most High God (Hebrews 7:3)—also met him (read Mystery of the Ages for more). God was very pleased with the outcome of Abram’s efforts. This King of Salem blessed him as “Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:18-19). Abram is portrayed here as someone in a unified relationship with the most significant Being in the universe. What a compliment!

Notice also that Melchizedek blessed God who gave Abram the victory over the enemy (verse 20). Abram responded in kind. As the possessor of all the spoils of the conflict, he paid tithes on all the goods to God. In so doing, he recognized his source of protection and expressed his deep gratitude for the victory. He also demonstrated his constant obedience to his God. The tithing laws (e.g., Proverbs 3:9) were definitely in force in Abram’s time.

Study the end of this exciting chapter. The king of Sodom offered Abram all the wealth recovered in his victory (Genesis 14:21), but Abram refused to accept anything from this wretched king who allowed so much evil in his land. Speaking for himself alone, Abram upbraided this king, saying, “I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich” (verses 22-23). Abram made it clear to the people that his life was different from all of theirs. He served a mighty God who not only ruled the Earth and universe, but who protected and provided for all those who served Him. This is the same message going out from God’s Church to the world of today.

Isaac Promised

As Abram grew in wealth, he was plagued with the reality that he and Sarai were growing much older. God promised to make him a great nation. The Most High promised him innumerable descendants, yet he had no son—no heir to give his worldly goods to. He wondered how it would all work out.

God appeared to him in a night vision sometime after the slaughter of the Assyrian rulers. God said: “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). God reaffirmed that He would always be a shield for Abram. He would be Abram’s exceeding great reward. Abram opened up and told God all that was on his mind. He leveled with God. He reminded God that he still did not have a son. In fact, he was preparing to make Eliezer of Damascus his heir.

God comforted His Abram: “This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir” (verse 4). God took Abram outside of his tent and had him look at the stars. God wanted him to count the stars. Of course, he could not. God illustrated for him His incredible promise. What He promised to Abram was going to come to pass. The glory of the night sky was proof.

How did Abram respond? He believed God. What was God’s reaction? Moses wrote, “[H]e counted it to him for righteousness” (verse 6). This is the pivotal verse in the whole history of Abram. In fact, it encapsulates the central theme of Christ’s gospel. Christian salvation comes by faith in God’s promises—His Word. True righteousness comes by faith. Salvation is a gift that cannot be earned.

Recognizing Abram’s faith, God then recounted His promise to Abram to give him the land of Canaan (verse 7). Abram asked, “Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” (verse 8). This was an honest, heartfelt question. Knowing this, God answered it in a spectacular manner. He made His promise sure to Abram through an incredible vision. He ratified His promise with a miraculous covenant. Notice the details in verses 9 through 11. God directed Abram to kill and divide in half a heifer, a she goat and a ram goat, all 3 years old. In addition, Abram had to kill a turtle dove and a pigeon but not divide them. He protected the slain animals from scavengers all that day.

At dusk, Abram fell into a deep sleep. In a vision, God showed him over four centuries of history related to his future family. Obviously God gave this vision to make the promise of offspring more real than observing the glory of the stars (verses 13-16). Then, to prove that Abram could fully rely on His word, God bound Himself to His promise by a covenant. What a covenant!

Study these verses. Abram provided the animals, but God provided spiritual fire to consume the sacrifices. The relationship between God and Abram was sealed by fire. God vowed before this pious man, “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites” (verses 18-21). God loved this man so much, He left no doubt that what He promised would take place. He proved to Abram by a vision and an extraordinary sacrifice that Isaac would be born and grow into great nations.

Abram to Abraham

While Abram believed God, Sarai struggled with her faith. She knew about the promise of a male child. Yet there was no child. She recognized that her childbearing years were in the distant past. Realize she was about 10 years younger than Abram—she was approaching her late 70s at the time of Abram’s vision (compare Genesis 17:1 and 17). Still, she desperately wanted a child. She manipulated control of the situation by offering her handmaid Hagar to Abram as a means to have a child. According to the prevailing laws at that time, the child would be hers since Hagar was considered her property. Abram weakly submitted to the plan and the fruits of their actions caused incredible affliction in their marriage and family. The bad fruits are still evident in the conflict between the Arabs and Jews today. This history would fill an article by itself. You should study the history of Hagar and Ishmael on your own.

Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16). Thirteen years later, God appeared to Abram. He was 99. With a tone of correction, God said, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly” (Genesis 17:1-2). Abram fell on his face before this great God. Here is why. Study the word perfect. The Hebrew word here is tamiym and means to be entire in integrity or truth. The word can also mean wholehearted. God wanted Abram to give Him his whole heart—to trust Him completely—which he did not do in the matter of Sarai and Hagar. God reminded Abram of His covenant and promise to multiply him—if he would walk with God.

God further cemented the truth of His promise by changing Abram’s name to Abraham. The name Abram in the Hebrew means high father. However, Abraham in the Hebrew means father of multitudes, or nations (verses 5-6). God left no doubt. The matter was done. God would bring it all about. In full control of all the human events, He would make Abram the father of nations. God would do it His way—through Sarai. To prove it, God changed her name to Sarah, meaning the mother of nations (verses 15-16).

Falling on his face again, Abraham laughed.

(to be continued next Friday)

Feminists Seek to Debunk “Boys Crisis”

Feminists Seek to Debunk “Boys Crisis”

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In the latest attack in the gender wars, feminists have taken a sideswipe at those who have exposed society’s discrimination against boys.

Last week, the American Association of University Women (aauw) released a new study on gender equity in education that claims the “boys crisis” in U.S. schools is a myth. The aauw authors assert that this crisis was simply invented by those who are uncomfortable with the advances of girls and women.

An organization whose mission is to advance equity for women and girls in education making such claims is hardly surprising. But is it true that today’s feminized education is not hurting boys?

The study reports that since the 1970s, educational achievement for both sexes has improved or stayed the same. By focusing on advances of both sexes while ignoring the areas where boys are having trouble, however, the report ignores the reality—which is supported by a multitude of evidence—that boys are not fine. It also perpetuates the myth that girls are victimized.

The report also seeks to draw attention away from the very real problems of boys by highlighting the impact of race/ethnicity and family income on test scores, indicating that this is where the real crisis lies.

“But,” as author Kathleen Parker writes, “those findings don’t justify the conclusion that boys aren’t in trouble.” She continues:

According to Judith Kleinfeld, psychology professor at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks and director of the Boys Project, illiteracy rates among high school boys are higher than among girls; the reading gap for boys is larger at all ages and increases with age; boys receive lower marks from grade school through college.Boys excel, meanwhile, at drug and alcohol abuse, addiction to computer games, delinquency, emotional disturbances, suicide, conduct disorders and a variety of other psychiatric disorders.[T]he aauw authors’ purpose seems clear—to divert attention from the “boy problem” lest any more attention be siphoned from programs built around the alleged girl crisis.Much can be inferred from the defensive tone of the study and from the people the authors chose to attack. One target was Christina Hoff Sommers, the cool-headed philosopher and American Enterprise Institute scholar who wrote The War Against Boys, which the aauw authors describe as “incendiary.”

In The War Against Boys, Sommers deflates the modern myth that society is somehow “short-changing” girls. According to Sommers, it’s boys who are actually subjected to society’s fiercest discrimination. Sommers attacks several well-known feminists in her work. Her foremost target is Carol Gilligan, author of Making Connections, a book about how adolescent girls are victims of a male-dominated society. Gilligan compares a girl’s life to a river flowing into the sea of Western culture “in danger of drowning or disappearing.” According to Sommers, Ms. Gilligan’s sweeping accusations against men in 1990 quickly attracted many powerful allies. This helped set off an outcry over what some feminists refer to as a “girl crisis.”

But as Sommers points out, all these “findings” were based on bogus data and biased research. The media didn’t help matters either, helping to hype the “short-changed” girls myth through hundreds of news reports.

Following the heels of hype, in 1994 Congress passed the Gender Equity in Education Act. This bill categorized girls as an underserved population, placing them on par with minority groups that consider themselves discriminated against. All of these developments reformed public education in the United States, giving girls more opportunities to “catch up.”

According to Sommers, though, it’s boys who are behind. “Contrary to the story told by Gilligan and her followers, by the early 1990s American girls were flourishing in unprecedented ways,” Sommers writes.

Today, girls earn better grades than boys throughout high school and dominate in student government, honor societies, debating clubs and on school newspapers. They read more books, are more studious and more likely to study overseas. They also outperform boys on tests of artistic and musical ability. And they graduate from college at much higher rates.

Conversely, boys are behind girls in reading and writing skills. Boys are more likely to be held back or suspended from school. More boys drop out. More boys are on Ritalin, and more get involved in crime, alcohol and drugs.

These are facts that the feminists prefer to ignore.

In reference to the aauw study, Dan K. Thomasson writes for Scripps Howard News Service,

Like boxers, education theorists spend a great deal of their time jabbing and counterpunching one another with tests and studies to build support for their opinions …. In the process, much of what is just plain common sense disappears in a welter of statistics that appear irrefutable, if obvious, but completely miss the point. Boys do catch up, given half a chance. Girls certainly can be superlative mathematicians (my daughter is one) and parental support is obviously vitally important to academic progress. Children of families who can afford books and other educational tools are bound to do better. How startling is that?

Thomasson goes on to point out where a fundamental problem in the education system lies (emphasis mine):

The public school system from the first to the ninth grades has been the overwhelming domain of women for a variety of reasons. This matriarchal society subconsciously has created an atmosphere, set an agenda and established the standards that clearly favor girls, at least in the early stages.

But this matriarchal society does not just have a negative impact on boys academically.

In her book, Sommers’s most stinging indictment comes against feminists who aim to destroy what she calls “conventional maleness.” “The belief that boys are being wrongly ‘masculinized’ is inspiring a movement to ‘construct boyhood’ in ways that will render boys less competitive, more emotionally expressive, more nurturing—more, in short, like girls. Gloria Steinem summarizes the views of many in the boys-should-be-changed camp when she says, ‘We need to raise boys like we raise girls’” (op. cit.).

As a result, on the one hand, some boys are becoming more effeminate in a liberal-influenced educational system that looks upon masculinity as potentially dangerous. On the other hand, perhaps in reaction to the feminist movement, you have an increasing number of boys becoming more warped, rebellious and prone to commit violent acts.

Both of these movements are perverted extremes—and a fulfillment of Bible prophecy! God offers solutions to both problems, if we will just turn to the Bible for answers. In this much-maligned and misunderstood book, God tells us how to raise boys properly.

Isaiah 3 graphically portrays just how bad it will get before the Messiah returns. “For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem [referring to end-time Israel—primarily the American and British peoples] and from Judah [the Jews] … [t]he mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator” (verses 1-3). Because of our sins, God is removing strong male leadership from our midst!

A century ago, the father’s role was clearly defined, unlike today. He used to be right at the center of family life. He was the head of the family, the primary caregiver, breadwinner, protector, moral educator and law-enforcer.

Today, assuming the father is still at home, you would be hard-pressed to find a family where dad fulfilled even two of those responsibilities. Men have relinquished their duties in the home and have therefore been taken down a notch at a time—to the point where boys grow up unsure of what role they are to fulfill, if any.

There are others, of course, who are at the opposite extreme, believing the man’s role is far superior to a woman’s. Isaiah spoke of this modern-day phenomenon too. “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them” (verse 4). God is not talking about adolescents becoming congressmen. What He means is that our adult leaders will act like children.

Notice what kind of children: “And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable” (verse 5). He’s talking about spoiled, undisciplined, selfish, disobedient and angry children who never really grow up! Rebellious children simply become rebellious adults.

Isaiah prophesied of both these perverted extremes! Notice verse 12: “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Here, the leading men referred to in verses 2 and 3 are not even mentioned. We’re left with a society, according to Isaiah 3, where rebellious children oppress and women dominate.

In a world where men have abdicated their God-given role as the loving head of the home and where popular culture seeks to lure children into every imaginable perversion, it’s no wonder our boys are in trouble! Unless we get back to the Bible’s wisdom, men will continue to be taken down a notch and boys will grow up unsure about their role in the family.

Jesus Christ was our perfect example of a real man. Study His life, and you will find that physically, He was a man of impressive strength and endurance. He was a learned man who took His education seriously as a youngster. By the time His ministry began, He had developed into perhaps the finest and most persuasive speaker in mankind’s history. He also had a commanding presence. Together with the steel-like traits of vibrant health, intelligence, decisive leadership, righteous indignation and the power of persuasion, Jesus also had the many velvet qualities that helped Him lead a life of balance. He was humble. He was compassionate. He was the epitome of true masculinity.