Iran Conquered Lebanon … Now What?

The world is pretending that Lebanon is on path to stability. The reality is that Iran is now in control. Will its next conquest be the West Bank?
From the August 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

Do you understand just how dangerous what happened in Lebanon in May truly was? May 9, Iran put a choke hold on Lebanon in order to preserve its position on Israel’s northern frontier. This act of war sounded a death knell for Lebanese democracy, strengthened Iran’s grip on the Middle East, and dramatically increased the threat to Israel and beyond.

Amazingly, the United States and the international community did nothing.

In fact, they did worse than nothing. If you read the general news media at the time, you might have thought that the deal that emerged from this terrorist violence left Lebanon better off than it had been before! Civil war was averted, commentators said. A political face-off ended in reconciliation. After 19 failed attempts since last November, the country installed a new president. As one hopeful writer put it, the settlement reached in Doha, Qatar, on May 21 “puts an end to an 18-month national crisis and raises hopes for a stable future for that beleaguered country” (Middle East Times, May 29).

That is gross ignorance! What occurred in Lebanon was nothing less than a bleak surrender by Lebanon’s Western-backed governing coalition—and a major victory for the Hezbollah terrorist group and its primary sponsor, Iran.

That the United States, the United Nations and others pretended it was anything else is a measure of their own capitulation to Iran.

Hezbollah’s Show of Strength

The Lebanese government had just taken steps to restrict communication and travel between Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Iran—dismissing the security chief at a major airport facilitating Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah, and launching an investigation into an Iran-built telecommunications network maintained by Hezbollah. Iran treated these moves as a declaration of war.

Within hours, Iranian Guardsmen joined Hezbollah gunmen in a massive show of strength, rapidly overwhelming the streets of West Beirut. They blockaded the airport, shut down pro-government news outlets, and besieged the headquarters of Lebanese leaders Fouad Siniora and Saad Hariri—all within one day.

Everyone knows Hezbollah operates as a proxy of Iran. A similar scenario occurred in the summer of 2007, when the mullahs in Tehran engineered the violent overthrow of the Gaza Strip through their proxy Hamas. The world was silent then too!

After its display of force in Beirut, Hezbollah did something extraordinary: It turned its new gains back over to the Lebanese Army. The message: Iran will not tolerate attacks on Hezbollah’s power and military infrastructure in Lebanon—yet it is not interested in taking over formal governance of the nation. All it needs is a weapon to unleash against Israel at some point yet future. Hezbollah already proved its value to that end in the war against Israel during the summer of 2006.

Iran is the number-one terrorist-sponsoring nation in the Middle East, and it has been since the 1970s. After it gained control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 through Hamas, Tehran began to focus more diligently on cementing control of Lebanon. It accomplished that goal in May. Iran now controls both Gaza and Lebanon!

“Hezbollah’s victory in taking over western and central Beirut … has had the effect of adding another link to the pro-Iranian chain encircling Israel,” reported debkafile. “In many ways it is a more damaging setback for Israel’s national security than the Palestinian Hamas’s seizure of the Gaza Strip” (May 15). In fact, one Hamas activist told the Washington Times that it was the second stage of a plan to tighten the noose around Israel—a plan that started with the Gaza coup and will spread to Jordan and Egypt.

The Beirut putsch was a monstrous act of war by Iran! If it were America or Israel taking over in Gaza or Lebanon, you can be sure there would be a massive international outcry!

But it wasn’t America or Israel. It was Iran. And the international community essentially stood back and let it happen.

Washington’s Non-Response

Washington’s response to the crisis was anemic. Its first move was to try to drum up international support for the Lebanese government. Condoleezza Rice busied herself with visits to the United Nations secretary general and the foreign ministers of France and Saudi Arabia. Washington called on the Arab League to “show its displeasure with Hezbollah and its sponsors,” the Washington Post reported (May 10).

The phone calls and meetings changed precisely nothing, of course. For 19 months, the United Nations has stationed 15,000 troops in Lebanon, supposedly to contain Hezbollah, and that changed nothing. What possible good could expressions of “displeasure” do?

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called on “those who have influence over Syria and Iran to encourage those countries to use their influence with Hezbollah.” It is hard to imagine a more ignorant statement. Syria and Iran were already using their influence with Hezbollah—to control Lebanon.

As Barry Rubin wrote, “Iran and Syria back their friends with weapons and help; the West responds with words backed by nothing. Who can blame Hezbollah and Damascus and Tehran for laughing in contempt?” (Jerusalem Post, May 11; emphasis ours).

What then made this shameful situation far worse was the political agreement that consolidated and legitimized Hezbollah’s victory.

A Disgraceful Agreement

Back in late 2006, the Hezbollah-led opposition resigned from the national unity coalition cabinet, demanding more power and a veto in all government decisions. Since then, amid numerous assassinations of prominent Lebanese figures, the Lebanese government had been deadlocked. When the president’s term ran out last November, no new president could be elected without Hezbollah’s cooperation, even after 19 grounded attempts.

Now this deadlock is resolved. After five days of negotiations in Doha, the Lebanese government submitted and gave Hezbollah what it had been holding out for 18 months for: veto power in a new government.

Why the change? Because of Hezbollah’s brutal display of military might.

Yes, once again in the Middle East, violence paved the way for more political power for terrorists.

What Hezbollah’s veto power in a new national unity government means is clear. It means the Lebanese government can pass no legislation calling for the terrorist group’s disarmament. It means the government can’t direct the army to take action against Hezbollah or stop a Hezbollah attack on Israel. In truth, it means the government can’t make any decisions that might favor Israel or the West. All key decisions and appointments in the new government will have to be approved by Hezbollah. The Doha agreement didn’t even mention UN Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701, which call for Hezbollah’s disarmament.

As Reza Hossein Borr wrote for Global Politician, “The fact of the matter is the opponents of Hezbollah were very happy that it did not capture and execute them during the short civil war. They were humbled sufficiently to accept what they couldn’t accept for nearly two years. They were happy that they were alive and they were happy that Hezbollah was happy to withdraw its troops from their territories” (June 2).

It was a clever plan by Hezbollah. Flex its tremendous power—enough to let the Lebanese see it, enough to wring from them the political concessions it sought—and then retreat to the shadows and play the whole incident down. Nothing to see here, folks.

The Doha deal also enabled the election of Syrian-backed Gen. Michel Suleiman as president on May 25. This was widely seen as perhaps the most positive outcome of the agreement. In reality, Suleiman is a sympathizer of Hezbollah and an enemy of Israel. He was handpicked by former Syrian President Hafez Assad as Lebanon’s Army commander. During his nine years in that role, he never confronted Hezbollah—not even during the Second Lebanon War. In May, rather than directing the army to repel Hezbollah’s attack, he presided over a largely pro-Hezbollah force that stood by while the terrorists seized ground.

Any notion that Suleiman might take stronger action against Hezbollah as president is ridiculous.

The Failure of Negotiation

After World War ii, President Franklin D. Roosevelt thought he could negotiate a peaceful handling of Eastern Europe with Russia’s Joseph Stalin. Yet Stalin, one of the worst dictators ever, ended up enslaving all of Eastern Europe. That’s what happens when you sit down and try to negotiate with these very ambitious and vile dictators. Sadly, too few people are paying attention to this alarming history today.

On May 15, the American president spoke at the Knesset to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Israel. “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” he said. “We have heard this foolish delusion before. … We have an obligation to call this what it is—the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

President Bush was exactly right! It is not a time to negotiate. It is a time to stop terrorist acts. Hezbollah will never be talked out of abandoning its cult of death. Efforts to pacify these terrorists by giving them political power are doomed to spectacular failure!

Both U.S. Democratic presidential nominees at the time strongly disagreed with the president’s remarks. Barack Obama said that America needs to “use all elements of American power—including tough, principled and direct diplomacy—to pressure countries like Iran and Syria.” Hillary Clinton called Bush’s comments “offensive and outrageous.” Of course, Winston Churchill was also vilified for warning against Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany before World War ii. But we fail to learn from our own history.

What happened in Lebanon was clearly a setback for Washington and its allies that seek to disarm Hezbollah. Amazingly, however—just days after his Knesset speech—President Bush said, “I am hopeful that the Doha agreement … will usher in an era of political reconciliation to the benefit of all Lebanese.” He congratulated Suleiman on his election, and a U.S. congressional delegation attended the parliamentary vote that officially made Suleiman president—right along with the foreign ministers of Iran and Syria.

It was bad enough that the U.S.—not to mention the United Nations—did nothing while Hezbollah strong-armed the Lebanese government into submission. But to then pretend that the resulting Hezbollah-dominated political landscape would be more peaceful and stable was an even more shameful betrayal!

Reza Hossein Borr believes that this acceptance by the Western world was the greatest concession Hezbollah received. “The international recognition of Hezbollah as a political force will encourage this organization to increase its military power even further to secure even more recognition,” he wrote (op. cit.).

By smiling upon the Doha agreement, the Western world put its stamp of legitimacy on the new state of Hezbollastan that now occupies the former nation of Lebanon!

Clearly, Hezbollah, our mortal enemy, must be destroyed. But we—Israel and the United States, even Europe at this time—simply do not have the will to do it.

And will is one thing Hezbollah and its backers in Iran and Syria don’t lack: They’ll kill anyone and destroy anything to win.

Victory for Iran

Make no mistake: A victory for Hezbollah is a victory for Iran. Syria—as much as it has influenced Lebanese politics in the past—is a far less consequential figure in the Middle East than Iran is. Iran, not Syria, is Hezbollah’s chief patron. Iran gives Hezbollah at least $100 million in aid annually—some sources say more than $3 billion; it provides Hezbollah extensive training and masses of weapons, ranging from machine guns to anti-ship cruise missiles; it gives Hezbollah its directions, its ideology.

And now, via Hezbollah, Iran has tightened its choke hold on Lebanon. Through Hezbollah’s military putsch and cleverly planned retreat—followed by an agreement hailed by the Arab world and passively approved by the West—it not only consolidated its political position in the country, but also eliminated any possible threat of its forced disarmament. And it got its choice of president to boot.

What does this development mean for America? It means the U.S. is losing its war against terrorism! It is a calamity of the highest order! Most of the media and most of our politicians don’t view these events this way, but every terrorist victory is a dangerous warning sign to America, Britain and the Jews in the Middle East.

As Iran keeps marching forward and winning systematic terrorist acts of war, we see a clear failure of will on the part of America and the Western world.

The reason America’s efforts in Lebanon have failed could not be more clear. It is because Iran, via Hezbollah, has the Lebanese government under siege. Yet still, the U.S. simply will not go after Iran.

Do you know why? Did you know that God prophesied this would happen? If you have been reading the Trumpet for any length of time, you know that biblical prophecy foretold this disaster—and reveals precisely why it is happening: because God has broken America’s will.

Broken Will

Read the prophecy in Leviticus 26. God says that if we do not obey His laws, He will curse us. One of the curses God warns us about is this: “I will break the pride of your power … And your strength shall be spent in vain” (verses 19-20). Yes, America has power—yes, it has strength. But the pride in that power is broken, and the strength is being spent in vain.

The fact that the U.S. is abandoning Lebanon to Iran is a truly remarkable sign of just how powerless it has become.

Lebanon is clearly a project the U.S. is heavily invested in. Washington trumpeted the Cedar Revolution of 2005 as being a symbol of the Middle East’s future, of freedom and democracy sweeping the region toward peace and security. It has funneled $1.3 billion into the Siniora government over the past two years.

Those big ideas have been trampled. $400 million of that money went toward strengthening the Lebanese Army, and now Hezbollah has co-opted that force. “The Lebanese Army is by now more an operational arm of Hezbollah than an armed force that serves the government,” debkafile reported (May 16).

President Bush has pursued three priorities in the Middle East: Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and Lebanon. Despite massive expenditures, he finds himself unable to lock down even one of these situations.

Here is the plain truth: Iran is the problem behind all three.

The U.S. will never resolve Iraq without confronting Iran. The U.S. and Israel will never put down the Palestinian terrorist groups without confronting Iran. Lebanon will never be secured unless Iran is put down. All efforts to put these issues to rest—while ignoring the Iran connection—are exercises in futility.

The fact that the U.S. simplywill notconfront Iran is the single greatest proof today that God has broken the pride of our power.

The U.S. is truly spending its strength in vain in Lebanon, in Israel and in Iraq. The single greatest reason is Iran. The Islamic Republic is bloodying America in all three theaters. And still, Washington acts as though France or the Arab League can solve the problem.

The Iraq War alone is costing the United States $341 million per day. It has killed well over 3,000 American soldiers and cost half a trillion dollars. And the truly remarkable thing about it is where it is all leading: In the end, the U.S. is going to pull out, and Iran is going to take over.

The U.S. went into Iraq not only to put down Saddam Hussein, but also to use that area as a staging ground for dealing with the second member of the “axis of evil”—Iran. But in the end, all the strength we’re spending there is achieving exactly the opposite of what we wanted. We are preparing to hand control of Iraq—and subsequently the Middle East—to Iran.

Many people are criticizing the Bush administration harshly for its decisions. They fail to see the bigger picture. This problem is not merely the result of bad decisions by one administration: It is the result of curses from God that have descended on the United States for our disobedience to His laws.

It wasn’t our president who broke the pride of our power—it was God. He is trying to teach our nation the problems that result from forgetting Him.

Iran’s Next Move

The Trumpet has been warning for 15 years that Iran would take over Iraq en route to its becoming the “king of the south.” Its role in biblical prophecy is clear, and today we see events leading to its fulfillment in a truly remarkable way.

Now we must ask the question: What piece of territory will Iran conquer next? It will undoubtedly go after the West Bank.

The Arabs of the Fatah party currently control the West Bank. However, Hamas terrorists (and weapons) are present throughout the West Bank and there is little doubt that they are working toward getting control of this strategic region of Israel. Iran’s ultimate goal is to overrun Jerusalem. The West Bank adjoins the city. The Iranians believe that if they can conquer Jerusalem, they can unite the Arab world under their control.

Despite Tehran’s diabolical strategy to slaughter Jews and overrun Jerusalem, many in the U.S. still want to negotiate with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even as he continues to commit terrorist acts of war! We want to negotiate just as Neville Chamberlain of Britain wanted to negotiate with Hitler leading up to World War ii. Hitler took over a big portion of Europe and almost won World War ii before the Allied powers finally woke up and realized there was no other recourse but to fight!

We face the same situation in the Middle East today. Iran has taken over Gaza and Lebanon, and soon it will get control of the West Bank. Then it will turn its attention toward its ultimate prize—the capture of Jerusalem!

Bible prophecy says Iran will then push at a European power (Daniel 11:40). That push will undoubtedly revolve around Jerusalem, which remains a focal point of Catholicism, and is rapidly being besieged by radical Islamic forces led by Iran. Conquering Jerusalem has been Iran’s openly stated goal for some time. But can you imagine what will happen to the Arab world when it takes control of East Jerusalem—including its third-holiest site? (You can learn more about this event by reading our March 2006 cover story, “Jerusalem Is About to Be Cut in Half.”)

That event will likely transform many moderate Arabs into dangerous Arab radicals. Despite that victory, however, Iran is not going to get control of all of Jerusalem because when it pushes at Europe, Europe will react by descending upon it as a “whirlwind.” This is the clash between the king of the south and the king of the north prophesied in Daniel 11:40.

Strong’s Bible Concordance states that this European whirlwind will leave people terror-stricken! It will probably be a nuclear whirlwind that will do a lot of damage very quickly. Remember, Iran started this state-sponsored terrorism and has been the predominant power behind it. Gaining control of Jerusalem is its number-one ambition. America and other Western nations can negotiate with it, and turn a blind eye when it overthrows governments, but nobody’s going to talk it out of that goal. It has claimed that as its avowed aim for years, just as Hitler did before he started World War ii. As Churchill said, we just never seem to learn from history!

God wants us to know that just before Christ’s return will be a time when prophecy will be very specific and detailed. He said we would even be counting the days. What could be more inspiring, stirring and uplifting than that? And when we see Iran’s continual pushing, though it is bad news, it will lead to this greatest event ever to occur in the universe: the return of Jesus Christ!

This will happen, and you can prove it from your Bible. You don’t want to take our word or any man’s word for it—but you can take God’s word for it! When He says it, it will surely come to pass! These are the most exciting times in human history! The Messiah is about to come!


We Are What We Appear

We Are What We Appear

Arquipelagos

A simple, vital truth too many have gotten sloppy with
From the September 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

It’s always interesting to watch old footage of sports meetings—you know, the clips from the old black-and-white 16-millimeter newsreels. The pleasure comes not only from viewing sport generally played in a more gentlemanly and sportsmanlike manner, but also from noting the elegance of the dress of the spectators.

There was a time when the British peoples were admired and copied by other nations in their form of dress. It was, as Luigi Barzini commented, “a spontaneous homage, a flattering imitation” (The Europeans). Barzini observes that the typical English gentleman of the 19th century was “well-educated, well-behaved”—largely attributable to “good upbringing.” Aldous Huxley said that what made the typical English gents of the time so admired as models for the rest of the world was “their confidence, their ease … their prestige which the other people would like to deny but can’t” (Antic Hay).

It’s no coincidence that the time of the well-dressed, well-mannered, well-educated English gentleman coincided with the time of British greatness. We simply are what we appear. Just as “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34), so the image we project of ourselves and the social or national group to which we belong will be reflected in our outward appearance.

There is such a thing as a right type of pride. Not that ugly, self-centered expression of ego so often seen in our so-called celebrities. But a natural, humble pride vested in a real confidence stemming from knowing truly who and what we are and what is our true destiny in life. If we know that we are the progeny of a far higher Power (rather than believing that we are descended from dumb apes), children of a more supreme Intelligence, created in His image, after His likeness, and we apprehend—to the degree that a human is able—the revelation of the brilliance of that Creator’s appearance, we shall do all in our power to dress ourselves so as to reflect a degree of elegance after that image.

Unfortunately, as Stanley Marcus wrote even a couple of decades ago, the age of elegance is long dead. That demise of elegance has coincided with the post-World War II breaking of our national pride, even as it was prophesied by Almighty God (Leviticus 26:19).

In her timely book The Death of the Grown-Up, columnist Diana West refers to the baby-boomer generation as “chucking maturity for eternal youth,” creating a “culture of perpetual adolescence.” West is astute enough to make the connection between state of mind and state of dress. She observes that the post-World War ii baby boomers are now “grown-ups who haven’t left childhood.” Consequently, “father and son dress more or less alike, … both equally at ease in the baggy rumple of eternal summer camp. In the mature male, these trappings of adolescence … reveal a state of mind, a reflection of personality that hasn’t fully developed, and doesn’t want to—or worse, doesn’t know how.”

To judge by the speed with which the population has taken to the standard of the ugly, the slatternly and the downright unkempt, few there be indeed who are enlightened sufficiently to make the connection between how we appear in public (and for that matter, in private) and the state of the nation. Hence, it is a joy for those who do care to see the matter taken up in an article from American Thinker by Steve Amoia and Andrew Durham. They made the same connection as Diana West between the way we dress and the broken moral fiber of the nation. “In the United States, there is a general lack of respect and civility for other people. We convey that by how we dress. Sadly, the standard has declined in massive proportions” (July 6).

The authors pointed to the trashy example of “adult men wearing baseball caps backwards and indoors, failure to comb their hair properly, and wearing dress shirts outside of their trousers. Adult women showing inappropriate bare skin, undergarments, tattoos in an office setting or in public.”

In parallel with the descent of general standards of manners and dress to street level, there is no doubt that the institution of the American presidency has been subject to a deliberate process of denigration over the past 15 years. This is the chief office of the nation that, of all Anglo-Saxon nations, has exemplified the pride and prestige of the English-speaking world since World War ii. The deference that we show to the office of commander in chief of the world’s once most powerful nation is a reflection of our degree of national pride.

Amoia and Durham give one example of our loss of pride in that office: a championship women’s college lacrosse team visiting the White House in 2005—many wearing flip flops. The authors rightly pose the question, “Is it too much trouble to teach them to show the president of the United States a modicum of respect?”

Broken pride, broken morals, broken will, all go together. We are what we appear.

Are we too inured to reality that we still cannot see Isaiah’s great prophecy for these times slamming us in the face? “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. 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” (Isaiah 3:4-5).

Royal Seal of Prophet Jeremiah’s Accuser Found

Royal Seal of Prophet Jeremiah’s Accuser Found

Courtesy Dr. Eilat Mazar

A bulla discovered in Jerusalem bears the inscription of a prince who served in the court of Judah’s last king.

JERUSALEM—During the last days of the kingdom of Judah, the Prophet Jeremiah warned the residents of Jerusalem of their impending captivity at the hands of the Babylonian army. But instead of heeding that warning message, the princes of King Zedekiah’s administration attacked the messenger and plunged him into the depths of a miry dungeon (Jeremiah 38:1-6).

Israeli archeologist Eilat Mazar, who has been excavating at the City of David since 2005. (Photo: David Milson)

One of Jeremiah’s accusers, Gedaliah the son of Pashur, had his name stamped on a small clay seal that was recently discovered about 600 feet south of the Temple Mount. Dr. Eilat Mazar, one of Israel’s top archaeologists, found the bulla earlier this year, in mint condition, while wet-sifting debris excavated under a tower at the north end of the City of David—the original site of ancient Jerusalem.

Last summer Mazar, whose grandfather was the late Prof. Benjamin Mazar, began an emergency dig near the top of Jerusalem’s famous Stepped Stone Structure in order to repair a collapsing tower. But what started as a reconstruction project quickly turned into a fascinating collection of new discoveries. Under the tower, she found a rich assemblage of pottery and other finds. As theTrumpet.com reported last year, after dating the pottery, Mazar concluded that the tower must have been built by Nehemiah after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the temple and repair the walls around Jerusalem.

A seal inscribed “Gedaliah son of Pashur,” mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1. (Gabri Laron/Hebrew University/Dr. Eilat Mazar)

Included underneath Nehemiah’s tower were numerous remains and artifacts, including the Gedaliah bulla, that date to the final years of the first temple period—during the reign of Zedekiah, Judah’s last king.

Three years ago, Mazar found another seal with the name of Jehucal the son of Shelemiah—mentioned twice in the book of Jeremiah. The Jehucal bulla was found on the platform above the Stepped Stone Structure, where Dr. Mazar has uncovered a small section of what used to be King David’s palace.

The Stepped Stone Structure in the City of David. (PT)

“We found the bulla of Jehucal inside the palace structure,” Mazar told theTrumpet.com yesterday. “This time, we found the bulla of Gedaliah outside the wall, just at the foot of the same spot we found Jehucal.” The two must have been connected somehow, she said.

Both princes, the Bible relates, unsuccessfully petitioned for Jeremiah’s execution and were responsible for his imprisonment on two separate occasions. During Jeremiah’s second internment, the Babylonian armies besieged and demolished Jerusalem, bound their Jewish captives in chains—including Zedekiah—and carted them off into Babylonian captivity.

A seal inscribed “Jehucal son of Shelemiah,” mentioned in Jeremiah 37:3 and 38:1. (Gabri Laron/Hebrew University/Dr. Eilat Mazar)

Incredibly, the Prophet Jeremiah managed to survive the destruction and captivity.

Mazar’s two clay seals managed to survive as well—buried under 2,600 years’ worth of debris. “It’s not often,” Mazar said, “that such discoveries happen in which real figures of the past shake off the dust of history and so vividly revive the stories of the Bible.”

What We Lost When We Abandoned the Land

What We Lost When We Abandoned the Land

Getty Images

The further man has gotten from the land, the further he has gotten from his Creator.

Man was created with an inherent and intimate connection with the land. Our connection to the ground is probably more intimate than most people would like to admit. How intimate? “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground …” (Genesis 2:7). Man was created from soil. The physical elements that comprise your body originate in dirt.

It doesn’t get much more intimate than that.

But Adam wasn’t just physically created from dirt; he was created to have a special connection to the land. You can study the account for yourself in the first two chapters of Genesis. The Earth was re-created for the purpose of sustaining human life. Prior to Adam’s creation on the sixth day, God spent a full five days perfecting the conditions and materials that to this day make our globe the only successful incubator for physical life. The land was created by God for man.

But notice Genesis 2:15: “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it.” God vested Adam and his progeny with the responsibility to “dress” and “keep” the land—in other words, to work the land and then to protect and preserve it. Put bluntly, man was created to have a relationship with the land. There is a remarkable reason for this, which we’ll come back to later.

First, consider how divorced mankind is today from the land, the weather and our physical environment in general. According to the United Nations, by the end of this year half the world’s 6.7 billion people will live in cities. This has never before happened in history. In the world’s most developed regions—Europe, North America and Oceania—far more than half the people live in cities.

Cities have been around since the time of Cain, but the West’s cultural infatuation with urbanization, and the mass trek from the land to the city, began in the 18th century with the Industrial Revolution. The pilgrimage thrived as demand for factory workers rose and a new bourgeoisie class of merchants, bankers and white-collar workers blossomed. The faster nations developed, the more cities became hubs of activity, the center points of trade, commerce, culture, education and recreation—and an appealing alternative to life on the land.

Across the Western world, cities have thrived, while those living on the land have struggled to avoid being swallowed by wealthy commercial farming operations, rising costs of production, fierce competition and increasing occurrences of devastating natural and weather-related disasters.

This isn’t even addressing the cultural and psychological impact that abandoning the land has had on the Western mindset. You’ve probably heard about inner-city kids not knowing milk comes from cows, or seen the reality shows where trendy city-slickers head to the farm to educate their naive, living-life-behind-the-eight-ball counterparts. Often farmers are seen as simpletons living a primitive lifestyle.

Today’s Western societies are almost wholly disconnected from the agricultural lifestyle, the land, the weather and the environment. Most of us ignore and underestimate the dominating influence of agriculture and the environment over our lives. Still, the majority, riding blindly on the man-made global-warming bandwagon, believe they value the land and have a connection with it. But their devotion—manifested in touting an unproven theory—is shallow, vain and baseless.

The reality is, English-speaking societies have severed their contact with nature, the land, the environment and the weather. We have become a city-centric, materially focused people with little appreciation for the natural world we live in. The land and weather are for farmers, we reason. They have no bearing on our lives.

We couldn’t be more wrong!

Mankind was created by God and put into a carefully crafted ecosystem that depends on laws, including agricultural, environmental and atmospheric laws. If you study the Bible openly and honestly, you will see that God created this Earth—with its systems of flora and fauna sustained by weather patterns—expressly for mankind’s individual and collective physical, mental and spiritual development. Read Genesis 2:15 again: This is the one responsibility God brings out in this account. Adam was given the responsibility to dress and keep the Garden of Eden. He was called to be a farmer; he was called to have a connection with the land, the environment and the weather.

Why would God give Adam this responsibility? God didn’t instruct Adam to build cities, or develop complex systems of government or finance. He told him to “dress” and “keep” the land. Why?

Because God knew that working the land would keep Adam focused on Him!

The Bible is filled with evidence that God’s presence is revealed in His creation. Take the weather, for example. Throughout the Bible God says that He pulls the levers governing our planet’s weather patterns (e.g. Job 38). God obviously created the weather as a means of sustaining human life, but He also created it as a means of interacting with mankind.

Righteous men such as Abraham and Joseph understood this. These men were obedient, and then relied and called upon God to bless the weather that governed their agricultural success, which ultimately made them incredibly wealthy men. Both were farmers, and their relationship and dependence on the land helped keep them in close contact with God.

God uses the weather as a means of revealing both His love and His anger toward mankind! Few chapters in the Bible explain this as well as Leviticus 26, known as the blessings and curses chapter. In the first 13 verses of the chapter, God outlines the blessings—one of which is rain in due season—that come when mankind obeys His laws.

Beginning in verse 14, God outlines the curses for disobedience. Notice verse 20: “And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.” God says He will curse the land. In Deuteronomy 28, the counterpart to Leviticus 26, God talks about weather curses even more specifically: “And the heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron” (verse 23).

Weather is a measure of God’s happiness with mankind! Tragically, mankind today, blind to God’s presence in the land and weather, is ignorant of the correction God is delivering through the land and weather—thereby forcing God to intensify the curses!

Vanity has caused us to bury the amazing truth about God’s purpose for the creation under millions of tons of concrete and steel. We think city life is the height of progression.

In truth, the further mankind has gotten from the land, the further he has gotten from God!

The rejected reality is that the land and the farming lifestyle as it was created by God is a spectacular teaching tool, a means of educating us, strengthening our relationship with our Creator and establishing God’s presence at the center of our lives.

This isn’t to suggest we should all quit our jobs and become farmers. We can, however, personally guard against participating in the cultural divorce from the land. Make it a personal goal to forge—through study, prayer and even practical experience—a deeper respect, appreciation and love for the physical creation. As we do that in a right spirit, we will better see our Creator!

Union Between Traditional Anglicans and Rome Nears

Union Between Traditional Anglicans and Rome Nears

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Hundreds of thousands of Anglicans who requested “full communion” with the Catholic Church have received an encouraging reply from Rome.

The Vatican has responded positively to proposals by the Traditional Anglican Communion to reunite with the Roman Catholic Church. An exchange of letters between Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop John Hepworth, primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, “shows warming relations between the two churches as they begin to consider proposals for corporate reunion,” the Catholic News Agency reported Wednesday.

The Traditional Anglican Communion is a group of churches with a worldwide membership of 400,000 people. It formed in 1990 from a dozen Anglican churches that broke away from the 80-million-strong Anglican Communion (of which the Church of England is the heart), mostly to protest the liberalism creeping into that organization.

In October 2007, the Traditional Anglican Communion sent a letter formally requesting “full, corporate and sacramental union” with the Roman Catholic Church, which has since been under review by the Vatican.

The Catholic Church has now responded with, in the words of Archbishop Hepworth, a letter “of warmth and encouragement,” written by Cardinal Levada and received on July 25. The July 5 letter, said the archbishop, was written to assure the Communion that the Congregation is giving “serious attention” to the “prospect of corporate unity,” as requested in the 2007 Anglican letter.

In a message to the College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion, Hepworth distributed a copy of the cardinal’s letter and described his own reply to it. “I have responded, expressing my gratitude on behalf of ‘my brother bishops,’ reaffirming our determination to achieve the unity for which Jesus prayed … no matter what the personal cost this might mean in our discipleship,” Archbishop Hepworth wrote in the letter published by the Messenger Journal (emphasis ours).

Hepworth said he was “particularly thankful” to Levada for his “generous mention” of corporate reunion. The archbishop wrote that corporate reunion was a path “seldom travelled in the past” but one “essential” to fulfilling Christ’s desire for Christian unity, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Archbishop Hepworth admonished Traditional Anglicans to pray for the “Holy Father,” the cardinal and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “as we move to ever closer communion in Christ with the Holy See.”

Following the Traditional Anglicans’ request to join the Roman Catholic Church last year, Joel Hilliker wrote in his November 14 column:

It is now the Vatican’s call. If Rome accepts the proposal, it will open the way for hundreds of thousands of Anglicans to return to the Roman Catholic fold en masse—the largest such move since the Reformation. Half a million instant converts.And those in the Traditional Anglican Church (of England) will thus formalize the transfer of their allegiance from the sovereign of England to the bishop of Rome.The significance of this event is destined to grow with time. The [Traditional Anglican Communion], though now separate from the Anglican Communion, appears to be in the vanguard of a movement among many Anglicans who view the liberalization in the church as heading in the opposite direction from where they want to go. The Anglo-Catholicism that found earlier expression in the present queen’s overtures to a former pope is coming into fuller and fuller flower.

The Trumpet has followed this subject closely because of its prophetic significance. For half a century, Herbert W. Armstrong and his Plain Truth magazine expounded on biblical prophecies foretelling the unification of Protestants with their Roman Catholic mother church. The October 1961 Plain Truth, for example, 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.”

It is in this light that we view the increasing prospect of unity between the Traditional Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church. The eagerness of the Vatican to absorb the Anglican communion, and the lengths to which the communion is prepared to go to be accepted by Rome—“no matter what the personal cost”—is an indication of things to come.

Read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Anglicans Submitting to the Pope” and “Returning to the Fold,” by Stephen Flurry, to learn how full unity between the Anglicans and Catholics will finally be achieved.

Quake Shakes Southern California

Quake Shakes Southern California

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The strongest earthquake to hit a populated area of Southern California in more than a decade rattled buildings and nerves Tuesday morning. The 5.4-magnitude quake occurred near Chino Hills, 29 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, at 11.42 a.m. and was felt from L.A. to San Diego, and as far east as Las Vegas, 230 miles away. Buildings swayed and windows rattled, sending people running out into the streets, and telephone communications and electricity were disrupted.

While reports indicate the earthquake did not cause any serious injuries or major damage, it has some experts concerned that it may be only the beginning of something more. Studies show that Southern California is overdue for a sizeable quake as tension continues to build around the San Andreas fault line.

“People have forgotten what an earthquake feels like,” said Kate Hutton, a seismologist at Caltech. “We should look at this as an earthquake drill for the Big One that will come one day.”

Geologists say an earthquake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99.7 percent certain of hitting California within the next 30 years. A joint study conducted earlier this year by the U.S. Geological Survey and California Geological Survey said a 7.8-magnitude quake, for example, could kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000 more and damage 300,000 buildings.

Based on such a scenario, this fall scientists and emergency planners are holding what is reportedly the largest earthquake drill in the country, in order to prepare for the “Big One.”

It is no coincidence that California has been hit with a series of disasters in recent years—from mud slides to wildfires to earthquakes. Read “Is California Under a Curse?” for the reason why.

At the same time, we can expect the regularity and intensity of such disasters—including, specifically, earthquakes—to intensify around the world, based on Christ’s prophecies for the end time, as recorded in Matthew 24. Read “Myanmar, China—and Hope!” for more on what such disasters signify.