Why Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Will Always Be Illegal

Why Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Will Always Be Illegal

Alexey Klementiev/Hemera/Thinkstock

California’s judges are forcing the issue down our throats. But they’ll never truly change the law.
From the September 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

In 2000, nearly two thirds of Californians passed a law forbidding homosexual marriage. In May this year, a mere four individuals killed that law, nullified the will of the people, and shoved open the door to same-sex unions in California. The “weddings” started June 16.

Massachusetts passed a similar law in 2003, but a statute prevents non-residents from marrying there. Not so with California. Couples from around the country can come to the Golden State to be “wed”—and then return to their home states ready to launch legal battles to have their unions officially recognized there as well.

This judgment is one of the most hostile attacks on traditional marriage ever mounted. Remarkably, however, in the face of this monumental redefinition of the most important institution in society, virtually no one is standing up and articulating an effective and credible defense.

Those commentators who speak out about the decision generally focus on the thwarting of democracy by four radically activist California Supreme Court judges. They raise concerns over the possible economic fallout. They bemoan the prospect of the bizarre illogic of the decision leading toward eventual legal acceptance of polygamy, pedophilia, or other unorthodox “family” arrangements. They wonder aloud why California couldn’t have just left well enough alone with the “domestic partnerships” already permitted under state law.

In other words, aggressive homosexual activists have been so successful in promoting their agenda that this argument is taking place—and being lost—on the fringes of a battlefield on which they have already planted their rainbow-colored flag.

It Does Make a Difference

A USAToday/Gallup Poll revealed that an astonishing 63 percent of Americans say same-sex “marriage” is “strictly a private decision” between two people and that the state shouldn’t interfere. Apparently the majority view is, since homosexuals marrying doesn’t prevent heterosexuals from marrying, what difference does it make?

This promotion of personal license over the broader interests of society is a deadly error.

Evidence is plenteous showing the benefits of traditional marriage to both husband and wife, as well as society at large—and the high costs associated with its dissolution. Time and again, studies have shown the enormous advantages to children—in personal safety, academic performance, financial well-being, emotional stability, self-respect, and assimilation into law-abiding adult life, among other things—of growing up under the same roof with both biological parents. In other words, societal stability directly depends on the greatest number of children possible growing up in a home with both a father and a mother to whom they are biologically related.

Marriage is the most effective way of guaranteeing children grow up in this favorable environment. For the sake of our children and our society, we should be doing all we can to promote stable marriages—in the true sense of the term.

However, under an onslaught of no-fault divorce and other anti-family pressures, marriages are falling apart at alarming rates. In just the past few generations, every millennia-long tradition regarding marriage—all of which, it should be mentioned, were based on God-ordained laws—has been challenged: the respective roles of husband as guide and provider, and wife as helpmeet and homemaker; the importance of abstaining from sex outside of marriage; the authority of parents over their children. As these principles were contested, a negative cycle began. Rejection of these principles produced bad marriages and fueled the tendency to question the institution’s fundamental nature. The result was a general, misguided dissatisfaction with marriage itself and an inevitable lack of appreciation for and understanding of it. The current dispute over the very idea of marriage involving one man and one woman is a measure of just how deep this misunderstanding has grown.

The legitimization of homosexual unions—as the jewel in the crown of a host of initiatives aimed at drawing more and more people into the homosexual lifestyle—is moving 180 degrees opposite the family stability we desperately need to be encouraging.

This goes far deeper than the mere fact that same-sex relationships—even “marriages”—are two to three times likelier to dissolve than heterosexual relationships. It’s more than just that a child in such a home cannot grow up with both biological parents and is deprived of the influence at home of strong role models of both sexes.

Why Male and Female?

Why male and female? Have you ever thought about that? This is a conundrum that both creationists and evolutionists must wrestle with.

For the person who doesn’t believe in a Creator, it requires explaining how, by natural means—not by design but by accident—humanity (and virtually all living creatures) came to exist in two distinct groups, different yet the same, mutually dependent upon the other for procreation.

But even for the creationist, the question can be equally puzzling. Why did God make male and female?

Scripture shows that in creating humankind in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26), God made the conscious decision to divide us into two groups: male and female (verse 27). Why? This is an important question to contemplate. Try to push from your mind the politically correct falsehood that there are no differences between the two. Consider this realistically.

The fact is that the relentless drive over the past half century in particular to equalize the sexes has completely obscured and destroyed the very deep and important reasons for God’s creative implementation of sex differences! Homosexuality, in effect, treats this essential component of creation as if it were mere decoration—even a mistake on God’s part. At best, it trivializes and neutralizes the formation of gender.

Can you acknowledge the possibility that sex is not an accident of evolution, nor an arbitrary ornament on creation, but a conscious, deliberate choice with design and intent made by a super-intelligent Creator? Are you willing to consider the reasoning, the logic, in His decision? This God who reveals Himself in the Bible claims that His thoughts are higher than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Is it possible you have allowed your mind to be prejudiced against His superior thinking by simple peer pressure—the intellectual coercion of a society that is almost wholly hostile toward its Creator?

Where Did Marriage Come From?

Why marriage? Do you know where marriage originated? Most do not.

Marriage is not a mere tradition. Marriage is actually a sacred institution, originated and established by God at the creation of humankind. It was created for specific purposes and designed to function according to definite laws. Those laws are as absolute and inexorable as the physical laws governing the universe. If they are broken, unhappiness and dissatisfaction result.

God created sexual attraction, to draw a man and a woman into a love relationship. He created marriage—a binding covenant relationship with prescribed, God-ordained roles (e.g. Genesis 2:18, 21-25; Ephesians 5:29-33; 1 Timothy 5:8), and gave laws confining the use of sex to that relationship (e.g. Exodus 20:14, 17). He intended this covenant relationship to bring stability into our lives, to teach us faithfulness and loyalty, and to give each mate the opportunity to learn to live unselfishly with another person, different from himself or herself, as a harmonious team.

In addition, God created our anatomies so that this two-person relationship is what generates children. He designed the human development process to occur slowly—much more slowly than in animals—in order to make family life necessary: Children are completely dependent upon their parents, and parents must love, nurture, protect, educate and discipline their children. He gave laws and principles governing that parent-child relationship (e.g. Exodus 20:12).

Why? To one who doesn’t understand God’s purpose for mankind, it might seem somewhat arbitrary. Why male and female? Why marriage? Why do we reproduce through sex? Why children? Why family?

But the answer is clear to anyone who understands the truth revealed in the Bible but not generally understood—that of the incredible human potential.

Family’s Ultimate Purpose

The way God designed male, female, marriage and children, the family unit naturally creates a government structure patterned after the God Family pattern.

God designed all of these things the way He did to prepare us for eternal life in His Family!

The truth of this reality far surpasses the insipid view of an afterlife spent sitting on a cloud strumming a harp. God is about to establish a Kingdom, here on Earth, ruling all nations, with literal positions of king-priesthood to be filled by human beings transformed into Spirit-born members of the God Family! (Request our book The Incredible Human Potential for a thorough biblical explanation of this truth.)

This is why the human family is so critical in God’s mind. We need family, as God designed it, in order to prepare for positions in God’s Family! Done right, marriage is intended to teach spiritual lessons about the God Family. A child growing up in a godly family learns spiritual lessons. If a family is run the way God intended it to be run, then there are God-plane dynamics at work—living lessons in God’s government and family love.

There is a war being waged over marriage and family. On one side are those trying to preserve God’s design; on the other are those trying to destroy God’s design. Proponents of homosexual “marriage” overlook, ignore, dismiss and ridicule any evidence that exposes the damage their agenda produces. In their eyes, the deepest sacrifices to society are worth the resulting gains in personal license.

But that license hurts both the individuals who indulge in it and society as a whole. It deeply violates the law of God—an eternal, binding law that no human being can alter. Time will prove conclusively that the more California or any other state moves to permit what God has condemned, the more misery, strife, bitterness and unhappiness it will generate. In the end, the increasing social fragmentation it brings will result in societal ruin.

Teach Your Daughter True Beauty

Teach Your Daughter True Beauty

iStockphoto

Fathers! You may not realize how important physical beauty is to your daughter. Here’s how you can combat society’s lies about beauty and teach your daughter the truth!
From the September 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

The pressure on a young girl to be pretty is one of the greatest weights on the female mind—especially in the Western world.

In his 2001 book Bringing Up Boys, Dr. James Dobson tells a story that all parents of girls should heed. When Western television penetrated the islands of the South Pacific for the first time, it “projected images of gorgeous, very thin actresses who starred on Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210 and other teen-oriented shows. Four years later, a survey of 65 Fijian girls revealed how their attitudes had been shaped (or warped) by what they had seen. Almost immediately, the girls began to dress and try to fix their hair like Western women.” Officials, he reported, saw “serious changes in eating habits among … adolescents. Those who watched tv three times per week or more were 50 percent more likely to perceive themselves as ‘too big’ or ‘too fat’ than those who did not. More than 62 percent had attempted to diet in the previous 30 days.”

The pressure to be pretty is a monstrous thing. Add to that how society defines pretty, and it can be perilous. It can produce in our daughters a dangerous cocktail of vanity, materialism, health problems and a host of character flaws.

Do our young girls have any hope to escape the rank deception that comes their way about their physical appearance? How can the false images popular culture relentlessly thrusts on them be combatted?

The answer lies in the home, with the parents—particularly the father!

Make Your Daughter Beautiful

Fathers: You have a special role as the first male authority in your daughter’s life to ensure that she not only feels beautiful but that she also knows what true beauty is!

How can we make our daughters beautiful in a godly way? The answer lies in understanding how God adorned the first woman.

When God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins (see Genesis 3:20-21), the Hebrew for clothed means to don with apparel or raiment—namely outer garments. It “implies adding attractiveness rather than hiding shamefulness” (Herbert W. Armstrong, The Missing Dimension in Sex—request a free copy). Being clothed with raiment can make your daughters prettier. Yet, this Satan-dominated society often wants to define “pretty” by how much skin you show. Of course, different contexts (and even cultures) allow for different coverings.

If you want your daughters to be beautiful, adorn them (and teach them how to adorn themselves) God’s way. Teach them that modest apparel makes them more beautiful. It is ugliness to be immodest, which can arouse lust in a man and lead to more ugliness.

What’s more, the main seat of physical beauty for the female is not in the body or the clothing. It is in the face.

How Supermodels Make Themselves Ugly

Dale Carnegie, in How to Win Friends and Influence People, relates a story about a dinner party he attended. “One of the guests, a woman who had inherited money, was eager to make a pleasing impression on everyone. She had squandered a modest fortune on sables, diamonds and pearls. But she hadn’t done anything whatever about her face. It radiated sourness and selfishness. She didn’t realize what every man knows: namely, that the expression a woman wears on her face is far more important than the clothes she wears on her back.”

Yes, every man—every father—knows that. How often do you remind your daughter that the most beautiful thing about her is her smile? Yet how many “beautiful” women grace magazine covers with sour looks on their faces? It’s meant to be seductive or sexy, but as a man and father, I’m troubled by it. Not only is it intimidating, it’s not nearly as pretty. Teach your daughter that she exudes beauty when she has a positive attitude and expression on her face.

Mr. Armstrong wrote, concerning sex appeal, that it “is somewhere between 95 percent and 99 percent what one sees from the neck up! It is, mostly, what one sees in the face of the other which exerts the appeal” (op. cit.).

But our deceived society and its fashion designers seem to think that beauty is 95 to 99 percent from the neck down. Modern fashion wants to show as much cleavage as possible, or as much of the top of the rear end as possible, or when swimming, to show as much of the gluteus maximus as possible. Yes, God designed those areas to be beautiful in a marital relationship. But ask your daughter: Does she want to be a mere object? Or would she rather attain beauty the way God intended it to be done—by living a happy life that shines through the face and then adorning the rest of her body modestly in a way that highlights her figure but doesn’t draw undue attention to it over her character, mind, sparkle, energy and smile?

God is not againstoutward beauty, but He also says it is vain: It won’t last but a few years—it’s merely aTYPEof the spiritual beauty God wants to praise us for. Still, God made sure Eve was physically appealing to her husband. God’s Word describes women like Sarah, Rebecca and Esther as outwardly beautiful.

A Facelift for Free

God’s Word also has a lot to say about hairstyles, jewelry, cosmetics and clothing. Isaiah 3:16 shows that the end-time decline of our nations is directly tied to the improper values in women’s appearance—the power they try to exert through their beauty—whether in applying cosmetics or in walking seductively. The rest of that chapter says God will strip them of their beauty and ornaments. This society, preoccupied with its warped sense of beauty, is about to be destroyed.

What our daughters need most of all is real,LASTINGspiritual beauty. You can help give that to your daughter. Ecclesiastes 8:1 says “wisdom maketh [the] face to shine.” Teach her the truth about eternal, inward beauty and that will cause her face to shine more than all those who spend thousands of dollars a year in keeping their face “lifted.”

The Apostle Peter, using jewelry metaphors, exhorts Christian women to focus their adorning on the “hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4). He also points to the outwardly beautiful Sarah, wife of Abraham, to teach where her real beauty lay: Her trust in God and His government gave her the most beautiful adorning any woman could desire (verses 5-6). This is the fundamental lesson in spiritual comeliness.

In 1 Timothy 2:9, the Apostle Paul addresses physical fashion, telling Christian women to “adorn themselves in modest [well-arranged] apparel.” Then the rest of the verse shows how true beauty comes from godly humility and the development of the mind in understanding God’s Word. If our daughters seek that, they will one day possess eternal beauty—with a radiant face, shimmering hair and dazzling eyes. God’s Word promises that!

Help Her Stand Out in Society

How can we help our daughters radiate the genuine happiness that enhances their beauty? Much of that comes from the happiness and encouragement we give them. They look to us fathers for that support; they need us to let them know what we find admirable about them. If we show them the proper kind of love and attention, they will feel adored, protected and truly beautiful. A daughter who is not cared for by her father will either feel she is not worthy of a man’s love or will seek that attention and care in misguided, damaging ways.

With all this in place, you can then help her understand what makes her beautiful physically. Teach her that the majority of her outward beauty rests in her face—in her eyes and smile. Also teach her—with the aid of her mother if she is in the picture—that good hygiene and proper health often does more for the appearance than clothing. Exercise can aid in appropriate muscle tone and healthy skin.

Also encourage her to develop feminine mannerisms. Helen Andelin, in her book Fascinating Womanhood, states, “There are thousands of rather plain women with irregular features and faulty builds who succeed in being attractive to men because they are models of femininity. On the other hand, there are thousands of other women who have beautiful faces and features but who, because of woodenness, or masculinity of manner, never impress men as being especially attractive. When a woman is tender, soft, fun-loving, lovable, and also innocent and pure, who stops to inquire if she has beauty in the classical sense? [T]o most men she seems a paragon of femininity. To them she is beautiful!”

Teach your daughter about these attributes of lasting spiritual beauty. Love and adore her; set the example of possessing positive energy. And if she stands out a little in this ugly world, then let it be for the radiant beauty that God is creating in her and for being the royal princess that she is!

The Marvelous Monarch

The Marvelous Monarch

mikewking/istock

It is the work of a master artist. Its bright orange wings, black stripes and white dots make this one of the most easily recognized butterflies in the world. In addition, the life cycle of the monarch butterfly—a remarkably intricate four-stage process called metamorphosis—creates many problems for the theory of evolution. Let’s take a closer look to see why this complex and beautiful creature can so stump the evolutionists.
From the September 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

To reproduce, the male and female of this species must mate. Considering that the average monarch butterfly lives only two to six weeks, how they could have evolved into a male and female is hard enough to explain, but that is only the beginning of this remarkable circle of life.

The egg is the first stage of metamorphosis. The female monarch will lay 300 to 700 fertilized eggs in her brief lifetime. The female attaches each egg to the bottom of a milkweed leaf with quick-drying glue she secretes along with each egg.

In three to five days, the second stage of life, a tiny wormlike larva, emerges. The larva’s first meal is its own eggshell. After that, it will eat the milkweed leaves nonstop for about two weeks. During this voracious eating, the larva will molt, or shed its skin, four to five times. After each molt, it eats its old skin. It will increase its weight 3,000 times, until the caterpillar is about 2 inches long.

As it turns out, eating the milkweed plant is a valuable service because milkweed is a noxious plant that can cause problems to farmers’ fields. As the caterpillars eat, they store the milkweed toxins in their bodies yet are not affected by them at all. (The importance of these toxins will not be fully appreciated until the next stage of life, when the monarch will become a poisonous butterfly. An animal that eats a monarch will get very sick and vomit but generally will not die. Predators quickly learn that this brightly colored butterfly will make them sick, and they avoid eating other monarchs.)

At the end of about 15 days, the caterpillar leaves the milkweed plant and attaches itself to a tree branch or twig with small hooks in its tail end. It then spins silk from its spinneret to make the attachment secure. It hangs its head down and molts for the last time. The newly exposed skin dries and hardens and takes the form of a jade green pupa, or chrysalis, the third stage of metamorphosis. During the next 10 to 15 days, the entire body is reorganized and transformed. It will emerge an entirely new creature, fully suited for a completely different lifestyle.

The adult monarch butterfly will emerge fully grown, but damp. It immediately pumps liquid into the veins in its wings to inflate them from the tight folds that were necessary to fit inside the pupa stage. The wings will dry and stiffen in three to four hours, providing the rigid strength needed for the monarch to fly away for the first time (never having seen or experienced flight before).

The final adult-stage monarch eats liquids rather than leaves. It has been fully equipped with a long, flexible tube-like “tongue” called a proboscis. This uncoils to sip food, and coils up when not in use. Monarchs drink nectar from many flowers, including milkweed, clover, thistle, lilac and goldenrod.

This new generation of adult monarchs has somehow been transformed into males and females fully equipped to reproduce, something that was not done at all during the earlier caterpillar stage. They soon mate and continue the cycle of metamorphosis all over again.

The monarch butterfly migrates for the winter. In North America, monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to some 80 locations along the Southern California coast. Pismo Beach is one of the largest sites. As a result, February 5 is Monarch Butterfly Day in California. Monarchs living east of the Rockies migrate to the mountains in south-central Mexico. Some monarchs travel well over 2,500 miles from southern Canada! Others have even been known to make transatlantic crossings when wind conditions are right.

The life span of the adult monarch varies, depending on the season in which it emerged from the pupa stage. Adults that emerge in early summer live for only two to five weeks. Those that emerge in the summer may live six to eight weeks; they will remain in one area their entire lives. Those that emerge in late summer, however, will live six to nine months, long enough to migrate to various southern locations where they basically hibernate for the winter. They live off their own body fats and get their moisture from the morning dew. Scientists call this migratory generation of monarchs the “Methuselah generation.” This would be like a human being living 500 years. This is a fact science cannot explain.

These migrating butterflies are the fourth or fifth generation born during the summer. This generation generally does not reproduce until after they begin the long migration back home beginning in February and March. For example, those butterflies in Mexico may travel as far north as Texas or Oklahoma during the spring migration before they find the early milkweed growth needed to lay their eggs. It is the second or third generations that will eventually return to their northern locations in the United States or Canada.

Another thing that stymies scientists is how the butterflies migrate to the same place year after year having never been there before. They theorize that the butterfly follows the sun or has an internal clock, or that perhaps it has something to do with the Earth’s magnetic field. They never seem to make a connection to a Creator God. God says that He created and sustains all life.

Yes, the monarch is a marvelous example of God’s creation, yet it is only one of more than 5,000 species of butterflies scientists have classified as the family Nymphalidae, a class reserved only for butterflies with dwarfed front legs. Just look around and reflect on the vast variety of God’s marvelous miracles of life all around us. The more we study creation, the more it reveals our Creator and His plan for placing us here.

Romans 1:20 explains that “the invisible things of [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that [people] are without excuse.”

Think of the intricately detailed design and purpose God put into the creation of just this one seemingly insignificant creature. How much more thought has God put into the design and purpose of man? Man has a far greater transformation ahead of him than that experienced by the monarch. You have a much greater future ahead of you than you could possibly imagine. You may be a part of the generation of man that will also one day be given an extended life in order to make a great migration into the universe. Request The Incredible Human Potential to learn more about God’s great plan for you.


What We Lost When We Sold the Farm

What We Lost When We Sold the Farm

sean boggs/istock

The further mankind has gotten from the land, the further he has gotten from God.
From the September 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

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 the 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 Genesis. In chapter 1, it’s evident that God recreated planet Earth 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 humans. The land was created by God for man.

Now read and think about 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.

Exodus to the City

Briefly 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 population 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.

Although cities have been around since the time of Cain, the West’s cultural infatuation with cities, 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 that nations developed, the more that 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 the growing rate of devastating natural and weather-related disasters.

This isn’t even addressing the cultural and psychological impact the shift away from the land has had on the mindset of Western societies. You’ve probably heard about inner-city children 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 fools living a primitive lifestyle.

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

The reality is, English-speaking societies have virtually severed all 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.

God’s Purpose in Land Use

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: 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 packed 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 cursing 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 progress.

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!

Bulldozing Jerusalem

Bulldozing Jerusalem

Brian Hendler/Getty Images

Some Israelis are calling for the division of their capital city. Will it happen?
From the September 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

Judging by the deafening blast of sirens and the sheer number of law enforcement vehicles—suvs, sedans, motorcycles, even mopeds—racing across town, we knew something terrible had just happened.

We were waiting for our bus on a Wednesday afternoon near the intersection of King George Street and Jaffa Road—one of Jerusalem’s busiest commercial districts. Less than a mile ahead of us, on Jaffa, a 30-year-old Arab construction worker had just begun a deadly game of bumper cars. Behind the wheel of a massive 50,000-pound front-end loader, Husam Dwayat rammed his foot on the accelerator and screamed “God is great!” Then, he proceeded to wildly bulldoze his way from one side of the street to the other—smashing everything in his path.

In the end, after this fit of squashing automobiles and tipping over buses, three Israeli women were left dead and dozens of others injured. An 18-year-old Israeli soldier, at home on leave from the army, ended the carnage as abruptly as it started when he jumped onto the bulldozer, climbed into the cab and shot the terrorist in the head.

After boarding our chartered bus, with Jaffa now sealed off, our bus driver proceeded to circle around for an alternative route to Tel Aviv. We were headed to the Institute for National Security Studies to attend a briefing about specific proposals designed to push forward the often discussed two-state solution.

Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland (Ret.), formerly Israel’s national security adviser, made two proposals. His first plan called for Jordan to maintain control over a semi-autonomous Palestinian state in the West Bank (which Jordan doesn’t want). The second proposal was much more complicated—requiring Israel, Egypt and Jordan to give up land to the Palestinians in exchange for economic benefits mostly.

But what about Jerusalem? one reporter asked after his presentation.

“I don’t want to talk about Jerusalem now because it is out of the context of the presentation,” Eiland responded. “Jerusalem has nothing to do with this solution.”

Yet the tragedy on Jaffa that very day, together with the attack four months earlier at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, where an east Jerusalem Arab gunned down eight Jewish students, has thrust the Jerusalem question to front and center of the current debate about peace in the Middle East.

Terrorists’ Choice Recruiting Pool

The unconventional attack on July 2 highlights how imaginative terrorists can be in killing their enemies. But it also proves how difficult it has been for them to smuggle explosives across Israel’s 465-mile security fence. Since Israel constructed its “wall of defense” in response to the second intifada, suicide bombing attacks have virtually ground to a halt. Last year, for example, Palestinian terrorists killed 13 Israelis, compared to 426 in 2002.

The barrier that was designed to keep terrorists and explosives out, however, also works to keep more than 200,000 Palestinians in (a situation most Palestinians in Jerusalem prefer, by the way). These Arabs, equipped with Jerusalem residency cards, are allowed to move freely throughout the city and—as in the case of Dwayat—even work for Jewish construction companies. Terrorist groups outside the Green Line view the Palestinians in Jerusalem as a crucial pool of potential recruits since they are already inside Israel.

For Israel, the situation is worsened because of its standing as a free democracy, where all residents are meant to be treated equally. Immediately after the Jaffa attack, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the mayor of Jerusalem all called for Dwayat’s home in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Bahir to be demolished in order to send a message to wannabe terrorists.

This is easier said than done, as Jerusalemites learned after the March shooting spree, when many government officials called for the same action but failed to act on it. As Calev Ben-David pointed out in the Jerusalem Post, “By granting special residency and potential citizenship status to Jerusalem’s Palestinians, Israel has opened up a hornet’s nest of problematic legal issues when it comes to carrying out retaliatory sanctions against them in the wake of terrorist attacks such as the one yesterday. For example, any home demolitions and expulsion orders against Arab residents and citizens will surely face judicial challenges that such actions violate the country’s basic laws against discrimination unless they are equally applied to its Jewish residents and citizens” (July 3).

The complexity of this arrangement, together with the security benefits the fence has provided overall, is why more Israelis are warming to the idea of dividing Jerusalem.

Calls to Divide the City

Just seven years ago, after Ehud Barak offered half of Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat, 400,000 Israelis protested the move at a demonstration near the Old City—Israel’s largest group protest ever.

Since then, even before the Jerusalem attacks this year, polls have shown dwindling support for the “one Jerusalem” platform. In December of 2005, one study suggested that about half of Israelis supported the idea of giving up parts of Arab east Jerusalem if it would solidify a peace deal with the Palestinians.

After the July 2 attack, some Jewish organizations called upon Israel’s government to immediately begin constructing additional barriers within Jerusalem. The following day, Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said the West Bank barrier should be rerouted in order to exclude Arab neighborhoods from Israel. “These are Palestinian villages that were never part of Jerusalem. They were annexed to it in 1967,” Ramon said on Army Radio.

On the evening of the attack, Prime Minister Olmert acknowledged that Israel must get tougher on perpetrators of terror. But “there is no way to fence off the Arabs of east Jerusalem and every home of a potential terrorist,” he said. With tens of thousands of Jews and Arabs living in neighborhoods that abut one another—all of them sharing the same parks, malls and government services—the task of carving up the city with a security fence would be nearly impossible.

Regular Trumpet readers know exactly where these events are leading. Backed by the authority of God’s Word, we have been saying for years that Jerusalem will eventually be split in half—but not the way most observers think!

Taken by Violence

As weak as Israel’s current government is—as much as it wants to give away land for peace—east Jerusalem will not be given away. God says it will be taken by violence! “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh,” the Prophet Zechariah wrote, “and the city [Jerusalem] shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (Zechariah 14:1-2).

Of the 26 Israelis that have been killed by terrorists this year (already twice as many as were killed in 2007), nearly half have been murdered in the Jerusalem attacks.

What we are witnessing may be the earliest stages of violence that will result in half of Jerusalem falling into the hands of terrorists. God’s prophecies ought to be ringing in our heads like those siren blasts we heard echoing in this ancient city!

Look again at Zechariah’s prophecy. Notice what’s presented right in the context of half of Jerusalem being taken captive: the appearance of the Messiah on Earth! (see verses 3 and 4).

So watch Jerusalem. It has everything to do with the solution God has in mind for ultimately bringing peace to the Middle East—and the entire world!

Iran: Filling the Power Void

Iran: Filling the Power Void

Everywhere troops withdraw in the Middle East, Iran moves in.

JERUSALEM—During dinner with a group of international reporters and Israelis at the Golan Heights on Monday, the topic of conversation turned to Israel’s security. “Where is the most dangerous place in Israel right now?” one of the journalists asked a local.

“Jerusalem,” he responded, without hesitation.

With three major attacks this year carried out by East Jerusalem residents, many Israelis are wondering what to do with their capital city. At the prime minister’s weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said that of the 30 Israelis who have died in attacks this year, half the casualties have been instigated by East Jerusalem Arabs.

During the same cabinet meeting, Vice Premier Haim Ramon argued against demolishing the homes of terrorists, saying that what Israel needed to do is rid itself entirely of East Jerusalem. “Whoever thinks the problem of Jerusalem and terror are specific, and that destroying one house or another will help, is burying his head in the sand. The main question is, does the government want Jebl Mukaber or Sur Bahir as part of Israel or not,” Ramon said, referring to the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of two terrorists. “It is in Israel’s interest to rid itself of these neighborhoods and villages, that were never Jerusalem, and that endanger the Jewish and Zionist nature of the city,” he said.

On Tuesday, Israeli President Shimon Peres joined the list of high-profile Israelis who see the division of Jerusalem as inevitable. According to Arutz Sheva, “Peres said that there must be a separation between the Arabs of Jerusalem and the Jews, and that it must be in the form of a wall.”

Even Prime Minister Olmert hinted at possibly dividing Jerusalem in a speech given to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday. “Whoever thinks it’s possible to live with 270,000 Arabs in Jerusalem must take into account that there will be more bulldozers, more trucks and the carrying out of [terror] attacks,” Olmert said.

But if the solution to Israel’s security concern in Jerusalem is for Israel to move out, the question that follows is who will move in? “If we divide Jerusalem,” one independent analyst told me this past week, “the bulldozer attacks may stop, but the Kassams will start.”

In other words, Iran sends its Gaza client in—just as it did when Israel pulled out of Gaza—and then terrorism intensifies.

Crisis in Lebanon

During our trip to Israel’s northern border this week, a retired Israeli colonel briefed us on the situation in Lebanon. He said that in light of the turmoil in Lebanon over the past three years, some Israeli strategists were actually arguing that Israel was better off when Syria occupied the country!

Even when the world’s second-leading state sponsor of terror moves out, Iran manages to move in and make matters worse. Syria pulled out in 2005 and Iran ordered its Lebanese client Hezbollah to attack Israel in 2006. And as a result of the kudos Hezbollah gained throughout the Arab world in the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War, Tehran’s power and influence in Lebanon has strengthened.

In December 2006, a few months after its war with Israel, two Hezbollah ministers resigned from their posts in the Lebanese government, triggering a rolling campaign of opposition-led civil disobedience. With Hezbollah taking to the streets of Beirut in early 2007, vowing to bring down the government and to form a new coalition, Lebanon teetered on the brink of civil war. This civil strife continued throughout 2007.

By early 2008, many analysts misjudged Hezbollah’s power, believing its civil disobedience campaign was beginning to wane. Based on this assumption, the Western-backed March 14 government introduced two measures intended to limit Hezbollah’s autonomy as an independent military state within a state.

First, the government fired the head of security at Beirut’s international airport—a man with close ties to Hezbollah and who turned a blind eye to weapons being smuggled into the country. Secondly, it attempted to outlaw Hezbollah’s independent, Iranian-supplied telecommunications network.

These measures infuriated Hezbollah’s terror masters in Tehran, who immediately ordered their Lebanese clients to take to the streets with a brutal show of force. Within days of the government’s “crackdown,” Hezbollah gunmen had taken control of Sunni neighborhoods in west Beirut in a bloody coup that resulted in at least 67 deaths.

At a settlement negotiated in Doha, Qatar, in May, Iran demanded that Hezbollah rejoin the government and that it be given the sufficient number of ministers needed to veto all government decisions.

The upshot? In the absence of an Israeli presence—and Syrian troops—Iran has successfully consolidated its hold on Lebanon.

Israel’s withdrawal of its forces from Lebanon in May 2000 allowed both Syria and Iran to step up their involvement in the country. Though Syrian troops withdrew in April 2005, Iran only increased its direct involvement. And now, its Lebanese terrorist client has a stranglehold on the government.

The Timetable for Iraq

What, then, will happen when foreign troops depart another Middle Eastern nation—Iraq?

This is what American policy-makers are currently debating in relation to the long-term security and stability of that country. Several weeks ago, after criticizing Sen. Barack Obama’s 16-month timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, John McCain suggested that Obama would change his mind after being briefed by commanding officers in Iraq.

But as Obama ended his world tour last weekend, he told Fox News that the trip actually helped reinforce his foreign-policy views. “There was a lot of confirmation of my strategies—that we need to get more troops into Afghanistan, and that the Iraqis are willing to take more responsibility,” Obama said.

It now appears that John McCain might be the one who is changing his views. Last Friday, the Republican presidential hopeful told cnn that Obama’s 16-month troop withdrawal plan was “a pretty good timetable,” though he qualified the comment by saying the plan should be based on the facts on the ground.

Earlier this year, McCain’s campaign was hammered by Obama’s people for saying he would keep U.S. troops in Iraq for 100 years, if necessary. Since then, McCain has said he favors withdrawing most of the troops by 2013. A week ago, while in Kennebunkport, Maine, with George Bush Sr., McCain mentioned the end of 2010 as a possible point of return for American forces.

Now, 16 months is looking “pretty good.”

Even President Bush is talking about a “general time horizon” for withdrawing troops, which is an additional sign that Obama’s strategy of defeat may be gaining the upper hand in the political debate. “There’s no doubt, particularly as Bush has adopted policies in the direction of Obama, that that gives Obama bragging rights,” former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton told the New York Times. Obama told the Associated Press that his campaign is “pleased to see that there has been some convergence around proposals that we’ve been making for a year and a half.”

At the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick says any residual differences there were between the policies of Obama and the Bush administration have disappeared over the last month:

While Bush and his surrogates have been quick to make a distinction between his “time horizon” and Obama’s “timeline” for withdrawal, it is undeniable that by introducing a “time horizon” for withdrawal he has made it more difficult to argue against Obama’s planned withdrawal “timeline.”

Essentially, this means that whoever the next president of the United States is, we can expect to see a fairly rapid drawdown of troops from Iraq. Whenever the evacuation happens—and it increasingly looks like it will take place sooner rather than later—it will be seen throughout the region as a triumph for Islamic extremism. And Iran, as we have often said, will consolidate its influence over Iraq.

Filling the Power Void

Viewed in isolation, each of Tehran’s power moves may not seem too threatening. But add together its actions through Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon—and what it is currently in the process of consolidating: control of the West Bank and Iraq—and you have an imperialistic power that is bent on dominating the Middle East.

Reza Hossein Borr, writing for Global Politician, added all Iran’s moves together and concluded (emphasis mine):

The shift of power to Hezbollah in Lebanon consolidated the Persian Empire in the Middle East. … [B]y plotting, clandestine agreements, smart political maneuvering and military strategies, the Persians have been able to reintroduce their empire again …. First it was Iraq which was the major barrier towards the advancement of Persians in the Middle East. The United States of America removed that formidable barrier for them and paved their way for [their] further march [into] the heart of Arabs lands. … The Shia crescent has been realized. …The hidden agenda is always more important than the open agenda which is open for discussion …. The Hezbollah of Lebanon, like the Mahdi Army of Iraq and Hamas of Palestine, always had hidden agendas that were not visible until they materialized militarily [and on the] political scene. …The Hezbollah is moving openly towards becoming the most important and the most powerful military and political group in Lebanon. … They changed the balance of power in Lebanon completely. Friends and foes know that. It is the balance of power that decides the fate of countries and not negotiations or moral principles. Negotiations only consolidate the military victories as the Doha agreement officially admitted the victory of Hezbollah and submitted to its demands. …The Arab leaders … know that they have lost Lebanon to Iran as they … lost Iraq to Iran. They know that the Persian Empire has been consolidated. From Afghanistan to Lebanon, this is the Persian Empire. They know that there will be a next one to fall in the lap of the Persian Empire. Who will that be?

Iran could have been stopped dead in its tracks anywhere along the way of its continuing power projection—if another power had the will to confront it. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written, “Weakness sowed the seeds of World Warii. Hitler could have been stopped easily when he marched into the Rhineland. You can’t negotiate evil away” (Daniel Unlocks Revelation).

America and Israel’s approach to Iran and its clients has been simply that: negotiate the evil away. This broken national will is actually a curse on these nations from God because of their disobedience to Him (see Leviticus 26:19; also our articles “A Nation of Cowards?” and “Israel’s ‘Will to Withdraw’” by Gerald Flurry).

As a result, Iran’s onward march will continue until a power takes a different approach: confrontation. Our booklet The King of the South outlines who that power is prophesied to be.