The Legacy of Herbert Armstrong

The Legacy of Herbert Armstrong

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From the February 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

“What an impact Mr. Armstrong had on my life! As God’s servant, he brought the message of God’s law and way of life not only to me, but to all those whose minds God would open. Because of his yieldedness, God was able to use him in a profound way to proclaim the most important message the world will ever hear.” Those were the words of Joseph Tkach, who succeeded Mr. Armstrong as pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God in January 1986 (Worldwide News, Feb. 10, 1986).

The impact of Mr. Armstrong’s lifelong service to God was not only felt by Mr. Tkach, it was felt by thousands of other members of the wcg. It was felt by millions of people who were introduced to Mr. Armstrong through the World Tomorrow television program or the Plain Truth magazine. The impact was felt by many world leaders, most of whom Mr. Armstrong was able to meet with privately.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan sent this note to the wcg shortly after Mr. Armstrong’s death (emphasis mine throughout): “Mr. Armstrong contributed to sharing the word of the Lord with his community and with people throughout the nation. You can take pride in his legacy. Our prayers are with you. God bless you.”

Otto von Hapsburg, a member of the European Parliament, sent this message: “Deeply shocked by news of the death of unforgettable Mr. Armstrong. Am with you all in prayers for him and hopes for successful continuation of his life’s work.”

Teddy Kollek, mayor of Jerusalem at the time, wrote, “One could only be deeply impressed by his vast efforts to promote understanding and peace among peoples. His good deeds were felt in many corners of the world.”

Mr. Armstrong’s impact did not go unnoticed by the media either. Many major newspapers carried the news of his death. The Pasadena Star News wrote, “[T]hose who choose—or who believe they are divinely chosen—to spread the message of monotheism in the world are bound to endure more than their share of mortal vicissitudes. Many of these men and women, however, leave a legacy that makes all their suffering worthwhile. Herbert W. Armstrong was such a man” (Jan. 17, 1986).

Historical Sketch

In the autumn of 1926, Mr. Armstrong was challenged by his wife, Loma, into an almost night-and-day, intensive study of the Bible. He wrote, “My research was totally different from that of students in a seminary. They absorb what they are taught in the doctrines of their denomination. … But I had been called specially by the living God. … I was taught by Christ what I did not want to believe but what He showed me was true!” (Mystery of the Ages). On the strength of his convictions Mr. Armstrong began to preach the Bible doctrines he had come to understand.

In January of 1934, the World Tomorrow radio program began airing. One month later, the Plain Truth began in humble form with just a few hundred copies.

In 1939, the Good News was established. This bulletin, established mainly for members and co-workers, soon became a full-color magazine and was received monthly by over one million subscribers before Mr. Armstrong’s death.

In the autumn of 1947, Ambassador College was founded in Pasadena, Calif. Later, colleges were started in Bricket Wood, England, and Big Sandy, Tex.

The 1950s proved to be a decade of tremendous advancements in God’s work. In 1953, The World Tomorrow began airing in Europe on Radio Luxembourg. Two years later, the program appeared on television.

The 1960s saw many advancements in the Plain Truth. The first full-color edition was published in 1965, 31 years after its inception. The magazine also appeared in German, French, Spanish and Dutch in the 1960s.

Mr. Armstrong spent much of the 1970s traveling worldwide, meeting kings, presidents and other heads of state, including Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam, and King Hussein of Jordan, to name just a few. Mr. Armstrong was fulfilling the commission prophesied in Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

In 1972, Mr. Armstrong broke ground for the construction of Ambassador Auditorium, which would be finished over two years later—constructed with some of the finest materials on Earth. At its grand opening, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra performed.

Power Struggle

In the 1970s, God’s Church also had its share of rebellion and controversy. Much of the dissension was occurring at Pasadena headquarters because of Mr. Armstrong’s absence. During this controversial time period, he was gone from headquarters close to 300 days a year due to overseas travel.

In 1974, the first major revolt in the wcg occurred. In a massive rebellion, at least 35 ministers rallied around two top men at headquarters, leading astray about 2,000 brethren.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Armstrong’s son, Garner Ted, began his attempt to take over the Church. Garner Ted had much control of the work when Mr. Armstrong was overseas—changing many of the core doctrines and pursuing accreditation for Ambassador College, which, according to Mr. Armstrong, caused the watering down of Bible truth and escalating permissiveness on campus. “God Almighty and Jesus Christ were virtually thrown out of the college—and were rapidly being thrown out of the Church!” (Good News, Sept. 1979).

Shortly thereafter, Garner Ted was disfellowshiped from the Church. Unfortunately for the work, the troubles did not stop there. During the autumn of 1978, six disfellowshiped wcg members began to plot a conspiracy against the Church in the form of a class action lawsuit.

Mr. Armstrong wrote in the June 24, 1985, Worldwide News, “This resulted in an ex parte order by a judge. Secretly without prior notice, deputies on order of the attorney general’s office swooped down on the Church on the morning of January 3, 1979.” This launched what became the single greatest attack against God’s 20th-century Church as a whole to that point.

A Fight for God’s Church

Perhaps at no time is the true character of a leader unveiled more than at a time of crisis. The year 1979 was such a time in God’s Church. Those familiar with Herbert Armstrong and the wcg at the time witnessed an unbelievable fight by Mr. Armstrong against not only former members of the Church, but against the entire state of California!

The main accusation made by Garner Ted was against his father’s “lavish spending.” The charges (which were later thoroughly disproven) prompted the state attorney general to appoint retired Judge Steven Weisman as the receiver of the Church. On the morning of January 3, Judge Weisman entered the wcg headquarters in Pasadena and summarily “fired” Herbert Armstrong, or so he thought. At the time, Mr. Armstrong was residing in Tucson, Ariz., which left him somewhat protected from the State of California.

Describing Mr. Armstrong’s reaction to these events, Stanley Rader wrote in his book, Against the Gates of Hell, “Problems have never upset Mr. Armstrong, and he reacted even to this serious threat with serenity, courage and confidence.”

Two and a half weeks later, Church members began to demonstrate their unwavering support for Mr. Armstrong by gathering at the Church headquarters in Pasadena. The slow trickle of people soon became a flood that converged on the Hall of Administration. The members brought food and bedding to stay in the Church’s buildings in order to defend Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong did not organize the event. None of the Church leaders anticipated it. It was a spontaneous reaction of faith and courage by those members who were out to fight for God’s Church.

After the gathering of thousands of members, Church officials Dean Blackwell and Joseph Tkach began to organize an actual church service in the Hall of Administration where the receiver was supposed to come in and work! By this time, the news of the attempted overthrow was national. It was being covered by many major newspapers.

Mr. Armstrong responded in a live telephone hook-up to Pasadena from Tucson: “The people of God have always been willing to suffer whatever they have to do for the living God! And I tell you, this has drawn us together.” He advised the members to “be subject to the law, but obey God rather than man!” He said, “If we have to begin to suffer the persecution of being thrown in prison, I will be the first to go. … God is fighting this battle for us, and God is stronger than man!” That evening, the headline for the late edition of the Los Angeles Times blared, “Ready for jail—Armstrong.”

Meanwhile, Herbert Armstrong was systematically getting the Church “back on track,” while diligently fighting against the state’s unconstitutional attack. In the process, the wcg received the support of dozens of churches that recognized the danger of such an attack—support from churches with different doctrines, but all clinging to one common belief: freedom of religion.

On October 14, 1980, the state dropped the case against the wcg when the legislature passed a law barring the attorney general from investigating religious organizations the way they had with the wcg.

Stanley Rader said, about Mr. Armstrong during this time, “Over the years of my close association with this remarkable man, I have noted abundant evidence that he is the embodiment of his own message of hope and trust that the living God will provide man with the wisdom to prevail over obstacles” (ibid.).

The attack did nothing to weaken Herbert Armstrong or the wcg. The Church was cleaned up, and the members who stood by Mr. Armstrong through the battle against the state were strengthened by it. The fruits of cleaning up the Church became clearly evident over the next several years.

Greatest Growth in Church History

The wcg had its greatest spurt of growth during 1980 to 1986—right after a tremendous amount of turmoil both inside and outside the Church, at a time when many ex-members of the wcg were claiming Mr. Armstrong was incompetent and senile. The surge forward by the wcg in the last years of Herbert Armstrong’s life proves, without refutation, just how powerfully he was being used by God.

Contrast the Church in the late 1970s to the year Mr. Armstrong died: the annual income went from $75 million to $200 million; Plain Truth circulation went from 1 million to peak at over 8 million; the television stations carrying The World Tomorrow, numbering 50 in 1978, grew to nearly 400 worldwide at the end of Mr. Armstrong’s life.

In 1981, Mr. Armstrong established Youth magazine for young people. And in early 1985, Mr. Armstrong began working on what he called “the largest and most important book in [his] life,” Mystery of the Ages. After it was completed later that year, he said God had helped him “to do the best work of [his] 93 years of life.”

In August of 1985, Mr. Armstrong became ill. That same month he taped his last two World Tomorrow broadcasts. Soon after, he taped the opening night message for the Feast of Tabernacles that fall.

On Jan. 10, 1986, Mr. Armstrong appointed Joseph Tkach to be the pastor general of the wcg should God choose to remove him. Then on Jan. 16, 1986, early in the morning, Mr. Armstrong died in his home on the Church’s property in Pasadena.

Those Close to Mr. Armstrong

Mr. Armstrong left an indelible impression on many people. But none were as deeply affected by his life as those who worked alongside him for many years. Many of those men who were with him in the last years of his life wrote articles in the Worldwide News tribute issue of Feb. 10, 1986.

Larry Omasta worked closely with Mr. Armstrong on the television program. “Once he was satisfied,” wrote Mr. Omasta, “he became engrossed in his message, going through the entire half-hour message without a break. Many people never adjust to speaking to a camera, but Mr. Armstrong knew that the camera lens represented a world that needed the message he had to deliver. That, I think, is what made him such a compelling speaker. He did not speak at his audience—he spoke to them.”

A wcg evangelist, Norman Smith, had worked with Mr. Armstrong on the radio broadcast back in the 1950s: “Mr. Armstrong was a towering influence in our lives. The personal memories we each have of his powerful broadcasts will be an inspiration to continue and complete the work we are given to do.”

Dexter Faulkner, former executive editor for the Plain Truth, said, “Mr. Armstrong was a seasoned communicator, widely recognized for his outstanding ability in writing and advertising. … He was interested in what God wanted in the Church’s publications. And he insisted that every headline, every article, every advertisement bring this world a little closer to God’s Kingdom.”

Ellis La Ravia, then vice president of the Ambassador Foundation, said, “His example of drive, enthusiasm and determination in God’s service set the standard for all of us. He always gave God credit for everything. He left high standards. He will be missed.”

Roderick Meredith, professor at Ambassador College at the time, referred to Mr. Armstrong as a “second father” for many of the college students. According to Dr. Meredith, Mr. Armstrong “was a human dynamo, working, driving and building a dedicated organization through which Christ could work to impart His message to this generation. … As with any other truly great man, there will never be another like him.”

Leroy Neff, former treasurer for the wcg, said, “No one I have known has had such singleness of thought and purpose. Most of his thoughts and conversation related to God’s work and God’s Word. … I found him to be the most generous person I have ever known.”

Frank Brown, regional director in Britain and other nearby countries, said he felt Mr. Armstrong’s greatest attribute, “apart from his desire to do God’s work, was his clarity of vision. He had the rare ability to think far in the future and envision not only what God was leading him to do, but its ultimate outcome. Mr. Armstrong was a visionary. … Those of us in the Church today are all incomparably richer for having a part in Mr. Armstrong’s vision and reality of the future. He was loved. He will be missed.”

Follow the Formula

Mr. Armstrong left a tremendous impact on many people. You would think the formula for success would be quite simple after his death: follow in the traditions Mr. Armstrong established and everything will be fine, right? Mr. Tkach said on the day Mr. Armstrong died, “The admonishment is now for those of us still living who now have a task that is set before them, a course that has already been charted by God’s apostle. We need to maintain that course and not deviate from it one iota.” At Mr. Armstrong’s funeral, Mr. Tkach said, “We readily admit and acknowledge that there is no man who can fill his shoes, but, Father, we aim to follow in his footsteps.”

There’s no doubt Mr. Armstrong had an impact on so many, especially while he was alive. The sad part about it is, today, if someone were to make similar statements about Mr. Armstrong, that individual would no doubt be labeled by many as one who worships a dead man. For the Church he founded certainly did not “follow in his footsteps.”

The wcg has undergone a complete transformation, and the many words of praise and support for Mr. Armstrong having turned into words of shame and embarrassment over much of what he did. Even for those not familiar with Mr. Armstrong or the wcg, it would be obvious that there was a massive betrayal against him in the church he was used to raise up.

The Message Lives On

Herbert Armstrong was a man whose drive and determination “set the standard for all of us.” He was a “human dynamo.” “Our lives were enriched spiritually and physically” because of him. “As with any other truly great man, there will never be another like him.”

Perhaps the true significance of Mr. Armstrong’s life wasn’t fully realized by some of us until after he died. Thankfully, the message he taught has been preserved through tapes and written material. Even though he is dead, the work God did through him can have a huge impact on us.

Mr. Armstrong was God’s 20th-century apostle. He was God’s man. And yet today, he is only “dust” in the earth, awaiting the resurrection of the saints. He hasn’t been deified by the Philadelphia Church of God. He wasn’t perfect, nor was he infallible. But the fact that he was used by God in this age to broadcast and prepare the way for the soon-coming return of Jesus Christ is undeniable. Mr. Armstrong is gone, but his legacy lives on.

The Resource War

From the January 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

The major events of history have often been driven by the quest for natural resources. Spain approved Christopher Columbus’s mission to the Americas because of the many goods available in the West Indies that could not be found in Western Europe. The Middle East has frequently held the world’s attention because it possesses vast amounts of oil. In World War ii, the Axis powers’ invasions were often motivated by the hunt for resources, both natural and economic. In fact, many of the wars throughout time have been sparked by the quest for resources abroad not available at home.

The Bible speaks of three great powers in the end time: the king of the north, the king of the south and the kings of the east. Students of Bible prophecy will be able to easily identify these three combines as the rising European Union, the Islamic nations (led by Iran) and the Asian hordes (predominantly Russia and China).

The Bible also has a great deal to say about the West: the United States, Britain and the other nations descended from biblical Israel (as explained in The United States and Britain in Prophecy).

But what about the rest of the world? Although regions such as Latin America and Africa do not fall into any of these groups, they do factor in because of their abundant natural resources. At the expense of the entire world, the king of the north in particular will exploit both Africa and Latin America in the very near future. They have, in fact, already begun to do so.

Europe’s Best Friend

There is a long history of cooperation between the European powers and the countries of Latin America. For example, during and after World War ii, Argentina, in particular, was “an outspoken friend of Hitler, sheltering Nazi officers and men, offering safe haven for Nazi ships and submarines” Plain Truth, Oct. 1957).

More recently, Latin America’s resources have been highly valued by Germany. Europe needs the abundant natural resources—such as silver, tin and iron ore—that Latin America can provide. As of late, the EU has made great strides toward economic cooperation with that region of the world.

In May 1962, the Plain Truth predicted Latin America would be economically conquered by Germany. In the words of T.H. Teten in Germany Plots With the Kremlin, “South America will be conquered by business agents, not by guns.” The Plain Truth commented, “Germany’s plans in South America were temporarily halted by her defeat in World War ii.” At the same time, it predicted U.S. involvement would dwindle: “[T]he United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America,mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce” (ibid.; emphasis mine).

These two trade blocs now have names: the European Union and Mercosur, an economic union of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, with Chile and Bolivia as associate members.

The February 2000 Trumpet showed just how far this cooperation between the EU and Mercosur had progressed, as trade agreements were being planned between Europe and the Latin American countries. Since that time, considerable progress has been made. Both the EU and Mercosur have made proposals for implementing these agreements. The most recent offer came from Mercosur, which in October 2001 proposed to cut tariffs on EU imports. The offer covered $7.5 billion in agricultural and industrial-product imports over a ten-year period.

“‘It is clear that Patten [EU commissioner for foreign relations] wants to establish strong, non-trade relations with Latin America, combining economic and political ties and presenting a counterweight to the United States,’ said Carlo Binetti, who earlier this year took over as the European representative of the Paris-based Inter-American Development Bank” (Europe, Jul./Aug. 2001). In the very near future, that “counterweight” will outweigh the United States. In fact, “the EU is by far Mercosur’s largest export market” even now (European Report, Oct. 31, 2001).

EU interests in Latin America are, however, not limited to those countries that are a part of Mercosur.

In July 2000, the Comprehensive Agreement—a trade agreement between the EU and Mexico—took effect. Since that time, exports to the EU from Mexico have increased 40 percent. Mexico’s imports from the EU have increased 30 percent. According to Manuel Lopez, head of the EU delegation to Mexico, automotive exports have increased almost 80 percent! (efe News Service, Nov. 13, 2001). Clearly, the EU is making inroads into Mexico, a country that has always considered the United States its top ally. This cooperation between the EU and Mexico will continue to grow, while we can expect Mexico-U.S. involvement to decrease.

U.S. involvement in other Latin American countries is already dwindling. A Washington Post article, “What About Latin America?”, clearly showed that the U.S. does not consider Latin America a priority: “‘The focus is low on the radar screen vis-à-vis the previous administration,’ said one disappointed Latin diplomat in Washington. ‘It’s just the opposite of what we expected’” (Aug. 6, 2001).

As United States interest remains focused on the war on terrorism, we can safely say that U.S. interest in Latin America will only continue to decrease—and the European Union will happily fill the gap.

The Plain Truth warned that Latin American resources would flow toward the king of the north: “Flowing across the Atlantic to feed the hungry furnaces of the Ruhr and the other industrial complexes of Europe will come the rich mineral resources of Latin America” (July 1965). Europe has no better friend in the world than Latin America.

And of course, the EU’s interest in Latin America goes beyond economic advantage and the exploitation of natural resources. More than half of the world’s Roman Catholics live in Latin America, and the Vatican is highly supportive of the EU.

In the time ahead, expect cooperation between Europe and Latin America to increase. Given the progress thus far, Mercosur and the EU will probably finalize a trade agreement this year, which will greatly speed Europe’s ability to exploit Latin America’s resources.

The World’s Nightmare

Imagine the news media reported 2.3 million American deaths in a single year from a single disease, and that another 28 million people were infected and expected to die within a decade. Imagine the outcry that would come from every citizen and public official.

Now let us presume that the president announced that all land would be seized from its current occupants and redistributed to the descendants of the Native Americans present when the first colonists settled in Jamestown.

And then, imagine the horror of our citizens if the world reacted with relative disinterest.

In other words, imagine you were living in Africa.

No region of the world has been filled with the suffering that Africa has. It is plagued with disease, violence and dictators who do not care about their own people. The Trumpet has written about the problems besieging South Africa, Zimbabwe and the other African nations many times, and those problems have only escalated in the time since the beginning of the “last hour” was announced by our editor in chief on May 5 last year.

Two months after that announcement, at the July G-8 summit, G-8 members invited the African nations to discuss their many problems, but “failed to propose or support any new relief initiatives” (www.stratfor.com, July 27, 2001). No meaningful progress was made toward halting the aids-induced death of millions and the collapse of the African nations.

In November, the Zimbabwean government banned 1000 white farmers from cultivating their fields and gave them three months to vacate their land. Five thousand farms have been targeted by the government for redistribution to the black majority (Sun News, Nov. 13, 2001).

Although aids is a terrible threat in South Africa (one in nine is estimated to carry hiv), the major cause of death in the nation is violence, according to South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. In addition, there is currently a widespread fear that President Thabo Mbeki will begin the same type of land seizures now happening in Zimbabwe.

Various self-interested rebel groups are also taking advantage of the continent’s resources. In many countries, diamond smuggling is being used to fund rebel groups, giving the benefits of one of Africa’s best resources to criminals rather than to the people who need them. According to bbc News, November 2, 2001, Angola’s deputy minister of mines, Antonio Sumbula, admitted that a million dollars worth of diamonds were still exported illegally from Angola each day.

That is only one African nation; 15 to 20 percent of world diamond production leaves Africa illegally, leaving a trail of death and murder behind it. In fact, the illegal sale of diamonds has provided millions of dollars in virtually untraceable funds to al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in recent years.

The focus of the world is not on Africa, and this situation will not change anytime soon. The destabilization of that region is only going to intensify as time continues. Exploitation of the continent’s resources will only increase, as the world remains largely unsympathetic to the African plight.

Watch

The northern African nations—Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Tunisia—are comprised of more than 90 percent Muslims. When the king of the south emerges, these Islamic nations will likely stand in support of Iran. After the king of the north overcomes the king of the south (Dan. 11:40), the natural wealth of these African nations will be at Europe’s disposal. “But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps” (Dan. 11:43).

The lower parts of Africa have been sold into slavery before. Will they too become slave labor for the European king of the north? If history is our guide, the possibility cannot be ignored.

As Africa’s resources continue to fall into the hands of dictators, its people become poorer—a situation that shows no signs of improvement. The aids death rate continues to rise. Africa’s plight is terribly severe, yet the great powers make little effort to intervene.

In the future though, the African people will receive the attention of the world’s great powers, who will come, not as saviors, but to exploit African resources one final time before the return of Jesus Christ to the Earth.

The Bible instructs us to “watch and pray” (Mark 13:33). We certainly should watch the hotspots of the world such as the Middle East, Germany and the United States for developing news. Some of the most interesting developments in these parts of the world, however, are fueled by areas that may not play as significant a role in Bible prophecy. To gain a global perspective of world events, keep up with what is happening in Latin America and Africa. This will give you further insight into the actions of Germany and Middle Eastern countries.

Focus on the hotspots, but don’t forget to watch the rest of the world.

Contempt of History

From the January 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

Great leaders of the past, like Winston Churchill, learned valuable lessons from history. They used those lessons to guide their nations safely.

Many of our modern leaders, however, learn very little from history. And we are about to pay the terrifying price.

Here are excerpts from a radio broadcast given May 9, 1945, when Herbert W. Armstrong warned of Germany’s post-war rise: “The war is over, in Europe—or is it? We need to wake up and realize that right now is the most dangerous moment in United States national history, instead of assuming we now have peace!

“Men plan, here, to preserve the peace of the world. What most do not know is that the Germans have their plans for winning the battle of the peace. Yes, I said battle of the peace. That’s a kind of battle we Americans don’t know. We know only one kind of war. We have never lost a war—that is, a military war; but we have never won a conference, where leaders of other nations outfox us in the battle for the peace.

“We don’t understand German thoroughness. From the very start of World War ii, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War iii! Hitler has lost. This round of war, in Europe, is over. And the Nazis have now gone underground. In France and Norway they learned how effectively an organized underground can hamper occupation and control of a country. Paris was liberated by the French underground—and Allied armies. Now a Nazi underground is methodically planned. They plan to come back and to win on the third try.

“The Bible foretells that third round—and it spells doom for us, as God’s punishment, because we, as a nation, have forsaken Him and His ways! The third round is termed, in prophecy, an invasion by ‘babylon’—a resurrected Roman Empire—a European Union. I have been proclaiming that since 1927. …

“Even at this conference, classes and races are demanding their ‘rights.’ This conference, and the United Nations Organization it is forming, must solve three problems to succeed. First, Big Three unity; second, the serious problem of what to do with Germany to prevent World War iii; and third, solve the world’s injustices against smaller nations, and the growth and tactics of Communism toward world domination. Can it succeed?”

In the London Times, February 6, 2000, Melanie Phillips said that Tony Blair’s government “is obsessed with ‘modernity’ and contemptuous of history and tradition” (emphasis mine). Former U.S. President Bill Clinton had the same contempt for history. It is a dangerous problem—the kind of thinking that destroys nations!

Bill Clinton, when he was president, totally ignored the 1945 United Nations warning. Many of our own citizens personally lived through that history. Even worse, Mr. Clinton actually pushed Germany into dominating Europe—the ultimate contempt for extremely recent history! (Please read my article on page 2, “Germany Rules the Balkans.”)

How utterly contemptuous Mr. Blair and Mr. Clinton have been of World War ii history that cost 50 million lives! Our nations are going to pay dearly for such dangerous contempt of history.

But the problem gets worse. Our religious leaders have forgotten our spiritual history. They don’t even know that America, Britain and the Jews in the Middle East are all a part of biblical Israel. The Israelites were the only people who ever had a history with God! (If you haven’t proved this for yourself, write for our free booklet The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

As long as we reject our history, we will never accept Bible prophecy. That means God has to punish us as never before. The instrument God will use is rising quickly in Europe (Isa. 10:5-7). The plan is about to be implemented, unless we repent.

Germany Rules the Balkans

Dramatic events in former Yugoslavia in the past decade have given unmistakable proof of this fact: A dangerously aggressive Germany is rising, and at an accelerated pace!
From the January 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

What has happened in former Yugoslavia over the past decade reaches far beyond the boundaries of that region. It is so shocking that the nations of this world would be paralyzed with fear if they truly understood! Shamefully,America is its chief architect.

What’s more, Herbert W. Armstrong prophesied of this unparalleled disaster for over 50 years.

Let’s begin our study of this nightmarish situation with a look at events in 1995.

Plan for Europe

Here is a segment of the August 11-25, 1995, issue of Intelligence Digest (emphasis mine throughout): “American generals trained and advised the recently triumphant Croatian army, and German pilots have been training the Croatian air force (UN sources at Zagreb airport say air-traffic control frequencies ‘resound to the voices of German pilots’). Yet the recent events in the former Yugoslavia, important (and dangerous) as they are, form only a small part of an overall U.S.-German plan for Europe. …

“America’s solution is to encourage and support German hegemony [domination] in both east and west Europe.

“Germany’s control of Western Europe is exercised through the European Union (EU), and American support for German dominance of the EU has been evident since at least 1990. At that time a pro-German U.S. State Department under James Baker started a whispering campaign against British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher because of her opposition to any further surrender of British sovereignty to the German-dominated EU (or European Community as it then was).

“This whispering campaign was partly responsible for Mrs. Thatcher’s ouster from … the British premiership. …

“[Washington] is following an intentional policy the purpose of which is to leave both east and west Europe under complete German domination. …

“So Germany, with the full backing of America, is to be the sole great power of Europe. …

“Washington urgently needs to think again before it is too late: Its policy for Europe is not a policy for future stability; it is the reverse.

This was a shocking revelation! American foreign policy supports German dominance in the EU. And both America and Germany supported the break-up of the Balkans. The question is, why?

For the answer, we must look a little further back into the history of this war-torn region in former Yugoslavia.

Germany’s Opening Move

In December 1991, serious events began to take shape within Germany and Eastern Europe. Germany—although strongly opposed by the European Economic Community, the U.S. and the UN—recognized the breakaway states of Croatia and Slovenia. Pope John Paul ii quickly did the same. (This was not a coincidence; the people of these two Balkan states are staunchly loyal to the Roman Catholic Church.) The European Economic Community caved and recognized the two states on January 15, 1992.

The New York Times wrote about this watershed event in a front-page article, “Moving Defiantly on Yugoslavia, Bonn Threatens Rift With Allies”: “Germany will go ahead with its plans to extend diplomatic recognition to the breakaway Yugoslav republics of Slovenia and Croatia, German officials said today, increasing prospects for a pronounced rift on the issue in the Western alliance.

“Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s spokesman, Dieter Vogel, said on Friday that the Bonn government would wait until after a meeting of European Community foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday before announcing recognition, which has been opposed by the United Nations, the United States and by the European Community. But officials made clear that Bonn’s decision would notbe affected by the outcome of Monday’s meeting” (Dec. 15, 1991).

Germany was opposed by virtually the whole world on this matter! Yet they stood firm in their decision. Why? How could a nation with Germany’s recent past attempt such a thing? It makes a lot of sense if you understand Bible prophecy about the Holy Roman Empire!

Another New York Times article, “UN Yields to Plans by Germany to Recognize Yugoslav Republics,” said, “The Security Council backed away from a confrontation with Germany over Yugoslavia today after Germany’s European allies on the council decided that they did not want a major clash with Bonn.

“The incident underscored Germany’s growing political power within the 12-nation European Community, diplomats said. Some added that it marked the single most visible demonstration of that power since reunification of the two Germanys more than a year ago [in 1990]. Moreover, in its unusual assertiveness in moving ahead with a plan to extend diplomatic recognition to the breakaway Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia, Germany has stirred troubling historical associations …. Nazi Germany dominated the two Yugoslav regions during World War ii, absorbing Slovenia into the Third Reich and creating a puppet regime in Croatia” (Dec. 16, 1991).

That is why Germany was so determined to recognize Croatia! But why would the U.S. support such a move? At first, America did not. But that quickly changed once Germany flexed its political muscle.

“Germany has long historical ties, both glorious and shameful, to Slovenia and Croatia. Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and many people there still identify with the German-speaking world. There has also been German influence in Croatia, and during World War iiCroatia was ruled by a pro-Nazi regime.

“This aspect of Croatian history, and the fact that the [late Croatian President Franjo] Tudjman government has refused to disassociate itself from the Croatian fascists who ruled the republic in the 1940s, has made European leaders unwilling to move quickly toward recognition. German public opinion is strongly pro-Croatian and anti-Serbian” (New York Times, Dec. 8, 1991).

This is a shocking article. German public opinion is strongly pro-Croatian and anti-Serbian, or in reality anti-Yugoslavian. The German people are emotionally involved with these two republics. Why? Most Americans probably were unaware of these two republics only a few years ago.

Isn’t it also disturbing that a Croatian leader (who recently died) would not disassociate himself from the Croatian fascists, or Nazis of the 1940s,yet was still a respected leader in a Roman Catholic country? If these people are good Roman Catholics, how could they honor fascism in this way? Shouldn’t this strike us as rather alarming? Croatian leaders won’t disassociate themselves from such a horrible past, yet the pope has openly recognized Croatia in its struggle for independence, despite being opposed by most of the world. Don’t these facts suggest something dangerously ominous developing?

Do you understand the importance of this history? How quickly the world has forgotten the events surrounding World War ii. How quickly the world has forgotten that Germany has historically considered it a primary duty to protect the Roman Catholic Church! During the various reigns of the Holy Roman Empire, they have felt it their duty to enforce the church’s desires—good and bad. That helps us to understand why Germany will stand up against the European Community, the United Nations, the United States and the entire world!

Something very dark and sinister is stirring in Europe. What has happened in Croatia is only a small sample of what is about to spread over the entire continent! This is the “straw that will stir the drink” to unify all of Europe. It will not be long before Europe is reunited as the Holy Roman Empire. It will be led very assertively by Germany.

Two republics now have their independence because of Germany and the pope. The whole world would have been against the independence of these two republics had not Germany and the pope spoken out in support of them! That reveals a great deal about the power Germany has today. But more importantly, it projects where Germany and the Vatican are headed in the future!

Germany forced the issue and revealed how weak America and the West really are!

Many Serbian leaders feel the driving force behind the independence of Croatia and Slovenia was the Roman Catholic Church! This is only a small part of a rising Holy Roman Empire. Germany and the Vatican were willing to offend the whole world to recognize two little Roman Catholic republics! These events show anybody willing to take note that something dreadfulis stirring in Germany and the Vatican.

For the most part, what is happening in Europe is invisible to the world. Even many political leaders in Europe will be moved with great emotion in support of European unity, not truly understanding why they are doing it.

Germany’s World Dominance

Shortly after Germany recognized the breakaway republic of Croatia, civil war broke out in Yugoslavia! Many people blame Germany for causing that civil war.

All of Europe and America were openly hostile to Germany’s action at that time, but Europe quickly caved in when Germany threatened to pull out of the European Community.

America saw the flow of events and, as usual, weakly changed its public view by submitting to Germany.

Mr. Tudjman, Croatia’s leader at that time, had publicly and repeatedly said his country was right in supporting Hitler! He was very adamant and unrepentant.

An inquiring mind might ask how Germany and the Vatican could openly and flagrantly support a Nazi-type leader, considering their own recent history. Nazi atrocities and the Vatican’s involvement in protecting and hiding Nazi leaders during and after World War ii are overwhelmingly documented!

Now they are unrepentant and headed in the same direction again. Is there a frightening spirit afoot here that we need to be very concerned about?

Sadly, a look at other facts is even more disturbing. America surrendered to Germany’s nationalistic Croatian policy. The U.S. lifted the arms ban against all of Yugoslavia. And Germany supplied modern military armaments to Croatia.

According to some reports, America signed a secret agreement to continue operating with the Croatian military. Remember, this is the same nation that we were bullied into accepting as an independent republic in 1991! Where Germany leads, we seem to follow.

America’s foreign-policy shift in 1991 enraged its traditional allies Britain, France and the Netherlands. These nations saw what Germany was doing, not only in Yugoslavia, but all over Europe. The European Community collectively had hoped to keep powerful Germany under controlwith help from the U.S.! Instead, America helped Germany enforce its will on Europe! Europeans, who are being helplessly swept along, are painfully aware that Germany has caused two world wars—in living memory—and the death of 60 million people!

Has America forgotten its loyal allies of World Wars i and ii and in 50 years of the Cold War? Germany has bullied the U.S. into nearly wrecking that alliance!

These traditional American allies know a great deal about Germany’s desire to control Europe. U.S. leaders, however, seem to be ignorant of the dangers. It seems that they learned little or nothing from World Wars i and ii.

The Serbs fought on the side of America and Britain in two world wars. In the 1990s, the Serbs were the only power to resist Germany in the Balkans. Now Germany is having its way in that part of the world. And the European Union is now openly discussing global ambitions—challenging America.

No wonder America is losing allies in Europe. Historical alliances and friends seem almost meaningless to the U.S. At the same time, America is building a Frankenstein monster that is about to turn on its creator!

America and Britain clearly do not understand history. And worse, they are totally ignorant of Bible prophecy. (Write for our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire to understand God’s shocking revelation.)

This is an amazing scenario! The most powerful foreign policy in this world comes out of Germany! At first, America was bitterly opposed to Germany’s recognizing the republic of Croatia. Then it turned around to help Germany fight for Croatia’s independence! What a pathetic turnaround.

These events set the stage for 1999’s nightmare in Kosovo.

The Beast of Revelation

The Bible shows that Satan the devil is the real power behind European unity. “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon [Satan, see Rev. 12:9] gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Rev. 13:2). Satan knows he has little time left, and he is pushing political events and leaders in order for Europe to unify quickly.

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). The devil is using human emotion to achieve his ends. Even Satan must use something to unite people. A strong religion is often his best tool. Satan can use the ideals of the Holy Roman Empire to unite Europe. Europe thinks this will be for the world’s good. The Bible says otherwise.

In 1995, Alexander Cockburn wrote in the Detroit Free Press: “When Germany led the Western powers to recognize Croatia, Slovenia and finally Bosnia at the start of the ’90s, the Serbs remembered vividly what had happened to them at the hands of the Nazi-backed puppet state of Croatia in World War ii. At least 700,000 Serbs—some say as many as 1.2 million—along with 30,000 Jews, were slaughtered by Croats in the Jasenovac concentration camp.

“The Croat lobby in the United States has displayed eel-like slipperiness when pressed about the fascist predilections of Croat leader Franjo Tudjman. Inquiries into his character and intentions are very much to the point: Tudjman has written books of spine-chilling anti-Semitism and apologetics for mass extermination.

“This is the man pampered by the West, even as he drives toward a greater Croatia built in the image of Ante Pavelic’s Croatian Republic of the 1940s” (Aug. 24, 1995).

That reminds me of the years leading up to World War ii, after Hitler had already written his hateful diatribe, Mein Kampf. Yet Neville Chamberlain and other weak leaders were actually cozying up to and pampering this man who would head the Nazi war machine.

Doting on Her Lovers

In Ezekiel 23:12, God condemns Israel—primarily America and Britain—for doting on the Assyrians, or Germans. Verse 17 says the mind of Israel is “alienated” from the Chaldeans, or the German-led Holy Roman Empire. The recent history of the two world wars show you our minds are indeed “alienated” from Germany. God condemns Israel for making the Germans our lovers and not trusting Him. Unless we wake up, the Holy Roman Empire will betray us and fight against us! Then we shall know very deeply what God thinks about our “lovers”!

After an open-skies treaty, the Germans are now making surveillance flights over the United States. Also, all of our nuclear weaponry is now controlled from Washington d.c. There are no more submarines with independent authority to launch nuclear missiles. America and Britain are becoming dangerously vulnerable to their lovers, who will soon betray them!

“And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours …. Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted” (Ezek. 23:5, 9). This is a specific prophecy aimed at Israel—the American and British peoples in this end time! “And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall bear the sins of your idols: and ye shall know that I am the Lord God” (v. 49).

In spite of this colossal tragedy, there is still good news. This towering crisis will bring our nations to repentance. Then they will really get to know the great God! Most of our peoples only think they know God today. What a shame that it takes such a terrifying crisis to awaken our peoples. But it doesn’t have to be that way, if they would heed this message.

The Power of Religion

As the global political landscape continues to quake in the midst of its current great transition, religion is emerging as a powerful force to be reckoned with.
From the December 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

“No divisions among men … are as unbridgeable as the chasm between the faithful and those they call infidels, between Jew and gentile, or Christian and pagan” (The Great Ideas—A Syntopicon of Great Books of the Western World, vol. ii).

Religion is highlighted as one of the great ideas of man, as perceived by the editors of The Great Ideas series of classics, Mortimer J. Adler and William Gorman. Yet, as they admit in the above statement, of all the ideas that man has generated in the evolution of civilization, religion is the most divisive.

In Western society, religion, which underpinned the development of its civilization for millennia, became increasingly unfashionable during the 20th century. Godless Marxist-Leninist thought swept like a huge wave over Anglo-American educational institutions, particularly in Britain, where church buildings by the score started to close down and convert into bingo parlors. Many students of the day began to quote Karl Marx’s dictum: “Religion … is the opium of the people.” The church went into general decline. Where it did remain fashionable, such as in the southern U.S., religion took on a corporate, commercialist flavor with the rise of the televangelists.

As time went on, liberalism penetrated the Roman Catholic Church, particularly in Latin America. It seemed that the seeds of German rationalism sown in the 19th century had germinated and, following the two great world wars, were producing a great harvest of skepticism, materializing into agnosticism and culminating, during the mid-20th century, in an outright rejection of religion in many circles.

“God is dead,” had declared Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th-century German philosopher. This became the campus catchcry of many a student from that time up to the 1970s. This pervasive, evolutionary godlessness produced fertile ground for the spread of communism, socialism and left-wing thought in the halls of academia, within the Anglo-American sphere in particular.

Religion often thrives in a time of great social, economic and political disruption. Such disruption occurred at the transition into the final decade of the 20th century.

Religion on the Rise

In the late 1970s the decline of religion was suddenly reversed. Islam, Christianity (Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism) commenced a resurgence that has continued to this day, and has accelerated, in particular, since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Many reasons have been advanced for this wave of religiosity sweeping the world. But one overwhelming factor contributed to it: the grand failure of secular atheism foisted onto the 20th century by 19th-century modernists who sought to accommodate religion to contemporary thought. As Samuel Huntington, one of the West’s most eminent political scientists, put it, “The most obvious, most salient, and most powerful cause of the global religious resurgence is precisely what was supposed to cause the death of religion: the processes of social, economic and cultural modernization that swept across the world in the second half of the 20th century” (The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order).

The assumption that intellectual elites made during the 19th and 20th centuries was that what they perceived as the rituals, superstitions, myths and the irrational practices of religion would be overridden, in time, by rationalism, pragmatism and scientific method. Their thought was that, in time, a society would arise which, as a result of their theories, would be tolerant, rational, pragmatic, progressive, humanistic and secular.

They were wrong. As globalism spread economically, industrially, corporately and socially, a strange thing happened: Religion commenced a global revival. The same technologies that accelerated economic, corporate and social globalism worked universally to spread the message of the more powerful religions, in particular Islam and Roman Catholicism.

Author Gilles Kepel observed, “A new religious approach took shape, aimed no longer at adapting to secular values but at recovering a sacred foundation for the organization of society—by changing society if necessary. Expressed in a multitude of ways, this approach advocated moving on from a modernism that had failed, attributing its setbacks and dead ends to separation from God” (Revenge of God).

Roman Catholicism’s revival into a mighty religio-political force was triggered by the ascent to the papal throne of perhaps its most political of all popes, John Paul ii, in 1978. He powerfully boosted the cause with his timely appeal to Eastern European nations to “return to your [Catholic] roots,” launching what Kepel called “a second evangelization of Europe” at the time of Soviet disintegration.

The hibernating power of Islam was unleashed by the rise of fundamentalist ayatollahs and imams (religious leaders), aided by the polarizing factor of the Palestinian cause, and helped in no small way by the collapse of Soviet rule in its western satellite states. Though the ayatollahs and imams taught differing versions of Islam throughout the Muslim nations, one message rang shrilly through their sermons. Rather than heed the goading of the West to modernize Islam from its many practices rooted in the Middle Ages (the time of its birth under its prophet, Muhammad), their call was to “Islamize modernity”—in a sense, a collective Muslim call to return to their roots.

Another religion given a boost back into prominence by the Soviet Union’s implosion was that of orthodoxy. The Russian, Eastern and Southeastern Orthodox churches, which split from Rome in the 12th century, went into decline for over 70 years under the Soviet Communist regime, as did Russian Jewry. Yet, within five years of the lifting of the Soviet boot off their neck, total active churches in Moscow alone grew from 50 in 1988 to 250 in 1993. By 1994, 30 percent of Russians under 25 years of age declared that they had swung from atheism to belief in God.

Meanwhile, at the same time that the Slavic nations were witnessing religious revival, Central Asia saw the crescent of Islamic resurgence sweep across that Third World region. At the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, preceding the Soviet implosion, only one Islamic seminary and 160 functioning mosques were evident in Central Asia. Just four years later there were about 10,000 mosques and ten seminaries.

Religion, Politics and War

The most articulate historians, political scientists and analysts of current events are tending to agree on one significant phenomenon: During the current decade, most particularly this past year, we moved into unprecedented times. Never in history is there a precedent to match that of a nation of such overwhelming economic and military power as the United States being held to ransom, psychologically, by so few. Over the past ten years, weak, Third World countries such as Rwanda and Somalia have beaten off the power of the U.S. militarily. Two men in a rubber boat have immobilized a U.S. warship in broad daylight. Most recently, 19 men with a few flimsy pieces of steel in their possession changed the whole psychology of America in a matter of moments.

Religion, politics and war are indivisible in the minds of the extremists who populate the front-line shock troops of terrorist organizations. Be it the Irish Republican Army (ira), the Tamil Tigers, Hamas or Al-Qaeda, all use terror in the name of religion to pursue national or international political power.

Take al-Qaeda for instance. They see their mission as an international revolution to bring about a global government under Islamic rule. They call it the Khalifa, and its strength is gained via a new universal creed that fuses Leninist revolutionary tenets with the religion of Islam.

What is intriguing is that many of al-Qaeda’s operatives gained their education on the liberal-socialist campuses of the universities of the West. With middle-class backgrounds, these university-educated converts to militant Islam are the new wave of youthful, bored offspring of a generation which has matured within or under the structure of soft, corrupt elites. Ripe for the plucking, just as the turned-off Western youth of the 1960s and ’70s were to their Marxist-Leninist revolutionary mentors, these young people have been easy meat for brainwashing by fundamentalist mullahs intent on jihad against the West. Nurtured by the widespread Islamic resentment of the power and prosperity of the West, they rationalize the miserable political, social and economic record of Islamic countries by swallowing the neo-Marxist theories that explain Third World poverty as being the result of exploitation by the West.

The worrying thing is the level of popular support which their murderous actions have garnered, courtesy of their religious teachers. “All the perpetrators [of the September 11 attacks] believed themselves to be pious Muslims fighting in a holy war and headed directly to Paradise; they were given support in this belief by some Muslim clerics; a significant section of Islamic opinion has applauded what they did …” (National Review, Nov. 5).

One nation stands out, in particular, as employing a fusion of religion and politics to wage terrorist warfare on Western civilization: Iran.

Iran’s chief long-term foreign-policy goals are the eviction of the U.S. from the Persian Gulf and the marginalization, if not the obliteration, of Israel. Given that Israel and U.S. firepower greatly exceeds that of Iran, the Tehran administration has opted for terrorism as its weapon of choice.

It was religion in politics that created the terrorist group Hezbollah. Not long after their rise to power, Iran’s ayatollahs created Hezbollah as an instrument of terrorist warfare to menace Israel and to force the U.S. out of Lebanon. To say they enjoyed spectacular success in this effort is an understatement. By bombing the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon, Hezbollah put the world’s most powerful nation on the run. The U.S. military simply packed up and withdrew. Ultimately, Israel also abandoned Lebanon.

Cleverly, the ayatollahs have nurtured terrorist cells in the gulf states and directed them against U.S. targets. The slaughter of 19 U.S. airmen at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia demonstrated how Tehran could avoid the inference of direct involvement by having the act carried out in another country. As one astute commentator has noted, “We should be under no illusions: Despite the fractious nature of Iran’s politics, its foreign-policy machinery is highly centralized, and all key decisions—including the selection of terrorist targets—are approved by the spiritual leader (currently Khamenei). This terrorism is not a rogue operation; it serves national-security interests and represents a cool, calculated state decision” (ibid.; emphasis mine).

But Iran is not alone in fusing religion, politics and war into an instrument of foreign policy.

A Case Study

The past decade witnessed a classic case study of the power of religion in politics within Europe.

As this magazine has consistently pointed out, the very first foreign-policy initiative enacted by the newly united Germany in 1991 was to recognize, against all global opinion, the Balkan countries of Slovenia and Croatia as nation-states separate from the Republic of Yugoslavia. This commenced the breakup of Yugoslavia, finally completed by the middle of this year with the imposition of an externally administered security force to maintain stability in Macedonia.

What is not generally highlighted in this scenario is the power and influence of Catholic Germany, under Vatican guidance, in the whole affair.

“The response of the West was defined by Germany, and the response of Germany was in large part defined by the Catholic connection. The Bonn government came under pressure to act from the German Catholic hierarchy, its coalition partner the Christian Social Union party in Bavaria” (Huntington, op. cit.).

As author Samuel Huntington observes, the Bavarian media were heavily leaned upon by the “strong, assertive Bavarian Catholic Church which had close connections with the Church in Croatia ….” This led to a very one-sided approach in television coverage of the war with the Serbs.

The German administration readily embraced former Nazi-sympathizer Franjo Tudjman as Croatia’s leader, considering him “something of a German foreign-policy protégé,” as one German scholar observed in 1995.

The Vatican laid its political cards clearly on the deck, with Pope John Paul declaring Croatia to be the “rampart of [Western] Christianity,” preceding the Catholic-dominated EU in extending diplomatic recognition to Slovenia and Croatia. In a public ceremony in Zagreb that would have been unthinkable half a century ago, the pope seemingly endorsed the murky World War ii politics of the Vatican by honoring Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, an associate of the fascist Croatian regime which persecuted and murdered Serbs, gypsies and Jews during the war.

Make no mistake about it: Ethnic and religious roots run deep—very deep. This is particularly the case when it comes to conflict between Muslims, Christians and Jews.

Revival in the Balkans

The power of religion, forced underground during the Cold War period, in the Soviet-dominated territories, has undergone a dramatic resurrection since the Soviet collapse. It has quickly penetrated the heart of politics. Witness the effect east of the Balkans: “The Yugoslav wars also produced a virtually unanimous rallying of the Orthodox world behind Serbia. Russian nationalists, military officers, parliamentarians and Orthodox Church leaders were outspoken in their support for Serbia, their disparaging of the Bosnian ‘Turks,’ and their criticism of Western and nato imperialism” (Huntington, op. cit.).

In the Islamic Balkan country of Bosnia, the resurrection of religious identity in politics has become very evident since the Balkan breakup. The Balkan Peninsula is replete with a cross-section of multiple identities in its population mix. But as Mr. Huntington eloquently points out in his masterful study of the current conflict of civilizations, during war multiple identities fade. The identity which is central to the conflict becomes dominant. Almost always that identity is defined by religion. “Psychologically, religion provides the most reassuring and supportive justification for struggle against ‘godless’ forces which are seen as threatening” (ibid.).

Communal identities in Bosnia had not been very strong, historically. Muslims, Croats and Serbs lived together in peace, and inter-faith marriages were quite common. Religious identifications prior to the Balkan wars were weak. However, as soon as the Vatican-German initiative began to split the Balkan Peninsula politically, the broader Yugoslav identity collapsed. Religion took on a renewed significance, particularly as fighting intensified in the resultant wars. Each group, Muslim, Croat and Serb, began to identify with its own cultural and ethnic community, defining itself in religious terms.

When the shakeout occurred in Bosnia, it was the Muslims, though not in the majority, who rose to the surface under the devout Islamic leader Izetbegovic. The pressure of Muslim domination led to the flight of Bosnian Serbs and Croats to more friendly territory. Those who remained found themselves largely disenfranchised from employment in the new Islamic state. “Islam gained greater importance within the Muslim national community, and … a strong Muslim national identity became a part of politics and religion” (ibid.).

As Huntington declares, Bosnia was transformed, by the conjoining of religion, race and politics, from being the Switzerland of the Balkans to becoming the Iran of the Balkans.

The recent history of the Balkan Peninsula is a dramatic example of the power of religion, fused with politics, spiced with race (ethnicity), under the pressure of war, to change the whole face of nations.

A Religious War?

Many world leaders have gone out of their way to try and sway global opinion to their claim that the terrorist war declared on the U.S. and the West is not a religious war. But if this be the case, why are they trying so hard to convince us? Perhaps there is more to this than meets the electronic eye of TV. It is time we faced the facts that fly in the face of the pope’s declaration that “religion must never be used as a reason for conflict” (Agence France Presse, Sept. 23), the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement that the war against terrorism is an “issue of justice” and not a confrontation between Christianity and Islam (Daily Telegraph, Nov. 3), the leaders of the ten asean countries’ endorsement of a declaration at their recent conference “rejecting an attempt to link terrorism with any religion or race” (Malaysian News Agency, Nov. 4), and the statements of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George Bush maintaining that the war against terror is not a war on Islam.

Islamic author Salman Rushdie bluntly declared in a November 3 Guardian article, “Let’s start calling a spade a spade. Of course this is ‘about Islam.’” Rushdie highlighted a fact that the Bush and Blair spin has tried to play down, that there have been “worldwide demonstrations in support of Osama bin Laden ….”

What Salman Rushdie says is right: This is a religious war! It has been declared, loud and strong, by one of its principle antagonists as such. In a videotaped message aired over Arabian television stations, Osama bin Laden said, “This war is primarily a religious war.” Appealing to Muslims worldwide, he said, “Rise in support of your religion. Islam is calling you” (Toronto Star, Nov. 4). This is the opposite message to the one President Bush is seeking to put across to those Muslim states he hopes to retain in the coalition against terrorism.

Salman Rushdie argued that “paranoid Islam” is the fastest-growing religion in the world today. He rightly maintained that to a vast number of Muslims, Islam stands “not only for the fear of God—the fear more than the love, one suspects—but also for a cluster of customs, opinions and prejudices that include their dietary practices, the sequestration or near-sequestration of ‘their’ women, the sermons delivered by their mullah of choice, a loathing of modern society in general, riddled as it is with [perverted] music, godlessness and sex …” (op. cit., Guardian).

Herein lies the problem for Anglo-America. While in the general sense it may be true to say that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacks against all humanity and even civilization itself, as many have claimed, there is no doubt that the U.S. was singled out by representatives of Islam as the specific target.

Generalizing the target of these attacks, in the way that so many have, as being “Western civilization,” or “humanity,” or “the social order,” trivializes the extent to which sheer blind hatred of America is a real part of the equation.

The United States is a nation hated both for its successes and its excesses, and those who least understand this are U.S. citizens themselves. They have no mind to comprehend it. There is a false morality pervading the whole of American society which is embodied in the U.S. president’s statement in a recent speech: “I’m amazed that people would hate us …. I am like most Americans—I just can’t believe it, because I know how good we are.”

Is American society indeed “good”? Are American citizens on the whole “good”? Is American culture “good”? Is American music “good”? Is the output that the American entertainment industry, which reaps multiple billions in profit each year, exports to the world “good”?

What about its legal system? Is the American judiciary wholly just, or is it downright corrupt, open to the influence of financial incentive to win a case, despite the facts, despite the truth? Is not America one of the largest illegal drug-using cultures in the world? Are not its divorce, teenage pregnancy, sexual deviancy, homicide, rape, theft, arson, embezzlement and general crime statistics a great blot on its national character? Where is this goodness in the great United States today?

To be sure, the nation was founded on the best of human intentions and the best of constitutional principles: “one nation under God.” But that was over 200 years ago. American society today is a far cry from the American society of its Founding Fathers. In fact, an apt description of the state of America today is found in the prophecy of Hosea.

“Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood” (Hos. 4:1-2).

Simply put, Islam has a case. Even Hashemi Rafsanjani, former leader of Iran, had a point when he railed against the U.S. for “exporting perversion in the guise of entertainment all over the world.”

But does this justify the murderous terror tactics of extremist Muslims against the U.S.? Does this justify jihad? It seems so to the fundamentalist Muslims. For theirs is an intolerant religion that labels all unbelievers as infidels and has a history of converting people by force. Islam’s history is a history of war! It is not a pretty picture. Its history is anything but a history of peace!

Drugs, Guns and Religion

The terrorist cells of the world are drawn together by a web of religious intrigue woven through the drug- and gun-running cartels of the underground. Stretching from Albania to Algeria, Berlin to Bogotá, from Beijing to Bazra, the drug- and gun-running merchants peddle their wares for profit. In the process, the supply lines of armaments to the czars of terror remain open, oiled by huge profits from illegal drugs.

Paradoxically, one of the larger suppliers of heroin to the Western markets is the Northern Alliance of Afghanistan, ostensibly an ally of the West in the Afghan conflict. But then again, we should remember that the Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (kla), ally of the West in the conflict against Serbia, had as one of its chief goals in the Kosovo campaign the seizure and control of the drug- and gun-running corridor which runs from Mitteleuropa via the Balkans clear down to Colombia and points beyond.

It takes a lot of money to run a war. The ira-Sinn Fein alliance found this out quite early and have since largely funded their wicked enterprise through drug-running. Members of the provisional ira turned up recently in Colombia, a chief supplier to the illicit-drug market via its own terrorist cells.

Small wonder, then, that reports should start to emerge linking the ira, its offshoot the Real ira, the Basque terrorist group eta and al-Qaeda. The revered, Islamically religious bin Laden is known to control huge quantities of raw heroin and opium. It is reported that the Real ira has been laundering cash processed via bin Laden’s drug deals. The laundered cash then goes to purchase guns, bombs and other weaponry for use in the “holy” war.

“The overnight rise of heroin trafficking through Kosovo—now the most important Balkan route between Southeast Asia and Europe after Turkey—helped also to fund terrorist activity directly associated with al-Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Opium poppies, which barely existed in the Balkans before 1995, have become the number-one drug cultivated in the Balkans after marijuana” (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 1).

This illegal drugs trade, lubricating the passage of illicit arms from as far afield as Iran, China and Russia, is flourishing under the ever-widening religious umbrella of Wahhabi Islam—the puritanical brand of the Muslim religion endorsed by bin Laden, fast becoming the dominant variety of Islam in the Balkan Peninsula.

Even in the Balkans, the seeds are being sown for the fulfillment of a dramatic biblical prophecy: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Dan. 11:40). Students of biblical prophecy are aware that this “king of the south” is a powerful leader of the Islamic nations. The king of the north refers to a final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire, even now in the advanced stages of reforming in Europe.

In the not-too-distant future, this European empire will feel the heat of Islam at its southern doors and will move in blitzkrieg fashion, “like a whirlwind,” to overthrow the Muslim nations. That will be some holy war!

But just as we see the drug- and gun-running activities of these nations being exploited in the interests of Islamic fundamentalist terror, it has its parallel in the Christian world.

In a clear breach of the arms embargo slapped on all former Yugoslav republics in 1991, under the eye of the Vatican, Catholic countries such as Germany, Poland, Hungary, Panama, Chile and Bolivia channeled arms into Croatia to give it the edge in the northern Balkan wars.

As the war heated up, Croatia gathered extra military strength from arms exported from Catholic Spain, that old haven of neo-Nazism, ostensibly in a scheme largely controlled by Opus Dei, the secretive and extremist right-wing Roman Catholic organization. (Opus Dei’s modus operandi in Europe is to seek placement of its members in positions of political power so they can progress the papal agenda for a united Catholic Europe.) These armaments were quickly dispersed not only to the Croatian Defense Forces but to the many Catholic volunteers who rallied to the Croatian cause.

“The Croatian Defense Forces were joined by hundreds and perhaps thousands of volunteers ‘from Western Europe’ who were eager to fight in ‘a Christian crusade against both Serbian communism and Islamic fundamentalism’” (Huntington, op. cit.).

In the meantime, the Orthodox Church went to work to rally its troops behind Orthodox Serbia. Volunteers from Russia, Romania and Greece flocked to join their fellows of the Orthodox faith to fight what they declared were “Catholic fascists” and “Islamic militants.” As with the Catholics and Croatia, the Orthodox friends of Serbia ignored the arms embargo and opened up corridors of supply to send arms shipments to Serbia.

Romania, Bulgaria and the Ukraine were prime sources of supply. The Russians also artfully diverted UN supplies to the Serbs. Russian mafiosi aided with the drug deals to help finance the Orthodox war.

Drugs, guns and religion—the three combine to prosecute and perpetrate the ethnic, religious and terrorist aims of religio-political power groups globally.

Jihad and Crusade

President Bush was roundly condemned for his slip in using the word “crusade” to describe the West’s approach to the war on terrorism.

This war is not, and will not turn into, a “crusade” by Anglo-America against Islam. Anglo-America does not have the heart, the morale, the backbone or the will to crusade for any good that might remain in its decaying culture.

Millions of Muslims live in Anglo-American countries and practice their religion freely, even engaging in aggressive on-campus evangelizing at Western universities. Yet it was evangelizing for their brand of Christianity, not peddling pornography, that drafted Americans onto death row in Afghanistan.

Western democracies’ tolerance of Muslims is hardly reciprocated in Muslim nations. In reaction to this situation, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared, “We should be confident of the superiority of our civilization, which … guarantees respect for human rights and religion. This respect certainly does not exist in Islamic countries” (National Review, Nov. 5).

Parroting the pope’s own words, Berlusconi urged Europe to “reconstitute itself on the basis of its Christian [Catholic] roots.”

This response by the prime minister of a Catholic country, within which is domiciled the papal state that rules 1 billion Catholics, shows the clear division between the sides in this war. The initial attacks have been deliberately aimed at the U.S., but Bible prophecy indicates that they will broaden into a far wider theater.

Berlusconi’s reconstructed Europe, based on its traditional Catholic roots, is emerging rapidly. The push by Islam across European frontiers will only accelerate this trend. As European Commission President Romano Prodi mused, “These events have happened at a crucial point in the building of Europe. … The current crisis favors integration by highlighting the need for more intense action. The events of September 11 oblige us to act resolutely and rapidly …” (Daily Telegraph, Oct. 12).

A formidable force is gathering to the north. An ancient crusading empire is rising steadily to power into a position of global dominance economically, militarily and religiously. This power will not draw back as America has when it is challenged to jihad by the collective force of the Muslim nations in the future. That prophesied push by the king of the south will attract a retaliatory crusade that will thrust all previous crusades by the Holy Roman Empire into pallid insignificance.

And it will all consummate in Jerusalem—that troubled, strife-torn city over which Muslim, Orthodox, Christian and Jew have fought for so long.

As our editor in chief has written, “We can see that religion is shaping both the king of the south and the king of the north. …

“These prophecies are exploding on the world scene right now at a dizzying pace. This world is about to be plunged into its greatest suffering ever! … It will all begin in the Middle East. Still, there is great hope” (The King of the South).

In 1994, Pope John Paul ii expressed the hope that at the dawn of the 21st century, “Jerusalem will become the city of peace for the entire world and that all the people will be able to meet there, in particular the believers in the religions that find their birthright in the faith of Abraham” (Parade, April 3, 1994).

Gerald Flurry commented in The King of the South on that statement by the pontiff: “The pope was very accurate in this statement: ‘Jerusalem willbecome the city of peace for the entire world,’ but not the way he believes. … The Bible says we are about to see a religious clash that will stagger this world! This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. … Jesus Christ will be here in the very near future. And He will bring peace to the entire world! … What a glorious future man has. And all of that glory is going to emanate from Jerusalem!”

March Toward Armageddon

March Toward Armageddon

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

FORMIDABLE FOE Soon the most powerful, numerous army ever assembled will make its way to the battle that will determine rulership of the world. What is the status of this huge alliance right now?
From the January 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

It accounts for over 60 percent of the world’s population and roughly 25 percent of its land mass—containing four of the top ten largest countries and seven of the top ten most populous countries. For all the physical space it takes up and the people it includes, could the Asian continent be ignored in Bible prophecy?

Thankfully, it is not. For perhaps nowhere else in the world is there as much uncertainty about the future than in Asia. Prophetic Bible guidance is desperately needed to know what lies ahead for this region and its peoples.

A Disoriented Continent

“Asia is the cauldron of civilizations,” Samuel P. Huntington wrote in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Culturally, Asia can be broken down into seven civilizations: Orthodox, Sinic, Buddhist, Japanese, Hindu, Muslim and Western.

“East Asia includes one stable democracy, several new and unstable democracies, four of the five communist dictatorships remaining in the world, plus military governments, personal dictatorships, and one-party-dominant authoritarian systems”(ibid.). “The seeds for conflict among [Asian] states are plentiful in East Asia,” particularly the two Koreas and the “two Chinas” (China and Taiwan), according to Huntington.

China brings up a plethora of issues: its relations with Taiwan; its historic rivalry with Japan; the potential of an enemy in India; its claim to Tibet and Mongolia possibly resurfacing; its dispute over the Senkaku Islands (southwest of Okinawa) with Japan and Taiwan. Then there is the complex dispute over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea with Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. And while China occupies the Paracel Islands in the same vicinity, Vietnam and Taiwan also claim them.

Boundary issues are tender at the moment between nations of the Indochinese area (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam). India, in addition to the natural disasters it has had to put up with over the past couple of years, is facing several border disputes with Bangladesh and, more notably, Pakistan.

Japan turned a lot of heads among its Asian neighbors in the latter half of 2001—from the prime minister’s controversial August visit to a war shrine considered to be the symbol of Japanese right-wing militarism, to its refusal to change history books which currently gloss over atrocities of the Second World War. Then there is Japan’s recent decision to send its military westward to assist its American ally in the war against terrorism—an unconstitutional first for the country’s military since World War ii.

Domestic disputes also rock the region—from a fractious Indonesia to Maoist uprisings and a troubled monarchy in Nepal.

Then there is Russia: One of the world’s largest countries, it sits astride two continents—the Ural Mountains dividing its European portion, where Moscow resides, and its vast Asian portion to the east. The great Bear has always vacillated politically between the West and the East. It currently seeks to strengthen its strategic partnership with the European Union. Yet, because of its loss of European satellites at the end of the Cold War, it still has found greater friendship in the East. In Asia, however, Russia has transnational issues to deal with, particularly a dispute with Japan (with whom it has never formalized relations since World War ii) over the Kuril Islands.

This current situation in Asia sets the stage for us to understand what the Word of God predicts will become of this region toward the end of this last hour. The Bible is boldly specific about where Russia and the other Asian countries will stand in end-time events.

Asia in Prophecy

According to the Bible, Asia eventually will unite into one massive power bloc. And despite the marginal disputes that pepper the region with unease, many current events now point to the future alignment of these large, populous countries.

Even if you are not fully schooled in the ins and outs of Bible prophecy, you have probably heard the most popular word in prophecy: Armageddon. It appears only once in the Bible—Revelation 16:16: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

Just prior to its mention is this account: “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared” (v. 12).

Armageddon is a gathering place for man’s armies, one of which is described as the “kings of the east.” Who are these kings of the east?

Ezekiel 38 specifically names the players of this alliance of nations. “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal …” (v. 2).

The term “chief prince” is more appropriately translated the “prince of the chief” or the “prince of Rosh.” In the original Hebrew, Rosh is intended to be a proper name and refers to the leader of the white Russians. Meshech and Tubal are the modern cities of Moscow and Tobolsk in Russia.

About Gog, apparently a tribal subdivision of Magog, students of prophecy generally agree that it refers to the vast regions of northern Eurasia extending from the Baltic to the Pacific.

The descendants of Magog, in addition to dwelling in the northern countries, also came to settle in the eastern parts of the continent and some dwell “[confidently] in the isles” (Ezek. 39:2, 6—the Bible gives directions as they relate to Palestine). Magog, therefore, refers to Mongolia, China, Korea, Japan and other islands of the Pacific.

These countries, along with Russia, are the main players of the Asian combine. Other countries will be “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet” (v. 5). Ethiopia and Libya should be translated Cush and Phut. Though some of Cush and Phut migrated to African nations, some of these settled in parts of India and Pakistan. Though Persia would seem to indicate Iran’s membership in this alliance, this Islamic country will lead a different biblically prophesied power bloc—the king of the south. Persians were also known to settle in India, which this verse is likely referring to. “They are among the wealthiest class in India, where they are called ‘Parsees’” (Plain Truth, July 1957). So we have Russia, China, Korea, Japan and now the Indian subcontinent—some of the most populous areas in the world!

Also, there is “Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee” (v. 6). Gomer’s descendants settled in southeast Asia—the Indochinese peninsula and the southern archipelagos of the region. “Togarmah of the north quarters” includes the Siberian Russians and the people of Tibet.

Put these peoples together, and a remarkable, almost incomprehensible prophecy regarding this power bloc begins to seem less unlikely: that the army of this alliance of nations will amount to 200 million men! “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them”(Rev. 9:16).

Consider it: All the citizens of these countries right now account for over half of the world’s population!

Sequence of World War III

Identifying these nations is not enough, however, to grasp what lies ahead for Asia. Neither does the Bible stop here at revealing things about this alliance.

We must backtrack from the time of “Armageddon” to the events leading up to it. The outline of these events is given at the end of Daniel 11.

Daniel 11:40 describes the conflict that starts it all—between the “king of the south” and the “king of the north”: the Muslim-Arab confederacy of nations and a united Europe. This conflict begins a war that will last 31/2 years (Dan. 12:7; Rev. 11:2). It is critical to understand this time sequence, as it tells us when the kings of the east come into play.

After completely overcoming the king of the south, the European powers will march into “the glorious land” or Israel (Dan. 11:41-43). This time of suffering lasts 21/2 years, until God sends what are known as His trumpet plagues upon the Earth—a period called the “day of the Lord” in many Bible passages (a “day” indicating a full year of God’s wrath—the final year of this 31⁄2-year period).

The first four of these trumpet plagues are supernatural in design. The fifth trumpet, however, involves another military clash.

Daniel 11:44 foretells of this clash: “But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.” The king of the north is troubled by news reports or rumors from the east and north—those countries to comprise the Asian hordes! For 21⁄2 years-plus, this king of the north will have enjoyed unchecked dominance of the West and Middle East—that is, until Asia unifies into one bloc to offset the European empire.

Out of fear, the king of the north will make a preemptive strike against the Asians. This strike deals death to millions. But it will be followed by an Asian counterstrike where the king of the north “shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Dan. 11:45). The European power bloc will be utterly overwhelmed by the massive Eurasian force. This battle is described as the sixth trumpet (Rev. 9:13-19). The casualties from this battle amount to a “third part of men” (vv. 15, 18).

The Bible is not scarce on details about the fall of Babylon (another term for the king of the north) at the hands of the Asians: Jeremiah 50-51, Isaiah 13 and Revelation 18 describe these events in graphic detail. The book of Nahum is devoted to the punishment that Germany (Europe’s leading nation) will receive from these Asian armies (write for our free booklet on Nahum).

“Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not show mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon” (Jer. 50:41-42). The Eurasian hordes “spare no arrows” (v. 14) and do unto Babylon as they did to others (v. 15), rewarding it double according to its works (Rev. 18:5-6).

The biblical narrative now comes to the infamous march to Armageddon. But before we get to this, let us analyze the current setting of Asia in light of these prophecies.

How This Is Developing Now

Yes, we know what is ahead for Asia in the next world war. But what about the more immediate future? Are there any signs that such a powerful unification could occur?If so, then we can know that Armageddon is near!

Imagine, if you can, the geopolitical situation created by the events of Daniel 11:40-43. At that point in prophecy, the “West” really will only comprise Europe. The U.S. and Britain will be completely out of the picture. Imagine an Asia with no American presence. Asia is already on its way to complete self-reliance economically and militarily.

What is most remarkable about this global situation is that the next world war is essentially a war between religions—Islam in the south and Catholicism in the north.This is important to consider as we understand Asia’s participation. This crusade of all crusades will capture the attention of Asia and its various religions, as the “Holy” Roman Empire conquers Islam.

Religious Unification in Asia?

Since the Bible foretells Asia will unite, what could unite such a region? Throughout the 20th century it appeared it would be communism. But a decade of perspective since the Cold War’s end should show that this ideology, in addition to having failed the East, would still not have been enough to unite several key countries into this coalition—though communism may be represented within it. But if we look at current trends in Asia in light of what the Bible reveals, some strong indications of uniting factors can be seen.

Will it be religion? This would seem impossible, because there is no one religion to champion, as in Europe and the Middle East. But one religion may not be necessary.

Religion has seen an increase within formerly communist states since the end of the Cold War. Orthodoxy has had a major resurgence in Russia. This cannot be ignored, because, as Huntington writes, “The Orthodox countries of the former Soviet Union are central to the development of a coherent Russian bloc in Eurasian and world affairs” (op. cit.; emphasis mine throughout).

Orthodoxy is likely what will rally to their mother the Russian satellites: those peoples of the world identified in the Bible as Elam (today inhabiting areas from the Adriatic to the Baltic seas) and Madai or Media (inhabiting Ukraine and surrounding areas). Both Elam and Media are mentioned as part of the armies that will be used to punish Babylon (Isa. 21:2, 9; Jer. 51:11, 28), indicating that Ukraine, at least the eastern and Orthodox half, will ultimately reunite with mother Russia. Huntington comments, “The Russian-Ukranian relationship is … the core essential to unity in the Orthodox world.”

Religion is also growing in influence in East Asia. Lee Kuan Yew, who led Singapore to independence and reigned as the first prime minister until 1990, explained, “If you look at the fast-growing countries—Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore—there’s been one remarkable phenomenon: the rise of religion” (ibid.).

“Singaporean leaders trumpeted the rise of Asia in relation to the West and contrasted the virtues of Asian, basically Confucian, culture responsible for this success—order, discipline, family responsibility, hard work, collectivism … —to the self-indulgence, sloth, individualism … responsible for the decline of the West” (ibid.).

The bottom line is, a single, overarching religion that binds all of Asia together will almost certainly never come into being. But religion may unite smaller, otherwise disparate units within the larger whole.

Consider, also, a quality of these East Asian religions that may smooth the unification process: East Asians put a great deal of cultural emphasis on collectivism over individualism.

And, despite many differences among countries, what the Asian nations have in common, in addition to collectivism, is an emphasis on non-Westernism.

Anti-Western Unification?

Asia’s embracing of things Asian because they are non-Western could be the common ground its countries find when threatened by a “Christian”-run Western behemoth. It is possible that the one unifying factor that all of Asia will see, from Orthodoxy to Confucianism to Hinduism, will be an anti-Western, anti-Christian movement, especially at a time when a dominant Catholic regime has just conquered a massive Islamic movement.

Coalitions have formed for much less. For example, what unites the coalition fighting the current war on terrorism? What do any of these nations have in common other than being against terrorism? All the religions of Asia would have as a common enemy the European “Christian” union.

Huntington states that nations will “bandwagon” with other nations based on the context of the world situation. “A younger boy will bandwagon with his older brother when they confront other boys; he is less likely to trust his older brother when they are alone at home” (p. 233). Despite conflicts of interest between Asian states, a common foe would undoubtedly unite them.

This was not out of the question a few years ago, when nato involvement in Yugoslavia caused Russia, China and India to consider a tripartite axis to balance what appeared to be an emerging unipolar world. How will Asia react when the world is more blatantly unipolar during a nuclear World War iii?

In the context of this anti-Christian sentiment, consider also the percentage of Asians who subscribe to Islam. Much of the Indian subcontinent adheres to it. It is popular among the Asian satellites of Russia. Then there is Islam’s most populous country: Indonesia.

Might a Catholic victory in the Mideast cause Indonesia and other Muslims of the Orient to unite with their Asian brothers to strike back at those who defeated the Muslims to their west?

Economic Self-Reliance

A good example of how Asia is becoming less “Western” is in the economic arena. Asians see the West not as the model for economic development but as a competitor. They see themselves eventually surpassing the West economically. And with good reason.

The economic development of East Asia has been an outstanding phenomenon, starting in Japan, then moving into Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, and finally China—which officially entered the World Trade Organization on December 11, 2001. Also India, after the Soviet Union’s collapse, joined the world economy by embracing capitalism—and its economy has grown steadily ever since. “The exception is thus no longer just Japan, it is increasingly all of Asia,” Huntington observes (ibid.).

Asia’s economic rejection of the West is most visible in China—a country predicted by some to have the world’s largest national economy early in this 21st century. Three of the economic “tigers” are Chinese entities—Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore. Asia’s economy is becoming more Chinese-centered and Chinese-dominated. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean) has worked at establishing an East Asian Free Trade Area, and a summit last November saw asean+3 (China, Korea and Japan) leaders agree to establish an asean-China Free Trade Area.

China is also turning its economy north and west, as is evidenced in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization—a grouping of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan that aims to bring economic stability, development and increased trade relations to the region, not to mention greater security to a region threatened by terrorism and separatism.

Why consider this economic strength? Because money is power. If the Bible prophesies of the largest army in the world, it is implicity prophesying of the largest economy in the world—one that can feed, clothe, arm and mobilize 200 million soldiers!

So what will unite Asia? Though religion may have a lot to do with uniting the Russian side of Asia with Russia and Chinese side with China, it will most likely be a common religious, economic and military enemy that will unite the whole region.

Finally, let us turn our attention then to two major areas to watch:1) Asia’s military buildup, and 2) the increasingly good relationships among Asian countries.

The Arming of Asia

An arms buildup is already occurring in Asia, and the infrastructure is in place for these societies—some largely agricultural—to turn to war.

With countries like Korea, Taiwan, India and Pakistan standing as formidable forces in Asia—several of them possessing nuclear capabilities—probably the region’s most remarkable military currently is Japan’s. Its industry-driven economy is dependent upon steady manufacturing of military equipment.

While Japan will undoubtedly contribute a modern naval force to the Asian alliance (its navy is second in size only to the U.S.’s), China will contribute endless manpower and vast geographic reach—through the Little Chinas and the myriad of seaports China claims throughout the world. Nonetheless, China too has sought to modernize its military and upgrade its maritime forces. Along with other Asian countries—like Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia—it has heavily increased military spending. As of March 2000, it had seen 11 straight double-digit percentage increases in defense spending. India increased its spending in 2000 by more than 20 percent—its largest hike ever.

In the north, Russia—with a great stockpile of weapons since the Cold War ended—has helped supply its Asian neighbors. It recently signed a defense cooperation agreement with Myanmar and India, making India the largest purchaser of defense equipment from Russia.

Friendly Orientations

Despite the plentiful seeds for conflict in Asia, efforts at building good neighborly relations among Asian countries are increasing. China is seeking better relations with India, despite a long history of tension. In June 1999, Beijing and New Delhi began a security dialogue and resumed border talks. China insists this will not harm ties with Pakistan.

Asian countries, notably China and Japan, are interested in contributing help to and settling issues facing Indonesia.

India’s economic relations with Japan are improving. Though Japan condemned India and imposed severe economic sanctions in response to its nuclear display in 1998, relations are turning more friendly. When each country was visited by the other’s prime minister, the head of state did not stop at the other’s political capital first, but its technological and commercial hub. This is indicative of a strong economic relationship which would not only offset overdominance in the region by China at the present, but eventually would add muscle to a coming Asian union.

And despite the historic Kuril Islands dispute between Japan and Russia, Russia’s president made it clear over a year and a half ago that “Japan must be a strong factor in international and regional policy. This is in Russia’s interests” (Interfax Russian News, July 4, 2000).

Watch for greater collusion between the Asian giants: Russia, China, India and Japan.

Finally, of course, there are the developing relations between Russia and China, perhaps more visible than any other bilateral relations discussed to this point. Watch this situation as well (as expounded in our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy).

Armageddon

In the near future, a culturally and religiously diverse Asia will ignore its differences, celebrate its similarities and join economically and militarily to form the most gargantuan army in history. Challenged by the European powers to its west, it will strike back with the most devastating force ever unleashed on one entity—ultimately annihilating that church-state union once and for all.

This will lead to the march to Armageddon. The blast of the seventh trumpet angel announces the return of Jesus Christ, coming just in time to save mankind from nuclear annihilation (Matt. 24:22) and to take the reins of rulership on Earth (Rev. 11:15). Of course, unrepentant mankind will not be happy about this (v. 18). The nations will be so angry toward Christ, in fact, that what is left of the beast power and the kings of the east will form an alliance of their own—a reaction to the greatest power and army of the universe, God’s army—to fight the coming King of kings! This is when the river Euphrates will be dried up, to prepare the way for the kings of the east to gather in this valley just northwest of Jerusalem.

This 31⁄2-year war will conclude with Christ utterly wiping out man’s futile efforts to maintain control of the world (Zech. 14:12), at which time Christ will set up His perfect, peace-producing, world-encompassing government.