Did the Holy Roman Empire Plan the Greek Crisis?

Did the Holy Roman Empire Plan the Greek Crisis?

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You are going to see the same kind of financial crises in other European countries. Here’s why.
From the February 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

I’d like to add my thoughts to a critical article written by Richard Palmer, titled “Who Will Stop the Greece Fires?” It was placed on our website Dec. 16, 2008.

Greece is in trouble. Thousands of rioters rampaged through Athens. Angry youths attacked the Athens courthouse with petrol bombs. Broken glass and burned-out wreckage lay in the streets.

These riots are a sign of a far greater upheaval that is threatening to engulf much of Europe.

Athens isn’t the only Greek city to be hit. Roughly half of the country’s workforce has gone on strike. One resident of Thessaloniki described the city as “a war zone.” Protesters wounded 12 police officers in 10 different cities in one night.

The rioting started December 6 after police shot and killed 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. His death triggered a fierce reaction across the country.

But Alexandros’s tragic death was simply the spark. The real fuel for the fire came from Greece’s troubled economy.

Many of the people rioting are angry about the government’s handling of the economic crisis. The unions want higher social spending, wages and pensions. Greece’s two largest unions, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (gsee) and the adedy civil servants union, had planned a public demonstration in protest of the failing economy before Alexandros’s shooting. The melee caused by this huge demonstration merged with the mass youth riots to create chaos on city streets in Greece and grind the nation to a standstill.

The Greek government can do little to fix the nation’s economy though. Greece’s fate was, in many ways, sealed seven years ago.

In 2001, Greece adopted the euro, as a member of the European Union. At that point, Greece’s succeeding economic boom and following bust became inevitable. Columnist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard explained the situation in the Telegraph: “[T]here is obviously a problem for countries like Greece that were let into emu [Economic and Monetary Union] for political reasons before their economies had been reformed enough to cope with the rigors of euro life—over the long run. …

“Greece’s euro membership has now led to a warped economy. The current account deficit is 15 percent of gdp, the eurozone’s highest by far. Indeed, the deficit ($53 billion) is the sixth-biggest in the world in absolute terms—quite a feat for a country of 11 million people” (Dec. 10, 2008).

Greece’s foreign debt is a staggering 91 percent of its gross domestic product. Greece’s banks are in crisis. The government has pledged to bail them out with €28 billion. But with Greece’s economy in such bad condition, the Greek government will have difficulty borrowing the €28 billion it wants to give the banks. This could mean it will have to take the money away from its social welfare programs. That would make social unrest in Greece even worse.

There is no way out—and, according to some analysts, it was designed from the beginning to become that way. Those analysts agree with the brutal facts unfolding in Europe.

Bernard Connolly is a civil servant who authored The Rotten Heart of Europe, which exposed the evils of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the truth about the European Union. Over a year ago, he explained the process in an article in the Telegraph: “[T]he EU quite deliberately created the most dangerous credit bubble of all: emu. And, whereas the mission of the Fed is to avoid a financial crisis, the mission of the ecb [European Central Bank] is to provoke one. The purpose of the crisis will be, as Prodi, then Commission president, said in 2002, to allow the EU to take more power for itself. The sacrificial victims will be, in the first instance, families and firms (and banks and investors) in countries such as Ireland …. Subsequently, German savers (or British taxpayers) will bear the burden of bailouts that a newly empowered ‘EU economic government’ will ordain” (Aug. 20, 2007, emphasis mine).

When the current European economic union was formalized, it became inevitable that countries like Greece would eventually face economic crises. Through the inclusion of Germany, the economic union allowed for European-wide interest rates that were much lower in countries like Greece than would normally have been possible. Low interest rates encouraged massive borrowing and artificially stimulated a boom. But as with all bubbles, eventually it popped. What Greece and other countries in southern Europe in particular are dealing with now is the aftermath.

The Holy Roman Empire

Romano Prodi was recently prime minister of Italy. He was eventually pushed from power by the Roman Catholic Church because he disagreed with the church on several issues. That illustrates the kind of power the Vatican exercises in EU politics. (The Catholic Church in Europe is very different than it is in the U.S.)

So the Vatican obviously approved of the EU plan to take more power for itself. The real power of the EU revolves around Germany and the Vatican—as it has throughout the history of the Holy Roman Empire.

That spells real trouble for this world—as it has for over 1,500 years! Any student of European history knows about the violent past of the Holy Roman Empire.

For over 50 years we have been warning about the rise of this dangerous power. (Request our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, which explains much of that history.)

The facts overwhelmingly prove there was an extremely close relationship between Germany and the Vatican in World War ii (the sixth head of the Holy Roman Empire), even though the Vatican vehemently denies it.

What happened between Germany and the Vatican of World War ii is only a preview of the immediate future.

Otto von Habsburg has been a prominent leader of Europe in the recent past. He once said, “The [European] Community is living largely by the heritage of the Holy Roman Empire, though the great majority of the people who live by it don’t know by what heritage they live.” That was a great understatement! He also said, “We possess a European symbol which belongs to all nations of Europe equally; this is the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, which embodies the tradition of Charlemagne.” History shows that Emperor Charlemagne waded through a sea of blood to gain converts to Catholicism.

In our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, we wrote: “For several decades God’s Church has been warning of the emergence of Germany as the most dominant player in a European Union of nations. The Bible teaches that this force will suddenly catapult the world into the third and final world war.

“Yet, even if we set aside Bible prophecy for a moment, there are more than enough modern-day Jeremiahs warning about Germany’s developing links with its fascist past. [O]ne of these modern writers [is] Martin Lee …. In his words, ‘Something awful was laid bare by the fall of the Berlin Wall. The fascist beast had reawakened and was on the prowl again.’ Other well-known books, like Roger Eatwell’s Fascism, Bernard Connolly’s The Rotten Heart of Europe, and Margaret Thatcher’s The Downing Street Years, all serve as Churchillian warnings for a world that has proven itself prone to slumber as events grow worse. Most of the mainstream press is oblivious to the dangerous, foreboding presence developing on the horizon in Central Europe. That’s the way it was before World War ii.

“We must wake up and heed the words of this handful of informed and astute political analysts. ‘You have not anchored Germany to Europe,’ Margaret Thatcher said in 1995. ‘You have anchored Europe to a newly dominant, unified Germany. In the end, my friends, you’ll find it will not work.’ It is Germany’s national character to dominate, she said.

“While Germany lay in ruin and ashes after World War ii, Herbert W. Armstrong had the crystal-clear, prophetic vision to see a Germany that would again rise to world dominance. He knew the Nazis were not eliminated altogether. They only hid themselves, like cockroaches when the kitchen light is switched on.”

Europe’s Financial Crisis

“Germany entered the euro with an overvalued exchange rate,” wrote Bernard Connolly. “It then faced a long period of high unemployment that drove wages down and restored its competitive position. But Germany was also helped at the beginning of this process by the newly established ecb …. The ecb initially set interest rates where Germany needed them—far too low for most other emu countries …. That combination, and Germany’s initial uncompetitiveness, created booms in many other emu countries. But, as in the U.S. in the 1920s and again in the 1990s, inappropriate interest rates and temporarily booming growth totally distorted perceptions of today versus tomorrow. The result has been that firms and families in these countries have massively over-borrowed and banks and investors have massively over-lent, often on the illusory security of inflated house prices” (op. cit.).

The United States is currently trying to solve its debt-related problems by lowering its interest rates and making borrowing easier. This is treating the symptom: It may reduce the pain temporarily, but won’t fix anything in the long term. Nations like Greece, though, do not have even this option. They cannot change the interest rate to a level that suits them—they are stuck with whatever the ecb decides. And the ecb is most heavily influenced by Germany.

Greece isn’t the only nation caught in this trap. Spain’s economy has gone through a similar process to what Connolly described, and now the International Monetary Fund is predicting that its unemployment will reach 15 percent. Ireland and Denmark are also paying the price of overheating their economies.

Does this mean that it is over for a single European currency? Not at all.

As both the Trumpet and men like Connolly have been warning, Berlin has been planning for this crisis before it even adopted the euro. European elites knew it would eventually come. And they will soon present a solution.

In this context, it is noteworthy that the German central bank holds the second-largest reserves of gold in the world. During the first quarter of 1999, at the same time the euro was launched, Germany bought up huge reserves of gold. Enough, according to the Economic Intelligence Review, to back an entire currency (March 2000). In addition, when the 11 nations joined the euro, they signed over their gold reserves to the European Central Bank, in Frankfurt, Germany.

However it happens, Germany is prophesied to come out on top in this financial crisis. Social unrest and riots will eventually force Europeans to succumb to a strong united government of Europe, led ultimately not from Brussels, but from Berlin.

Greece is just one of the first places to have trouble. But national economies across Europe are deteriorating, and soon, if trends continue, much of the Continent will be in trouble. As the old saying goes, “Possession is nine tenths of the law.” The European Central Bank is but a revival of the old centralist designs of the Third Reich. The ecb is domiciled in Germany. Its gold reserves are held in Germany. Germany’s most influential bank is Deutsche Bank, which has massive global investments in international business. Of all the EU member nations, it is Germany that is in the strongest position to dictate terms for any bailouts sought by the EU’s weaker members such as Greece.

Watch Germany. Watch for Germany to be at the helm in a restructuring not only of EU member nations’ economies, but of the entire European Union itself! That union will be united and then guided by the Vatican.

So who is now the real super economic power in this world? Germany.

That too was carefully planned. The Germany-Vatican combine is gaining power that this world can’t even imagine!

The crisis in Greece is a forerunner of a whole rash of similar crises set to soon break out across Europe. They will provide the catalyst for the EU’s leading nation, Germany, to rise to the fore with solutions of its own making. Biblical prophecy declares that the result will be a European superstate with Germany at the helm. And that is not good news for America, Britain and the little nation called Israel.

Tough Times for Germans

From the January 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

The seriousness of the effect of the global economic crisis on the German and European Union economies is beginning to dawn on the German people.

Having faced recession only a few years ago, Angela Merkel’s government presided over an aggressive export-led recovery leading the German economy into what until recently appeared to be a rosy future of market expansion. However, warnings of tough times ahead are now being sounded from Berlin as the global recession begins to bite all across Europe.

Figures released in November showed the economy contracted by 0.5 percent in the third quarter, following a 0.4 percent drop in the previous quarter. The German government’s independent panel of economic advisers predicts no growth for 2009. Other economic forecasts portray an even grimmer situation, with the German economy dropping 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and in early 2009.

According to a report from Germany’s Ministry of Finance, the country’s “crucial export sector is likely to hobble the economy at some point. … The report said the ‘weakness of the global economy has weighed on exports’ that contribute significantly to the economy, given that Germany is the world’s leading exporter” (Deutsche Welle, Oct. 23, 2008).

The Bild newspaper reported that Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piëch expects the German car industry to face a prolonged downturn, declaring that the problems of the capital market are continuing to damage the already weak German economy (Oct. 23, 2008).

Piëch’s gloomy outlook follows a slew of cutbacks in the German automotive industry. Deutsche Welle reported that “German luxury carmakers Daimler and BMW said … they would temporarily close factories as a result of slumping sales. General Motors’ German arm, Opel, has also announced output cuts, as have Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary Seat and Czech subsidiary Skoda” (Oct. 26, 2008).

Germany’s senior citizens are making connections with similar events embedded in their history of the last century. In the October 27 New York Times, a front-page report headlined “Some Europeans Prepare for the Worst” cited the fact that “Germany, where many people lost their savings twice in the 20th century, is one of the richest laboratories of European historical scars—welts that help explain the country’s fears of inflation.”

The Times quoted Tony Pierenkemper, a professor of economics at Cologne University, as insightfully declaring that “History matters. In times of crisis you really get to know a country and its people. Traumatic events are seared into the collective consciousness and often survive into the next generations.”

A significant problem arises when this “collective consciousness” still sees demagoguery as the solution to the confusion of economic, social and political turmoil, as is the case with that element within German society that unfortunately is still moved by a persistent Nazi spirit.

The Trumpet has been strident in publicizing a warning to the world that the Nazi spirit that arose amid conditions such as we see ripening in Europe today, never died. As Herbert Armstrong declared, it survived to continue its work underground, biding its time for one last resurrection!

History does matter!

Certainly, as Professor Pierenkemper declared, “In times of crisis you really get to know a country and its people.” To no people more than the German folk does this particularly apply, especially given their nature to seek to impose order over prevailing chaos using military methods. The German mind hates disorder. The rising crisis in Europe is creating a fertile environment for the revival of the Nazi spirit.

Watch Europe! Watch Germany! And watch for the rise of a demagogue who is right now, no doubt, biding his time, behind the scenes, awaiting his moment to be thrown into the limelight by “flatteries” (Daniel 11:21), captivating the minds of a multitude of followers and their leaders, intent on imposing a very Germanic solution on the emerging chaos that is even now rippling across Europe and around the world. It will be a grand “new” economic system that will soon hold the whole world to ransom! (Revelation 13:16-17).

A Warning From the Pope

What Benedict XVI’s visit to France reveals about the future of Europe
From the January 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

America’s tanking economy and presidential election have saturated the news in recent months. But one of the most alarming statements in the New York Times last September had nothing to do with either of those things.

“This pope is looking to reconquerEurope,” wrote Rachel Donadio, “if not in numbers, then at the political table” (Sept. 19, 2008; emphasis mine throughout).

The Catholic Church has been Europe’s single greatest and bloodiest constant for nearly 2,000 years. History books overflow with examples of the Vatican exploiting political relationships in order to fulfill dark papal ambitions. They also prove that European leaders seeking military and political dominance always seek sanction and support from the pope. Have we forgotten Justinian’s imperialistic restoration or Charlemagne’s astounding but bloodstained accomplishments? Can we forget the Crusades, Napoleon and Hitler’s Third Reich? The Vatican was complicit in each of these events.

Now Pope Benedict xvi is, as the Times put it, trying to “reconquer Europe” and lock down church-state relationships across the Continent.

History is screaming at us. It’s saying we ought to be alarmed when a pope goes on a personal crusade to conquer Europe!

Donadio began her article by asking, “Is the Catholic Church a beleaguered underdog, fighting for a voice in secular Europe, or a still-mighty power, wielding its influence on European law through friendly center-right governments?” That question, she wrote, “has been building momentum throughout Pope Benedict xvi’s three-year-old papacy ….”

Donadio recognizes, as many in the mainstream now do, that Pope Benedict xvi is on a personal crusade to restore Catholicism to the heart of European politics. But while many recognize the ambitions of this pope, few, including Donadio, are concerned. We ought to be: It would be foolish to underestimate the power and craft of a 2,000-year-old institution with more than a billion adherents and a long legacy of empowering tyrants, slaughtering enemies and dominating Europe.

History tells us that the harder the Vatican works to establish Catholicism at the heart of Europe, the closer it ought to be watched.

Undermining France’s “State Religion”

With this in mind, let’s evaluate the pope’s jaunt to France last September. That trip—made during a tumultuous period for Europe—was a significant event for France and the whole Continent.

When Benedict’s plane touched down on September 12, President Nicolas Sarkozy rejected the tradition of greeting leaders at Élysée Palace and actually welcomed the pope at the airport. Sarkozy escorted Benedict to Élysée Palace, where the two quickly laid the groundwork for what could be the biggest change in France since the French Revolution.

The dominant theme of Benedict’s trip was that France needs to rethink and redraw its church-state relations.

Speaking first at Élysée, the Catholic president added to remarks he had made to the pope during a visit to the Vatican in December 2007, where he advocated a “positive secularism” that allows religion to play a greater role in government and improve society. Speaking before fellow politicians and a delighted Benedict, Sarkozy said blatantly that it would be “madness” for France, which “accepts its Christian roots,” to “deprive ourselves” of religion.

If a French president made that statement a few decades ago, he would likely have been roundly castigated by the French press and politicians.

France is a deeply secular state. In France, secularism, as Henri Astier observed, “is the closest thing the French have to a state religion” (bbc News Online, Sept. 1, 2004). The law of laïcité, or secularism, strictly separates church and religion, and has been the backbone of French political thought since the French Revolution and the foundation of the current political and legal system established in 1905. Religion in France is strictly a private matter. It is kept completely out of public life, is not taught at all in schools, and the government is forbidden to subsidize any religion.

For 200 years, the principle of secularism in France has been the untouchable. It is the one uncompromisable issue in French politics.

Or it was—before Nicolas Sarkozy and Pope Benedict xvi came along.

Here’s how the pope responded to Sarkozy’s flattery: “At this moment in history when cultures continue to cross paths more frequently, I am firmly convinced that a new reflection on the true meaning and importance of laïcité is now necessary. In fact, it is fundamental … to become more aware of the irreplaceable role of religion for the formation of consciences and the contribution which it can bring to—among other things—the creation of a basic ethical consensus within society.”

France, redefine laïcité now! Strip away the subtlety and Orwellian doublespeak, and that’s essentially what Benedict was saying. Pope Benedict xvi basically told France to rethink arguably its most culturally definitive law! Together, the pope and the French president waged a spectacular assault on the political and legal underpinnings of the French state. The pope’s visit may well represent France’s first steps away from secularism.

Sarkozy Plagiarizes the Pope

The intrigue doesn’t end there. Agnès Poirier, writing for the New Statesman, revealed the high level of strategic cooperation Benedict has extracted from the president of France. Sarkozy’s notion of “positive secularism,” said Poirier, is a carefully concocted “Trojan horse” designed to result in the eventual redefinition of French politics and France itself. Now here’s where the story gets especially gripping: “The term ‘positive secularism’ was actually coined in 2005 by the then Cardinal Ratzinger, whose views have inspired two of President Sarkozy’s close aides and speechwriters, the practicing Catholic, Emmanuelle Mignon, and the Dominican friar, Philippe Verdin” (Sept. 18, 2008).

Imagine that! Sarkozy’s notion, even his phrasing, of “positive secularism” was originally concocted by Joseph Ratzinger, former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the man he now affords unprecedented state honors and key compromises: Pope Benedict xvi.

“So what we have witnessed,” continued Poirier, “is Nicolas Sarkozy pretending to have an idea that originated at the Vatican, while the pope, its delighted author, sits back and waits for the president to implement ‘his’ idea.” That’s impressive foresight on Benedict’s behalf. It appears he’s been making plans to undermine the secular French government and society for at least three years. “A few days ago,” concluded Poirier, “in an interview with the Catholic French daily La Croix, Benedict’s private secretary clearly stated that the holy father expected the president of France to diligently transform this idea into acts. Machiavelli would be impressed.”

If Sarkozy comes through, we could very well see a Catholic revival in France!

Peter O’Neil, European correspondent for the Canwest News Service, agrees: “Analysts say French Catholics, with the lowest church attendance rate in Europe, feel threatened by the growing number of Muslim immigrants and might therefore be more open to greater recognition of the Catholic Church’s role in French culture and history” (Sept. 12, 2008).

We should also realize that the pope designed this church-state campaign in France for a wider audience. Like everything this pope does, his push for improved church-state relations in France was intended to resonate with political leaders and citizens across Europe.

Pope Benedict xvi is concerned about a “progressive secularization of European institutions,” said John Allen Jr., a National Catholic Reporter columnist (New York Times, Sept. 19, 2008). Benedict is deeply concerned about and in the process of addressing the secularism rooted in societies throughout Europe. The reason he went after secularism in France is that he believes the rest of Europe, as Allen expressed, is being “heavily influenced by the French model.” Benedict knows that if he can stem secularism’s rise in France, the bastion of European secularism, he can do so across Europe.

And be assured, if the pope is prepared to confront secularism in France, he’s more than prepared to tackle it elsewhere on the Continent!

“Let’s not make mistakes, there are laws in Europe that the Vatican would like to change,” said Allen. The pope’s remarks to France were “not an apolitical reflection,” he said. Benedict makes no pretense of being above or clean from political matters. Allen is absolutely right: Benedict’s remarks were a cannon shot across the bow of European national governments—and even the now-forming European supranational government!

“… Benedict’s insistence that religion and politics be ‘open’ to each other,” explained Rachel Donadio in her Times article, “coupled with his strong renewal while in Lourdes of the church’s opposition to same-sex couples, communion for the divorced and euthanasia—sends a direct message: The church doesn’t want European law to be at odds with church teaching, and he wants Roman Catholics to make some noise about it.”

Truly, as Donadio said, Pope Benedict xvi is on a crusade to “reconquer Europe”! That’s what his trip to France was all about. That’s what his remarks about the need for France to rethink its secular underpinnings were all about. He was warning France, and all of Europe, that he is on a quest to reestablish Catholicism at the heart of Europe.

If you haven’t studied much European history lately, dust off those history books and look into the Vatican’s historic relationship with Europe. It’s a truly frightening relationship.

Nothing is more alarming, more brutal, more devastating, than the Continent when it has been conquered and steered by Roman Catholicism!

How long will we ignore the terrifying ambitions and cunning actions of Pope Benedict xvi? How much longer can he get away with craftily attacking secular governments and encouraging Europe to return to its Catholic heritage before the world realizes that he intends to resurrect the Holy Roman Empire?

Pope Benedict xvi is looking to reconquer Europe! This is the context in which we must analyze news as it unfolds on the Continent. The Trumpet can give you both historical and prophetic insight into Benedict’s actions. For nearly 20 years now the Trumpet, under the stewardship of Gerald Flurry, has upheld and declared the words of the late Herbert W. Armstrong, the editor in chief of the Plain Truth, and a man who for 40 years, beginning in World War ii, declared the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire!

To learn more about the prophesied future of Europe, request a free copy of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

The Power of ‘Thank You’

The Power of ‘Thank You’

iStockphoto

Science has measured the amazing effects of gratitude in our lives.
From the February 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

Why is it good to say “thank you”? Of course, it is polite—an important social courtesy. But did you know that those who make it a point to practice gratitude also sleep better, exercise more, feel more optimistic and less materialistic, are more empathetic and joyful, and can even have sharper minds?

“As science is now proving, feeling grateful can actually make us healthier, literally,” says Reader’s Digest (October 2007).

Robert Emmons, a professor at the University of California-Davis, and Michael McCullough of the University of Miami teamed up for a fascinating study: The examination of three groups of people—one group noting the hassles of each week, one concentrating on things for which they were grateful, and another recording ordinary life events. Not only did the grateful group come out of the study (not surprisingly) happier, they “reported fewer negative physical symptoms such as headaches or colds, and they were active in ways that were good for them. They spent almost an hour and a half more per week exercising than those who focused on hassles. Plain and simple, those who were grateful had a higher quality of life” (ibid.).

The study, published in 2003, also showed how those around the grateful group were impacted by their joy and energy. They “even seemed to be perceived as more helpful toward others, going out on a limb to help people,” said Emmons. “This is not just something that makes people happy, like a positive-thinking/optimism kind of thing. A feeling of gratitude really gets people to do something, to become more pro-social, more compassionate.”

In a more recent follow-up study focusing on college students, researchers found that “those who found something to appreciate every day were less materialistic—less apt to see a connection between life satisfaction and material things. They were more willing to part with their possessions. … The grateful people were less depressive, envious and anxious, and much more likely to help others …” (ibid.).

These studies show that people who are in a continuously grateful mindset enjoy “clearer thinking, better resilience during tough times, higher immune response, less likelihood of being plagued by stress, longer lives, closer family ties, greater religiousness.”

Scientifically, it makes sense. Dopamine is a chemical that is released “when people are feeling good …. It activates the parts of the brain in which complex thinking and conflict resolution are thought to be headquartered” (ibid.).

The emotional and physical benefits of gratitude are truly astounding—and nothing new, despite science’s recent endorsement of it. Millennia ago, this elegant wisdom was encapsulated in a simple proverb: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

Here is a specific way to develop a “merry heart.” Be more thankful.

The Holy Bible repeatedly commands it. One verse in particular says that, even when making requests of God, we ought to do so in an attitude of thankfulness: “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

The late Herbert W. Armstrong—who often said that ingratitude was possibly our greatest sin—lived 93 active, abundant years. He repeatedly stressed seven principles of radiant health, the seventh of which is a positive mental attitude.

The Reader’s Digest author, Deborah Norville, suggests ways to become more thankful: “Record your thanks.” Each day, she suggests, “jot down three things that happened that day for which you are grateful … and why this was good for you.” In addition to the gratitude journal, the author also suggests observing the patterns. “Over time, you’ll notice a consistency within the list of items you’re grateful for. Many entries will underscore the importance of people in your life. Others will highlight meaningful experiences.”

Finally, she suggests, “Seize the moment.” Start right now putting yourself in a gratitude mindset—and see the benefits to your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Let gratitude dominate your thinking and your life—and reap the blessings today.

The Battle for Sunday

The Battle for Sunday

GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images

The Vatican wants to establish Sunday observance in EU law. If our peoples really understood history, this would terrify them.
From the February 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

The Roman Catholic Church has been fighting to make Sunday observance mandatory in Europe for the past 15 years. Its efforts have not yet succeeded in having a Sunday rest enshrined in European Union law—though at times it has come close.

Over the past few months, the church has been on the attack using the EU’s Working Time Directive.

A hideously socialist piece of legislation, the Working Time Directive makes it illegal for a person to work for more than 48 hours a week. When originally passed back in 1993, the directive required all employees to have a weekly rest period, which “shall in principle include Sunday”—though it did concede that “it is ultimately for each member state to decide whether Sunday should be included in the weekly rest period, and if so to what extent.” But before EU nations enforced the directive, the European Court of Justice annulled the provision that would require employees to rest on Sunday.

Catholics have been trying to get the provision back in the directive ever since. They may be close to doing so. The principle of Sunday rest is already codified in EU law for all employees under 18, within the 1994 Protection of Young People at Work Directive. It would be just one more step for the EU to impose it on the whole workforce.

Many members of the European Parliament (meps) have supported the introduction of a Sunday rest clause over the past few months. More than 40 meps signed two amendments to the Working Time Directive that would enforce Sunday observance “in principle.” The amendments did not go to vote for procedural reasons.

Of course, behind the latest Sunday amendment proposals is the Catholic Church. The Brussels-based Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (comece), a group of Catholic bishops, has been leading the charge. In a November statement calling for the European Parliament to enforce Sunday, comece said: “If the European Parliament is taking seriously the point clearly outlined in the directive, it would be logical that it completed the present text with a disposition on Sunday as a day of weekly rest.” The protection of Sunday, said comece Secretary General Piotr Mazurkiewicz, “is a cornerstone of the European social model and an issue of central importance for workers and their families” (TheParliament.com, Nov. 10, 2008). comece representatives have also met with a number of politicians to push their cause.

The directive will be under discussion for a few more months. comece admonished the church to “stay mobilized” on the Sunday issue (press release, Dec. 17, 2008). Don’t be surprised if a little pressure from the right place gets a new amendment added enforcing Sunday.

The pope has been a strong advocate of the revival of Sunday keeping. “Without Sunday [worship], we cannot live!” Pope Benedict xvi declared during a mass on Sept. 9, 2007, stating that it was a “necessity” for all people.

The prospect of a European government so powerful that it could declare one specific day a day of rest is frightening. This would be an EU willing and able to enforce lifestyle changes on its subjects whether they liked it or not. It would be a Europe that enforced a state religion: Catholicism.

Historically, when the Catholic Church has started telling everyone to observe Sunday, it has soon after started enforcing that law with brutality. Take the Council of Laodicea, for example. In a.d. 363, the Catholic Church proclaimed that all those who did not keep Sunday, but rather rested on Saturday, were “anathema”—cursed, or excommunicated—from Christ. The Roman Empire then started torturing and martyring all who disobeyed. After Charlemagne gained power over Europe, he too began murdering those who kept Saturday. Throughout the Middle Ages, Saturday observers were tortured and murdered at the behest of the Catholic Church.

Every time Europe has been strong and united, it has enforced Sunday worship. Europe is becoming united, and its leaders are once again trying to enforce Sunday.

Making Sunday observance mandatory is just the first step down a bloody but well-worn road. Yet Pope Benedict has said that the revival of Sunday worship is fundamental to his mission.

To anyone familiar with the teachings of the late Herbert W. Armstrong, the fact that the EU is blatantly trying to enforce Sunday should be electrifying. Here is what he wrote: “The Roman Church caused people to receive the mark of pagan Rome—the Sunday observed by the pagan Roman Empire—and the penalty for disobedience was death! Fifty million or more were put to death—so says history. … Yes, the mark … once again will be enforced! No one will be able to hold a job or engage in business without it. Those refusing will once again be tortured and martyred—probably by the secret police of the political state—but at the behest of the church!” (Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?).

Mr. Armstrong wrote those words over 56 years ago, before the European Economic Community even started. Now, European leaders are discussing amendments that would force Sunday observance on the whole of Europe, exactly the way Mr. Armstrong said they would. Bible prophecy reveals that, soon, no one will be allowed to work on Sunday, and those who wish to observe Saturday will be unable to buy or sell (Revelation 13:16-17). As in the past, when the Catholic Church has the power to enforce Sunday, life will be brutal for those who disagree.

To find out more about Europe’s future, request Mr. Armstrong’s booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?

Did King David Conquer Jerusalem Using This Tunnel?

From the January 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

Before he united ancient Israel under one, undivided throne, King David had to conquer the Jebusite stronghold on a hill later renamed the City of David, located in the modern-day city of Jerusalem. The Jebusites, the Bible relates, were so confident in their defense against David’s attack that they taunted the mighty king, saying the blind and lame could sufficiently defend the city (2 Samuel 5:6).

This angered David. He challenged his top military generals by offering command of his army to the warrior who could successfully capture the fortified stronghold. The Bible says Joab coordinated the sneak attack on the Jebusite city and that a water conduit—tsinnor in Hebrew—factored into the successful conquest (see 2 Samuel 5:8).

For the past four years, one of Israel’s top archaeologists, Dr. Eilat Mazar—with hands-on help from Herbert W. Armstrong College students—has been digging up ruins left from the ancient City of David. In 2008, Mazar accidentally discovered an opening to a tunnel dating to the 10th century b.c. while excavating around the top half of the famous Stepped Stone Structure, also known as Area G.

“The tunnel’s characteristics, date and location testify with high probability that the water tunnel is the one called tsinnor in the story of King David’s conquest of Jerusalem,” said Mazar, who is working on behalf of the Shalem Center and the Ir David Foundation and under the academic auspice of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Layers of debris dating to the end of the First Temple period (sixth century b.c.) had buried the entrance to the tunnel, Mazar said. After stumbling upon the opening toward the end of her fourth excavation season, Mazar soon discovered a tunnel wide enough for one person to pass through, which runs north-south and measures 50 meters in length so far. Both ends, at this point, are blocked by debris and fallen stones. She says that further excavation will require the construction of proper reinforcements.

The tunnel walls follow a natural cavity in the bedrock that runs along the upper part of the eastern slope of the City of David. Three years ago, directly above the tunnel, atop the hill, Mazar discovered a Large Stone Structure, which she later identified as King David’s palace (2 Samuel 5:11). She believes the tunnel was integrated into its construction and might have been used to channel water to a man-made pool built on the southeast side of the palace, referred to in Nehemiah 3:16.

“Toward the end of the First Temple period (sixth century b.c.), the tunnel was converted to an escape passage, perhaps used in a manner similar to King Zedekiah’s escape during the Babylonian siege (2 Kings 25:4),” Dr. Mazar wrote. “During this phase, additional walls were constructed in order to prevent the possibility of anyone entering the tunnel from the slope of the hill and to prevent penetration of debris inside the tunnel. Complete oil lamps were found on the ground of the tunnel, characteristic of the end of the First Temple period. These lamps testify to the tunnel’s last use.”

Once the Babylonians laid siege upon the city in 585 b.c., however, the tunnel was lost from world view and forgotten—until now.

In an interview with the Trumpet, Mazar said the discovery was “completely unexpected.” And since it was found near the end of a digging season, she believes there is much more to be learned about the passageway. “We have a general knowledge of the tunnel,” she said, “but we are far from having a complete picture.”

She hopes to excavate the area further during her next phase of digging, tentatively set for some time in 2009.