The War Against Family

The War Against Family

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Why to fight it—how to win it!
From the September 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

We are at war.

The very foundation of stability and strength in the United States and Britain, the traditional family, is being formidably attacked from every direction.

Just look at the carnage. Fewer people are marrying. Those who do marry are more prone to split up. Roles within marriage and family are reversed. Adultery is increasingly common. Same-sex “marriage” is being written into law. Clearly, marriage is on the ropes.

Four in 10 American children are born to unwed parents. Children are likelier than ever to grow up without one of their biological parents. They live in households where rebellion and disrespect are tolerated, even encouraged. Fornication is nearly universal. Pornography has gone mainstream. Unwed pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are at all-time highs. A million American babies are aborted every year. Family is in full retreat.

Yes, there is a war raging in households across America and throughout the once-mighty United Kingdom. After decades of surrendering ground to a violent and fanatical enemy, what once was a solid family structure is now struggling for survival.

If you don’t rigorously engage the fight, you and your family will be among its casualties. You have already suffered from it more than you probably realize.

To successfully resist this dangerous trend, you need to see it clearly—and recognize the unseen force motivating it! Who is behind this war, and why? You must also understand just why it is so deadly.

Can it be stopped? You need specific strategies for combating it.

Families Upside-Down

In his book Democracy in America, published in the 1800s, Alexis de Tocqueville heaped praise on the 19th-century American family. “There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America,” Tocqueville wrote, “or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated.”

Today, society-wide immorality, upside-down families and no-fault divorce laws have turned the marriage institution into an almost laughably inconsequential arrangement. Sixty-two percent of Americans view divorce as a “morally acceptable” way to escape an inconvenient union.

We’ve not only accepted the plague of divorce. Many now see it as the morally right thing to do in most circumstances.

Those marriages that remain intact often suffer from other curses, like sexual dissatisfaction, financial woes and role confusion.

Tocqueville lauded the 19th-century American family for accentuating the “diverse” roles men and women undertook in marriage. “They have carefully separated the functions of man and of woman so that the great work of society may be better performed,” he said. The roles of husband and wife, he explained, perfectly complemented one another. “You will never find American women,” Tocqueville wrote, “in charge of the external relations of the family, managing a business or interfering in politics; but they are also never obliged to undertake rough laborer’s work or any task requiring hard physical exertion. No family is so poor that it makes an exception to this rule.”

Of course, the way marriage and family was arranged back then was much closer to the way God designed it from the very beginning. In Genesis 2, God organized mankind’s first family by making the man first and then creating the woman out of his rib. In verse 18, He called the woman a “help meet,” meaning opposite or counterpart.

According to Tocqueville, Americans understood that while men and women were made to fulfill different roles within the family hierarchy, each role was equal in importance.

Today, these unique roles have been reversed. Men have forsaken their responsibilities in the home as the family’s primary leader, provider, protector and educator. A growing number of wives (and children) simply miss out on the positive impact an involved father has on the family.

Making matters worse, a deafening chorus of politicians, activists, psychologists and entertainers maintain that husbands and fathers are unnecessary for the overall health and well-being of society.

Wives, meanwhile, have largely abandoned their most important duties at home—being a supportive helpmeet and loving mother. In 1950, for example, one in four married women between the ages of 25 and 44 were employed outside the home. Today, three in four are. While the hours that men and single women work are roughly the same as they were 50 years ago, married women’s hours working outside the home have tripled. Caring for children while Dad is at work is no longer the primary responsibility for most mothers.

As a consequence, children are largely left to themselves—growing up without proper, godly direction or a clear code of ethics upon which they can build their future families.

Targeting Children

Without a strong parental influence at home, children have become easy targets for evil forces—particularly regarding sex. Most Americans and Britons have now accepted premarital sex as inevitable for teens, which is why the primary focus for government-sponsored sex education is on teaching young people to be “safe” once they become sexually active. This approach, of course, encourages sexual activity among teens, which in turn increases the frequency of illegitimate births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion.

In July, the level of sexual depravity reached a new low in Britain when the National Health Service produced a sex education pamphlet for schoolchildren. According to the Daily Mail, the publication complained that when it comes to sex, sociologists pay too much attention to “safe sex” and “loving relationships” and not enough to the subject of sensual pleasure. Teenagers, says the pamphlet’s author, have as much right to a good sex life as do adults.

Britain, it should be noted, has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe and second highest in the developed world, trailing only the United States. Of the 40,000 British girls who will be impregnated this year, half will opt for abortion (article, page 37).

The Homosexual Agenda

Sociologists aren’t the only ones working overtime to undermine the traditional family in Britain—political leaders are too. This past summer, British Conservative Party leader David Cameron issued an apology on behalf of his party for legislation passed in 1988 banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools. Known as “Section 28,” the law was introduced by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and was repealed by Tony Blair in 2003. For 15 years, the bill banned local councils from using taxpayer money to fund anything that showed homosexual relationships as normal, and made promoting “the teaching … of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” illegal in schools.

Conservative mp Dame Jill Knight, one of the main supporters of Section 28 back in the ’80s, spoke in 1999 about why the law had been introduced: “Parents certainly came to me and told me what was going on. They gave me some of the books with which little children as young as 5 and 6 were being taught. There was The Playbook for Kids About Sex in which brightly colored pictures of little stick men showed all about homosexuality and how it was done.”

Britain’s leading “conservative” politician has now apologized for his nation having ever banned such perversity.

Not to be outdone, the Labor Party is also working diligently to woo homosexual voters. Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently hosted leading homosexual advocates at his house on Downing Street. “I’m very proud of all that this government has achieved on lgbt [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] rights these last 12 years—often in the face of fierce opposition,” Mr. Brown said.

In America, President Barack Obama also played host to a large gathering of homosexuals at the White House on June 29. He had proclaimed June as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month” to commemorate the 40-year anniversary of the lgbt rights movement in America. This struggle, Obama told more than 250 homosexuals at the White House reception, is “incredibly difficult.”

“There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop,” he continued. “And though we’ve made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted” (emphasis ours throughout).

He thinks we still have a long way to go. But just imagine what defenders of more traditional family values from generations ago would think about where we are today!

According to the New York Times, the first time homosexual leaders were even invited to the White House was in 1977. And in that instance, President Carter skipped the meeting and sent a mid-level aide instead.

What a difference 30 years makes. Today, Britain’s National Health Service, of all institutions, encourages teenagers to enjoy promiscuous sex. The leading “conservative” in Britain is apologizing for a 1988 law that prevented homosexual propaganda from being poured into the super-absorbent minds of 5-year-olds. The White House is hosting celebrations for homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders. And we have a U.S. president who sees it as his duty to change the minds of Americans who still have “old attitudes” about homosexuality.

Truly, the most basic building block of a strong and stable civilization—the traditional family structure—is suffering attack from every direction. And sadly, as traditional family life crumbles, movies, television and popular songs glorify the dysfunction.

Sign of the Times

Herbert W. Armstrong recognized this war on the institution of family decades ago—and accurately predicted where it would lead. The threat, he wrote in 1976, was twofold. First, there is the prophesied breakdown of traditional marriage and family relationships. Added to that, he continued, “there is a widespread and aggressive conspiracy to destroy the institution of marriage” (Plain Truth, July 1976).

As alarmist as that might have seemed in 1976, who can deny it today?

“This is a war which is being vigorously and fanatically waged,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “Every subtle method is being employed to capture the minds of those of pre-marriage age.” Clearly, those minds were captured. Now they are 33 years older and, trapped in their own ignorance and error, have raised another generation even more deceived about marriage and family.

Most people have followed blindly along with the trend. But even among those who recognize it as a destructive drift that should be resisted, few understand just why it is happening and what is so wrong with it!

Why such a vicious assault on marriage and family? Why is the downward trend so rapid?

There is an unseen spiritual reason!

True, as Mr. Armstrong said, the breakdown of traditional marriage and family relationships was prophesied. In fact, it was a sign the biblical prophets gave of the last days—the days right before Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.

Everything about our modern-day dysfunctional society is exactly as the Prophet Isaiah said it would be: with women ruling the homes, children oppressing society and behaving arrogantly against their elders, and people parading the most heinous of their sins with pride (Isaiah 3:12, 5, 9). The Apostle Paul prophesied of our epidemic selfishness, preoccupation with material things, disobedient children, loss of natural familial affection (such as is manifest in the appalling abortion rate), and other rampant problems (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Christ Himself foretold that just before His return to this Earth in power and glory, our sophisticated, ultra-modern, anti-God society would revert back to the way it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:28-30).

Compelling evidence that we are indeed living in the very last days!

Civilization, as Mr. Armstrong wrote in The Missing Dimension in Sex, is on the way down and out—except that God prophesied to intervene with a mighty hand to save us from utter destruction!

But the question yet remains: Why is mankind following this destructive course? Who is behind it? How did God know this is the road we would travel? And how can we resist this trend and win this war in our own homes?

The answers have everything to do with why God created marriage and family in the first place.

God Created Man

Did you realize that marriage and family are institutions unique to human beings among all of God’s creation?

That’s right. No other animal on Earth—in fact, not even any of the angelic beings that God created—was meant to enjoy the blessings of family life! Marriage and family relationships are utterly unique to us. Do you know why?

In the first chapter of the Bible, you see God adorning the Earth with all manner of plant and animal life, creating conditions ideal for human beings. It then informs us, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26-27). There is much to note in these pivotal verses.

First, who is this “us”? Scripture shows that there were in fact two Beings here, members of the one Godhead (see, for example, John 1:1, 14). These two later became a Family—when the Most High God begat Jesus Christ in the womb of the virgin Mary. At that point they became Father and Son.

What does it mean that mankind was created after God’s likeness, in God’s image? It means that we look like God, and that we are meant to be fashioned after His very own perfect character. That is because He has implanted within us an incredible potential far greater than that given to anything else He has created!

Finally, why did God create male and female? Clearly, He made the conscious decision to divide us into these two groups. In His design, family begins with the joining of a man and woman—though science is working to eliminate this inevitability. Sex is not an accident of evolution, nor an arbitrary ornament on creation, but a conscious, deliberate choice with design and intent made by a super-intelligent Creator!

The relentless drive over the past half century in particular to equalize the sexes has completely obscured and destroyed the very deep and important reasons for God’s creative implementation of sex differences. Homosexuality, in effect, treats this essential component of creation as if it were mere decoration—even a mistake on God’s part. But are you willing to consider the reasoning, the logic, in His decision? This God who reveals Himself in the Bible claims that His thoughts are higher than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Why Marriage and Family?

In the next chapter in Genesis comes the truth that God created Eve as a “help meet” for Adam, and bound these two for life within the unique institution of marriage.

Again, why? Look at the animals and you can see that marriage is not necessary for procreation. Animals may exhibit a certain loyalty to certain other animals, but only humans have the multifaceted emotional and legal relationships associated with marriage and family.

Until a few generations ago, the concept of marriage and family was taken for granted—generally accepted as desirable—a means of rearing responsible children and producing a stable society. However, even then the deep understanding of why marriage was widely unknown.

Why? Because this is fundamentally spiritual knowledge!

Marriage is not a mere tradition. It is actually a sacred institution, established by God at the creation of humankind! It was created for specific purposes and designed to function according to definite laws. God also created our anatomies so that this two-person relationship is what generates children. He designed human development to occur slowly in order to make family life necessary: Children are completely dependent upon their parents, and parents must love, nurture, protect, educate and discipline their children.

God intended these covenant relationships to bring stability into our lives, to teach us faithfulness and loyalty, and to give us the opportunity to learn to live unselfishly with others as a harmonious team.

God could have made us all alike, never established marriage, provided some other means of reproduction, had us born with fully developed bodies and minds. He could have done things any number of other ways. But He did it this way for a reason.

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

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

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

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

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

This is why the human family is so critical in God’s mind. We need family, as God designed it, in order to really prepare for positions in God’s Family! Done right, marriage is intended to teach spiritual lessons about the God Family (e.g. Ephesians 5:31-33). A child growing up in a godly family learns spiritual lessons. In other words, if a family is run as God intended it, there are God-plane dynamics at work—living lessons in God’s government and family love!

Behind the Anti-Family Front

It is true that not being in such a family does not in any way disqualify someone from God’s Kingdom. However, they still must learn deeply about why marriage and why family.

To take it upon ourselves to redefine what a family is, to spurn God’s standard and set up our own, to presume that our ideas which are totally contrary to God’s are in fact superior in design and in the results they produce—this is the height of both arrogance and folly!

Yes, there is a war being waged over marriage and family. On one side are those trying to preserve God’s design; on the other are those trying to destroy God’s design!

Marriage and family have everything to do with the gospel of God—which is the good news of the coming Family of God. This is why it is so important to God. “Adultery, fornication, masturbation, homosexuality are so colossally sinful because they violate, pollute, profane and destroy something so holy and so monumentally righteous in God’s sight!” (Herbert W. Armstrong, The Missing Dimension in Sex).

The true force motivating the anti-family front is a spirit being, revealed in Scripture, who was never offered the opportunity to be in God’s Family (our free book Mystery of the Ages explains this truth). He was never given the creative power to reproduce himself. He hates family and wants to blot it out forever! This is the adversary—Satan the devil—who first deceived Eve into turning against God (Genesis 3:1-6) and has since deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9). He is bent on nothing less than the destruction of humanity.

Satan seeks the complete destruction of family. He knows that by destroying families, he can destroy nations and can blind people to the simple, hope-filled truth of God—so he is doing everything he can to devastate that God-plane relationship!

Truly, we are witnessing a titanic war over marriage and family. But God is not going to lose this war!

God’s Solution

God created humankind in His own image and likeness—to be productive, noble and free—to grow in godly character through the rich experiences and responsibilities of family life—to, ultimately, gain entrance into His own Family.

The anti-family agenda breaks down character, tramples on that potential, and destroys the family vision of God. But in our sophistication, that is considered good! What God esteems, men scorn—and what men exalt, God calls an abomination!

Thus, God thunders this message to our modern world: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21).

Yes—woe! Track the prophecies of our family breakdown—of our upside-down marriages, of our lust-filled, adulterous culture, of our failure to govern our children, of our return to the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah—and you will see that God also promises to forcibly correct those problems!

Peter, the chief apostle, spoke of the anti-family history of Sodom and Gomorrah as a prophecy. God turned those cities “into ashes,” and in so doing He made them “an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly” (2 Peter 2:6). The epistle of Jude speaks of these two cities as suffering the “vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude wrote that God set them forth as an example for our day!

These men were warning that any people getting caught up in those sins should expect the same end! When you live in cities polluted like Sodom and Gomorrah, look out—they are about to be destroyed by fire!—this time, likely in the form of nuclear bombs and other modern means. It is probably the strongest warning example in the Bible!

This is not an outdated Old Testament story—it is New Testament doctrine. Christ Himself prophesied that in the last days, evil conditions would again warrant the cataclysmic destruction that Sodom faced (Luke 17:28-30). He warned about destruction so thorough that unless He personally intervened, no flesh would be saved alive (Matthew 24:22).

Jesus also reminded us of Noah’s day, saying, “And as it was in the days of [Noah], so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that [Noah] entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-27). Obviously God doesn’t condemn eating or drinking; nor does He condemn marrying and giving in marriage. This is a prophecy of a society whose behavior in these areas has careened completely offtrack! It is speaking of the horrific effects of today’s war on family!

And God says that, just as He left Sodom and Gomorrah in ashes, and just as He inflicted worldwide destruction in Noah’s time, He is about to destroy today’s sin-sick world.

But the prophecies do not end in that destruction. They end in hope! And it is there that we find the solutions we seek—solid answers on how to win this war on family in our own homes, even today.

The Answer Is Family

Once God brings a swift, decisive end to the anti-family trends, He will begin to set things right. And do you know how He will do so?

By educating mankind in and implementing the same family law that He put in place from the beginning!

When He establishes His Kingdom after Jesus Christ’s return, family will be restored to its rightful place at the heart of civilization. Christ will marry His bride, the Church (Revelation 19:7). That blissfully perfect marriage will set the example for marriages throughout the Earth. “Thus saith the Lord; Again there shall be heard … in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate … The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever …” (Jeremiah 33:10-11).

Children will no longer oppress their elders. They will be taught respect, and everyone will be the happier for it. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof” (Zechariah 8:4-5).

These are the wonderful effects that implementing God’s law will produce. Among these laws are those governing the marital roles (e.g. Ephesians 5:29-33; 1 Timothy 5:8), the safeguarding of sex within the marital relationship (e.g. Exodus 20:14, 17), and the lifelong nature of the arrangement (Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:39). Also among them are the laws and principles governing the parent-child relationship (e.g. Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:6-7) and establishing godly government and order in the home.

Those laws are as absolute as the physical laws governing the universe. When they are broken, unhappiness and dissatisfaction result—as our sick society amply proves.

But when they are kept—when they are taught, cherished and obeyed—everyone benefits!

This is how—even today—you can successfully fight the war on family. Study and obey God’s basic spiritual laws governing the family! Even if one lacks the spiritual understanding of their spiritual purposes, keeping those laws—set in inexorable motion by the Creator of marriage, family and all that exists—will bring stability, harmony, happiness and peace into your own home.

God is a Family! He created the physical family as a means to introduce us into His Family! What is more beautiful than a strong, godly family? We must learn the beauty of family. That is where the excitement is. Once you understand God’s purpose, it is clear that real hope comes through the family—as God designed it! What it leads into boggles the mind!

We can be thankful to God that His supernatural intervention in the affairs of mankind, as prophesied in hundreds of biblical passages, is now just ahead of us. In the not-too-distant future, the world-ruling Family of God will vigorously teach all of mankind the just and holy laws He always intended to govern the sacred institutions of marriage and family!

Our free booklet Why Marriage!—Soon Obsolete? gives a stirring explanation of the reasons for marriage and family. The Missing Dimension in Sex goes further into the God-ordained purposes for sex. The Incredible Human Potential explains in hope-filled detail the inspiring future these institutions are intended to prepare us for. You need this knowledge! You need the genuine hope that comes from a deep understanding of this beautiful, inspiring subject.

Let the Stones Speak

Shocking and inspiring messages for the Jews and the world—buried in the rubble of Jerusalem
From the August 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

Jerusalem is built on the rubble of scores of versions of itself. Entombed beneath its present-day structures are the artifacts of settlements, conquests, wars and empires.

The ruins of its most glorious past are those of ancient Israel—particularly from the time of King David, the impressive Jewish poet-warrior who led the nation at its peak.

It was these ruins that began to surface at the hands of a team of archaeologists working under Dr. Eilat Mazar in 2005. Their splendor confirmed the authenticity of—and demanded renewed respect for—the biblical account of the history of Israel and Judah.

To doubters and detractors, Dr. Mazar offers a most articulate rebuttal: “Let the stones speak for themselves.” Oh, how they are speaking!

Many Jews are hearing these stones’ potent message about history. That message is strengthening their commitment to fight for the homeland of their ancestors. As Prof. Uzi Arad said at a conference in January, Dr. Mazar’s work “takes us to the very root of our civilization in history.”

How true. And yet—that is only half the truth. For those same stones are also delivering an even stronger sermon about the future of our civilization—both of the Jewish state and of all mankind!

A Seat of Kingly Power

Within the area of Jerusalem today called “the City of David”—the seat of David’s rule anciently—Dr. Mazar found a massive structure with walls up to 10 feet thick. It was the fortified palace of a monarch governing a mighty empire.

The grandeur of David’s palace represents a time when Israel was strong, unified, wealthy, and incredibly blessed under righteous rulership. Combined with the scriptural account, it is tangible proof of the blessings God gives those who obey Him (e.g. 2 Samuel 5:10).

That beautiful history points to the future. Scripture contains prophecies that God is going to resurrect King David, who will unify Israel once again (e.g. Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 37:24; Hosea 3:5).

Even more remarkably, the royal lineage that God began through David will culminate in the Messiah, at His return, assuming David’s very throne! (Isaiah 9:6-7). The New Testament counterpart, yet to be fulfilled, is Luke 1:32-33, which reads, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Prophecies about God’s future Kingdom show that the government will stand in the same location as it did during David’s reign. In the tradition of “his father David,” the Messiah is going to rule from the Holy City, Jerusalem—not just Israel and Judah, but the entire world.

The now-exposed walls of the royal palace that housed that throne anciently give an inspiring prophetic sermon about the imminent restoration of righteous kingship to that same location!

A Warning Ignored

In the area around David’s palace, Dr. Mazar’s team has found several clay seals, called bullae, such as would be used to stamp an official document. One belonged to Jehucal, a man mentioned in Jeremiah 37:3. Jehucal is also mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1, as is Gedaliah, the owner of another seal Dr. Mazar uncovered.

These two men were officials in the court of Zedekiah, who sat on David’s throne as king of Judah during the time of the Prophet Jeremiah. Their claim to fame? That they threw Jeremiah in prison—and tried unsuccessfully to have him killed.

Jehucal and Gedaliah hated this great prophet of God for one simple reason: the sternness of his message: “Thus saith the Lord,” Jeremiah proclaimed. “He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence …. This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it” (Jeremiah 38:2-3). Jeremiah bravely told the leaders and people of Judah that they were about to suffer captivity as punishment for their disobedience to God. It was a terrifying warning from God. But rather than heeding it, the people tried to silence it.

Thus, the Jews were in fact taken captive. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, razed the temple and the whole of Jerusalem. He seized Zedekiah, put out his eyes, and—seeking to end David’s royal line—killed his sons (2 Kings 25:1-10).

These two bullae—uncovered today after 2½ millennia—speak of the shameful abuse Jeremiah suffered at the hands of the people he was trying to save! They painfully remind us of just how hard-headed our human nature can be. They cry out that we must listen and heed when God tries to warn us in order to avert disaster!

Is Judah listening today? The modern Jewish state is caught in a maelstrom of signs of impending disaster. Yet it is following the tragic path of Jehucal and Gedaliah.

We must realize, though, that Jeremiah didn’t warn Judah alone, but all Israel—the descendants of which are the United States and Britain. There is a modern Babylon rising today. The Bible warns that this empire-in-the-making is about to take modern Israel into captivity! (Read The United States and Britain in Prophecy for proof.)

Truly, these two clay seals ring out a clarion warning to us today.

A Restoration of Worship

After their brutal captivity had humbled them, God gave the Jews the opportunity to return to Jerusalem in the sixth century b.c. to rebuild the temple. Because they faced so many enemies, Nehemiah built a protective wall around the city. He rallied the Jewish workmen and worked at breakneck speed, famously finishing the wall in 52 days.

The remnant of that wall is another major artifact Dr. Mazar’s team has uncovered in the City of David.

That wall delivers a message of tremendous hope. Yes, God’s corrective hand was on the Jews, but He applied it in measure to bring them back into communion with Him. Once they learned their lesson, they renewed their relationship with their Creator and returned again to reestablish true worship. The wall around the second temple environs represented a redeemed people’s determination to protect and preserve that communion with God.

The Bible is full of prophecy showing that, while, tragically, the Jews and Israelite nations today are about to follow the path of their forebears into captivity, so too will God, once this grievous punishment serves its purpose, restore them to the Promised Land. One of the richest accounts is in Jeremiah, beginning in verse 36 of chapter 32 and continuing through the entirety of chapter 33.

The stones of the City of David excavation supply valuable testimony of a past both grievous and glorious. But their most relevant and eloquent message concerns events about to unfold: a horrifying captivity, a humbling—a redemption, a glorious restoration—and a kingship that fulfills an ancient promise and lasts forever.

As these stones speak, may the Jews and the world heed.

Iraq’s New Puppet Master

Iraq’s New Puppet Master

Guess who’s pulling the strings in Baghdad?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with top U.S. commanders in Baghdad this week to discuss, among other things, the pace of America’s ongoing evacuation from Iraq.

Last month, as required by the Status of Forces Agreement (sofa) implemented on January 1, U.S. forces pulled out of Baghdad and several other Iraqi cities, prompting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to claim victory in ending the U.S. “occupation”—a firm slap in America’s face, if ever there was one.

Since then, tensions have escalated sharply between Iraq’s security forces and U.S. troops. Last week, as we reported here, an Iraqi officer attempted to arrest several U.S. soldiers for defending themselves against a terrorist ambush.

“What happened is a crime,” the Iraqi commander told the Washington Post. “Civilians were killed,” he said, referring to three Iraqis who died in the exchange of fire—two of whom were terrorists that ignited the conflict.

Prime Minister Maliki later reprimanded the Iraqi officer for acting “out of line,” saying American forces had a right to defend themselves. But he also acknowledged difficulties that Americans and Iraqis have in agreeing on the terms of the security arrangement.

“Both sides have starkly different interpretations of vaguely worded restrictions on the authority and movement of U.S. forces,” the Washington Post reported last weekend. Many Iraqis, the Post wrote in another piece, “interpret the agreement to mean that American troops are prohibited from any military operations” (emphasis mine throughout).

American forces, of which there are still 130,000 in Iraq, are understandably concerned about any restrictions that might compromise U.S. security. They’re also “taken aback by the sudden intransigence of their Iraqi partners,” the Postnoted. One officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Iraqi security forces seem “more and more willing to conduct operations on their own and less willing to accept our operational guidance.”

Indeed. Earlier this week, Iraq’s security forces acted alone in raiding Camp Ashraf, a small village located northeast of Baghdad, not far from the Iranian border. The camp was established during the 1980s as a base for Iranian exiles, known as the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (mek), to operate against the mullocracy in Tehran. About 3,000 Iranian dissidents live in the village.

This opposition group has provided the United States with valuable intelligence about Iran’s nuclear program. Since its 2003 invasion of Iraq, the United States has granted members of the mek “Protected Person” status, guaranteeing their protection against persecution.

That may soon change now that the United States has handed over the area to Iraq. On Tuesday, in response to mek members protesting the establishment of an Iraqi base inside Ashraf, Iraq sent in 1,000 troops to squash the rebellion. For two days, Iraqi policemen forcibly pounded mek members into submission, killing seven civilians and wounding dozens more. cbs News and the bbc both captured video of the early stages of the assault.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, Secretary Gates had pleaded with Iraq, which has long wanted to shut down the camp, to refrain from violence in Ashraf. Yet, in another brazen face slap, Iraq not only disregarded the U.S. petition, it timed its raid to coincide with Gates’s arrival in Baghdad.

In Washington and Tehran, the divergent reactions to the assault were telling. “The outcome wasn’t good and we’re not happy about that,” one Washington official told the Wall Street Journal.

The Iranian government, on the other hand, heaped praise on Iraq for its heavy-handed takeover: “It is appreciated that they have decided to clean up the Iraqi land from the filthy existence of terrorists.”

In recent weeks, of course, Iran has been ridding its own territory of opposition, killing more than 100 civilians in its post-election crackdown. In fact, according to the cbs report, the Iranian government blames mek members in Ashraf for helping to incite the recent civil unrest in Iran.

If you happen to be a regular reader of theTrumpet.com, you should have little trouble connecting all the dots of the clear picture that has now fully emerged in Iraq.

After the Ashraf bloodbath, the mek president-elect immediately accused Iran of ordering the Iraqi attack. cbs offered this straightforward assessment: “The attack was the latest sign that American influence in Iraq is waning, as Iranian influence rises.” From the Christian Science Monitor: “Maliki’s Shiite-led government is seeking stronger relations with Iran ….” And so on.

That Iraqi strings are now pulled by puppet masters in Tehran, rather than in Washington, is a development we have been predicting for years. Look at thisTrumpet cover, for example, produced in response to the spectacular collapse of Saddam’s regime in 2003. We wrote,

It may seem shocking, given the U.S. presence in the region right now, but prophecy indicates that, in pursuit of its goal, Iran will probably take over Iraq.

That was six years ago. Last year, even as news outlets were widely disseminating reports about the overwhelming success of the American surge in Iraq, we warned that America’s strength would ultimately be spent in vain. “For short-term gain in Iraq,” we wrote,

it could be that America has put Iran in prime position to take over Iraq—particularly with President Bush soon leaving the White House.In November, if the American electorate opts for the antiwar candidate, we could see these dramatic, end-time prophecies accelerate even further.

Dramatic fulfillments of Bible prophecy indeed!

On Wednesday, even as Iraqi forces were clearing away dead bodies in Ashraf, Secretary Gates, after dining with America’s top commander in Baghdad, told reporters he believes America’s withdrawal from Iraq is actually going better than expected!

“I think there’s at least some chance of a modest acceleration,” he said, leaving the door open for the United States to make an even speedier exit.

Of course, the way Shiite leaders in Baghdad and Tehran see it, the United States is already gone.

UK Trying to Freeze Israeli Settlements

UK Trying to Freeze Israeli Settlements

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The British government admitted it is trying to support Palestinian growth in East Jerusalem.

Britain’s relations with Israel are strained, this time because of Israeli settlement growth. A British government spokesman admitted last week that the UK is taking steps to put the kibosh on Israeli settlements by financing certain projects.

In a television interview in Dubai with Al-Arabiya, British spokesman Martin Day said the government was “taking practical steps toward freezing settlement activities.”

“For instance we finance projects aimed at halting settlement activities,” said Day. “One of these projects seeks to build new Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and save Palestinian houses from demolition.”

The British government is also removing preferential customs duties for Israeli products that come out of Israeli settlements.

“In light of this, we can say that we are taking effective and practical steps against settlement activities,” said Day.

Israeli officials didn’t find Day’s comments kosher. It is no wonder, as Britain is not only actively supporting Palestinian settlement growth but also actively trying to stop Israel’s own growth.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s senior deputy director general, Rafi Barak, sought clarification from British Ambassador Tom Phillips, asking for an explanation on Tuesday. After a second meeting on Wednesday, where Barak voiced Israel’s concern over the matter again, Phillips said he was looking into the matter.

The ministry’s spokesman for the Hebrew press called Day’s spiel the “height of chutzpah” and said such activity “was unheard of.”

The British Embassy’s spokesman in Tel Aviv denied the UK was “involved in the actual construction of new Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem,” but the denial is hard to take at face value after Day’s comments.

Israel is facing increasing international pressure to stop its settlement growth—sadly from former stalwart allies. Earlier this year, the U.S. joined the criticism when President Barack Obama in a speech in Cairo demanded that Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria stop.

Day’s comments are another crack in Israeli-British relations. This comes after the UK also recently activated a partial arms embargo against Israel, claiming Israel violated security agreements in Operation Cast Lead. The Israeli campaign against the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza was aimed at ending terrorist rocket attacks on Israeli cities.

This latest rift comes over a particularly contentious area, East Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which, thanks largely to illegal construction of thousands of Palestinian structures in the area, is bound to erupt soon. The UK’s encouragement of Palestinian settlement in East Jerusalem can only add more tension to this prophetic fault line.

The Trumpet has forecasted a complete falling out between Israel and its allies—particularly the UK and the U.S.—and a Palestinian takeover of East Jerusalem. These predictions are all based on Bible prophecy. To learn more about these prophecies, read the booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy. It will explain how the actions of the British government are tremors of a soon-coming seismic shift in the Middle East, the aftershocks of which will have tremendous impact for the entire world.

Rift Emerges Between U.S. and Iraqi Forces

Rift Emerges Between U.S. and Iraqi Forces

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In Iraq, a rift is emerging between U.S. and Iraqi forces. Several weeks after U.S. troops retreated from cities and townships, it appears Iraqi and U.S. forces are not on the same page in relation to how much authority U.S. troops now possess.

Last week, an American convoy was attacked by insurgents, and U.S. soldiers returned fire and pursued their AK-47-armed attackers. Three Iraqis were killed in the confrontation. When a senior Iraqi Army commander arrived on the scene, he charged the American troops with firing indiscriminately at civilians and ordered them to be taken into custody.

While the confrontation was defused and the Iraqi authorities backed down, the incident demonstrates both the dwindling authority the U.S. has in Iraq and the emerging hostility toward America among Iraqis.

The Iraqi commander later referred to the actions the U.S. troops took in self-defense as a “crime.” A U.S. military spokesman said two of those killed were assailants.

“The incident,” reported the Washington Post, “apparently the first time a senior Iraqi commander has sought to detain U.S. soldiers, signals a potential escalation of tensions between U.S. and Iraqi forces trying to find a new equilibrium as Iraq assumes more responsibility for its security” (July 25).

It also makes it harder for U.S. soldiers under attack to defend themselves without fear of repercussions from Iraqi security forces.

Iraqi forces have also questioned U.S. soldiers at checkpoints and prevented them from traveling into certain neighborhoods; in one instance, an Iraqi soldier drew his weapon on a U.S. armored vehicle.

One officer said U.S. soldiers “have been taken aback by the sudden intransigence of their Iraqi partners” (ibid.).

The police major overseeing the Iraqi investigation into last week’s incident, referring to the Americans in Iraq, said, “We don’t need them”—adding, after a pause, “except for fuel.”

As tensions rise between Iraq and the United States, watch for Iran to draw Iraq closer into its sphere of influence.

America’s Racial Time Bomb Is Ticking

America’s Racial Time Bomb Is Ticking

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Barack Obama was supposed to defuse racial tension in America. Sadly, he is making it worse.

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama sold himself as the antidote to America’s enduring racial infirmities.

Remember his major speech on race in March 2008? It was more impressive than Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” swooned msnbc’s Chris Matthews—the “best speech ever given on race in this country.” cbs co-host Maggie Rodriguez hailed it as a “defining cultural moment in America.” Good Morning America host Robin Roberts praised it as not just good for Obama’s campaign, but also for the “future of the country.”

Many believed Mr. Obama’s election heralded a new era of post-racial political and societal progress. Identity politics would begin to fade into irrelevance, America’s festering race wounds would start to heal. America, united under its first black president, would now explore new and better frontiers in race relations.

They were wrong.

Rather than soothe old wounds and diffuse racial tensions by avoiding race-based politics, Barack Obama has knowingly, perhaps intentionally, inflamed existing race wounds by “consistently emphasiz[ing] racial identity to further his own advantage,” noted Victor Davis Hanson this week. Instead of leading America out of its “racial morass,” the president so far has “only pushed us far deeper into it” (emphasis mine throughout).

By now you’re probably familiar with the president’s provocative remarks during his nationally televised address last week. Mr. Obama is an intelligent man, and is familiar with how combustible the race issue is, particularly when oxidized by the mainstream media. Mr. Obama knew he was handed a loaded gun when he was asked to comment on the July 16 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is black, by James Crowley, a white sergeant in the Cambridge Police Department. (See here and here for the details of this story.)

The president was given a choice: Disarm the loaded question (a simple statement saying he couldn’t comment because he did not know the details would have sufficed)—or pull the trigger and incite what he knew would become a national debate on race.

Mr. Obama chose the latter.

After admitting that he was not there and did not know all the facts, the president confidently stated on live television that the Cambridge Police Department had “acted stupidly” in arresting his friend, Professor Gates. The president then segued into a short sermon on the problem of racial profiling that still exists in America: “[W]hat I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. And that’s just a fact.”

For a man so educated in and sensitive to the race issue in America—not to mention a post-racial president saddled with the unenviable responsibility of solving racial tension—Mr. Obama showed a remarkable absence of wisdom by weighing in on this issue in this manner. This was a racially charged situation from its inception on the doorsteps of Mr. Gates’s home, and the president premeditatedly transformed it into a national debate on race.

Why?

With the Gates story still front-page news, Americans got another glimpse at Mr. Obama’s tendency for race-based politics Tuesday, when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the president’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Handpicked by Mr. Obama, Ms. Sotomayor is renowned for the race-based underpinnings of her moral and judicial thinking, particularly her infamous racially charged remark: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Mr. Obama did not merely select a judge with an undeniable tendency for making decisions based on racial identity (as witnessed by her ruling in the Ricci v. DeStefano case, which was overturned last month by the U.S. Supreme Court). His relative silence on the issue and unwillingness to condemn Ms. Sotomayor’s racially inflammatory remarks indicates that the president more than likely agrees with the judge.

Then there’s Eric Holder, President Obama’s feisty attorney general. In a speech in February commemorating Black History Month, Mr. Holder roasted the American people as a “nation of cowards” for not regularly discussing and confronting America’s racial problems. As the controversy flared, conservatives criticized Mr. Holder’s address to Justice Department employees for being abrasive and provocative, actually representing a partial explanation for an unwillingness to discuss race.

In an effort to soothe the controversy caused by the man he appointed, Mr. Obama told the New York Times that had he been advising the attorney general, “we would have used different language.” During the interview, the Times reported, “the president said that despite Mr. Holder’s choice of words, he had a point.”

Many elected Barack Obama to be a racial healer. But in the past six months alone, at least three major instances have arisen where Mr. Obama had the choice to either stoke or douse what were racially charged issues. In each instance, the president chose to allow the issue to flare into a racial firestorm.

The case is strong that Barack Obama is making America’s racial infirmities worse.

The Trumpet has long been skeptical of Mr. Obama’s ability to solve, or even soothe, America’s race issues. In July last year, as the controversy over Mr. Obama’s twenty-year relationship with the rabidly racist preacher Jeremiah Wright billowed, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote: “The race card is going to be played often for political gain! And it is going to cost America dearly. This is not a small problem. We must understand where the race issue is leading us. The end result is going to be worse than anything you imagine.”

Elsewhere, Mr. Flurry wrote that America’s racial tension is a ticking time bomb.

Some of our skepticism about President Obama as a racial healer comes from his personal position and motivation. But most of it stems from an understanding of human nature. Racial strife is endemic to history, long before the Obama presidency—or America—existed. This deadly infirmity has plagued the human race since before the days of Noah. In fact, as Herbert Armstrong explained in Mystery of the Ages, “the chief cause of the violence and chaos of world conditions [prior to the Flood], was racial hatreds, interracial marriages, and racial violence caused by man’s efforts toward integration and amalgamation of races, contrary to God’s laws.”

We need to consider this history. It informs us where racial tension ends!

No human has, nor ever will, solve the enduring problem of racial tension and hatred. Like many of man’s solutions to his problems, Mr. Obama’s antidotes will only exacerbate the problems. God alone can heal America’s deep racial wounds. How will He do this? By removing human nature and replacing it with the loving nature of God, imparted by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, this time is bearing down upon us rapidly.

Until then, America’s racial time bomb will continue to tick toward explosion!