Are You Ready for the End of the World?

Are You Ready for the End of the World?

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Anticipating the end of life as we know it
From the January 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

In the last 100 years, life in the First World has gotten a whole lot easier. We’ve built an impressive infrastructure to mass produce and distribute food, water, electricity and anything else we can dream up.

In the process, we have become extraordinarily dependent on “the grid.” Every aspect of modern life hinges on the smooth-flowing, uninterrupted operation of a number of intricate and interrelated systems.

This labyrinthine complexity makes our high-tech civilization extremely vulnerable to disruption.

What would you eat if the grocery stores and restaurants were empty? Today, less than 2 percent of the First World population is feeding the other 98 percent. Most of us get our food from hundreds or thousands of miles away, and have about a week’s worth of groceries in the pantry.

What would you do if your town lost power? In most places, drinking water would soon dry up; plumbing would stop. Sanitation would quickly deteriorate, particularly within cities. Communications would fail; phone systems would shut down within a week.

Considering the number and variety of possible events that could create such conditions, it would be irrational to ignore their likelihood. And the probability of several of them happening is high and growing. A disease pandemic. An energy embargo. Terrorist strikes or an attack by another country. The unleashing of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. Weather disasters, earthquakes or other natural phenomena destroying infrastructure or wiping out food production. Deepening economic depression. A collapse in the value of money, through deflation, hyperinflation, or monetary manipulation.

Most of us simply don’t seriously consider such scenarios. We enjoy them for summer popcorn movie fare—then continue to depend on the grid as if it will keep clicking in well-oiled perfection forever. But is that realistic? Not even a little bit.

Brace Yourself for TEOTWAWKI

A growing number of people are concerned. A swelling minority are proactively bracing for the worst. They recognize the signs, and believe their best defense is physical preparedness.

Popular survivalist expert James Wesley Rawles, a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, advocates creating a survival retreat at least 300 miles from the nearest city. In his books and on his website, he gives detailed information on increasing your self-sufficiency in matters such as water retrieval and purification, food production and storage, security and self-defense and so on—in anticipation of what he calls teotwawki: the end of the world as we know it.

To give a colorful single example, in assembling “first-aid/minor surgery” supplies for your retreat, Rawles advises, “[C]onsider your neighborhood going for many months without power, extensive use of open flames, and sentries standing picket shifts exposed to the elements. Then consider axes, chain saws, and tractors being wielded by newbies, and a greater likelihood of gunshot wounds. With all of this, add the possibility of no access to doctors or high-tech medical diagnostic equipment” (How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It).

Survivalist thinking is often associated with paramilitary activities, racism and religious extremism. But as global stability deteriorates and threats to civilization increase, it is becoming more mainstream. For his part, Rawles is avowedly anti-racist, and apparently moderate in his religion. He emphasizes preparing in a way that enables a person to fulfill the “moral imperative” of charity, giving to the needy in times of crisis.

There is something to be admired in the clear-eyed pragmatism of those taking steps to face calamity. Unlike the far more common head-in-the-sand approach, it acknowledges the seriousness of the times, and recognizes the need to do something—to work while it is day, since the night is coming.

“Take Heed to Yourselves”

Watching global conditions, the Bible’s detailed descriptions of “great tribulation” to befall the world just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are unmistakably increasing in relevance and urgency. In fact, the disasters for which some few are bracing themselves aren’t just likely scenarios based on current trends—they are specifically prophesied in Scripture to claim the lives of an enormous number of people in the developed world and beyond.

We need to condition our minds for catastrophes, because they are coming.

It is because of the human tendency to ignore such realities that Jesus Christ warned, “[T]ake heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day”—that is, the period of destruction just ahead of us—“come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35).

Heeding this warning will ensure that day won’t come on us unawares. Christ definitely advocated preparedness.

Does that mean we should stock up a survivalist bunker in the wilds, in hopes of riding out an “end of the world” scenario?

Is that why Jesus gave us this prophecy? Is that why He warned in advance of the terrifying and tumultuous events that are beginning to unfold in this modern age? So we could invest our time, treasure, energy and hearts into stockpiling food and ammunition within physical fortresses?

How to Prepare

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal,” Christ instructed. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

In this and several other passages, the preparedness Christ urged was spiritual.

God’s challenge with each one of us is to teach us to put our trust and confidence in Him rather than in ourselves or any other human being (e.g. Psalm 118:8; Jeremiah 17:5-7). He supernaturally fed the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness to teach them faith—that man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Jesus supported this principle. He taught that we should pray each day for “our daily bread,” and warned against faithless anxiety and fretting over tomorrow’s problems (Matthew 6:11, 25, 31-34). He was not an advocate of hoarding food. “For whosoever will save his life [or seek to maintain his physical life at all costs] shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it,” He said (Luke 9:24).

God actually wants us to recognize and overcome our tendency to trust ourselves. He is measuring the coming destruction of America and other nations because of our sin, our faithlessness, our self-reliance, our ignorance of Him and our belittling of His power. And if you understand the Bible’s prophecies about the severity of that destruction, you realize that no private bunker will be safe for long. No one is going to escape the coming tribulation—descending on America and other nations because of God’s wrath—through survivalist moxie.

Those who plan to weather the coming storms through their own foresight and ingenuity are underestimating the savageness of the time ahead. More importantly, they are misplacing their faith.

In a 1966 article, “Don’t Store Up Large Quantities of Food,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “Do not spend extra money on foodstuffs above your normal supplies and perhaps some few ‘staples’ which could carry you through a temporary food shortage on a vastly curtailed and reduced diet, in a severe and temporary emergency, for only a fewWEEKS! If you ever store more food than the normal laying up in summer for winter—you’re hoarding, and God Almighty may well withdraw His protection from you!”

Above all, God seeks repentance. And to those who turn to Him with supple hearts, He offers individual protection—escape—from the worst of the coming storms (e.g. Luke 21:36). That is the only sure place to invest our faith.

Are you ready for the end of the world? You need to start preparing by repenting before God. Request a free copy of our booklet Repentance Toward God to help you in this life-saving process.

We Are Not Animals

We Are Not Animals

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An error in science is leading to some uncivilized conclusions.
From the January 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Science is exposing a shocking new truth, columnist Mark Morford declared this past summer: “In the wilds of nature, to not have some level of homosexual/bisexual behavior in a given species is turning out to be the exception, not the rule” (San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, 2009; emphasis his).

You know where he’s going with this. “[E]ither humankind is part of nature and the wanton animal kingdom, a full participant in the messy inexplicable glories of the flesh and spirit and gender play, or we are the aberrant mistake, the ones who are lagging far behind the rest of the kingdom ….”

Morford’s in-your-face arrogance is maddening. But he appears to have science on his side. “[A]s many as 1,500 species of wild and captive animals have been observed engaging in homosexual activity,” noted Scientific American in June 2008. “Researchers have seen such same-sex goings-on in both male and female, old and young, and social and solitary creatures and on branches of the evolutionary tree ranging from insects to mammals.”

Science, according to Morford and his ilk, has solved the contentious question of homosexual behavior in humans: Homosexuality is a scientifically proven, therefore irrevocable, fact of life. To oppose it is to oppose nature itself.

The truth, however, is not that simple. This argument—which is patent liberalism masquerading as objective science—is riddled with flaws.

Animal or Human?

Morford’s reasoning is premised on one of the most pernicious errors ever peddled by science. Canonized into scientific lore long ago, then pumped relentlessly by modern education into believing minds, this lie has been sold as undeniable fact, an irreproachable law of science. What is it?

That man is an animal.

Check any modern biology textbook—they all say the same thing. Humans, Homo sapiens, are classified as members of the animal kingdom. Scientists classify man this way because of similarities between the physical characteristics and workings of some animals and the physical characteristics and workings of humans.

What about the gargantuan—and, at least to scientists, inexplicable—mental differences? Animals don’t think or reason, write, read, listen to music (let alone compose it or perform it), drive cars, or understand mathematics and chemistry. They lack the mental capacity to do any of these beyond even the most rudimentary level.

Aren’t the extreme differences between the mind of animals and the human mind greater than the meager similarities between the physical makeup of humans and some animals? Of course. Yet rather than give us our own kingdom, scientists lob humans into the animal kingdom.

A Slippery Slope

The unqualified classification of man as an animal is founded on an error and ends in moral confusion, and, ultimately, social breakdown.

Consider Morford’s reasoning, borne of this error. Many scientists and intellectuals like Morford, using this as their premise, have moved far beyond merely studying the physical similarities between humans and animals. Today we have “advanced” to the point of actually studying the behavior of animals to determine what is normal and abnormal behavior for humans. Since, Morford says, animals the world over supposedly engage in homosexual behavior, he reasons it’s neither unnatural nor abnormal for humans to practice homosexuality.

Such reasoning is more pervasive than you might imagine. Regarding such human proclivities as promiscuous sex, single motherhood, even child rearing, leading scientists and intellectuals are actually looking to animals to determine what is normal behavior and what is not.

Tragically, this “progression” has resulted in the sweeping acceptance, even promotion, of animalistic behavior in human society!

Where does it end? Many animals practice cannibalism—does this mean human cannibalism is all right? Animals fight and kill each other all the time—does this justify fighting and murder among humans? Of course not, reasonable people would reply. Yet scientists and radical liberals use precisely this logic to justify homosexuality.

Increasingly, this reasoning is being used to undermine the traditional family. A growing contingent of anti-family, anti-traditional radicals argue that since no other animals possess the marriage institution, why should humans? Some, in an effort to undermine the traditional role of the human male, argue that while male animals are generally involved in conception, most never stick around to protect, provide for and educate their progeny—so why should men be any different?

Such pitiful reasoning exposes the absolute degeneracy of the human mind today.

Humans laud themselves for being smart and progressive. We can easily recognize the vast gap that separates us from other living creatures—the uniqueness of our intelligence, our culture, our ability to think and reason, and our countless impressive achievements. Yet despite these magnificently unique qualities, we willfully lump ourselves in with the dumb animals.

We possess the most powerful instrument on the planet: the human mind. It sets us miles apart from every other life form. Yet we look to animals—creatures devoid of any ability to think or reason, creatures driven by basic instinct—as a means of determining human morality and conduct, and establishing societal norms.

There is an explanation for such thinking: Mankind has been deceived into rejecting divine revelation from God!

We Have Been Deceived!

The classification of humans as animals, and the resulting justification of animalistic behavior among humans, goes beyond being illogical and perverted.

At its core, it is motivated by an evil spirit being who is determined to undermine and destroy the existence of God, the traditional “Christian” beliefs, morals and institutions that underpin many Western societies, and, most importantly, the incredible potential God has created within every human being.

Unsurprisingly, Morford, like many of the scientific surveys, failed to define how “homosexual behavior” was classified among animals. Animals do not have the varied and complex emotional make-up of human beings. Just because two bottlenose dolphins are seen briefly mounting each other, this does not make them homosexual. Did two squirrels wrestling make them homosexual? If the definition of “homosexual behavior” is as broad as it appears, then it’s no surprise the figures are so high.

And if animals are exhibiting homosexual tendencies, we would strongly challenge the notion that God made them to do so. God created this planet flawless, meaning it was created within the boundaries of His law. This is why, after six days of labor, God looked back on His handiwork and said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Just look at the way animals behaved in the Garden of Eden, before the curses associated with man’s sin entered the world (e.g. Genesis 2:19). Then look at the prophecies of how they will behave again once God’s Kingdom is established and those curses are removed (e.g. Isaiah 11:6-9). God did not make the animals wild, violent and bloodthirsty. They exhibit those qualities—as man does, sadly—because they are in the thrall of this world ruled by the devil (e.g. 2 Corinthians 4:4).

So not only are scientists stupidly looking to the creature rather than the Creator for their instruction in how to live (e.g. Romans 1:25), but they are studying and exalting a Satan-inspired perversion of the behaviors God intended animals to exhibit! “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (verse 22).

We ought to be looking up to the majestic throne room of God and gleaning instruction on how to live from the Being infinitely superior to us in morality, character and conduct. But this evil spirit, using science and other instruments, encourages man instead to turn our gaze downward into the world of brute animals—be they homosexual scarab beetles, or promiscuous dogs, or filthy baboons—for insight and instruction into human behavior.

Instead of relying on God’s Word, mankind relies on his own materialistic observations and classifies himself as little more than a brute beast aimlessly walking this Earth. Can’t we recognize the absurdity of such thinking?

The God Kind

The Bible explains in detail why God made man. It reveals our purpose for existence. It provides instruction on ideal human conduct. It shows our ultimate potential.

Consider God’s instruction in Genesis 1:26-27. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth …. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them.”

Did you notice how clearly God delineates the human kingdom from the animal kingdom?

We’re just scratching the surface. In verse 25, God explained how He made each species of animal after its own kind, the “cattle after their kind,” and “every winged fowl after his kind.” But read verses 26-27 again: God made man after the Godkind!

He didn’t just create humans as a separate kingdom higher than that of the animals; He created humans after the God kind, with a colossal potential that no animal can ever have. Notice what the late Herbert Armstrong wrote about this potential: “This revealed knowledge of God’s purpose for mankind—of man’s incredible awesome potential—staggers the imagination. Science knows nothing of it—no religion reveals it … and certainly higher education is in utter ignorance of it” (The Incredible Human Potential).

If you’re weary of science and education forcing your gaze downward, it’s not too late to begin casting your gaze upward, into the realm of hope and truth, the realm overflowing with divine instruction and guidance. If you’d like some help, request, then study, our free book The Incredible Human Potential.

German Youth Celebrate Edmund Stoiber

German Youth Celebrate Edmund Stoiber

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Germany’s new generation is searching for charismatic, staunch politicians of the caliber of Edmund Stoiber and Baron zu Guttenberg.

A new generation of German conservatives has grown to adulthood since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. This generation is getting tired of the passionless politics that have dominated Germany since the election of Chancellor Angela Merkel. This, undoubtedly, is why the youth arm of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union is looking to more charismatic leaders.

On November 15, delegates from the Junge Union Deutschlands (JU), the youth arm of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, celebrated the arrival of a renowned guest of honor to their National Assembly at Castle Guteneck—European Union anti-bureaucracy czar Edmund Stoiber. The JU only admits German conservatives between the ages of 14 and 35, yet Stoiber has taken a key interest in the group to which he once belonged.

As Stoiber stepped to the lectern, delegates clapped rhythmically and chanted, “There is only one Edmund Stoiber.” During his half-hour lecture, Stoiber criticized those politicians who legislate only short-term successes. He proved that he has a long-term vision for Europe by saying that hard decisions have to be made that might bear fruit only after 10 to 15 years.

After the meeting, Weiden-JU-Chair Michael Bilher said of Stoiber: “He was our number one, he is our number one and he will always remain our number one.”

Stoiber, however, does not see himself as the only major politician working for Germany’s best interest. During his lecture, he praised the efforts of another prominent German politician who grew up under his tutelage—German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg. “It is good for us that we have someone on the international scene who holds the flag of the [Christian Social Union] high,” said Stoiber of Guttenberg.

Stoiber and Guttenberg carry a mutual respect for each other’s political achievements. Recently Guttenberg strongly endorsed Stoiber’s efforts to cut EU red tape. Now Stoiber has endorsed Guttenberg’s efforts to keep German conservatism alive in the current federal coalition.

Both men are becoming increasingly popular among Germany’s conservative youth. In October, Stoiber endeared himself to the Junge Union Deutschlands by verbally attacking the Left Party, opposing EU membership for Turkey and criticizing the lack of passion in Angela Merkel’s political campaign. The Times Online reports that Guttenberg’s “hip image” helps him “reach out to the young who often sit around drinking beer at his rallies.” His campaign rallies have even been labeled “Woodstock for conservatives.”

As the Trumpetdeclared just after Pope Benedict’s election, “Now that a Bavarian pope reigns in the Vatican, we must wonder how Europe would change were a Bavarian premier to take the German chancellorship—or, more significantly, a position at the top of the European Union. We have been looking for a strong church-state connection to take hold in Europe, steered by the Vatican and Germany.” Stoiber and Guttenberg are both Bavarians and staunch supporters of the papacy.

The old guard in German politics is on the way out and a new guard is on the rise. Germany’s new generation of conservatives is looking for charismatic, staunchly traditional, right-wing, Roman Catholic statesmen of the caliber of Edmund Stoiber and Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. Watch the political fortunes of these men.

Let Kids Be Kids

Let Kids Be Kids

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There’s something wonderful we as parents need to protect in our children.
From the January 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

A couple of years ago, an artist named Marla Olmstead caught the modern art world by the tail. Critics said she had the talent of Picasso. Her popularity exploded, and with it, so did the price tags on her paintings.

The funny part is, she was 4 years old.

The 2007 documentary My Kid Could Paint That showed intellectual grown-ups reading profound adult meanings into these works. They spoke of this child as though she possessed some mythic, eternal wisdom. In truth, she just liked pretty colors.

This girl’s unbecoming treatment at the hands of the adults around her is playing out, writ large, all around us. We are pushing our children into adulthood at breakneck pace. We are instilling in them adult habits of consumerism, trusting them with adult decision-making capacity, feeding them on adult entertainment, and encouraging them in adult sexual behavior.

In the process, we are robbing them of something precious and wonderful: childhood.

Who Is Wooing Our Children?

The panoply of forces driving this trend is vast and relentless. Determined parents, however, can do much to still the storm. It starts by recognizing it.

Many of us seem to have bought the notion that children should not be controlled. Parents give them open access to television, the Internet, movies and music of their own choosing, let them select their own friends indiscriminately, and so on. Many apparently believe that demarcating boundaries for young people impairs them—that they are naturally entitled to all the privileges and freedoms of adulthood. But what are the results of such thinking? Bad, bad, bad all around.

Consider for a moment just who is making a play for their minds. At the top of the list, marketers are eager to woo the next generation of customers. Without regard for their intellectual, social or spiritual well-being, these merchants only seek our children’s attention, en route to claiming their dollars. Thus, they appeal to youth’s strongest, most immediate and even base desires—self-gratification and vanity—all the while hurrying them toward unrestrained consumerism. Themes of kid-empowerment and anti-adultism are pervasive.

Facing such unprincipled influences, children simply haven’t developed enough discrimination to resist. Thus, they are taught to fixate on how much life “owes them” and on what they “deserve.” “[I]n the absence of experience, children will always choose the same thing, the thing that is most immediately attractive or gratifying to them,” wrote Theodore Dalrymple. “A young child, constantly consulted over his likes and dislikes, learns that life is, and ought to be, ruled by his likes and dislikes” (In Praise of Prejudice). Encouraged to exercise their freedom of choice based on their simplest whims, they fail to learn several crucial values in life: reasoned judgment, hard work, patience and self-sacrifice, among others.

Consumerist messages aside, even an afternoon of children’s programming on public television is a minefield of other shady material to shape their thinking: bad attitudes; knee-jerk disrespect for authority; scatological, “gross-out” humor; feminist or other politically correct messages; demonism, witchcraft or other pagan spiritual content.

Astoundingly, though, even mainstream sources of parental advice warn against being too concerned—after all, you don’t want to seem “out of touch” to your children. But that is bad advice, pure and simple.

Eavesdropping on Adults

More and more, though, it’s not just kids’ shows our children are watching. Only 14 percent of the networks’ scheduling is devoted to youth-oriented programming, so young people often end up watching adult programs. A 2005 survey showed the most popular tv show among 9-to-12-year-olds was Desperate Housewives. For family movie night, parents are unwilling to sit through an innocuous cartoon—and are thus exposing their children to sterner fare. Bit by bit, our young people grow desensitized and come to expect more mature material in their entertainment. In effect, they are “eavesdropping” on the adult world. But it’s not the real adult world—it’s a world far more violent, sexual, rude and crass.

Violence is increasingly marketed specifically to our young people in the form of television programs, movies, music and music videos, video games and toys. As Juliet Schor details in Born to Buy, violent action figures are being promoted to preschoolers. Gruesomely violent video games—which have become extremely realistic—are making their way into younger and younger hands. A 2000 Federal Trade Commission report found that 70 percent of all mature-rated games (for ages 18 and up) were specifically targeted at youth under age 17.

This past November, the video game Modern Warfare 2: Call of Duty debuted. The game consists of players controlling soldiers from a first-person point of view as they kill enemies and civilians from Afghanistan to Russia to South America to suburban Washington, d.c. Rated “mature” for profanity, drugs, blood and intense violence, this game sold almost 5 million copies in the U.S. and UK in its first 24 hours. That day, it made $310 million, the biggest debut in history—not the history of all video games, but of all forms of entertainment. You can be sure that among those millions of eager customers were no small number of teenagers—and younger.

The social climate that promotes such media is the same one that inspired high school students in Chicago in September to beat a 16-year-old student to death. It is producing a steady drumbeat of incidents in the news involving younger and younger children committing unspeakable crimes.

The aggressive sexualization of our children is criminal in and of itself. “These days when you walk into a toy store, it’s not clear whether you actually made it to the store or accidentally landed in a red-light district,” wrote Wendy Shalit in her book Girls Gone Mild. Dolls aimed at preschool girls wear heavy makeup and provocative outfits; marketing materials speak openly about the importance of “looking hot.” Messages of female empowerment are unapologetically wedded with those of exhibitionism and splashy sexuality. Most major retailers carry thongs in their girls’ department; even “Hello Kitty” and Care Bears manufacture the item.

Shalit cited one mother of two girls who complained, “Many girls seem to have no childhood at all. Once you get beyond size 12-to-18-months, the clothes begin to look trashy.” Porn has become pop culture—and young people are increasingly comfortable with it. A survey of British teenage girls showed that when asked what was a “good profession,” seven times more of them chose “lap dancer” than teacher.

“There is no longer any mystery or power to sex—it is just expected that everything will be sexual, and so nothing is,” lamented Shalit. “There is nothing to wait for, or to look forward to. … [B]eing publicly sexual has become the only acceptable way for girls to demonstrate maturity.”

What a shame that we are in such a rush to rob our children of the security and simplicity of a real childhood.

How to Preserve Childhood

“Childhood is perhaps the only phase of life when innocence can flourish,” wrote Michael and Diane Medved in Saving Childhood. “But to allow this, parents and others responsible for children’s minds need to construct a protective shelter against the painful and frightening facets of life. They need to stand guard at its door, to let the harsher truths of reality gradually unfold for the child, in a way and at a pace that allows the child to maintain a positive outlook” (emphasis theirs). Good advice.

Children possess no inner compass for wisdom. As Proverbs 29:15 tells us, “[A] child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” As our children travel a world filled with harmful things, they will be naturally attracted to certain of those things. Loving parents will forbid them. As long as our children are too young to discern right from wrong, good from evil, we have the God-given responsibility to make those decisions for them. And over the years, we must morally educate them to recognize and avoid those things on their own.

The feeling of security that comes with living under the protective umbrella of parental supervision—even control—frees a child. “Only children enjoy the luxury of viewing life as unshaped, ill-defined, constantly assembling,” wrote the Medveds. “Like expressionist art, the world is vague but vibrant. Later, there’s plenty of time for the sharp definition of realism.”

Enemies of that vague and vibrant world encroach—even the art gallery trying to treat its preschool painter like Picasso. Hold them off. And give your children clear boundaries so they can cherish that simple, happy world while it lasts. Sadly, it isn’t long.

Is Jerusalem About to Explode?

Is Jerusalem About to Explode?

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

New round of violence erupts on the Temple Mount.
From the January 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

During his speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Barack Obama called on the State of Israel to end the “occupation” that began in 1967—using the same term many of Israel’s enemies rely on to denounce any Jewish presence in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Since then, Arab-Israeli tensions have escalated noticeably, particularly around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

On Oct. 25, 2009, for example, a wall of Israeli riot police clashed with Palestinian protesters near the al-Aqsa Mosque, after Muslim authorities and Arab media outlets called on Palestinians to defend the compound against “Jewish conquest.” An Arab-Israeli Knesset member has even hinted that Israel is using archaeological excavations to sabotage the Temple Mount so Jews might eventually build a synagogue where the al-Aqsa Mosque has been standing for 1,400 years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily dismissed these accusations as baseless “lies” that were aimed at fomenting violence and division.

An eerily similar storyline played out in September 2000 soon after the peace process collapsed at Camp David. In that version, Yasser Arafat used Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount as grounds for a Palestinian uprising that became known as the second intifada. Arafat, however, called his war the al-Aqsa intifada in hopes of rallying Arab forces to capture Jerusalem.

In this chapter, Arafat’s successor Mahmoud Abbas has warned of a “religious war” unless Israel stops all “provocative” acts. In a speech on October 28, Abbas said “the fanning of flames by Israeli extremists has caused the dangerous situation which currently prevails in Jerusalem.”

On this issue, Abbas’s fiery rhetoric falls right in line with his Palestinian enemies in Gaza. Nothing unites Palestinians quite like Jewish “provocations.”

“The Israelis want to divide al-Aqsa Mosque,” the Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said in late October. “They want to hold their religious ceremonies in the mosque … in preparation for demolishing it and building their temple there.” Jerusalem’s fate, Mashaal predicted, will be determined by “confrontation,” not negotiation.

On that last point, he happens to be right. For the day is coming, the Prophet Zechariah warned, that half the city of Jerusalem “shall go forth into captivity” by some kind of violent struggle (see Zechariah 14:1-2).

Ever since the Camp David accords, Israel has negotiated one peace proposal after another that has included giving the Palestinians half of Jerusalem for free. But because of Zechariah’s prophecy, for the past several years, we have been preparing our readers for Israel’s government to swing to the right regarding Jerusalem. That, of course, happened last year with the election of Benjamin Netanyahu, who campaigned on the promise of keeping Jerusalem united.

“With a right-wing coalition now in power in Israel,” we wrote on our website, “that brings us one giant prophetic leap closer to the inevitable clash over Jerusalem” (theTrumpet.com, April 3, 2009). Now, it appears, the Arab-Israeli peace process is on the verge of collapsing.

Of course, there’s always the chance that the latest round of violence over Jerusalem may be a strategic maneuver ordered by Iran in hopes of diverting attention away from its nuclear program.

Either way, it’s building toward an inevitable explosion in Jerusalem. Whether it’s a momentary diversion or the beginning of another intifada, this eruption of violence outside the al-Aqsa Mosque, as the Times of London wrote, “has repercussions that go far beyond Israeli-Palestinian relations” (Oct. 26, 2009).

Even though sparked by conspiracy theories on the Arab street, and then inflamed by Palestinian stone-throwers on the Temple Mount, still, as the Times intoned, “From Cairo to Jakarta, Muslims will be enraged by the sight of Israeli security forces imposing authority at Islam’s third-holiest site” (emphasis mine).

Whatever the cause, Israel’s riot police firing rubber bullets at Palestinian youths on the Temple Mount will eliminate what little support remains for Israel across the region.

The Zechariah 14:2 explosion is coming. You can learn more on this subject from our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.

Why It Is Named Herbert W. Armstrong College

From the January 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

The organization that sponsors this magazine also sponsors a private liberal arts college. Why is our college named Herbert W. Armstrong College? We had many different names to choose from, and spent a considerable amount of time searching for the right name.

Herbert W. Armstrong was one of the most prominent religious leaders of the 20th century. He was watched, read and followed by millions of people worldwide. At the time of his death in 1986, the newsmagazine he founded, the Plain Truth, was being produced in seven languages; global circulation peaked at 8.4 million. (By comparison, Time magazine’s circulation that year was 5.9 million.)

The name Herbert W. Armstrong College reminds us that there was a powerful work on Earth that God Himself established. It was a work that fulfilled Jesus Christ’s promise to send an individual who would “restore all things”—every foundational doctrine—in preparation for His Second Coming, as John the Baptist did before His first coming (Matthew 17:11; request a free copy of our book Malachi’s Message for more explanation).

The Trumpet aims to pick up where the Plain Truth left off after Mr. Armstrong died. His successors attacked his impressive legacy of Bible-based humanitarianism and destroyed all he had built.

The name of our college helps us remember what became of that work because people didn’t value it.

In Revelation 10:11, God gave one of His servants a commission to “prophesy again.” That command, if you understand the context, reveals the need for the work we are doing today. Mr. Armstrong had a strong work of prophesying. But then that work was tragically dismantled—and God had to raise up another work to do that work again. Our work is grounded in what God taught through Mr. Armstrong and what He is teaching today. We are carrying on the traditions Mr. Armstrong established. We follow what he did, building on the understanding he had.

Herbert W. Armstrong founded three of the most beautiful colleges in the world. He taught about the “missing dimension in education”—the spiritual foundation that most educators ignore.

Incidentally, Mr. Armstrong himself never went to college. The same is true of so many of the most successful men and women. That in itself tells you something about the state of most formal education today.

Frank Lloyd Wright, whom I believe was America’s greatest architect ever, never studied architecture in college. “We know that the interpretation of life is the true function of the architect,” he wrote, “because buildings are made for life, to be lived in, and to be lived in happily, designed to contribute to that living joy and living beauty. Now looking backward at the old order, it comes to this, does it not, that instead of going to the fountainhead for inspiration, instead of going to the nature principal by the way of our trust in life and love of life, going there for inspiration and for knowledge, where have we been going? Going to the armchairs of universities, going to their hallowed, musty books, going to the famous armchair men who were tutored by armchair men themselves, famous offsprings of the armchair.” That’s a reasonable definition of education as a whole: musty armchair knowledge.

Mr. Armstrong aimed to achieve something altogether different at Ambassador College. “Very soon, today’s decadent education will be replaced by the educational system of the World Tomorrow. This already has been introduced in Ambassador College,” he wrote. “Ambassador College knows, and teaches, the purpose and true meaning of life—the true values that pay off—and the way to peace, happiness, and abundant well-being. How do we know? We don’t guess, or theorize or express unfounded opinions—we have it on authority! The Bible is that authority, and it is proved to be the revelation of the almighty living God to humankind” (Plain Truth, September 1978).

Mr. Armstrong knew that a successful character-building institution needed buildings and grounds of exceptional character. Under his direction, the three campuses of Ambassador College became internationally recognized for their exquisite quality.

In this way his attitude also mirrored Wright’s. Wright knew there was a spirit in architecture. He said architecture should be beautiful and uplifting, a “festival for the eye.” He talked about architecture enriching life, making people happy and delighted to be inside a building. And he took his inspiration from God’s creation.

That is what we are striving to achieve on this campus: to make it a small foretaste of the wonderful World Tomorrow. We are finishing construction on the crown jewel of our campus, Armstrong Auditorium. It will have beautiful Austrian Schwartz crystal chandeliers. It will house onyx and candelabras from Iran. It will display a swan sculpture created by Sir David Wynne from England. It sits beside a lovely spring-fed lake, and will be adorned with beautiful flowerbeds and landscaping. And within the auditorium, people will hear some of the world’s greatest performers playing some of history’s finest music. It will bring all the arts together. Entering Armstrong Auditorium will be a real festival for all the senses. It is all orchestrated to lift the spirit of man.

The physical and the spiritual all tie together in harmony. When you bring it all together, nothing else stirs your spirit and imagination quite like it. It was all created by God!

The most exciting project on our campus, however, is the lives of the people who live and work here. What would happen if you removed all the students and instructors? All you would have are things that would deteriorate and waste away. The greatest architecture at Herbert W. Armstrong College is the people! That’s the real art, the real architecture, the real hope. The physical things simply create the environment for their spirits to soar, to be happy.

The greatest architecture of all is what God creates in man. But He can only do that if man cooperates. If you submit to Him, then He can undertake that inspiring spiritual creation in you!