The Love of a Father

The Love of a Father

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How fathers can counteract the harmful influence of society on their daughters

There is no question that girls “grow up in a cultural milieu saturated with sexualizing messages,” as one 2007 report put it. Television, the Internet, movies, magazines and music are all rife with sexually explicit content. In the world of media and advertising, female sexualization is everywhere. Young girls are made to look and dress like adults, while women are constantly “youthified.” The entertainment-driven media get their message across to our daughters loud and clear.

At the same time, crafty marketers lurk in our midst, spying on our children, appealing to their carnal and lustful desires, packaging vile products, and then preying on the spending habits of young people they desperately hope youaren’t supervising.

As fathers, how can we counteract the onslaught? How can we protect our daughters?

Your daughter is your responsibility. Don’t let society bring her up. That’s your job: to raise her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

You can do it! Here’s how.

1. Spend Time With Her

Nothing is more selfish and irresponsible than siring children without regard to the responsibilities of fatherhood. Your daughter is your responsibility.

In As the Twig Is Bent, Leslie Hohman wrote, “Most fathers and mothers—especially fathers—do not devote many hours enthusiastically to their daughters and sons after the first novelty of babyhood is past. They listen to the troubles of middle childhood when they have to, and occasionally come swooping off their perches for sudden reprimands. By the time children are old enough to be really interesting as companions to the average parent, it is too late. The children have been forced to establish other interests, pleasures, and affection relations.” That’s what happens when you ignore her. You force her to fill that void with other interests and pleasures—like boys and popular culture.

One of the conclusions Mary Eberstadt drew in her 2004 book Home-Alone America is that teenagers are far more likely to engage in sex and experiment with drugs and alcohol when their parents are absent. On the other hand, a father’s involvement in his daughter’s life puts her at tremendous advantage over her peers, as Meg Meeker wrote in Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: “With overwhelming evidence, the [studies show] that kids who feel connected to their parents (and who spend more time with them) fare much better than kids who don’t. Parents keep kids out of trouble; parental influence can be more important than pressure; and specifically, daughters who spend more time with their fathers are less likely to drink, take drugs, have sex as teenagers, or have out-of-wedlock babies. Your time with her matters.”

Don’t make the tragic mistake of substituting physical things for the one gift your daughter really wants from you: your time. That’s all that really matters. True love is expressed by giving your time and your energy—not your money. Make personal sacrifices for her welfare and well-being.

2. Restrict Media Influence

A September 2004 study found that children who view lots of televised sexual content are twice as likely to experiment with sex as those who watch significantly less sexual content. The restrictions and standards you put in place for your family’s media intake do make a difference. But in too many cases, fathers are failing to act, as Eberstadt points out in her book: “American parents tell every survey and outlet available about their disgust with popular culture, and yet toddlers watch more hours of television year by year; some 65 percent of kids 8 to 18 have television sets in their bedrooms, and some 58 percent of households watch television during dinner.”

We know it’s wrong—we know its influence adversely affects adolescent behavior—and we do nothing about it. That is an absolute shame.

All too often, fathers rely on television to keep their children occupied—and then when our daughters turn out bad, we blame television. How convenient.

Your daughter is your responsibility. Don’t allow her to indiscriminately view whatever she wants. Monitor what she watches on the one television you place in the living room of your house. Even during acceptable programming, view it with her. Apply these same standards across the board. Get rid of teen magazines that teach girls how to be “hot” so they can manipulate boys. Check up on the music she downloads, the websites she visits, the people she communicates with through e-mail and instant messenger. Get to know her friends at school—who she hangs out with. Let them know about your standards. They’ll respect you for it.

3. Establish God’s Moral Authority in Her Life

Ultimately, of course, our objective as fathers is to teach our daughters to be most concerned about what God thinks. It’s not enough for her to merely accept God’s existence. In John 13:13, Jesus said to His disciples, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.” They were right to refer to Him as their Master—that’s what He was! And if they accepted Him as their Master, Christ went on to say, then they needed to follow in His steps—to do as their Master said.

This principle is a fundamental building block for life: In every human endeavor, there will always be a teacher-student relationship, whether it’s parent-child, teacher-pupil, boss-employee, minister-member, or Lord-servant. Fathers who won’t reinforce this principle with their daughters are not properly preparing them for their future.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). True education begins with fearing God—which means we submit to His moral authority with honor and reverence.

Loving discipline is the greatest key there is to learning, because a disciplined mind will be an attentive learner. It will be more responsive to instructions; more discerning of good and evil. That’s why God says the rod and reproof actually give wisdom (Proverbs 29:15).

New Testament theology is based on the same principle (Ephesians 6:1-4; Hebrews 12:6-8). God punishes His children because He loves them. Shouldn’t we follow His lead and do the same with our daughters?

4. Diligently Teach

To fathers, God gives this charge: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

God admonished the ancient Israelites to “diligently” teach their children the laws of God “when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). To teach diligently means to repeat, reiterate, or do something again and again.

In his masterful textbook for life, The Missing Dimension in Sex (free upon request), Mr. Armstrong wrote, “If teenagers had been properly taught what they needed to know about sex, from the very first and second years of their lives, by informed and loving parents, the frightful tragedies of teenage and premarital sex would have been reduced to the barest minimum” (emphasis mine). Begin teaching early—and do it often. Don’t wait until a crisis before you reach out to your daughter. Don’t expect Mom to handle all the teaching while you make the money.

Don’t rely on schools to do your job. Even if schools get the instruction right, which they most often don’t, they are still poor substitutes for a loving father who is diligently teaching his daughter how to live.

Mr. Armstrong wrote, “Of course you cannot tell a 2- or 3-year-old more than a small part of sex knowledge. But as the child grows older, explain more from time to time. Keep ahead of the ‘gutter.’” This is the basic rule to remember in teaching your daughter about sexuality: Stay ahead of the gutter. It requires vigilance to do that! It means you establish God’s standard of conduct in your home and enforce those rules. It means you’re in regular communication with your daughter, making sure you’re well ahead of the gutter knowledge she absorbs from worldly influences.

5. Set the Right Example

No human father is perfect, but before we set out to shape the life of our daughters, we had better get our own act together first. Teaching is administered most effectively by simply setting the right example. As Hohman put it in his book, “Parental example is probably the greatest single factor in training. What you yourself do is of greater influence than anything you can say, especially if your actions belie your words. Your children will inevitably desire to be like you and to act like you” (op. cit.). And when your daughter grows up, we might add, she will most likely marry someone just like you.

Be the kind of man you hope she will marry someday—a sincerely humble man who submits to God’s law. One with the spiritual courage and determination needed to lead his family the way Jesus Christ leads His Church. A man who loves his wife and flees from sexual lust. A man of sacrifice and service. A hard worker and good provider who makes time for his wife and children—a good family man. A discerning man of wisdom and understanding who leans on God’s counsel—and who takes the time to teach. A good communicator—one who talks to God, his wife and his children.

Your daughter desperately needs you to be that man. Spend time with her, restrict the world’s evil influences in her life, be authoritative and decisive—lovingly lead—and teach her from God’s Instruction Manual. But above all, be the man you want her to be with for the rest of her life.

Solomonic Wall Discovered in Jerusalem

Solomonic Wall Discovered in Jerusalem

Courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar

Recent three-month excavation raises more ruins of ancient Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM—A section of an ancient city wall of Jerusalem from the 10th century bce—possibly built by King Solomon—has been revealed in archaeological excavations directed by Dr. Eilat Mazar and conducted under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The wall, 70 meters long and 6 meters high, is located in the area known as the Ophel, between the City of David and the southern wall of the Temple Mount.

Uncovered in the city wall complex were an inner gatehouse for access into the royal quarter of the city, a royal structure adjacent to the gatehouse, and a corner tower that overlooks a substantial section of the adjacent Kidron Valley.

(Courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar)

The excavations in the Ophel area were carried out over a three-month period with funding provided by Daniel Mintz and Meredith Berkman, a New York couple interested in biblical archeology. The excavations were carried out in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Company for the Development of East Jerusalem. Archaeology students from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as well as volunteer students from the Herbert W. Armstrong College in Edmond, Oklahoma, and hired workers all participated in the excavation work.

“The city wall that has been uncovered testifies to a ruling presence. Its strength and form of construction indicate a high level of engineering,” Mazar said yesterday. The city wall is at the eastern end of the Ophel area in a high, strategic location atop the western slope of the Kidron Valley.

“A comparison of this latest finding with city walls and gates from the period of the First Temple, as well as pottery found at the site, enable us to postulate with a great degree of assurance that the wall is that which was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the latter part of the 10th century bce,” said Mazar.

“This is the first time that a structure from that time has been found that may correlate with written descriptions of Solomon’s building in Jerusalem,” she added. “The Bible tells us that Solomon built—with the assistance of the Phoenicians, who were outstanding builders—the temple and his new palace and surrounded them with a city, most probably connected to the more ancient wall of the City of David.” Mazar cited 1 Kings 3:1, where it says Solomon “made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.”

Overlooking the Solomonic complex. (Photo by Sasson Tiram)

The 6-meter-high gatehouse of the uncovered city wall complex is built in a style typical of those from the period of the First Temple like Megiddo, Beersheva and Ashdod. It has a symmetrical plan of four identical small rooms, two on each side of the main passageway. Also there was a large, adjacent tower, covering an area of 24 by 18 meters, which was intended to serve as a watchtower to protect entry to the city. The tower is located today under the nearby road and still needs to be excavated. Nineteenth-century British surveyor Charles Warren, who conducted an underground survey in the area, first described the outline of the large tower in 1867 but without attributing it to the era of Solomon.

“Part of the city wall complex served as commercial space and part as security stations,” explained Mazar. Within the courtyard of the large tower there were widespread public activities, she said. It served as a public meeting ground, as a place for conducting commercial activities and cult activities, and as a location for economic and legal activities.

Pottery shards discovered within the fill of the lowest floor of the royal building near the gatehouse also testify to the dating of the complex to the 10th century bce. Found on the floor were remnants of large storage jars, 1.15 meters in height, that survived destruction by fire and that were found in rooms that apparently served as storage areas on the ground floor of the building. On one of the jars there is a partial inscription in ancient Hebrew indicating it belonged to a high-level government official.

“The jars are the largest ever found in Jerusalem,” said Mazar, adding that “the inscription on one of them shows that it belonged to a government official, apparently the person responsible for overseeing the provision of baked goods to the royal court.”

In addition to the pottery shards, cult figurines were also found in the area, as were seal impressions on jar handles with the word “to the king,” testifying to their usage within the monarchy. Also found were seal impressions (bullae) with Hebrew names, also indicating the royal nature of the structure. Most of the tiny fragments uncovered came from intricate wet sifting done with the help of the salvaging Temple Mount Sifting Project, directed by Dr. Gabriel Barkai and Zachi Zweig, under the auspice of the Nature and Parks Authority and the Ir David Foundation.

Between the large tower at the city gate and the royal building, the archaeologists uncovered a section of the corner tower that is 8 meters long and 6 meters high. The tower was built of carved stones of unusual beauty.

East of the royal building, another section of the city wall that extends for some 35 meters also was revealed. This section is 5 meters high and is part of the wall that continues to the northeast and once enclosed the Ophel area.

One True Religion—One True Church!

One True Religion—One True Church!

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Is religion relevant to life in the 21st century? Is there one pure religion, one true church?

Despite centuries of secularist efforts to denigrate religion, it has returned with a vengeance to increasingly become the most divisive force in society today. Whether it be marriage, family, human relations, or discourses on morals and ethics in an increasingly confused and confusing society, religion is woven through the entire debate on the future of society.

Jew, Muslim, Christian or pagan—whatever form the religion takes, it has created a foundation for cultures that have underpinned whole societies for generations. But it is the two great evangelizing religions—Christianity and Islam—that have wrought so much destruction over the centuries in their clashes against each other and, in most recent times, caused so much suffering for the Jew in particular. These three religions—Judaism, Islam and Christianity—have had the most powerful influence on society over the past 2,000 years.

Sooner or later, any thinking person who believes in what Sir Winston Churchill termed “divine Providence” has to ask and seek to answer the question, “What is the true religion?”

So let’s consider that question. A good place to start would be to define the term religion.

As religion is a complex subject, we will base this brief article on the simplest of definitions. The Britannica Dictionary defines it, “Any system of faith and worship.” Though such a definition includes all three religions that accept one or both testaments of the book known as the Holy Bible, it also includes those that don’t. It is thus too broad for our purpose. We shall narrow that definition to embrace “A system of faith and worship that claims to believe in the one true Creator and Sustainer of the universe.”

As our audience is formed of those who do believe in one omnipotent God, it is to these three predominant religions that we look to prove the answer to the question, “What is true religion?”

Judaism, Islam and Christianity in its three major forms—Roman Catholicism, Orthodox and Protestant—all purport to believe in one true God. To the Jew that is yhvh, as revealed in the Torah. To the Islamic believer it is Allah, as revealed in the Koran and the writings of Mohammed. To the Roman Catholic, the Godhead is triune—consisting of the God of the Torah, or Old Testament, Jesus Christ of the New Testament and a personified Holy Spirit—plus Mary, queen of heaven. To the Protestant, the Godhead is the trinity, without the attachment to Mary.

Why is it that these three religions, all claiming to believe in the God of the Abraham of the Torah (the Old Testament), two of them claiming Abraham as their ancestor, so thoroughly disagree on a singular definition of the God that Abraham worshipped?

The Old Testament definitions of God are clear, precise and impossible for the open mind to misunderstand. He is the beginning of all things (Genesis 1:1). There are no other gods apart from the one true God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 45:5; Joel 2:27). He is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:7-8). He prophesies the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10; 48:3-5). He never changes (Malachi 3:6). He prophesied the coming of the Messiah, the city of His birth, the exact duration of His earthly ministry and His return to set up God’s government over all (Daniel 9:25-27; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:6-7).

In respect of the true historical figure of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, those familiar at the time with the prophecies of His coming to the Earth to fulfill His short 3½-year ministry would have known the prophesied timing and location of His birth in Bethlehem. That is clearly why scholars of those ancient prophecies came to Bethlehem to search Him out in the early autumn of 4 b.c. They had computed the time of the event from the prophetic accounts in the Old Testament (Matthew 2:1-6).

The only provable historic accounts of the Messiah’s prophesied birth are recorded in the New Testament of the Bible. The subsequent eyewitness accounts of His ministry, the history of the early Church plus that of the first apostles ordained by Jesus Christ are recorded in the New Testament of the Bible.

Thus to the mind opened to the revelation of truth, there can only be one true religion. That is the one that encapsulates all of the teachings referred to above, and which is also fulfilling Christ’s commission to His disciples to go into all the world and preach His original, unembellished message to everyone (Mark 16:15).

That being the case, we have to recognize that Christ established a church founded upon His direct leadership under the administration of one of His disciples, the Apostle Peter, to fulfill the commission He gave it, prophesying that it would never die out! (Matthew 16:18).

Where is that church today?

Christ established only one church under and by His divine authority, based on one divinely inspired body of doctrine (Ephesians 4:5). He is the personification of the Word of God (John 1:1). That means, by definition, that the one true Church that He established will be not only extant today, but it will possess the same, unchangeable doctrine He gave it at the beginning. It will be founded not upon only one testament of the Bible, but two, for as one of the foundational apostles of the Church, the Apostle Paul, declared, the true Church is founded upon the apostles and the prophets! (Ephesians 2:20).

That church will exhibit faith not in a triune god but in a Godhead comprised of Father and Son (John 14:6-14). It will not worship at the throne of the queen of heaven. It will have no history of slaughter through crusading to extend its empire (Matthew 10:14). It will be a small flock, comprised of the weak and the base of society (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). It will be an embattled church (John 15:20), persecuted but vibrantly energetic in fulfilling its mission by the power of the Holy Spirit, the very power of Almighty God! (Acts 1:8). It will be a church given to fulfilling a mission of prophecy! (Revelation 10:11).

Where is that one true Church today? It must be in existence, for Jesus Christ its Head declared of it that the gates of the grave would never shut it down—it would never die!

Like it or not, religion, the church and Jesus Christ are vital topics of discussion once again. Even a mass-circulation newsmagazine has asked the question, “Jesus—Will He Ever Return?” Yet again religion dominates international relations, particularly in the hottest spot of international tension, the Middle East. It is at the very core of the pope’s cry for a great evangelizing of Europe. Religion is at the very heart of the war in Afghanistan. Religion is the spur for Islamist terror. It is at the very foundation of the Jewish state.

Your Bible prophesies the coming clash between two powers, a great northern power and a southern power, each driven by religious zealotry to seek universal domination. Religion is about to affect your life profoundly, regardless of whether or not you are a believer. Believe it or not, your Bible prophesies of a global power that will soon dictate whether or not, and how often, you will eat! (Revelation 13:11-18).

There is only one true Church which can explain to you the relevance of today’s tumultuous world events to your life, where this is all leading, what you can do to cope with the impact, and the guaranteed outcome.

You need to read two basic booklets, which are entirely politically incorrect, mincing no words and pulling no punches in revealing the plain truth about the one true God, the reality of God’s Word, and where to find the one true Church. Believe it or not, the church Jesus Christ founded so long ago does exist in its original purity of doctrine amid and despite all the religious and anti-religious confusion that floods society today.

Read our booklets Does God Exist? and The Proof of the Bible and begin to experience the power of the Word of God working in your life!

Iranian forces invade Iraqi border

Iranian forces have made an incursion into Iraq’s Diyala province north of Baghdad, Iraqi and Kuwaiti news sources reported yesterday. According to the reports, Iranian troops removed concrete barriers delineating the border between the two countries.

The last major border incident between Iran and Iraq occurred last December when Iranian forces took over an oil well in Iraq’s Fakka oil field. Iran later withdrew, but not before reminding both Iraq and the United States of its economic and political influence over its neighbor, and its ability to turn up the heat there at will.

In that instance, it appeared Tehran was seeking to put pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to ally politically with Iran instead of the U.S. It was also seeking to warn the U.S. and Israel that its response to any military attack would endanger the stability of Iraq and complicate America’s withdrawal from the country.

Iran succeeded in putting pressure on Baghdad, with the Iraqi prime minister indicating a desire to align politically with Iran.

If reports of this latest incursion are accurate, the motives would be similar.

Stratfor reported February 20:

These moves are designed to signal Iran’s dominance over Baghdad and warn the United States of the consequences of carrying out military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. As tensions escalate over the Iranian nuclear program, such provocations will likely become more frequent, particularly in the lead-up to contentious parliamentary elections in Iraq on March 7. Iran has already demonstrated through its Shiite political allies in Baghdad that it has the upper hand in this election, as well as the means to destabilize Iraq and ensure that Iraq’s Sunni faction remains sidelined.

Top U.S. generals in Iraq allege that the two politicians who organized the banning of about 350 Sunni candidates from running in Iraq’s elections are linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. United Press International reported last Wednesday that this has “heightened concern that Tehran is tightening its grip as U.S. forces withdraw.”

One of the Iraqi politicians accused is Ahmad Chalabi, a Shiite whom Washington once worked closely with, and who was instrumental in building the case for the U.S. invasion of Iraq for the benefit of Iran.

upi reported that U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno said that both of the Iraqi politicians concerned

had been in close contact with Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, the senior Iraqi adviser to Brig. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force.It is responsible for covert operations outside Iran and has been at the forefront of Iranian undercover activities in Iraq, including training and arming Shiite militant groups.Chalabi and Lami “are clearly influenced by Iran,” Odierno said in Washington Tuesday, referring to Tehran’s efforts to ensure its friends dominate the next parliament and probably the government as well.”We believe they’re absolutely involved in influencing the outcome of the election, and it’s a concern that they’ve been able to do that over time,” Odierno said.The mass disqualification has resulted in a threatened boycott of the polls by the minority Sunnis, thus ensuring a landslide victory for the Shiite majority, many of whom are active supporters of Iran.The [Accountability and Justice] Commission’s activities fueled a recent surge of violence by largely Sunni insurgents who seek to wreck the elections and unravel delicate national reconciliation efforts.

upi continued, commenting on where this puts Iran:

Tehran’s actions in Iraq give it immense leverage at a time when U.S. President Barack Obama’s diplomatic efforts to persuade Iran to abandon its alleged nuclear arms program are clearly foundering.By causing massive destabilization in Iraq, possibly enough to postpone a military withdrawal at a time when Obama is escalating the war in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater, Tehran is showing it has some high cards to play on a much broader geopolitical scale. …By destabilizing Iraq, whose oil the Iranians have coveted for so long, Tehran is demonstrating that if it comes under military attack by Israel or the United States over the nuclear issue it has options that can make things difficult for the Americans.

Our article from back in June 2003 titled “Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?” relates how the Trumpet foresaw this situation in which Iran has the upper hand in Iraq.

The Week in Review

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Hezbollah’s official sponsor, Catholicism’s hostile takeover, the EU’s super-sovereignty, and Ukraine’s return to Russia

Middle East

Just two days after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said the Lebanese government will officially support Hezbollah in any future conflict with Israel, the United States announced a boost in military aid to Lebanon. On February 12, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr, who was on a visit to Washington, that the U.S. would provide Lebanon $267 million in military aid. Of course, as U.S. think tank Stratfor points out, “If the United States were to train and equip the Lebanese military, it would run the very real risk of having those trained individuals and all that equipment fall into the hands of one of the many militant groups operating out of Lebanon” (February 17). To avoid this scenario, the U.S. offer reportedly includes the development and training of an elite army unit separate from the main Lebanese military, specifically to combat Hezbollah. However, there is no guarantee that Hezbollah would not be able to infiltrate such a force, just as it has the Lebanese Army. The U.S. is seeking to undercut the Iranian-supported Hezbollah. Its desperation, however, is evident in that to do so, it is increasing military aid to a government that is openly promising to support Hezbollah in any conflict with Israel.

Turkey continues to increase cooperation with Iran, with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visiting Tehran on Tuesday and meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as well as Iran’s foreign minister, parliament speaker and chief nuclear negotiator. According to the memri Iranian Media Blog, “Davutoglu said that Turkey’s fate was tied to Iran’s, and that Turkey recognized Iran’s critical role in the region and sought closer cooperation with it” (February 17). The meetings reportedly focused on Iran’s nuclear program and negotiations.

Also on Tuesday, Iran announced a new advancement in its nuclear production capability. “We have tested a new generation of centrifuges that is now in its final phases. Their capacity [to enrich uranium] is five times greater than that of the existing centrifuges,” President Ahmadinejad said at a news conference in Tehran.

Europe

The Catholic and Orthodox churches must unite in order to defend Europe’s Christian roots, Pope Benedict xvi told a group of Romanian bishops on February 12. As the bishops concluded their regular consultation with the pope, Benedict emphasized the need for them to work with their Orthodox counterparts. This comes less than a fortnight after the pope admonished English and Welsh bishops to be generous toward any Anglicans wishing to return to Rome. “Of particular importance is the witness of fraternity between Catholics and Orthodox,” he said. “It prevails over divisions and disagreements and opens hearts to reconciliation.” “A particularly important realm of collaboration between Orthodox and Catholics today has to do with the defense of Europe’s Christian roots and of Christian values, and with common witness on subjects such as the family, bioethics, human rights, honesty in public life and ecology,” he said. Back in 1963, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “The final—albeit short-lived—triumph of Catholicism is recorded in literally dozens of Bible prophecies. Right now—whether we want to believe it or not—the stage is being set for the greatest revolution in religion the world has witnessed. … The mighty problem of achieving unity is twofold. First, it involves reconciliation of the Orthodox Schism that officially commenced in 1054 and divided the churches in the East. … Second, it involves restoration to the Roman Communion all Protestantism which developed from 1517 onward” (Plain Truth, November 1963). This final short-lived triumph is almost here.

Greece’s economic crisis continues to dominate the news. While the European Union has issued vague promises that Greece will not go bust, it is yet to reveal what it plans on doing if Greece cannot pay its bills. The EU, led by Germany, is showing its muscle. It has taken the unprecedented step of denying Greece its right to vote at an EU meeting next month as a show of disapproval. It has also threatened to invoke Article 126.9 of the Lisbon Treaty, whereby the EU would force Greece to follow the EU’s program of taxation and spending in order to cut its deficit.

Italy has experienced its second major race riot of the year in northern Milan. It began after a group of immigrants believed to be from South America killed a 19-year-old Egyptian on February 13. Around 100 north African youths went on a rampage, damaging 17 cars—nine of which they overturned—and vandalizing five shops. Riccardo De Corato, Milan’s deputy mayor, called the area a “Wild West between north African and South American gangs.” The riots have led to right-wing groups calling to tighten Italy’s already hard-line immigration law. Watch for immigrants to become less tolerated in Europe as the Continent grows more nationalistic.

Asia

It came to light on Tuesday that China’s holdings of U.S. government bonds fell by a record amount in December, removing Beijing from its long-held position as the largest foreign official holder of U.S. debt. The Department of the Treasury reported that overall foreign demand for treasury securities fell by more in December than in any month ever recorded. China led the trend, decreasing its holdings by $34 billion, which is 4 percent of its total reserves. The decrease comes amid heightened tension between Washington and Beijing regarding a host of issues, including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, President Obama’s visit with the Dalai Lama, currency manipulation, human rights, Internet surveillance and trade. Investors wonder whether China’s drop in holdings is simply a sign of Beijing restructuring its portfolio in the short-term or if the move signals the beginning of a structural move away from the greenback. The latter could mean serious trouble for the dollar. America depends on foreign lenders more than ever, and if its most important creditor diversifies out of the dollar, Washington’s epic budget deficit would be unsustainable.

Despite contention over his recent election victory, the emerging new leader of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, began the process this week of rebuilding Kiev’s relationship with Moscow. On Saturday, Yanukovych announced several pro-Russian defense policies and said nato integration will no longer be a goal for Ukraine. He declared his support for the Kremlin’s plan to create a post-nato European security treaty, and renewed a call for a Russian-led consortium to take ownership of Ukraine’s strategic gas transit pipeline network. Although the final winner of the election is yet to be decided, Russia has already announced a resumption of diplomatic ties with Ukraine and plans to send an ambassador to Kiev. The message is clear: Yanukovich owes his power and position to the Kremlin, and Moscow expects Ukraine to begin cooperating more wholeheartedly. Rather than launching a “hot” war, Russia has clearly been engaged in a campaign of intimidation, subversion and propaganda. And it seems to have worked. The more pro-European western part of Ukraine may still give the Kremlin some trouble, but the east (and the national government) is now firmly in Russia’s grasp.

Latin America/Africa

Warships from the Royal Navy are on standby to protect ships traveling to the Falkland Islands, as tensions escalate between Britain and Argentina. Argentina said February 16 that it would prevent ships from traveling through Argentine waters to the Falkland Islands, reviving a controversy that has been quiet for nearly 30 years. The Times writes that Argentina is “in effect awarding itself the power to blockade the disputed islands” and that the “decree amounts to an Argentine move to control all traffic from South America towards the islands.” The cause of the row is not the islands themselves, but the oil reserves within the Falklands’ territorial waters. British firms are scheduled to begin exploring for oil around the Falkland Islands soon. Despite being soundly beaten in 1982, and the complete absence of any strong historical claim to the islands, the Argentines still maintain that the Falklands and their surrounding waters are theirs. In 1982, Britain fought Argentina to preserve its right to these islands because of the gutsy leadership of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But there are no leaders in Britain with such backbone today. “British possession of these islands has meant British control of one of the great sea gates of the world,” wrote Herbert W. Armstrong in the early 1980s. “These gates included the Suez Canal, Panama Canal, Cape of Good Hope, Gibraltar, Singapore, and these Falkland Islands. God prophesied that, because of disobedience, we should lose these islands in this end time. All have been lost except these Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong and some other incidental islands” (member and co-worker letter, April 21, 1982). Now Hong Kong is gone. The EU threatens Gibraltar. Watch for Britain to lose the Falkland Islands soon.

Niger’s president, Mamadou Tandja, was taken hostage in a coup on February 18. Soldiers now patrol the capital’s streets. So far it is unclear who is behind the coup, but it looks like the troubled country is in for even more violence ahead.

Anglo-America

An airplane crashed into the first two floors of a government building in Austin, Texas, on February 18. The lower floors of the building house the Internal Revenue Service (irs). The Austin field office of the fbi is in the same office, but was not affected. The crash appears to have been a direct attack by a single individual on the irs. As the economic situation gets worse, and people to get more desperate, such acts of violence could become more common.

American forces in Iraq will stop all combat operations in Iraq on September 1 and transfer all operations to Iraqi forces. On that date, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” will be officially replaced by “Operation New Dawn.” This announcement highlights America’s rush to get out of Iraqi. As the Trumpet has long forecast, its haste will allow Iran to consolidate its hold over the country.

Six Anglican parishes in Australia are converting to Roman Catholicism. On February 13, Forward in Faith Australia unanimously voted to join the Roman Catholic Church. The group’s chairman, Bishop David Roberts, said that his organization “receives with great gratitude the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus of Pope Benedict xvi and directs the National Council to foster by every means the establishing of an Ordinariate in Australia.” Disgusted with the liberalism in the Anglican Church, most of the group’s 200 members are expected to convert. Look for this trend to continue and to even accelerate as Orthodox communities follow the Anglican example and return to the religion that mothered them all.

The British government ran a deficit in January—the first time this has ever happened—according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics on February 18. January is usually a tax bonanza for the government because it is when corporation tax payments become due, and citizens submit their tax returns. In January 2009, the government ran a surplus of ₤5.3 billion. This January it had to borrow ₤4.3 billion.

Signs of Ukraine Returning to Russia

Signs of Ukraine Returning to Russia

Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

Despite contention over his recent election victory, the emerging new leader of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, began the process this week of rebuilding Kiev’s relationship with Moscow.

On Saturday, Yanukovych announced several pro-Russian defense policies and said nato integration will no longer be a goal for Ukraine. He declared his support for the Kremlin’s plan to create a post-nato European security treaty, and renewed a call for a Russian-led consortium to take ownership of Ukraine’s strategic gas transit pipeline network.

“Over the past five years,” Yanukovych said, “relations between Russia and Ukraine have been troubled, and decisions have been postponed or passed over. We need to return to the friendly way our relations were conducted in the past, and work together for the good of both countries.”

Although the final winner of the election is yet to be decided, Russia has already announced a resumption of diplomatic ties with Ukraine and plans to send an ambassador to Kiev. The message is clear: Yanukovych owes his power and position to the Kremlin, and Moscow expects Ukraine to begin cooperating more wholeheartedly.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry forecast Ukraine’s return to Russia in August 2008. At the time, there was talk of Ukraine and Georgia joining nato. “I don’t believe Russia will ever allow that to happen,” he wrote. Ukraine “is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that as well.”

Rather than launching a “hot” war, Russia has clearly been engaged in a campaign of intimidation, subversion and propaganda. And it seems to have worked. The more pro-European western part of Ukraine may still give the Kremlin some trouble, but the east (and the national government) is now firmly in Russia’s grasp.