How Russia Is About to Change the World

How Russia Is About to Change the World

Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images

In a remote corner of the globe, a port bristles with cranes, smokestacks, mammoth ships—and trouble for Europe.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

In January, Russia made a world-changing move. It completed a new oil pipeline and port complex that sets Russia up to become a more powerful oil exporter than Saudi Arabia. The ramifications for Europe and Asia are profound: The shape of the global economy—and the global balance of power—will soon be altered forever.

December 28 was a big day of ceremony in Russia. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pushed a button that transformed global oil dynamics. The button released thousands of barrels of Siberian crude into a waiting Russian supertanker and heralded the opening of Russia’s first modern Pacific-based oil export facilities.

The multibillion-dollar, state-of-the-art oil terminal was a “great New Year present for Russia,” Putin said during the inauguration. The strategic terminal, located in the city of Kozmino on the coast of the Sea of Japan, is one of the “biggest projects in contemporary Russia” he said, not only in “modern Russia,” but “the former Soviet Union too.”

Putin has every right to be enthusiastic about his new port. Kozmino will unlock a two-way gate through which Russia’s vast Siberian oilfields will gush into Asia’s energy-hungry economies—and Chinese, Korean and Japanese currency will flow into Russia.

If the seven ships scheduled to berth in January are all filled, the port of Kozmino will instantly become Russia’s third-most important oil outlet. As of January 20, five of the ships had set sail will full cargoes.

In a symbolic move highlighting Russia’s warming relationship with China, Hong Kong received the first shipment.

Kozmino’s importance will exponentially grow over the next year. Currently, all Siberian oil shipments into Kozmino are delivered by train—but that will soon change. Phase one of the East Siberian-Pacific Ocean Pipeline (espo) was also completed during December. Phase two will connect the Siberian fields directly to the new port. When phase two is finished in 2014, total exports could jump from the current rate of 250,000 barrels per day to over 1 million. Kozmino will transform into one of the largest oil centers in the world—capable of handling 14 percent of total Russian oil exports. It will be one of the most strategic geopolitical assets in Russia’s arsenal.

Russia pumped more than 10 million barrels of oil per day during November. With Saudi Arabian production falling, Russia is now the world’s largest oil exporter. Toss in Russia’s natural gas exports, and Russia is the biggest energy superpower in the world by far. That does not even count Russia’s massive uranium resources and nuclear expertise.

But here is why the new port in Kozmino could radically affect the future of both Asia and Europe. For over a century, Russia’s entire energy infrastructure has focused mainly on supplying Europe. That has now changed forever!

Russia’s Energy Weapon

The first and now-complete phase of the espo pipeline, which connects Russia’s Siberian oil fields to within just a few kilometers of China, is already destabilizing global oil dynamics and shifting them in Russia’s direction. “espo is what political strategists might call a ‘game-changer,’” wrote the Telegraph. “It means that Russia will be able to send its oil either east or west—so it can drive a harder bargain when selling crude to Europe” (Dec. 26, 2009; emphasis mine throughout).

Previously, when Russia has had pricing disputes with Europe, Moscow had to play the embargo card with an obvious bluff. It had no alternative outlet for its oil. Without the Europeans, its oil would sit in the Siberian oil fields of Samotlor and Tyanskoye, costing money instead of making it. But now Moscow can turn off the tap to Europe and still pump in the profits by opening the pipe wide to its energy-hungry Asian partners.

But Russia’s stranglehold on Europe is about to get even tighter—much tighter. By 2012, the espo pipeline will be twinned with a pipeline for natural gas exports so Russian gas supplies can also flow east instead of west if necessary.

This development is truly scary to Europeans.

Moscow has already demonstrated that it is unafraid to turn off Europe’s energy supplies when it feels it needs to. In the middle of winter 2006, Russia shut off gas supplies to Germany and several other countries in order to punish Ukraine. Since then, it has used the same method each winter to strong-arm its former Eastern European satellites back into accepting Russian dominance.

The message is clear: Russian oil and gas supplies are a strategic weapon to be used—or not used—to freeze opponents into submission.

Europe’s Only Choice

Europe, in a tenuous relationship with Russia to begin with, desperately needs to secure another energy source. Only one other region in the world can supply the energy to warm and lubricate modern Europe’s homes and industries: the Middle East. Countries like Germany, which imports 90 percent of its oil, are now likely to become much more dependent on one of the most volatile regions of the world for energy supplies.

It is inevitable that Berlin will seek to expand its ties with oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council members: the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and especially Saudi Arabia, the world’s second-largest petroleum producer. Europe has no choice but to become much more intimately involved with the affairs of the Middle East, from where it currently gets 40 percent of its oil.

It is therefore no surprise that Germany, the most dominant nation in Europe, has made sure it has troops on the ground surrounding this Middle Eastern “golden triangle” of energy production (Gulf Cooperation Council members plus Iran and Iraq). On the seas, the European Union’s naval presence is growing too. The European anti-piracy task force operates in both the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden. Forty percent of the world’s ocean-borne oil is shipped through the Gulf of Oman.

Europe is critically dependent on imported oil. And Germany knows it must have a strong presence in the world’s most oil-rich region if it is to secure its flow and the country’s future.

The Bible predicts that a major military clash will soon occur in the Middle East—specifically between a European power, led by Germany, and radical Islam, led by Iran.

Daniel 11:40-45 indicate that Iran will continue to push at this European power until it finally responds in “whirlwind,” blitzkrieg-type fashion. As we have explained for almost 20 years—and has been borne out repeatedly in real-world events—the “king of the south” spoken of in these verses is radical Islam under the leadership of Iran. And as Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote as far back as November 1996, a big part of Iran’s push against Europe “is probably going to involve oil.”

Amid an Unstable Climate

The Middle East is a powder keg that could explode at any time. Syria dominates Lebanon and is stirring up trouble there. Iran is about to create a nuclear weapon and has said it wants to wipe Israel off the map; it is test-firing missiles that can strike European capitals. Israel knows that the window to prevent Iran from getting the bomb is closing. Hamas is preparing to violently take East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital.

And to top it off, the world is suffering through its worst depression since the 1930s. Oil prices remain above $70 per barrel, and the International Energy Agency has indicated that world oil production will now peak in 2020—10 years sooner than it previously estimated. Some analysts think the world has already reached peak oil production.

In this climate of global instability, Russia’s recent moves on the world’s oil stage will be amplified in dramatic fashion. By unlocking Siberia’s energy reserves, Russia is simultaneously binding Asia together and lighting a fire under Europe.

Watch for the development of an Asian alliance between Russia, China and Japan. And watch for Europe’s next moves toward the Middle East.

Was Pope Pius XII Pious?

Was Pope Pius XII Pious?

Fred Ramage/Fox Photos/Getty Images

Only if you ignore what he did, Vatican says.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Hitler’s pope is one step closer to sainthood. In December 2009, Pope Benedict xvi issued a decree proclaiming the “heroic virtues” of the 20th century’s most controversial pope. Prior to World War ii, the cardinal who later became Pope Pius xii successfully negotiated the Reich Concordat with Adolf Hitler in 1933, which effectively removed all political opposition to the growing Nazi movement in Germany.

During the war, Pius turned a blind eye to Hitler’s barbarous campaign to exterminate Jews. In October 1943, Hitler’s SS troops entered Rome’s old ghetto and rounded up more than a thousand Italian Jews to be transported to death camps. Before their deportation, these Jews were held captive for two days in a building located less than half a mile from the Vatican. Pope Pius was one of the first to be made aware of the Jewish arrests. Yet he did nothing to prevent them from boarding cattle cars bound for Auschwitz.

Even after the war was over, Pius intervened personally to help Nazi criminals go “underground” in order to escape punishment.

Today, Pope Benedict has placed Pius on the fast track to sainthood. By issuing a decree on his virtues, Benedict moved him closer to beatification, which is the first major step toward sainthood. But this should not in any way be seen as a “hostile act” toward Jews, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi a few days after the pope’s move.

The Jews, of course, disagree, especially since the decree was made several weeks before the pontiff visited Rome’s synagogue. Jewish organizations and historians have led an effort over recent years to stop the beatification process—to no avail. Benedict’s decision to recognize Pius’s “heroic virtues” sparked an outcry from Jewish groups, some of whom pointed out that the Vatican still has not opened up to the public its archives from the time of Pius’s pontificate. “I can’t understand the rush [to beatify Pius],” said Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, “especially while there are still survivors who are alive who feel the issue very, very deeply and are being told the files need time to be processed. What’s the imperative?”

Incredibly, the Vatican doesn’t see how the historical record matters much when it comes to Pius’s qualifications for sainthood. Lombardi believes Pius should be evaluated by his Christian life and “his intense relationship with God and continuous search for evangelical perfection”—not “the historical impact of all his operative decisions” (Vatican Information Service, Dec. 23, 2009).

The Vatican, Lombardi seems to be arguing, is quite all right with whitewashing the dubious acts of its most celebrated popes. He offered this quote from Pope John Paul ii as further support for Pius: “[T]he church does not celebrate the specific historical decisions he may have made, but rather points to him as someone to be imitated and venerated because of his virtues, in praise of the divine grace which shines resplendently in them.”

Never mind what he actually did—just know that he was virtuous.

Can you imagine Jesus Christ ever reasoning in that manner? Your religion, Jesus taught, is what you do! “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

True religion is how you live, Moses added. “For he [God] is your life,” it says in Deuteronomy 30:20.

While in Athens, the Apostle Paul scolded the educated elites of his day for their rampant idolatry, saying that in Christ “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

“Finally, brethren,” Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Yes, indeed. Think on these heroic virtues. But that’s not all. True religion can’t stop there. Verse 9 completes the thought: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do.”

Think on them—and do them! That’s the hallmark of a true Christian.

Pope Pius xii’s virtues, or lack thereof, can hardly be determined by words alone—not if we take the Bible at its word.

If there be any virtue, what did he do?

When Was Christ Crucified and Resurrected?

When Was Christ Crucified and Resurrected?

Trumpet photo

Here is the only sign Jesus gave to prove He was the Messiah.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Do you know how important the details surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ are to you and to this world?

If you call yourself a Christian, you certainly must believe Jesus is the Son of God, but have you ever studied the only proof Jesus ever gave of that fact? Have you ever carefully evaluated what Jesus said, what actually took place and how it compares to the teachings of your church?

“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:38-40).

Jesus was constantly being challenged by the religious leaders of His time. In this instance, some Pharisees asked for a sign that He was the Son of God.

Jonas is the New Testament version of the name Jonah, whose story is recorded in the Old Testament book bearing his name. Here Jesus ties him directly to the onlySIGN of His messiahship that He would give to this “evil and adulterous generation.”

Understanding the events surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is critical to being a true Christian. Isn’t it time you proved your own beliefs?

Three Days and Three Nights

Several important aspects of Matthew 12:38-40 should be honestly evaluated. The first and perhaps most crucial is contained in verse 40, where Jesus clearly and specifically stated that He would be buried for three days and three nights. Is that what your church teaches? Or have you been taught the fable about a Friday crucifixion and Sunday morning resurrection? Try counting the number of nights and days for yourself. From Friday until Sunday morning, you will only find two nights and one day, not three of each.

Jesus said He would be in the earth for three days and three nights as proof He is the Son of God. If the teaching of most “Christian” churches is true, Jesus was only in the earth for two nights and one day, which would mean Jesus is not proved to be the Son of God.

So, now what do you do? How can you call Jesus the Son of God if His own words disprove it? How has the Friday to Sunday myth come to be taught and believed so universally?

First, religious leaders point to the fact that Jesus was crucified the day before a sabbath day. Then they wrongly conclude it means He was killed on a Friday, since the Bible calls Saturday the Sabbath. (As an aside, this proves that those same religious leaders know Saturday is the biblical Sabbath we are commanded to keep holy in the Fourth Commandment. For more on this topic, request our free booklet Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?) They overlook the fact that it was actually an annual sabbath, as we will see.

Second, it was prophesied that there would be false teachings that would sway or be accepted by “many” (e.g. Matthew 24:4-5, 11). Satan, who has worked at deceiving mankind for 6,000 years (Revelation 12:9), is the one behind this deception.

These religious leaders who claim that Jesus was killed Friday afternoon and resurrected Sunday morning, totaling one day and two nights in the tomb, are—by denying the only sign Jesus gave of His Messiahship—actually denying Christ.

Your Bible proves that the murder of Jesus occurred on Wednesday, April 25, in the year a.d. 31—not Friday. It also proves that the resurrection of Jesus occurred at sunset on Saturday evening, April 28, not at sunrise on Sunday.

Let us look closely at what really happened when Jesus was killed.

Not Buried Before a Weekly Sabbath

“After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death” (Mark 14:1).

This was just before the spring holy days in Israel. The Passover and the annual sabbath day called the first day of Unleavened Bread were just ahead. The annual sabbaths are listed in Leviticus 23. (For detailed information about the annual holy days, request our free booklet Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days—Which?)

“And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?” (Mark 14:12).

Jesus was having His disciples prepare for the passover, which is not a holy day, but is a sacred service. “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).

This is the event commonly called the Last Supper; however, in reality it is the “Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11, 27; Leviticus 23:5). It is not the Passover of the Jews, as so many churches teach today.

Continue reading through Mark 14, and the events and timing become clear. It is also recorded beginning in Matthew 26, Luke 22 and John 18.

Jesus and His disciples partook of the Passover in the evening, then went to the garden where Jesus prayed. In the night, Jesus was taken prisoner by a band of men from the chief priests and Pharisees. “And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes” (Mark 14:53).

This was in the night, following the Passover. Immediately the next morning, Jesus was taken to Pilate. “And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate” (Mark 15:1).

After the charade that passed for a trial, Jesus was sentenced to be killed.

“And they bring him unto the place Golgotha …. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him” (Mark 15:22, 24-25). Time was measured according to the military watches, or guards. The third hour was 9 a.m. in our modern terms.

“And when the sixth hour [noon] was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour [3 p.m.] Jesus cried with a loud voice …. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost” (verses 33-34, 37).

Jesus died at 3 p.m. the day before the first day of Unleavened Bread referred to in Mark 14:1.

The day before a holy day is called a day of preparation. This was such a day. The first day of Unleavened Bread is an annual sabbath, or a holy day.

Next was the burial of Jesus by Joseph.

Two Sabbaths That Week

Luke 23:50-55 describe Jesus’s burial and clearly state that Jesus died and was buried on a preparation day, the day before a sabbath day also called a high day (John 19:31). The phrase “the sabbath drew on” shows it was getting very near sunset—when days start and end according to biblical reckoning.

Look closely at the next event in the book of Mark.

“And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him” (Mark 16:1). The word had was added by the translators.

The Anchor Bible on Mark states this verse like this: “When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdalla, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought aromatic oils to go and anoint him.” The Fenton version of this verse states: “Now when the Sabbath was over, Mary the Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought aromatic spices, so that they might embalm him ….”

Lange’s Bible Commentary says: “Only the two Marys had remained too long at the grave to do so, and hence they could not make their purchases till the Sabbath had passed.”

Jesus was buried in the afternoon, just about sunset before an annual sabbath, as has been clearly shown in Scripture. Now, it is after that annual sabbath day that Mark tells us the Marys bought spices. Luke 23:56 fills in another detail: “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”

So Mark 16:1 states the women bought spices after the sabbath and Luke 23:56 says they then rested on the Sabbath after they bought spices. There is only one explanation that fits both scriptures: After buying the spices, the ladies prepared them for use on the body of Jesus. Then they rested on the weekly Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11; see also Exodus 23:12; 31:15).

John states the sabbath after Jesus was buried was the high sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread: “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away” (John 19:31).

A high day is an annual sabbath, not the weekly seventh-day Sabbath. So the Bible is clear that there were two sabbath days the week Jesus was crucified, but it takes some detective work to discover it. Begin by reading The New Englishman’s Greek Concordance and Lexicon, by Wigram-Green. Look up the Greek word numbered by Strong’s as 4521 and translated as “sabbath” in Matthew 28:1 (King James Version). This publication uses a “note” to delineate whether the word is singular or plural in its original form. There are several plural forms indicated by the note; however, pay particular attention to Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; John 20:1, 19. Each of those usages is a plural form of the word sabbath; each should have been translated “sabbaths.” To verify this, check each of these verses in The Holy Bible in Modern English by Ferrar Fenton. You will find that each uses the plural word “sabbaths” rather than the mistranslation in the singular. By leaving off the “s” to reflect the plural of the word sabbath, a very subtle deception is started.

The Timeline

The order of events during that terrible and great week of Christ’s murder is clear. Only one explanation fits all the verses perfectly, and there are no contradictions in the Word of God.

Follow the only timeline that fits every verse surrounding these events and coordinates with the three-days-three-nights prophecy of Christ.

On a Tuesday evening, after sunset, Jesus and His disciples kept the Passover. Afterward they went to the garden, and Jesus was captured.

Wednesday morning, He was brought before Pilate and sentenced to death. He was crucified at 9 a.m., and Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m., Jesus died. Joseph begged the body from Pilate very near sunset.

Wednesday evening, Jesus was buried.

Thursday was a high day, or annual sabbath, the first day of Unleavened Bread, and they ceased from work.

Friday was the weekly preparation day, and the women bought and prepared spices and ointment to properly complete the burial of Jesus.

Saturday, they rested on the weekly Sabbath.

Sunday morning, near sunrise, the ladies came to the tomb to find that Jesus was already risen.

Using elementary math, we can count the following: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night total three nights. The days of Thursday, Friday and Saturday total three days.

The holy days actually lined up to these dates in a.d. 31. The first day of Unleavened Bread fell on Thursday, April 26. That meant Wednesday was the preparation day for the high sabbath. After the high day came Friday, April 27—the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath, when the ladies prepared the spices. Saturday was the weekly Sabbath and Sunday was the first day of the next week, when the ladies came to the tomb early in the morning.

Jesus was in fact killed on Wednesday, buried near sunset Wednesday evening and remained in the tomb until near sunset Saturday evening. Any other count disqualifies the only sign Jesus gave verifying that He is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.

Someone may ask about the testimony of the angel at the tomb on Sunday morning (e.g., Luke 24:1-6). Each reference simply states that Jesus was not there: He “is risen,” as Luke stated it. Of course He was not there—He had been resurrected at sunset the evening before. Again, with a little detective work anyone can discover the meaning of the original Greek words, and none of them suggests in any way that Jesus was in the act of rising at that time.

Another person may ask whether Mark 16:9 states that Jesus arose on the first day of the week. It says Jesus appeared to Mary, not that He was rising. There is simply no verse anywhere in the Bible to support a Friday crucifixion or a Sunday resurrection.

God’s Word proves beyond question the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. All the verses surrounding His death and resurrection are perfectly coordinated, without contradiction. You can read it clearly in your own Bible: Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights, from sunset on Wednesday until sunset on Saturday, when He was resurrected.

He is the Christ; He is our Savior, the Son of the living God.

Broken Banks and Other Unheeded Warnings

Does history indicate an even bigger crash coming?
From the February 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

When banking giant Barings collapsed in 1995, it shook the financial world to its core. How could a bank that survived the American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars with France and both great wars collapse so quickly?

Because of an earthquake in Japan. After the Kobe earthquake on January 16 that year, Japanese stock markets plunged—and a 233-year-old banking icon disappeared.

Although Barings was not an American bank, it held special significance for America. It was the British bank that helped finance the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 for the fledgling United States. It was that purchase that enabled America to become an economic superpower.

Newsweek called the Kobe earthquake “an act of God.” In the April 1995 Trumpet, Gerald Flurry said he agreed. “The Barings Bank collapse is a strong warning sign for America and Britain. The collapse of our nations is going to be just as sudden if we don’t repent!” he wrote.

Fifteen years later, has America learned anything?

A Bubble Bursts

Soon after the Barings disaster, the world was shaken again. In July 1997, Asia went into currency meltdown. Beginning in Thailand and sweeping through virtually all of the Asia Pacific region, one currency after another collapsed as nations flirted with and succumbed to debt default.

After the Asian financial meltdown, the Trumpet warned that although America had emerged relatively unscathed, we shouldn’t “deceive ourselves by arrogantly thinking we are invincible” (November 1998).

“It is vitally important that we see behind the record-setting U.S. bubble stock market with all the hype and hoopla,” Trumpet writer Tim Thompson exhorted a few months later. “With the full view provided by combining news and prophecy, it is America which is in grave danger of an unstoppable fall over the precipice of financial ruin” (February 1999).

Over the following year, America’s economy grew at a wildfire pace. Giddy venture capitalists and fat pension plans drove the stock market to astronomical highs. The technology-heavy Nasdaq broke 5,000 and was still going up and up. Companies like DrKoop.com, Boo.com and Pets.com were supposed to unleash a new era of prosperity. Shares rocketed from pennies to hundreds of dollars. Companies that had never earned a cent were worth billions.

But despite the euphoria, the Trumpet kept declaring that the economy was built on sand. America was not being blessed by God, we said.

At the exact peak of the dot-com bubble, the Trumpet repeated its warning: “U.S. corporations and individuals are on a borrowing binge of historic proportions, which is making them more vulnerable than at any time in history to a slowdown in the economy. …

“A lot of people are going to be wiped out financially” (March/April 2000).

Who could forget what happened next? The mania came to a dramatic end. The stock market plunged through the floor. The economy was thrust into a sharp recession, and millions of people lost their jobs. Silicon Valley became Death Valley for many.

A full decade later, America still hasn’t recovered. It took the Dow Jones almost seven years to return to its peak, and it has since fallen below it again. The Nasdaq stock exchange is worth less than half of its March 2000 value. On an inflation-adjusted value, both markets are way down.

But the lessons learned from the dot-com delusion were soon forgotten. Greed, corruption and leveraged financing soon returned. And of course, America’s moral slide continued.

In an effort to treat the symptom instead of addressing the cause of the collapse, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to 1 percent. Consumers and businesses dutifully gorged on cheap borrowed money again, and speculators and gamblers returned. The good times appeared to return too, but in reality, the seeds for an even greater bubble were being sown.

A Bigger Bubble

By 2004, it was clear what that bubble would be—even if the Federal Reserve refused to even acknowledge that bubbles could be determined before they popped.

In November that year, in an article titled the “Biggest Bubble Ever,” the Trumpet warned that this time the housing market was heading for a massive collapse, one even as bad as 1929. “Never before have we witnessed the confluence of so many negative economic factors to this degree,” we wrote. “We are truly in uncharted territory. Yet the U.S. economy has been perking along largely because it’s been propped up by the greatest housing bubble ever known.”

The Trumpet told readers to begin preparing for a major crash by reducing their standards of living. When the housing bubble pops, it could hurtle the economy into “chaos reminiscent of the Great Depression—or worse!” we wrote (ibid.).

As it turned out, housing prices in America peaked two years later, in 2006. During the intervening time, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan still denied that a bubble even existed.

How were we so sure? Yes, we looked at house prices, ownership rates, debt levels, interest rates, evidence of speculation and complacency—the same sorts of indicators many analysts looked at. But we also considered one other, more important source of knowledge that few value today—God’s Word.

“There is only one Master Economist, who knows all the intricate equations, all the delicate variables and all the laws that govern our modern economy,” the Trumpet wrote. “He has revealed some of the most fundamental principles of economics in His Instruction Manual for mankind” (May 2004).

God’s words and God’s prophecies form the basis of the Trumpet’s message.

“Are you willing to face reality, or will you keep your head in the sand?” we asked. “That decision is yours.”

Those who acted on these words had more than two years to prepare before things started to get really bad. It was time well needed because when the housing bubble popped, it exploded with a bang—taking much of Wall Street with it!

Getting Our Attention

When Bear Stearns failed in March of 2008, the whole world saw that something was seriously wrong in America. Whereas it took weeks for Barings bank to finally succumb to bankruptcy, 84-year-old icon Bear Stearns was shattered in just 24 hours.

At that time, the Trumpet wrote, “Just like Bear Stearns, America is also about to wake up and discover that everything has changed.”

By the time 2008 was over, America had changed. The biggest names in British and American high finance were lying prostrate before the world. Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, Washington Mutual and Indi Mac Bank were gone. Citi Group, Bank of America, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Lloyds and many other banks continued to exist only due to massive government bailouts.

The chain of failures caused a massive credit crunch, and America’s debt-addicted economy went into convulsions.

America’s spectacular financial collapse brought home in vivid detail many of the Trumpet’s earliest warnings.

In August 1990, we said corruption and the general way of greed within the business world and society in general portended far greater economic problems to come. Referring to the prophecy in Micah 2:1-2, we wrote how some businessmen are “continually devising evil,” including “legalized robbery.” “It is all based on GREED and the ‘get’ way of life,” we wrote. “It is considered ‘good business’ today to make money and not worry about how you got it. … Micah is telling us that the ruin is going to be horrible in every way!” (emphasis ours).

“People look at the surface of the economy and of their society. On the surface everything looks good,” the November 1991 edition said. “Society looks so good to most people, as if it could last for thousands of years. But it is so badly eaten by the ‘moths,’ that a little pressure will cause it to fall apart”—referring to the prophecy of Hosea 5:12. “That is the condition of the U.S. and British economies today—right now! They are almost ready to collapse—like a moth-eaten coat! … This verse explains why people will believe the economy and their society is strong until they actually see it collapse!”

The lead-up to the housing bubble craze certainly was typified by fraud and greed, and it didn’t take much for it to fall apart and take the whole economy with it. People buying unaffordable mansions in the hope prices would keep going up. Realtors pushing the biggest homes they could, to get the largest possible commission. Appraisers selling their reputations to make the sale. Banks lending money to people even though they knew they were not creditworthy. And then selling the junk mortgages on to unsuspecting investors and pension plans. Credit rating agencies giving triple-A ratings to junk mortgages. And leaders in Washington not just turning a blind eye to all the action, but actually encouraging it with artificially low interest rates and pressuring banks to remove lending standards.

An economic system engulfed by greed can only end one way, no matter how strong or dynamic it may temporarily appear.

The post-housing bubble picture of America’s economy is not pretty. But it is going to get even uglier.

“The U.S. economy has helped to fuel the whole world’s economy. When it collapses, it will impact forcefully on the whole world,” we wrote in June 1992. The Trumpet’s economic warnings grew stronger over the years as America became more overleveraged and indebted. “Countries, just like individuals, can become addicted to credit! In order to maintain a high standard of living, America has become increasingly dependent upon foreign credit to pay its bills, piling debt upon debt, until it has mortgaged itself to the hilt!” we wrote in August 1997.

Over the past three decades, America has gone from being the largest creditor nation in the world, to its largest debtor—by far. Now our foreign creditors wonder how the bills will be paid.

Will America’s debt bubble be the next to burst?

When it does, it will irreversibly take America’s standard of living with it. Interest rates will soar. Inflation will ravage consumers. The dollar will lose its reserve currency status. And the current rate of 17 percent unemployment will seem like something from a happy dreamland.

As Mr. Flurry said when Barings collapsed, “… I guarantee you, by the authority of God, these financial problems will intensify until they do get our full attention!” (April 1995).

America’s history from Barings to Bear Stearns is that of escalating punishment from God that has gone unheeded.

Our Educators Have a Dangerous Contempt for Authority

Our Educators Have a Dangerous Contempt for Authority

Index Open

(Unless it’s their own.)
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

In September 1981, Timothy Foote wrote an article in Esquire magazine called “The Trouble With Harvard.” Mr. Foote had graduated from Harvard in 1952 and apparently was shocked by the changes in that university.

He wrote, “Many students drift through Harvard with a nagging sense of failure and anxiety. ‘There is so much freedom here,’ says Kiyo Morimoto, ‘that studies become extracurricular. And you can’t get through if your studies are extracurricular.’ … You didn’t have to go to class because nobody took attendance. And you could get unlimited extensions on papers during the term ….

“Morimoto is worried about Harvard’sobjections to using authority, all up and down the line: It’s not insisting that students get papers in on time, not insisting on formal meetings between students and advisers, students and tutors, even between students and faculty. ‘Harvard is deeply ambiguous about authority,’ he says, ‘about being firm and clear and unambiguous.’ Today all authority is seen as negative” (emphasis mine throughout).

This means these educators are filled with pride or have very little humility. They reject what other authorities—past and present—could teach them unless it fits into their selfish agenda. The students are taught to follow in their footsteps. Most universities follow Harvard’s example.

Imagine, educators who are not humble and teachable! That is not true education. That is not how you search for truth. It is intellectual tyranny. And it leaves the educators vulnerable to deadly deception.

Harvard students, Foote continued, “are turned loose in a system practically without discipline, or order, or viable requirements, or supervision, or even advice.”

Harvard was at the forefront of change during the sexual revolution in the 1960s. Foote quoted one professor as saying, “On any given night, the odds are against finding anyone in his or her own bed.”

“Few people seem to disagree,” Foote continued. “By the standards of the age, there’s nothing wrong in that either.” But the “standards of the age” are in the gutter. Only 50 years ago these standards would have caused America to blush.

Harvard was founded by a church. The founders would be appalled if they saw all of the sexual depravity today.

American colleges and universities actually encourage our young people to indulge in some of the most repugnant immorality in the history of man! We lead the world in sexual immorality! America has gone from the moral leader of the world to the immoral leader of the world! But we still blather about how righteous our nation is!

Our forefathers warned us that such behavior would wreck our republic. But educators today consider themselves superior to our outstanding founders and leaders of the past. They view that authority as negative, which is the pinnacle of ignorance. They close their minds to so much tried and tested truth.

Chinese leaders today have said the family is the strength of any nation. They reached that conclusion by observing human behavior—not from the Bible, though it certainly agrees with the Bible. But our educational system is too proud to listen and learn. Nobody can tell American educators how to educate—not even God!

The sexual immorality allowed at our colleges has everything to do with the collapse of strong marriages and families—and of our nation! History proves that truth from the beginning to the end, but not to our so-called educators.

It all falls into the category of academic freedom, which is really the most despicable kind of slavery. If you want proof, request our free book The Missing Dimension in Sex.

Foote concluded, “In a society more preoccupied with the labels on the suitcase than with what’s inside, Harvard is still the best label in town.”

It sure is a nice-looking label. But is true education in the label—or in what’s inside?

Our educators are being warned by other authorities, but they are too high and mighty to heed!

A Law of History

Syndicated columnist George Will wrote this in his Dec. 23, 2001, column: “Two hundred twenty-five Christmases ago, history was being made around here. And recently Lynne Cheney … came here to advocate teaching history more extensively and more wisely than we currently do.”

Mr. Will continued, “Cheney recalled a 1999 survey of college seniors at 55 elite colleges, from Princeton to Stanford, which revealed that only 22 percent knew that the words ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ are from the Gettysburg Address. Forty percent could not place the Civil War in the second half of the 19th century. … Twenty-five percent thought the pilgrims signed the Magna Carta on the Mayflower. … To the question of who commanded American forces at Yorktown, the most frequent answer was Ulysses S. Grant.

“Such questions should not be difficult for high school seniors. But at the time of the survey, none of the 55 colleges and universities required a course in American history. And students could graduate from 78 percent of them without taking any history course.”

What a disturbing survey! Most of the students—78 percent—didn’t have to take even one history course! But don’t expect our elite colleges to start teaching history. That subject carries an aura of authority they dislike.

How can you become educated by closing your mind to a multitude of lessons from the past—good and bad? That approach makes our teachers and students some of the most ignorant people on Earth!

The truth is, our forefathers possessed more of the foundational truths than we have today, and we are about to pay a terrifying price for our willful ignorance!

Let the college and university students beware of the poison they are being taught today!

Why is this information so shocking? Here is Mr. Will’s conclusion: “[A]s Madison [one of America’s Founding Fathers and former president] said, in words inscribed on a Princeton building, ‘a well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.’”

Are we losing our freedom? The answer is a resounding yes!

Henry Steele Commager wrote an introduction to Winston Churchill’s biography of his ancestor, Marlborough. In it Mr. Commager wrote, “… Churchill’s reading of history reinforced his early education to exalt the heroic virtues. He was Roman rather than Greek, and as he admired Roman accomplishments in law, government, empire, so he rejoiced in Roman virtues of order, justice, fortitude, resoluteness, magnanimity. These were British virtues too, and, because he was the very symbol of John Bull, Churchillian. He cherished, as a law of history, the principle that a people who flout these virtues is doomed to decay and dissolution, and that a people who respect them will prosper and survive.”

Learning lessons from great leaders of the past is critical to our national well-being. If we flout those heroic virtues of history, our nations are “doomed to decay and dissolution.” But if we respect and emulate them, we “will prosper and survive.”

Our national survival is at stake! That is “a law of history.”

However, our arrogant educators refuse to even study the heroic virtues of history that helped to make us great. They consider themselves so much more intelligent and enlightened.

America and Britain are paying a dreadful price for this rebellious and inexcusable ignorance. They are going the way of ancient Rome. And in case they are unaware of that history, Rome collapsed. Numerous people warned Rome too, but the Romans were too spiritually sick and proud to heed the warning.

Many in the present U.S. political administration have utter contempt for the Constitution. Our fathers founded that document on many Bible principles. The Constitution is the foundational law of the land. What happens when you tear down your foundation? Anarchy and chaos result. Then—according to history—other powers often move in and enslave the people. That is especially true if you are the number-one superpower in the world. That adds a lot of prestige to the conqueror.

The opponents of our founding document say they want an “evolving Constitution,” which means they don’t want to be ruled by it or any other authority or law unless it reinforces their political views.

The Bible describes them as being “lawless.” They hate for any authority to enforce a law contrary to their beliefs. That means they believe only their human reasoning should rule, regardless of how ignorant and inadequate it may be. Only the worst kind of suffering will change those twisted values.

A New Government Is Coming Very Soon

Thankfully, there is a grand hope. Notice this beautiful poetry written by Isaiah from the Revised Standard Version:

“For thus says the high and lofty One

who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

‘I dwell in the high and holy place,

and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit,

to revive the spirit of the humble,

and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isaiah 57:15).

This is vigorous, imaginative poetry that will cause our spirits to soar if we have a humble spirit and are receptive to God’s view.

We dwell in the confines of time. But not God. He “inhabits eternity”! And this high and lofty Being also dwells with the man “who is of a contrite and humble spirit”—the opposite of those educators and students of our elite universities!

That omnipotent God is already reviving “the spirit of the humble” in His little remnant. Soon, God’s firstfruits are going to teach Harvard and other universities what true education is.

The God who inhabits eternity wants to teach us and dwell with us for all eternity. If we are receptive to God’s education, it will stir our imagination as nothing else ever could. Albert Einstein said he “talked to the stars.” But we can talk and live with the Creator of the stars!

Now that is true education, but it’s given only to the spirit of the humble.

Herbert W. Armstrong College, a liberal arts institution sponsored by the same organization that publishes this magazine, is fervently working to revive the spirit of the humble. We teach that the Bible is the foundation of all knowledge. We have proven for more than 50 years that this Bible education works beautifully.

The System

The System

LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images

Its beauty lies in its simplicity.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

The other day, my daughter told me Venezuela was producing some of the best young classical musicians in the world. “Venezuela?” I said. “Are you sure you don’t mean another nation—perhaps somewhere in Europe?”

“I don’t think so,” she replied. “I’m pretty sure it’s Venezuela.” She and her violin teacher had recently viewed a 12-minute video about a music program so extraordinary that some maestros are hailing it as “the future of classical music.”

In fact, it is in Venezuela. It’s called El Sistema in Spanish, meaning “The System.” It started 35 years ago with 11 students and an amateur musician who believed classical music was an effective antidote to the societal ills of family breakdown, crime and poverty. “I had a feeling this was the beginning of something very big,” remembers José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema’s creator.

Today, some 300,000 Venezuelan children—most of them coming from impoverished neighborhoods—are enrolled in one of The System’s several hundred orchestras, ensembles and choirs. Enrollment is expected to exceed more than a million within the next two years.

Outside Venezuela, numerous international organizations in more than 25 countries have developed music programs based on Abreu’s model. In Harmony, for example, is the British version of El Sistema. Cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber spearheads the fledgling program in England. After just one year of implementation in poor British communities, educators have noticed remarkable changes. “Teachers are reporting hugely increased levels of concentration, discipline, motivation and attendance,” Lloyd-Webber wrote for the Telegraph (Dec. 22, 2009). In Venezuela, where the program has a much longer track record, there have been noticeable declines in crime and drug use wherever The System is in place.

What is the secret to El Sistema’s success?

One thing that stands out is how much discipline and hard work it adds to the child’s education. “Every day after school throughout Venezuela, you can see kids practicing,” reporter Bob Simon said in the 60 Minutes piece my daughter shared with me. “Fifteen thousand trained musicians work with them. But The System also uses gifted kids to teach other kids. On top of eight hours of schoolwork, it makes for a long day.”

It amounts to about 11 hours of schoolwork and music training every day, six days a week. It’s a grueling pace for any youngster to maintain, but consider the alternative: hopelessness, disorder, delinquency and violence in the slum.

Parental involvement also plays a significant role. Teachers make house calls to inform parents about what the program expects of its students. The government provides a small stipend for families of El Sistema students, which helps encourage families to stick with it. But more than anything, it is the results that encourage parental support. When families saw how The System helped keep their children off the streets, Abreu says, “they became our most important allies.”

Children need discipline and structure in their education. They need support from involved parents at home. And, Abreu believes, they need music. Not the noise that masquerades as music in popular culture. Real music—music that feeds the mind, uplifts the human spirit, builds confidence and inspires achievement.

Popular music won’t work, one El Sistema teacher told 60 Minutes. Children can get that anywhere, even at home in the slum. But “when they sit in one of these chairs in the orchestra, they think they’re in another country, in another planet, and they start changing” (emphasis mine throughout).

“My struggle is for a society in which art is something more than just an aesthetic dimension of life,” Abreu explained to the Globe and Mail last year. “It is a primary instrument for the development of the individual and of the people.”

Using beautiful music as an instrument to educate and train young people for a brighter tomorrow. It’s a model that is as beautiful as it is simple.

We use it at Herbert W. Armstrong College and Imperial Academy. Our “José Antonio Abreu” was Herbert W. Armstrong, an amateur musician with a maestro-like genius for using God-inspired music to disseminate God’s truth while educating the young. “Music is another study we want to teach at Ambassador,” Mr. Armstrong wrote several months before he opened the college in 1947—“for music has an important place in evangelistic work.”

It was a system rooted in the foundation of God’s Word. Wholesome and uplifting music has always played an instrumental role in the work of God’s ministry and the education of our young. Colossians 3:16 tells us to teach using psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. 1 Chronicles 25:1 even describes the role musical instruments have in prophesying! And did you know that in ancient Israel, there were a number of priests whose sole responsibility was to make musicto honor and praise God? (See 1 Chronicles 9:33.)

God is the author of beautiful music. He’s always intended for it to be used as an instrument to bring human beings into His Family!

That’s why Abreu’s story is so inspiring. True, it’s not God’s system. But it does reveal how much one visionary can improve the quality of life for many people by using a simple, family-oriented system of education that revolves around fine music.

Think of the wonderful abundance, the beautiful peace and prosperity that will soon spread over all the Earth once God’s government is established in Jerusalem and His system of reeducating the world is finally in place. Will music play an instrumental role? You know it will!

As prophesied in hundreds of Bible passages, the dawn of that beautiful new civilization—fittingly signaled by a thunderous blast from a musical instrument—is almost here.