The Detroitification of America

The Detroitification of America

Pawel Gaul/iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Like a forgotten downtown billboard, Detroit proclaims a warning about the rest of America for any who will stop and look.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

If ever an American city was a warning for the nation, it is Detroit. Its crumbling mansions, overgrown boulevards and abandoned factories drive a message home to those who will pay attention. We cannot afford to ignore this once-great city. Why? What killed Detroit is killing America.

Detroit used to be synonymous with wealth and prosperity. It was a city humming with big-finned cars and Motown rhythms. Factories churned out products that ended up on store shelves around the world. Full employment empowered high salaries, flourishing schools and manicured storefronts, with flashy neon lights lining the boulevards. Multiple generations of families shared the same streets and barbecues.

In its heyday, Detroit had the highest median income and highest rate of home ownership in the country. It also had one of the highest standards of living of any major city in America—and hence, probably the world. People flocked there to transform the American dream into reality.

Today, the view from General Motors world headquarters, downtown at Renaissance Tower, is different.

Shattered Dreams

Take the average Detroit high school student to the top for the panoramic view, then describe in chrome tones what the Motor City used to be like. He would probably think you were joking.

There are two reasons that student would be confused.

One: The reality on the ground is that the city is a ruined, decaying, post-industrial, almost post-apocalyptic ghost town. At its peak, Detroit boasted almost 2 million residents. Today, more than half of that number are gone. Astoundingly, even the dead are leaving. Suburban dwellers who don’t want to risk heading into the city to visit gravesides are having their deceased relatives dug up and transferred to local cemeteries.

More surreally, unburied bodies are piling up as well, the Times reported in November. That month, the number of unclaimed bodies reached a record high. The dead were not murder victims—although crime is soaring, and Detroit remains the murder capital of America. Most of these dead died of natural causes; it is just that family members cannot afford to bury them; the city can’t afford to bury them either, so they pile up in the freezers.

Two: Most students have a poor grasp of history. In 2008, less than 25 percent of freshmen actually ended up graduating from high school—the worst rate in the country. Almost half of Detroit adults are considered functionally illiterate.

Gazing out over Detroit, you would see a city in transformation—or is it disintegration? In contrast to the shiny new GM tower, Detroit is cannibalizing itself. Over 60,000 abandoned, gutted and stripped houses populate the landscape. With each new foreclosure, another home opens itself up to vandals, thieves and arsonists. On one street alone, you can see six partially burned homes without moving your feet. Wrecked, abandoned homes push property prices down further, which encourages other underwater homeowners to mail in the keys too.

The situation is so bad that banks are now refusing to retake ownership of some homes. The cost of back taxes and repairs just isn’t worth it. Houses sell for $1. Livable ones sell for $6,000, less than the price of some ride-on lawn mowers. The city has no money to demolish the death traps, so they remain standing.

Then there are all the abandoned commercial and industrial structures, lurking like monolithic skeletons. Who would want these properties? They were made to produce massive amounts of quality products—something foreign to today’s Detroit. And with all the years of industrial chemicals polluting the soil and groundwater, no one can afford the remediation costs.

At night, you look down on whole patches of city that are dark. Parts of Detroit have reverted to hollowed-out, pre-industrial places where no one lives or works or stands in the streets anymore—only mile after mile of lonely concrete bones.

Punctuating those dark patches are regularly appearing spots of flickering flame. The Weekly Standard called Detroit the “city where the sirens never sleep.” Since the city is overwhelmed with buildings to demolish, firefighters are often forced to risk their lives fighting fires at the same old structures.

Fading From History

But as troubled as Detroit is, it is positioned to get worse. Official U.S. unemployment stands at 10 percent, but real national unemployment is over 17 percent and rising (as measured by the Labor Department’s U6 unemployment figure, which includes part-time workers who want full-time jobs and discouraged job seekers who have stopped looking for work). Unemployment in Michigan is 20.9 percent. In Detroit, virtually half the workforce is unemployed—a rate far higher than during the Great Depression. And there is no U-turn in sight.

With so many people out of work, property owners had better hope that lawmakers are able to keep extending unemployment insurance. Residents should also hope that the Chinese keep lending America money, because if they ever stop, so will the welfare payments. And that means that Detroit is a powder keg with massive explosive potential. The gangs of Detroit will head to the suburbs.

America needs to wake up to what Detroit has become.

“Detroit’s history has gone the way of Rome and Athens and Constantinople,” says L. Brooks Patterson, a longtime executive from Oakland County, which includes Detroit’s northern and more affluent suburbs. “It is what history does. History moves on. And history has moved away …. Detroit will never again be where those other cities were ….”

Once a cradle of the middle class and a bastion of economic productivity, Detroit is now a stark example of the unraveling of both. It has often been said that as GM goes, so goes the country. How much more should America then pay attention to Detroit? This city is the home of not just GM, but also Ford, Chrysler and a host of other manufacturers and businesses and families.

The forces that built Detroit into an economic superpower also helped build America into a superpower. Now the forces that destroyed Detroit are doing the same throughout the country.

Motoring the Detroit Express

America’s failed industrial policy promotes the offshoring of American manufacturing. Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee felt it first, but now those same policies are promoting the offshoring of America’s other strategic industries too. The job losses have spread to New York and Los Angeles. Power-hungry unions more intent on getting rich than on making a quality product impacted Detroit’s Big Three, but the same types of unions hold hostage and handicap many American businesses. Big business, in the search of short-term profit above all else and at the expense of mistreating employees, gave rise to the unions. Corrupt politicians looking to purchase votes sell themselves to the highest bidder—this too is a national phenomenon. Consumers, fat on the wealth of previous generations, wax lazy. Just like in Detroit, increasing debt is looked to as the national savior for America’s economic ills.

Detroit’s downfall has many causes—books have been written. But the most fundamental and important cause is one that most observers have overlooked.

The primary cause of Detroit’s (and America’s) dramatic downfall can only be understood by identifying the source of its original prosperity.

Yankee ingenuity, work ethic, economies of scale, proximity to resources, mass transportation, low taxation and a skilled labor pool are all factors. But they are not the most important and essential factor.

The reason America (and Detroit) became so prosperous stems from an ancient promise God made. You can read about it in the book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. It is because of that promise that America became the inheritor of almost half a continent—and not just any continent. When the pilgrims arrived they became the recipients of a vast, pristine land, overflowing with the choicest of agricultural, mineral, hydrologic and geographic blessings imaginable.

America’s historic leadership in industry and technology—the fact that America used to be the largest oil, coal and steel producer in the world, that it used to be a major net food exporter, that it once was the world’s factory, that it used to control and own the strategic Panama Canal sea gateway, that it is the only country to ever put a man on the moon—was a blessing that directly trickled down from the fulfillment of that promise.

In short, it was God who showered blessings upon Detroit—and America. It was God who provided America with its formerly unrivaled levels of prosperity.

And it is because the conditions of retaining those blessings have been broken that those blessings are now being removed. It is all about cause and effect. Sustained blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience—it is a basic principle of the Bible (Leviticus 26). And it is a principle that we would all do well to remember.

Detroit is a warning for America. Read the billboard. Detroitification is heading toward a city near you.

Keep an Eye on the Balkans

Trouble could be brewing.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

The Balkans is a region people tend to forget about. Sandwiched between the Adriatic and Black seas, the peninsula is a hodgepodge mix of religions, peoples and cultures. The complexity and obscurity of the Balkans—together with its geographic situation—fosters the perception of the region as a largely irrelevant backwater to Europe, Russia and the Middle East.

History punctures this perception.

Historically, the Balkans is where civilizations have converged and clashed. During the Middle Ages, the peninsula fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire. In the 15th century, it became a focal point of the westward-bound Ottoman Turks. In the 19th century, it emerged again as a point of tension between East and West during the Crimean War. When the great European war comes, observed Bismarck, it will “come out of some … foolish thing in the Balkans.” Turns out, he was right. Less than 50 years later, the Balkans was where Germany instigated the First World War. Twenty years after that, it became a key strategic theater for Hitler and the Axis powers. And don’t forget the Balkan crises of the 1990s.

It is no surprise then that a decade later, the Balkans is emerging once again as the convergence point of Russian and European ambitions.

Bringing the Balkans Into Europe

In November 2009, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Serbian President Boris Tadic in Berlin, where she expressed Germany’s full support for Serbia’s entry into the European Union. Serbia’s hopes were further boosted in January, when Spain’s foreign minister promised that his country’s EU presidency would do its utmost to integrate Serbia into the EU. “2010 is going to be a key year for all the Western Balkans,” said Miguel Moratinos. “I can guarantee on behalf of the Spanish presidency that we will do everything that is possible to advance in this direction.”

It appears Serbia will not be making the trek alone. On the same day Merkel announced her support of Serbia last November, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels agreed to proceed with Albania’s request to enter the rapidly evolving 27-member bloc. By January, EU leaders were talking about easing visa restrictions to make it easier for Albanians to travel through Europe.

Doubts about the EU’s ambitions in the Balkans were put to rest by a letter that circulated among EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on January 25. According to Deutsche Welle, the letter ambitiously stated that in 2010 the EU should “complete accession negotiations with Croatia, start talks with Macedonia, reinforce its role in Bosnia, abolish visas for Albanian and Bosnian citizens and advance Serbia’s bid to join the bloc” (January 27).

“This is the right moment to renew at high level the EU’s commitment to the [Balkans] and to set out the course ahead in concrete terms,” Dimistris Droutsas of Greece and Michael Spindelegger of Austria said in the letter.

Reporting on Germany and the EU’s statements in support of Serbia’s accession last November, Stratfor noted that they were “the clearest indication thus far from the European Union that it is serious about bringing the rest of the Balkans into the European Union as soon as possible” (Nov. 17, 2009; emphasis mine throughout).

While enthusiasm in Brussels for integrating the Balkans into the EU excites many west of the Urals, not everyone is pleased.

The Russia Factor

Under strongman Vladimir Putin, Russia has been actively reasserting itself regionally and globally. Since 2000, the Kremlin has secured power over much of its periphery, particularly along its border with the European Union. (This, essentially, was the reason for Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008.) Strategically and historically, the Balkan Peninsula—though it doesn’t fall within Russia’s immediate sphere of influence—has been a critical steppingstone for periodic European incursions into Russia.

From a defensive standpoint, the Balkans demands the Kremlin’s watchful eye. But for the offense-minded Putin, the peninsula requires much more. This is why last October, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made a much-publicized visit to Belgrade, where he offered a €1 billion (us$1.4 billion) loan to the Serbs and openly discussed the possibility of a strategic partnership with Serbia.

The next month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Bosnia-Herzegovina, where, according to the Eurasia Daily Monitor, he encouraged the “Sarajevo government to oppose U.S.- and EU-proposed constitutional and economic reforms” (Nov. 9, 2009). Beyond its political wrangling in the region, Moscow remains a primary economic player in the Balkans, particularly in the energy sector.

Russia also has intriguing military designs on Serbia. On October 21, Russia signed a deal with the Serbs to construct a humanitarian center for emergencies in the southeastern city of Nis. While it was billed as a regional hub for emergency relief in southeastern Europe, some experts couldn’t help but notice the political and military nature of the planned facility. With the center’s connection to the highest levels in the Kremlin, analysts at Stratfor reported that “it has the potential to redefine how the world looks at the Balkans and Russia’s involvement in the region” (Oct. 21, 2009).

The humanitarian center will be operated by the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations. Rooted in Russia’s foreign military intelligence directorate (also known as the gru), this ministry handles more than just national emergencies. Stratfor reports that “it is involved in the suppression of militant activity in the Caucasus and is in charge of the Russian civil defense troops,” which essentially gives the ministry its own military force, as well as access to the Russian military. When you consider the connections, “it has to be considered that Moscow might lay logistical groundwork [in Serbia] that—intentionally or not—has military value” (ibid.).

What do Germany and the EU think about that? Stratfor continued, “Despite [some] limitations, which make the move largely symbolic for the near future, Moscow is on its way to setting up its first logistical center with potential military uses outside of the former Soviet Union. In addition, the center will be run by a ministry that serves as the wing of the Russian military intelligence unit. If one puts this in the context of the recent visit to Belgrade by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev … it must be concluded that Russia is moving into the Balkans with enthusiasm.”

Remember, that was the end of October. In November, Germany and the EU informed Serbia (and Albania) that they were ready to put them on the track for full EU membership. The timing is interesting. Coincidences of this nature are rare in international relations. It certainly appears the Balkan Peninsula, particularly Serbia, is emerging once again as a major point of tension between Russia and Europe.

The Outcome

Ultimately, Europe and Russia face two options. The first is to sit down together, debate their strategic interests, and carve up Eastern Europe and the Balkans between them. Hitler and Stalin did that very thing in 1939. The alternative is to allow the tension to mount until it erupts in armed conflict. More than likely, as the Trumpet has forecast, we will see the first option. Watch for Russia and Germany/Europe to come together and hash out some kind of non-aggression pact akin to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact struck just days before World War ii.

It is also possible that the Kremlin, concerned by the rapidly evolving and strengthening European superstate, could decide it needs to send the EU and the West a shot across the bow. The provocation by the Kremlin of a military or energy crisis in a place like Serbia, or maybe Ukraine, would certainly caution Berlin and Brussels against ignoring the strategic interests of its eastern neighbor. It would also likely bring Germany and Europe to the negotiating table with Russia.

Whatever happens, history demands that we keep an eye on the Balkans. And so does Bible prophecy. In May 1953, Herbert Armstrong wrote about a crucial end-time prophecy: “Suddenly the world will behold a United States of Europe!” he wrote. “Some of the Balkan nations which have been under Russia’s boot will be members of it!” (Good News).

That statement alone explains Germany and the EU’s moves to invite Balkan nations into the European fold. Mr. Armstrong based his forecast about a united Europe (which will include an eastern bloc) on multiple Bible prophecies, including Daniel’s spectacular prophecy in Daniel 2. This prophecy is key to understanding both European history and prophecy. To learn more about it, request a free copy of Daniel Unlocks Revelation.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the Balkans!

Here Europe—Feel Free to Spy on Us

The White House signs away its internal security to the EU.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

An executive order by President Barack Obama in December created quite a stir.

Signed by the president on Dec. 16, 2009, the order is headlined, “executive order amending executive order 12425 designating interpol as a public international organization entitled toenjoy certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities.” It reads, “By the authority vested in me as president by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including Section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (interpol), it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983, as amended, is further amended by deleting from the first sentence the words ‘except those provided by Section 2-c, Section 3, Section 4, Section 5 and Section 6 of that act’ and the semicolon that immediately precedes them.”

This automatically brings Interpol under Section 2-c of the International Immunities Act, which reads, “Property and assets of international organizations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation. The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable.”

Just what does this mean to the average citizen of the United States? To answer that question, we need a little history about Interpol.

The Rise of a German Intelligence Model

In 1923, Dr. Johannes Schober, president of the Vienna police, established the International Police Commission (ipc). Within four years, at a conference in Berlin, member countries of the ipc adopted a German idea to establish National Central Bureaus of investigation (ncbs) in addition to establishing centralized police records registries.

In 1938, the Nazis seized control of the ipc, relocating its headquarters to Berlin. They maintained control of European policing till the end of World War ii.

Based on the same German model of the ncbs, Interpol was established in Paris after the war. It became an autonomous body in 1956. In 1989, just before the Berlin Wall fell, it moved to new headquarters in Lyon, France.

Throughout the 1990s, Interpol upgraded its systems to adapt to the latest technological improvements in data search, maintenance and sharing between various sub-regional bureaus, launching its first website in 1997.

In 2001, a Command and Coordination Center was established coordinating the operations of Interpol’s 187 member countries. By 2004, it had planted a liaison office at the United Nations staffed by a special representative, and in 2008, a special representative was appointed to the EU in Brussels.

The real concern here is the degree to which Interpol is becoming associated with the global security initiatives of the European Union. The EU is itself a very German idea, closely associated with the old Nazi vision of centralized government in Europe.

An Interpol media release in 2008 stated, “The concept of strategic global partnerships is central to Interpol’s future mission as enshrined in its Global Security Initiative (gsi), with the organization having entered into a variety of partnerships with the European Union, United Nations and the private sector” (Nov. 4, 2008).

So just what is this EU Global Security Initiative? According to Interpol’s website, it is “the strategic vision that will guide Interpol’s development and its support for global policing.”

That may seem a worthy goal. However, when matched with another even greater initiative of the EU—the EU’s Program for Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (gmes)—the closer cooperation between Interpol and the EU raises significant red flags. It is the same strategic vision that the German national socialists held back in the 1930s! The fact is, it illuminates the direction that EU elites are taking in their imperial quest for global rule.

Surveilling the Whole Globe!

gmes is a powerful semi-space project being developed by the EU for the total strategic surveillance of the whole globe. Its potential to override and excel any equivalent initiatives developed by opposing powers in the race for global hegemony, in the wake of America’s decline, is staggering.

Integrating observation of the planet by both satellites and ground-based technology, the gmes project is being sold under the deceit of its being mainly for use in environmental control. As described by the European Parliament’s Directorate General for Internal Policies, all conceivable applications of the project “can be classified under the topics of atmospherics, marine, land, security and emergency.” Though an EU-conceived, -developed and -funded initiative with EU strategic goals in mind, the scope of its applications is “not restricted to the European area”; rather they are “worldwide.”

Of real concern as to the surveillance power of gmes and its potential strategic use by imperialist EU elites is the Directorate’s declaration that “gmescan be the appropriate strategic tool to support Europe on geopolitical issues through unified earth observation. gmes has strategic importance due to the EU’s role as a global actor … and makes an important contribution to the EU’s civil security [police] needs” (emphasis mine throughout).

Though couched in terms that would appeal to global warmists, carbon traders and old-fashioned greenies, the essence of this document is in the recurring military and “civil security” themes that thread their way through its verbiage. “Emergency response” (read rapid reaction force), “land monitoring,” “marine services,” “external border surveillance,” “crisis prevention”—all phrases used in the Directorate’s description of the gmes project—can all too readily connote not just police usage, but also military usage, especially in terms of the EU’s emerging role in global defense and security.

Already well advanced, though given little publicity, the gmes project will rapidly deploy a series of space satellites over the next five years. The Metop satellite was deployed in 2007. Next will come the Pleaides satellite in 2010-11, the Jason 3 and the system of three satellites termed the Radarsat Constellation in 2012-15, and the five-satellite system “Sonic” over the same period. The whole program is conceived, developed, funded and controlled by the EU. The major contributor is Germany, which so far has committed €1.15 billion to the deal. And there’s more.

The gmes program is designed to dovetail with the EU’s Galileo project, which will eventually send 30 satellites into circular orbit at an altitude of 23,000 kilometers above Earth. A global, space-based location-identification system, Galileo is planned to be superior to both the U.S.-based gps and Russian Glonass systems.

The newly ratified Lisbon Treaty/EU constitution grants control of the entire global surveillance system jointly to the European Parliament and European Commission. Prime end users will be EU global police and peacekeeping missions.

Giving the EU License to Spy

The above may well signal danger to those who fear the “big brother is watching you” potential of such a powerful system of global surveillance and intelligence gathering. But perhaps of deepest concern is the European Parliament Directorate’s indication that “Civil and defense applications increasingly draw from the same technological base, and there is an increasing overlap of functions and capabilities required for military and non-military [police] security purposes which often allows for the use of the same technology for the development of both security and defense applications. … The decision whether global positioning or Earth observation systems … are to be used for security or defense purposes is primarily political in character, not technological.”

That language simply puts EU elites in charge! And sadly—as many an intelligent observer both within and outside of Germany has noted—too many of those elites are tainted with the same imperial vision of their old Nazi mentors.

The point is that, since the EU-based Interpol is to become a prime end user of this surveillance technology, what the White House has now permitted through this latest executive order is the completely unchecked usage of gmes and Galileo by the EU via Interpol to extract intelligence of strategic value to the imperialist European Union, destined to be used to counter American power!

Next to the U.S. signing up a year ago to the regulation of its economy by the EU-controlled Financial Stability Board, this has to be one of the most significant foreign-policy blunders of America’s current administration. It literally permits the EU to spy on the U.S. unfettered by any control from its government.

Newt Gingrich has accused the Obama administration of “very quietly” signing an executive order that removes “all American constraints” from Interpol.

“Freedom of information acts don’t apply,” he said. “All the constraints that you as a citizen could use against an American police force, based on a recent Obama-signed executive order, give Interpol—which has relationships with Syria, Libya, with Iran—it gives them all sorts of extra legality in the United States in a way that has never, ever before been offered to Interpol” (Politico.com, January 5).

When one truly understands what is at play here, shades of Europe’s medieval Inquisition, with a high-tech, space-age touch, loom large—especially considering what happened when Interpol’s predecessor was taken over by the Nazis!

Sound extreme? Only to those ignorant of the real power behind this European empire. As our editor in chief wrote last month, this is none other than the seventh and the final resurrection of an ancient police state, the “Holy” Roman Empire!

You need to read our February edition to fully grasp what is afoot and just what is at stake. We are witnessing the appearance, yet one final time, of this old and brutish empire that has shed more blood throughout its long and cruel history than any other politico-religious entity on Earth!

Yet, to those truly attuned to this final resurrection of this old church-state combine, its arrival on the world scene is a great harbinger of hope! For it is perhaps the greatest of signs at the moment that the long-awaited and -expected coming of the Messiah, the only true peacemaker, is just about here!

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.