Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?

Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?

Maciej Moskwa/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Remember this Trumpet headline—from 1994.

Iraq is headless, and America is leaving.

Since 2003, the U.S. has sacrificed over 4,400 of its soldiers and spent over a trillion dollars in Iraq. What is there to show for these enormous costs?

Iraq is bedlam. Violence continues to percolate. July was the country’s deadliest month since May 2008. Five and a half months after elections, a government still has not formed. In the meantime, the prime minister has agreed not to make any major decisions about Iraq’s future.

This is a shell of a country. Ripe for conquest.

This was the nation that once held Khomeini’s Iran—and the spread of the Islamic Revolution—in check. Then its dictator was ousted by the U.S. Seven years on, it remains bruised, weak, divided, deep in a midlife crisis.

At one time, Washington’s hope was that Baghdad would end up with a pro-American government. Now it doesn’t even have a working government.

Nonetheless, the White House is proceeding with its plan to pull out. As of last week, America’s combat operations in Iraq are officially over. The 140,000 troops there at the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency are now down to fewer than 50,000, and they are staying behind mostly to train Iraqis. These soldiers “will no longer be allowed to go on combat missions without being joined by Iraqi forces,” the Associated Press reports.

Also on these soldiers’ to-do list: “They will counsel Iraqi officials on how to endear themselves to their citizens, whether through handing out soccer balls to kids or building irrigation systems for farmers” (ibid.). And—they will start packing to come home at the end of next year. Not exactly the kind of activities that will have America’s enemies quaking in fear.

It’s a remarkable moment. Particularly so if you’ve been reading the Trumpet magazine for any length of time. Why? Because of how it fulfills a biblical prophecy we have repeatedly and insistently highlighted for years.

Two weeks ago, the Iraqi army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Babakar Zebari, said Iraqi troops wouldn’t be “fully ready” to defend the country until 2020. He warned that the U.S. troop withdrawal will leave “a void.”

There’s not a shred of doubt who will fill that void.

“Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?” It’s common to read such a headline today. They’re all over the news. American and Iraqi officials have publicly called Tehran out for interfering with Iraq’s political process. Commentators, observers and analysts the world over see wounded, hobbled Iraq infiltrated by politicians, soldiers and spies beholden to Iran. It’s this reality, in fact, that has made the U.S. so reluctant to leave.

Thing is, that headline appeared in the Trumpet in December 1994.

“The most powerful [Islamic] country in the Middle East is Iran,” editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in that article. “Can you imagine the power they would have if they gained control of Iraq, the second-largest oil-producing country in the world?”

Why would he even make such a statement? It wasn’t because of any weakness Saddam Hussein was exposing. Mr. Flurry based that observation on signs of Iran’s rise, matched with an end-time forecast by the Prophet Daniel of a powerful Middle Eastern king—combined with a prophecy in Psalm 83 indicating an alliance between this Middle East king and Iraq. (These are explained in our booklet The King of the South.) “Prophecy strongly indicates that Iraq will unite with Iran,” we stated in a 2001 issue, two years before Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Last week’s issue of Trumpet Weekly included a tidbit I found remarkable. (Have you read the Trumpet Weekly? You should. We publish and provide this digest of each week’s most prophetically relevant news completely free of charge to any and all, either to download from the website or to receive in your e-mail inbox.)

It started with a short excerpt of an analysis by Dr. George Friedman of Stratfor. In it, he said, “The geopolitical problem the Americans face is that, with the United States gone, Iran would be the most powerful conventional power in the Persian Gulf” (August 17; emphasis mine).

“For Iran, a strong Iraq is the geopolitical nightmare. Iran once fought a war with Iraq that cost Iran a million casualties,” Friedman continued. “[T]he foundation of Iranian national strategy is to prevent a repeat of that war by making certain that Iraq becomes a puppet to Iran or, failing that, that it remains weak and divided. At this point, the Iranians do not have the ability to impose a government on Iraq. However, they do have the ability to prevent the formation of a government or to destabilize one that is formed. Iranian intelligence has sufficient allies and resources in Iraq to guarantee the failure of any stabilization attempt that doesn’t please Tehran.”

After that excerpt, the Trumpet Weekly included this statement by Gerald Flurry from June 2003, just after America invaded Baghdad: “Now that Iraq has been taken out of the picture, Iran is even closer to becoming the reigning king of the Middle East. It may seem shocking, given the U.S. presence in the region right now, but prophecy indicates that, in pursuit of its goal, Iran will probably take over Iraq. At least, it will have a heavy influence over the Iraqi people.”

Written over seven years ago, that statement rings with relevance.

It appeared in an article drawing attention to the 1994 article, and under the same headline: “Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?” It continued: “Saddam Hussein was the only leader that Iran feared. Now the U.S. has taken him out of the way. But does America have the will or strength to guard the spoils of war? Prophecy states that it does not.

“Have we now cleared the way for Shiite Iran to rule over Shiite Iraq?”

This article detailed evidence of Iranian inroads into Iraq. And while the world was enraptured by America’s “shock and awe” campaign, Mr. Flurry was writing this: “[T]hough the current U.S. administration is vowing not to allow an Iranian-style theocracy to gain hold in Iraq, there are also signs in the way it is rebuilding the country that show a fundamental lack of political will to see this pledge through. Perhaps it will not be during the term of the current president, but the Bible shows that America will fail to contain Iran the way it hopes to.”

For years, our staff has been watching the Middle East with this prophetic perspective. Today, we are reading news analysis that sounds like it came straight out of the pages of the Trumpet, which is informed out of the pages of the Bible.

Feel free to doubt. But we strongly view this as a vindication of biblical prophecy—and as a strong signal of the urgency of the times! As Jesus Christ Himself said, after detailing some of the conditions that would signal the end of the age of man: “[W]hen ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”

German Defense Minister Unveils Military Reform

German Defense Minister Unveils Military Reform

John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg presented five alternative plans to reform the German armed forces to the German cabinet on Monday, strongly backing model number four, which calls for a smaller, more efficient military.

The German armed forces, or Bundeswehr, have 252,000 soldiers, including around 60,000 conscripts. Guttenberg wants to cut the number of professional soldiers, suspend conscription, cut the defense budget, and make the military more effective.

How?

Rather than being an asset to the military, conscription is holding it back. Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that “analysts say that the conscription system is both expensive and of little use for a modern army that must be able to deploy abroad quickly.”

Conscripts serve in the army for only six months, reduced from nine months in July. This makes them worse than useless. By the time the army trains them to do something, they move on.

The army finds all kinds of excuses to reduce the number of conscripts it gets lumped with. Last year, 417,300 potential conscripts took medical examinations. The army ordered 68,304 to report for duty.

Few who actually become conscripts get meaningful jobs. Many have to find ways to amuse themselves, as the army tells them to do little more than sit still and do nothing.

The army would be cheaper and leaner without them.

The Bundeswehr was created to protect German soil from Russian invasion. Even now, it is very ineffective at operating outside Germany’s borders. Out of its 252,000 troops, only 7,000 to 8,000 can be sent on missions abroad.

Guttenberg’s plan aims to dramatically increase that number.

Under his plan, conscription would be suspended in 2011. The German government’s power to draft conscripts would still be enshrined in its Basic Law (a sort of constitution), so the government could rapidly expand the army in the future, if necessary.

Instead, Germany will have “voluntary conscripts.” Men and women will be able to sign up for 12 to 23 months of voluntary service in the army. The government would offer fringe benefits for this, and the army would be able to recruit professional soldiers from their ranks.

Guttenberg wants to have 7,500 volunteers and 156,000 professional soldiers, making a total of 163,500 soldiers.

The result of these changes could be dramatic. Journalist Christian Thiel, writing on the website of the German tv news service Tagesschau, says: “This is not a reform, but in reality a revolution, planned by the defense minister.”

Currently, he writes, the army is “groaning under the burden of bureaucracy and duplication and military decisions that are more about economic support than military sense.”

“Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (csu) wants to make the homeland defense an army of intervention,” he says. Guttenberg still faces stiff opposition, however, with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (cdu) being historically pro-conscription. “We have very few financial resources, but we need to anchor the Bundeswehr in society more firmly,” said the cdu’s Roland Koch, outgoing prime minister of Hesse.

Clearly, if the German army is going to have any success, it needs reform. By bringing about that reform, Guttenberg is not cutting the strength of the German army. He may be trimming the fat, but he is building the foundation of a much stronger, more efficient German fighting machine.

The Return of the Mahdi Is Nigh

The Return of the Mahdi Is Nigh

Arash Khamooshi/AFP/Getty Images

Can anyone stop Iran?

Iran may be days away from going nuclear—in the full sense of the word. Russia is complicit, Israel is handcuffed, America’s will is broken, and Europe appears impotent. The countdown to a nuclear Iran is nearing its end. Will anyone stop Iran from unleashing a Muslim-inspired Armageddon?

On Saturday, Iran began commissioning its first nuclear power plant. Barring a full-scale invasion, it may now be impossible to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons (if it hasn’t already). With Russian-supplied uranium in its reactors, any aerial bombing risks spreading nuclear fallout far beyond the Persian Gulf region.

Who would take such a risk? Israel might have previously, but American handcuffing purposefully postponed military options until the risk of fallout made them possibly non-options.

America does not have the will to stop Iran either. It has proven great at talking, at negotiating, at pleading. And at being told what it can do with all its empty rhetoric.

Iran just doesn’t care!

On Friday, the day before it began loading its radioactive uranium rods, Iranian Defense Minister, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi announced the launch of a special new upgraded surface-to-surface missile. Written on the side of the missile was a very specific and literal message for President Obama, the world, and anyone who would oppose Iran.

“Ya Mahdi.”

Ya Mahdi—also known as the 12th imam—is the most important Shiite personage after Mohammad. The belief of a returning Mahdi, or 12th imam, is a defining doctrine within the most populous group of Shiite Muslims (known as the “Twelvers”), to which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a devout adherent.

Why is this important?

Twelvers believe that the 12th imam will emerge from hiding during a time of world chaos to bring order and exalt Shiite believers to their rightful place. Ahmadinejad belongs to this sect, which believes it is their job to pave the way for the Mahdi’s return. Ahmadinejad claims that Ya Mahdi has communicated with him personally and that it is within his ability to hasten the Mahdi’s return.

The televised viewing of the missile’s launch, which was accompanied by shouts of “Allahu Akbar” (meaning, our God is greatest) and timed to coincide with the arrival of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr reactor, sent an unmistakable message.

And if the world didn’t get it, Iran sent it another memo on Sunday, the day after the nuclear reactor got the fuel.

On Sunday, Ahmadinejad announced the completion of Iran’s very first unmanned aerial vehicle (uav) capable of delivering weapon payloads. Named the Karrar, Ahmadinejad said the new weapon would be an “ambassador of death” for Iran’s enemies.

In the past, American officials have scoffed at Iran’s uav technology, noting that past models were small drones, only capable of monitoring. This new model has a range of 1,000 kilometers and can carry two bombs weighing 250 pounds each. Analysts say Iran’s rapid advances are due to Russian technology.

In the same Sunday victory speech, Ahmadinejad also announced that Iran would begin mass production of the Bladerunner 51, a boat often referred to as the world’s fastest. Ahmadinejad christened the more heavily armed Iranian version of the Bladerunner “Zolfaqar.” Zolfaqar was the name of Shiite Imam Ali’s famous sword. Imam Ali, the first imam, was known as “Allah’s Lion” for his aggressive wars against unbelievers. Earlier, in June, Iran announced that it would no longer accept UN-approved cargo inspections on Iran-bound ships. From now on, Iran would use its burgeoning navy to retaliate by searching foreign vessels of offending nations.

So with Iran growing stronger and more radicalized, who is going to stop it from hastening the return of Ya Mahdi by getting the bomb?

It certainly won’t be the United States. Remember the famous 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (nie) released by the U.S. government claiming that Iran actually gave up its nuclear weapons program way back in 2003. That report also claimed that Iran was a “rational actor” not motivated by religion and that it could be coerced into giving up its civilian nuclear program by conventional means such as economic sanctions and political pressure.

At the time of the 2007 nie report, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote that the “report was America’s indirect announcement to a stunned world that we lack the will to ever stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons” (emphasis mine throughout).

“Americans prefer to live in a fantasy world—like the one portrayed in the nie,” he wrote.

A fantasy world is one in which someone tells you he is going to do everything he can to wipe you off the face of the map and you don’t believe him. A fantasy world is one in which a country labels you as “the Great Satan” because it wants to form a partnership with you. And a fantasy world is one in which a country with the world’s third-largest oil and natural gas resources builds a nuclear power station because it needs more electricity.

Unfortunately, when you are dealing with nuclear weapons, living in a fantasy world can lead to a nightmare.

Iran has sent a clear message to the world: We are going nuclear and there is nothing you can do about it. And even if you try, we will actually welcome that because you are just doing us a favor. Long live the 12th imam and hasten his return.

As America fades from Iraq, one nation is stepping into the power void. To learn what power the Bible predicts will actually put a stop to Iran’s nuclear program, read History and Prophecy of the Middle East.

Why the Mideast Peace Talks Will Fail—Again

Why the Mideast Peace Talks Will Fail—Again

Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. has called for a final round of talks to settle the world’s most pressing security problem.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington to reengage in peace talks between the two. The peace process has been on hold since talks broke down in 2008 when Abbas refused to continue the dialogue.

Joining the United States in Washington for these talks will be representatives of the three other members of what has become known as “the quartet,” the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, the UN having issued its own invitation for the two protagonists to meet in Washington.

The talks are destined to fail from the outset. That may appear to be an unwarrantably pessimistic prediction, but it is in fact the outcome guaranteed by Bible prophecy for this very process, believe it or not.

For the Obama administration to call for the Mideast peace process to be resumed at this particular juncture smacks of a desperate and highly risky move by a presidency that is patently failing to live up to the euphoric vision that many held of it upon President Obama’s inauguration less than two years ago.

What is really mind-boggling about Secretary of State Clinton’s call for the resumption of the peace process is her stated intention to work for the absolute conclusion to the Israeli/Palestinian imbroglio within no more and no less than a year from resumption of talks.

This really does begin to sound like political suicide.

With the odds so heavily stacked against success, given the past history of the process and the diametrically opposed positions of Netanyahu and Abbas, calling for such an outcome to be finalized at a time when President Obama will be ramping up his campaign for reelection makes no political sense at all, given the extremely high risk of failure.

There are a number of factors that add to the feeling that the climate for these talks is so wrong.

First, there’s the ground zero mosque controversy, with President Obama going public in support of the mosque flying directly in the face of polls indicating upward of 70 percent of Americans are against it. So much for government representing the will of the people. With Hamas, prime enemy of Israel, having come out in public support of the mosque, Obama’s support of the building is not only a slight to his American electorate, it’s a powerful slap in the face of collective Jewry.

Second, on Saturday Iran loaded its nuclear power station with fuel in preparation for start-up. This places it one step closer to its goal of becoming a nuclear-armed power. With Iran together with the Wahhabi Saudis being the chief sponsors of anti-Israel terror, this nuclear saber rattling of Ahmadinejad’s regime does not present a warm climate for the resumption of Middle East peace talks.

Third, the talks will be held at a time when the transition of power from Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is pending, with no guarantee that the balancing act he has maintained between Israel and its main antagonists will carry on. The U.S. and Israel have no guarantee that after Mubarak’s death, his moderate approach to Israel will continue. If Mubarak dies over the ensuing 12 months that Clinton has given as the period within which to achieve an absolute final settlement to the Middle East peace process, and if Egypt destabilizes overnight, this could well throw the peace talks into utter disarray.

Fourth, as if to underline his stance for the annihilation of Israel, in the spirit of his terrorist mentor, the cowardly Yasser Arafat, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, chief negotiator on behalf of the Palestinians in the peace process, “gave a military funeral this week to the man believed to be the last surviving planner of the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. …

“‘President Mahmoud Abbas attended the funeral, reciting passages of the Koran in [Amin] Al-Hindi’s honor,’ the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported. It quoted top Fatah official Zakariah Al-Agha as calling Al-Hindi a ‘patriotic leader’ and a ‘martyr.’ ‘Fatah sources said Al-Hindi was given the homage befitting a hero both in the West Bank and Gaza, said the Gulf News of Dubai’” (cnsnews.com, August 20).

That’s the mindset of the individual that Secretary of State Clinton has invited to the table to conclude, once and for all, “peace” with Israel!

Yet, overriding all of this is the inerrant Bible prophecy that declares quite clearly that “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). That powerful prophecy simply declares the outcome of this latest “final” round of Middle East peace talks. Before it even starts, it is doomed to dramatic failure!

When the Middle East “peace quartet” meet on September 2, they will be quite unwittingly propelling the fulfillment of that very prophecy forward to its inevitable fulfillment. Watch these vital Middle East peace talks very carefully. The outcome is destined to alter the whole face of global geopolitics!

Read our booklet History and Prophecy of the Middle East for real prophetic insight into just what this round of peace talks is all about and where it is inevitably leading.

Live With Energy

Live With Energy

iStockphoto

You’ll never be a success without drive.

Nehemiah was an intense man. He was passionate, deeply feeling, full of godly emotion. At the same time he was shrewd, savvy, highly capable, elegantly spoken. He conducted his business watchfully, with precision. In the high-pressure environment of the royal palace, he served as one of the king’s closest and most trusted personal servants. Within the perfumed atmosphere of Gentile power, he never forgot that he was a Jew.

One day news came to him of his compatriots who had been allowed to return to Jerusalem under Cyrus’s decree. They were in a terrible state. They were being afflicted and persecuted. The city’s defensive wall was broken down. Its gates were burned.

Nehemiah wept. He mourned. And he turned to God in fervent, repentant prayer and fasting—for days (Nehemiah 1:4).

But he wasn’t just a man of emotion—he was a man of action. Nehemiah repented of his inaction and that of his people. He prayed that God would open a door for him to act.

God heard that zealous appeal and answered. He gave Nehemiah favor with the king, who granted his request to go to Jerusalem to address the crisis.

Clearly, God desires and rewards action.

Nehemiah is a great example of what Herbert W. Armstrong called the fourth law of success: drive.

An Army of Nehemiahs

In Jerusalem, Nehemiah immediately got to work. Taking a select few men with him, under cloak of darkness, he conducted a reconnaissance mission to assess the strength of the enemy. In the night they surveyed the damaged gates and broken wall. Then he decided what needed to be done (Nehemiah 2:11-16). This man of action was highly motivated to get something done—and quickly.

Nehemiah rallied the Jews with fervor and motivation, spelling out his plan. His energy was contagious! It lit a fire in those men. Those who had been failing on the job suddenly said, Here is a man to follow! “Let us rise up and build”! (Nehemiah 2:17-18).

This whole tragedy turned around because of one man! His presence was like that of Napoleon on the battlefield, who was said to make the difference of 40,000 men.

Nehemiah gave everyone a job and directed them how to build—and they went back to work! Under energized, godly leadership, these men accomplished much! Even when enemies rose up to try to stop them, they plowed right forward. They followed Nehemiah’s example of focus and determination, his zeal to build and battle at the same time (Nehemiah 4:16).

This is the power of drive. Drive gets things done. It inspires others to do the same. When you are driven to act and accomplish, it stirs others and has a multiplying effect.

Fighting a Passive World

Are youdriven? Do you follow that fourth law of success? When you do, your whole life goes better. You accomplish more on the job, in your marriage and family. You get more done in your free time. You have better control of your thoughts. Your prayer and study are more focused. You are happier and more positive. You have more to offer others.

Many of us lack drive. Our society is glutted with materialism, leisure, relaxation and empty stimulation. “[M]en shall be lovers of their own selves,” the Apostle Paul prophesied of our day (2 Timothy 3:2). People are focused on themselves and their comforts; they are covetous lovers of money; unthankful, expecting everything and taking it all for granted; “incontinent,” without self-control, giving in to every whim; “lovers of pleasures” in a soft age of easy work and easy play. Ours is a culture of indulgence.

How much have these ungodly attitudes and habits rubbed off on us? How hard it can be to drive ourselves consistently, and how easy to give in to feeling lethargic and unmotivated. Nevertheless, this is a crucial law of success that we must have!

This world even has “a form of godliness,” but people deny its power! It is a weak, passive religion without drive or action. The more we absorb the spirit of this age, the more we deny the power of God.

There is power in true godliness. Power in 2 Timothy 3:5 derives from the Greek dunamis, which means force, miraculous power, might, strength and even violence. Nehemiah built a city-encompassing, fortified wall in 52 days. That’s might. He inspired and led men under him to do something hard, something great that has been praised through the ages.

Do we have a religion of power—miraculous power? Only if we successfully battle the influence of the world around us! We have to be driven, to fight to be different! “[F]rom such turn away,” Paul commands us!

God tells us to “walk circumspectly … [r]edeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). This means to regulate our lives, to make due use of opportunities exactly, accurately, diligently, carefully. The fact that these are evil days means we have to work that much harder to redeem our time—buy it up, make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good. This is talking about effective time management in these urgent last days! It’s talking about exercising drive.

Would You Be a Successful Farmer?

Mr. Armstrong himself was an amazing example of drive. He had a dynamic personality. In the business world, he constantly prodded himself to do better and do more. Once God called him, Mr. Armstrong used that zeal, determination and drive to repent and to fulfill the Work of God.

“Half-hearted effort might carry one a little way toward his goal, but it will never get him far enough to reach it,” he wrote in The Seven Laws of Success. “You will always find that the executive head of any growing, successful organization employs drive! He puts a constant prod on himself. He not only drives himself, he drives those under him, else they might lag, let down and stagnate.

“He may feel drowsy, and hate to awaken and get up in the morning. But he refuses to give in to this impulse.”

Mr. Armstrong wrote about those who stagnate far below the level of a determined leader. “Often workmen never rise above whatever job they may have because they have no drive. They slow down, work slowly, poke around, sit down and rest as much as they can. In other words, they must have a boss over them to drive them, or they would probably starve” (ibid.; emphasis mine throughout). This is why so many people work for others; they need someone with energy and purpose to drive them. “They would never become successful farmers—for a farmer, to succeed, must get up early and work late, and drive himself. … Without energy, drive, constant propulsion, a person need never expect to become truly successful.”

We have only a short time in this life. A worldly response is to have as much fun and pleasure as you can before you die. A godly response is to use what little time you have to develop God’s character.

If we lose an hour, we lose a part of our life. Thus, God inspired Solomon to write, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might …” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

No Retirement Plan

The Apostle Paul was another zealous, driven man for God. He felt privileged to hold the office he had, knowing he didn’t deserve it. Thus, he was driven to work as hard as he possibly could to prove to God the grace he’d been given wasn’t in vain (1 Corinthians 15:9-10).

Paul worked to become “all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:16-22). He diligently searched for any means to do his job better, to reach more people. He drove himself toward success and greatness.

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (verse 24). Don’t just run the race to be in it. You’re in it to win it! Run it as if everything depends on you crossing that line—first. God didn’t create human beings in order to bring half-hearted beings into His spirit-realm Kingdom!

“Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (verses 25-27, Revised Standard Version). Don’t let anything get in the way! Drive through any and every obstacle!

Paul worked right to the end of his life. God offers no retirement plan. “[W]e desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end” (Hebrews 6:11). Labor today. Show the same diligence tomorrow. Then be even more industrious the next day. If you start to run out of energy, beseech God for more! No matter how hard the work, the output must increase! It’s only through that diligence that you are going to have the full assurance of hope.

You are only going to receive the gift of eternal life if you are working your tail off! “That ye be not slothful [lazy, sluggish], but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (verse 12). Look at the ones who have made it!—at Nehemiah, and Paul, and Mr. Armstrong. These men weren’t slothful—they were industrious, hard workers. They drove themselves. Don’t be slothful—follow their example.

Fight the Good Fight

Paul warned the young evangelist Timothy to beware the snare of riches and worldliness. “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (see 1 Timothy 6:6-11). Fleeing is an action, running away, escaping—and pursuing after and pressing forward to the things of God. This takes dynamic, robust, purposeful, driving effort.

If you were running from a grizzly bear, would you run half-heartedly? You are running from a satanic world!

If you were trying to catch the leader in a race—because the victor receives a million-dollar prize—would you run with 90 percent of your effort? You are running for a much greater prize: eternal life!

Fight the good fight of faith,lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called …” (verse 12). Is eternal life worth driving yourself for? It will not be just handed over to you—you have to lay hold on it! You have to contend for it—today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. That is a challenge. In fact, it’s a fight—but it is a good fight!

Jesus Christ said that “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). The phrase “suffereth violence” is translated from a single Greek word that means the kingdom of heaven is forced, or overpowered, or taken by storm. “The violent” means a forcer, or someone energetic; and “take it by force” means to seize!

Only those who strive violently will enter God’s Kingdom! No one is going to accidentally make it. We must energetically drive ourselves in order to storm it and seize it like a conquered city!

Apply this important law of drive. Drive yourself with God’s Holy Spirit. Dream BIG! Ask God to open doors for you. Make sure He is behind you, then drive yourself to make those dreams happen!

As we do that, God will bless our labor. He is a rewarder of those who believe and who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Just as He did with Nehemiah, God will answer fervent prayers and reward passionate action. If we have a mind to work, He will open doors of opportunity for us—and very soon, open to us the very doors to the kingdom of heaven!

Iran’s uncontested nuclear march

Iran’s ambitious announcements this week highlighted the ineffectiveness of the West’s policy toward it. Along with plans to feed uranium into its first nuclear plant, Iran also announced its proposal to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants next year and to launch a new missile.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) reported this month that Iran is enriching uranium to higher, more dangerous levels. cia Director Michael Hayden said a military strike seemed “inexorable” to prevent Iran’s nuclear weapons program from advancing. The Washington Times wrote, “The time has come to demonstrate resolve in face of an imminent threat from Iran.”

But, as the article continued, “It’s doubtful America will take action. The State Department’s response to the latest iaea report on Iranian enrichment violations merely said, ‘We are hopeful that Iran will express a willingness to come to the table. We stand ready to have that dialogue.’ Not exactly the kind of rhetoric that instills fear of consequences.”

The article called for action from Israel, concluding that “the Free World depends on Israeli power.”

But not only is the U.S. refusing to take action itself, it has also assured Israel that there is no imminent threat from Iran. According to the New York Times, “The Obama administration, citing evidence of continued troubles inside Iran’s nuclear program, has persuaded Israel that it would take roughly a year—and perhaps longer—for Iran to complete what one senior official called a ‘dash’ for a nuclear weapon, according to American officials. Administration officials said they believe the assessment has dimmed the prospect that Israel would preemptively strike against the country’s nuclear facilities within the next year.”

As the Trumpetwrote last week, Iran has been pursuing a dangerously belligerent foreign policy for quite some time—but “despite these terrifying ambitions, and Iran’s systematic march toward acquiring the means to carry them out, the United States and much of the West still pursue a policy of negotiation and compromise!”

A recent poll revealed that the majority of Iran’s Arab neighbors now support Iran’s goal to pursue a nuclear program—double the percentage from last year. It seems clear that America’s and Israel’s enemies are uniting together in defiance of them. But they continue to put “far away the evil day” (Amos 6:3)—and as we wrote last week, sleep their way toward nuclear Armageddon.