The Dino That Learned to Fly

Birds came from dinosaurs, evolutionists say. Really? If so, they certainly faced some long odds.
From the October 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

According to evolutionists, millions of dinosaurs get eaten each day. In fact, if you have ever had dinner at Kentucky Fried Chicken or El Pollo Loco, you have probably dined on mutated dinosaur meat, they would say.

But before you turn your nose up at the humble chicken, let’s investigate to see if this evolutionary theory is hard science—or bird-brained.

What does it take to make an alligator fly?

Odd as it may seem, this is an important question that troubles evolutionists. If the prevailing theory of evolution is true, birds are the direct descendants of theropod dinosaurs—two-legged, carnivorous reptiles like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor, only much smaller. But is it logical, or even reasonable, to believe that?

Think of everything it entails to make an airplane fly: thousands of complex systems and backup systems. It requires aerodynamically designed wings, wing flaps and rudder; a sturdy fuselage; powerful engines able to operate at high altitudes; combustible fuel; landing gear; complicated electrical circuitry and hydraulic systems; navigation systems, and an intricate array of instruments and gauges. And an airplane is a vastly simpler machine than a bird.

Plus, each of the above complicated systems must work together in unison to make the plane fly. Either they work in conjunction or the airplane doesn’t function. Birds are the same way. They have specifically designed wings, respiratory systems, digestive systems, nervous systems and other features that uniquely work together to make seemingly effortless flight possible.

Nevertheless, not only do evolutionists teach that all this evolved, but that birds developed their flying parts piece by piece! Does this make sense? Could an airplane fly unless each piece were properly engineered so that the whole unit was airworthy? Until that happens, the airplane is—at best—a useless, tube-shaped wagon with a half-finished proto-wing, three quarters of an engine and half a tail.

Baldy the Biped

Let’s begin our evolutionary test flight with little Baldy the biped. Baldy is a wannabe birdie because he doesn’t have any feathers yet. And he is a biped because he walks on his two powerful hind legs since his tiny arms are only a few inches long.

For some reason, Baldy has decided he wants to fly.

Scientists don’t really know how the first theropods like Baldy supposedly began to evolve the ability to fly, but they are sure it happened. They have advanced two main theories describing how: the arboreal theory and the cursorial theory.

The arboreal theory is that birds owe their flying ability to tree-climbing ancestors. It gained in popularity in the early 1900s when Othenio Abel proposed that bird ancestors leaped back and forth in branched trees and gradually evolved wings and flapping flight through stages of parachuting and gliding until they became the eagles, ducks and doves we see soaring high above us today.

Poor Baldy. Just imagine the tragic scene. Up to this point, neither he nor any of his relatives has ever flown. Baldy remembers his dear old uncle Stubby, and all his brothers, sisters, cousins and friends who had been leaping to their deaths from the tops of tree branches and towering cliff edges—all trying to get their evolutionary jobs done.

But Baldy is determined. In spite of his many bumps, bruises and broken claws, Baldy the dinosaur knows that it is his destiny to fly. He has never seen anyone fly before, and his arms are short, but who knows? Maybe if he flaps hard enough, he will be able to overcome his aerodynamically unsound body form, and his dense and heavy bone structure. But fly he must—or so evolutionists say.

So, using his beak and claws, he scrambles up to the highest limb he can find to take advantage of the strongest wind gusts. And then, with one great leap of faith, he lunges—or plunges—off into the sweet, blue yonder.

Flop, flutter, snap, crash! Stillness. Poor Baldy died of three broken ribs, a fractured “proto-wing,” a cracked skull, a twisted ankle and third-degree wind burns.

But don’t worry, Baldy didn’t actually exist in the first place! How could he exist if all his ancestors were continually leaping to their deaths because they were not equipped for their environment?

Does it make sense that a reptile-like creature could evolve feathers, or learn to fly just because it lived in trees? The answer is no. About half the scientific community agrees it is very unlikely. Unfortunately, these same scientists have their own equally unbelievable theory.

Scientists supporting the cursorial theory of flight are quick to heap scorn on those who believe that “pre-birds” were jumping tree-climbers that eventually evolved the ability to fly. Instead, these scientists say it is much more obvious that theropod-type dinosaurs evolved the flying ability by running on the ground, waving their forelimbs and jumping, in order to “oar along in the air,” perhaps to better catch flying insects, or other food. Others say the first wings evolved for balancing purposes, for scaring off predators, for shading, or for jumping across clefts. Incidentally, the scientists who believe flight developed by dinosaurs jumping out of trees generally discard such ridiculous proposals.

Consider the Feather

The one thing that both sets of scientists have in common is that neither group has been able to show how reptiles supposedly evolved feathers.

The feather is a marvel of construction—an engineering masterpiece. If you have ever looked at a feather under a microscope, you know that each parallel barb slanting diagonally from the shaft is not just a straight hair, but is actually a miniature replica of the feather itself—with many side branches, complete with barbules and hooks that overlap the neighboring side branches, creating specific patterns. The outcome is a wing far more versatile than the most advanced aircraft’s.

Yet feathers must have evolved, we are told. One theory goes like this: At some point, a pre-bird was born with frayed scales—longish, loosely attached, frayed scales. The frayed scales must have given the reptiles some kind of (undiscovered) competitive advantage, so over time, more and more of the pre-birds were covered in frayed scales. Millions of years later, these broken, defective scales eventually became the incredibly complex, perfect-for-flying feathers we see today. Mystery solved, right?

Not so quick. If all of a sudden these reptiles began developing a downy covering of feathers, how did they regulate their body temperature? Reptiles are cold-blooded and need to spend much of their day basking in the sun to warm up. Feathers would block the sun.

Can you picture poor Baldy? He is not so bald anymore; he has a nice layer of fuzz; but he is shivering in the cold, trying to warm up his core body temperature because his beautiful feathers keep shading him. He wants to go out and hunt for food, but he can’t because it takes all his energy just to find the warmest rock possible to sit on. He no longer has any energy to climb trees or run around jumping in the air to bite insects. Eventually, he starves.

That is part of the reason why most scientists now believe that proto-feathers developed as an entirely new structure, unrelated to scales. First, reptiles became warm-blooded, these scientists argue. Then the feathers developed to help keep the internally generated heat in. That certainly is good news for Baldy, and for the evolutionary cause, but again, it is all conjecture based upon the “birds are warm-blooded and evolution is fact so it must have happened” line of reasoning. The same reasoning is generally used to account for the magically appearing genetic code required to produce proto-feathers.

And remember: Evolution is hypothetically a slow process working over thousands and millions of years. So if the frayed-scale or proto-feather theory were really true, there should be thousands of imprints of frayed scales and proto-feathers within the geologic record. Alas, after more than 100 years of searching, not a single example has been found. When feathers appear in the record, they are completely “modern.”

Leaps of Faith

To get around this little problem, some scientists now promote the theory that evolution occurs in big jumps—leaving no transition fossils behind. But what these “big jumpers” are not able to explain is how these jumps could possibly occur genetically. For instance, how could the genetic code for fully functioning organs suddenly appear out of nowhere?

But let’s for a moment forget the lack of evidence and pretend that somehow Baldy has managed to evolve wings out of his scrawny forearms and that fully fledged feathers have magically appeared. Baldy is now ready for his first real flight. He climbs up his tree.

One, two, three—hold on!

Straighten Up and Fly Right

Because flying is a high-energy activity, birds require much more oxygen. An entirely new respiratory system is required. Birds have a much more efficient and superior set of lungs than reptiles. Specifically, reptiles have a single large air sac divided by ingrowths for a lung. In contrast, birds have an intricate two-cycle breathing process that involves both lungs and eight or nine additional air sacs that temporarily store air and then contract to force air through the system. This allows the lungs to constantly have fresh air when birds are both inhaling and exhaling—the lungs are never empty!

But feathers and a respiratory system are only part of the problem.

In order to fly, birds also need a unique skeletal system. Flight demands a rigid airframe and light bones.

So now let’s assume that somehow Baldy has evolved his own completely brand-new skeletal system. His bones have been transformed from large, dense, heavy reptile bones into the light hollow or honeycombed bones that birds generally have today. Some of the heavier bones have been completely discarded, while new structures designed for specially built muscle attachments have also appeared. Some respiratory air sacs form air pockets within other bones. Baldy also has a new type of backbone, fused and rigid, which helps him breathe since he no longer has a diaphragm. Now his entire body cavity acts like bellows to move air through the lungs—contracting to push air out, and relaxing to let air in.

Baldy is very excited now. No longer will he pass out from oxygen deprivation when he tries to fly, especially since the air is so much thinner way up in the sky. But Baldy is still having trouble taking more than a couple of uncoordinated flaps. He just keeps tiring out.

If Baldy is to fly, he will need an entirely new digestive system too!

Hungry for the Facts

The dilemma for birds is that they need to balance increased fuel consumption and economy of weight. Reptiles on the other hand, in many cases, can go weeks, or months, without eating. This won’t work for Baldy. Flying is much more energy intensive than sunning himself on trees or rocks. He needs to eat foods with a minimum of indigestible material, process them quickly and eliminate the leftovers. Baldy had better tack on a divided stomach, and gizzard, a larger esophagus, and a cloaca for quick waste elimination. And while he is at it, he might as well get rid of his bladder—no need for hauling that extra water around.

After all that work (or tens of millions of years of random mutation combined with natural selection, according to evolutionists) our mythical friend must be getting close to flight, right? Alas, no. Baldy needs a rewiring job if he is going to fly—a new nervous system.

Are We There Yet?

The demands of flight require that the bird must be able to specifically move and position its body in an exact manner. The feathers and the wings must be manipulated. The “new,” bigger, redesigned muscles required for flying must be controlled. And don’t forget the new navigational equipment. Move over biped-brain—make way for a new upgraded set of oculars. Proportionally, birds have massive eyes, practically filling up the cranium in some cases.

Last but not least, the bird needs a coordinating system to operate all these complex systems. You can have an entire airplane, but without the controls and instrument panel, it isn’t going to fly. Similarly, you need the wings, the engine, the electrical and hydraulic systems, the landing gear. It is all or none. Everything or nothing. Black or white. Zero percent or 100 percent. Flight or no flight.

With the new nervous system in place, little Baldy the biped is very happy. He has his feathers and wings. He has his revamped, lightweight skeleton. And he has his souped-up respiratory and digestive systems.

Taking a running start and a flying leap, Baldy soars up into the air. Looking down at the beautiful world below, he couldn’t be more content—he can fly!

Returning home, Baldy is excited to tell all his friends about his newfound ability. But something strange has happened. Nobody recognizes him anymore. His mutations have caused him to be so different that the other bipeds don’t know who he is. He is all alone.

And that brings us to one more problem evolutionists have difficulty explaining. If Baldy has gone through all these amazing evolutionary progressions and “big genetic jumps,” with whom is Baldy to mate?

Thus ends the story of Baldy the biped—the first and last of his kind. And so ends an evolutionary theory fit for the birds.

WorldWatch

From the October 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

As America leaves …

The U.S. has officially ended combat operations in Iraq. Meanwhile, violence is rising and Iran stands ready.

In August, a prominent Shiite militant leader returned to Iraq from Iran under Iranian protection. Ismail al-Lami, who uses the name Abu Deraa, has been wanted by the U.S. since 2004 for his Iranian-sponsored attacks against Iraqi Sunnis as a leader in Muqtada al Sadr’s Shiite Mahdi Army. He escaped to Iran in 2008. Abu Deraa’s return to Iraq just as the U.S. cut its troops in Iraq down to 50,000 as its operations moved from combat to assist was likely carefully deliberated by Iran. It is a reminder to the U.S. that Iran still has powerful levers to influence events in Iraq. If Tehran perceives politics in Iraq are not going its way enough, it could ratchet up the violence in the country.

Iraq received a taste of such violence on August 25, the day after the U.S. announced it had shrunk its troop level. Thirty-four terrorist attacks took place in 16 cities across the country, killing more than 60 and wounding about 400. Most of the bombings targeted police and security forces, with markets and neighborhoods also being hit. These coordinated attacks hit more cities simultaneously than any previous round of attacks.

Clearly, U.S. troops are leaving a country that is far from stable. In addition to rising violence, political parties have yet to form a government months after elections were held in March.

Iran is well placed to intervene in Iraq. “With the absence of an agreed-upon government and with political rivals threatening that the situation could deteriorate into renewed civil war, the political vacuum gives Iran space to interfere in Iraq’s affairs,” wrote Zvi Bar’el in Israel’s Haaretz (August 3).

Iran has a lot of levers it can pull in Iraq, but it doesn’t yet have full control of the country. But with the U.S. leaving the country, it is only a matter of time.

A match made in Rome

Germany has launched a new diplomatic initiative to improve relations with Latin America.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle presented a 60-page strategy paper to an audience at the Foreign Ministry, including ambassadors from Latin America, on August 4. “The whole South American continent is taking off,” it read. “Despite many setbacks and difficulties, it is a singular success story, and we should be smart enough to take part.”

Germany’s last formal strategy for Latin America was formed in 1995. Westerwelle said the region now deserves more focused attention. He said he wants to bring a “new quality” to the German-Latin American relationship. He outlined a three-pronged approach: increase trade, harness the diplomatic influence of key nations like Brazil, and take more collective responsibility on transnational issues.

Germany conducted €36.5 billion (us$48.2 billion) worth of trade with Latin America in 2009, an increase of 16.3 percent since 2005.

Latin American diplomats welcomed the news. “We now have the opportunity to reestablish a historic bond,” Argentina’s Ambassador Guillermo Nielsen said. “At the start of the last century, our most important market for exports was Germany, but in the postwar era, this relationship was lost. Now it’s coming back.”

Europe and Latin America have a shared Catholic heritage. Expect this to be exploited as the two continents draw closer together.

As the Church of England becomes embroiled in controversy over female bishops, 15 Anglo-Catholic bishops have said that some in their ranks would try to join the Catholic Church. Expect the Vatican to use Anglican liberalism to gather more members under the banner of Rome.

Another reason to love the EU

The European Union is considering a new EU-wide tax, imposed on member states by Brussels. On August 9, EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said he would unveil plans for the tax in September.

The idea has been smacked down by most of the important countries in Europe. However, according to Mary Ellen Synon of the Mail Online, these nations already gave Brussels the power to impose new taxes when they signed the Lisbon Treaty, which states, “The Union shall provide itself with the means necessary to attain its objectives and carry through its policies.”

This, according to Synon, means it can raise its own taxes. “The British will have to pay the tax these people demand, but can never vote them out,” she wrote. “The Commission wants to start with a tax on all bank transactions, or perhaps air travel. It doesn’t really matter which. Their point now is to establish the power of Brussels to tax the populations of the countries of the EU without any control by national parliaments. Once that power is in place, the taxes can be ratcheted up” (August 9).

Though these taxes may not come into force this time around, they are certain to at some point. The proposed European-wide taxes will be just one more step toward the EU becoming a superstate.

Swallowing the Pacific

China’s soft-power buildup is paying dividends in the Pacific.

In recent months, China has become more aggressive in its claim on the entire South China Sea, which competes with claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

In July, the U.S. rejected China’s claims and declared that Washington would get more involved in the disputes to guarantee free trade and open navigation throughout the region. Several Southeast Asian nations, led by Vietnam, made clear they would welcome such a U.S. role to counter China’s muscle.

But others did not support Washington’s stance. In a stark deviation from historic allegiance, and in a sign of Asia’s shifting tides, Manila said Washington should have no part in the territorial row. On August 9, Filipino Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo said the U.S. should stay out of disputes between China and Southeast Asian nations over territories in the South China Sea.

Then, on August 24, Beijing signed a contract with East Timor detailing plans for China to build a new military headquarters for Dili’s army. The deal was the latest of many signals that East Timor is shifting away from its traditional patron, Australia, and toward China.

In May 1968—seven years before the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam to communism—the Trumpet’s forerunner, the Plain Truth, stated, “Bible prophecy reveals that not even America, with all of her nuclear muscle, can prevent Southeast Asia from eventually being overrun by communism”—or, more accurately, from being drawn into a Chinese-Russian-dominated geopolitical bloc.

We can expect Southeast Asian nations to increasingly fall under China’s sway. As China’s soft-power diplomacy and hard-power buildup continue to unify Asian nations, the influence of Australia and America in the region will wane all the more.

The annual report to Congress on China’s military power was released on August 15, and describes a massive Chinese military buildup designed with the purpose of pushing America out of the Western Pacific. The report says China is developing technology designed specifically to destroy U.S. carrier battle groups. Beijing officials called the report exaggerated, but Washington is right to be concerned over China’s military buildup. Concern alone, however, will not neutralize the threat.

The incredible shrinking military

Britain’s armed forces are making drastic cuts to their operations, even sacrificing core capabilities, to fight government debt. In cutting up to 16,000 personnel and thousands of weapons, it appears the government has resigned itself to downgrading the nation from a “major military power” to a “medium-scale player.”

The Royal Air Force may shrink to its smallest size since World War i under proposed cuts, losing 7,000 airmen (one in six) and 295 aircraft, leaving the branch with fewer than 200 fighter planes. The army could lose 40 percent of its 9,700 armored vehicles and an entire brigade of 5,000 troops.

Moreover, the Telegraph reported August 25 that the Royal Navy may be forced to borrow American warplanes for its two planned new aircraft carriers. The Treasury reportedly has not budgeted any money for actual planes to be carried by the two ships. To make ends meet, the second carrier may not even make it to completion, may have to carry helicopters instead of jets, or might even have to be shared with France.

Finances are also dictating that in order to keep even these naval capabilities, Britain will likely have to give up its amphibious landing capability altogether, the heart of Britain’s operations in the Falklands in 1982. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy is likely to lose two submarines, three amphibious ships, more than 100 senior officers and 2,000 sailors and marines.

The Ministry of Defense is also trying to fathom the “black hole” in its finances: £72 billion worth of orders that cannot be paid for.

Britain is but a shell of its former powerful self. For a comprehensive view on why this greatest empire in history has so quickly fallen, request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

Europe

While many countries are facing financial ruin, Germany has experienced its best quarter of growth since reunification. During the second quarter of this year, the German economy grew by 2.2 percent, according to data released by Germany’s statistics office August 13. These strong results will probably cement Germany’s role as Europe’s, and even the world’s, economic leader. Germany wanted to deal with the financial crisis in a much more cautious and prudent way than the rest of the world. Now, the numbers seem to show that Germany got it right. Germany’s economy is stronger, while most of the world is economically weak. More significantly, the Germans are growing more self-confident and assertive. Expect this attitude to spread beyond just economic policy.

France wants to make its taxation and spending policies more similar to Germany’s, French Budget Minister Francois Baroin said on August 25 after visiting his German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble. “Germany is a model which should be a source of inspiration for us,” he said. In July, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he wanted to coordinate France’s tax system with Germany’s. Already other nations are seeing Germany’s success and following its lead.

Geert Wilders’s anti-Islamic Freedom Party will play a key role in the new Dutch government as part of a coalition arrangement agreed upon on August 1. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy and the Christian Democrats announced they would form a minority coalition. Wilders’s party will back these two parties on a case-by-case basis. This allows Wilders to play a role in government without having to stop speaking out about Islam in order to toe the government line. Wilders’s powerful role in Dutch politics shows how concerned the people of Europe are becoming with Islamic immigration. For more, see “How to Be Popular in Europe” in our August edition.

Mideast

Russia began loading uranium into Iran’s first nuclear power plant on August 21. If all goes well, Iran will be producing fissile material by October. The activation is a milestone for Iran. On the global playing field, Bushehr’s activation is a symbolic victory for Iran in its confrontation with the West over its quest for nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Iran has stockpiled three tons of low-enriched uranium—enough for one or two nuclear weapons—according to former top UN nuclear official Olli Heinonen.

Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, under pressure from the U.S., agreed to begin direct peace talks September 2 in Washington. In practice, both sides are just going through the motions once again, with neither side hopeful of actual progress. The most significant outcome is likely to be internal political weakening of Israel and further hurtful concessions by Israel. The Trumpet has long pointed out how the peace process is in fact a deadly “wound” for the Jewish state.

Pakistan has suffered its worst floods in 80 years, beginning in July and continuing through August. At least 17.2 million people have lost their homes and livelihoods, and more than 1,500 people have been killed, according to the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The disaster is helping the Taliban make a comeback. Before the floods hit, the Pakistani government seemed to be finally making progress in the Swat Valley, one of the areas most affected by the flooding, with every bridge there being destroyed. The Taliban is taking full advantage of the opportunity, aiming for the hearts and minds of the people. Islamist groups were quick to respond, with a network of volunteers and donations from urban middle-class Pakistanis. “Given the circumstances, for [the government] to now act against groups who are seen to be doing a sterling job in terms of helping people will be absolutely suicidal,” said Pakistan expert at London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs, Farzana Shaikh. The government, on the other hand, is rapidly losing popularity.

Asia

Russia, China, India and Turkey have entered into trade deals that violate U.S.-led sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas sector. Washington and the EU hoped to intensify existing UN sanctions against Tehran by adding restrictions on companies that supply fuel to Iran, but their efforts are proving ineffective. Russia, China, India and Turkey are all rushing into the lucrative void left by Western nations that won’t sell to Iran, and all four have opened talks regarding investments worth billions of dollars in Iran’s energy resources. As Eastern powers become more defiant, the rift between East and West will broaden.

Russia announced on August 11 that it had deployed an S-300 advanced missile defense system in Georgia’s Moscow-backed rebel region of Abkhazia, saying it would provide anti-aircraft defense for Abkhazia and Georgia’s other Russia-supported breakaway enclave, South Ossetia. The move signals that Russian forces are bolstering involvement in the disputed area which was at the heart of the brief 2008 Russia-Georgia war. Stratfor noted that Russia’s defense buildup in Georgia’s rebel regions “is one component of a multi-pronged Russian effort to consolidate its military control over the Caucasus” (August 11).

Kremlin experts say that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s high-profile response to wildfires and ownership of a recent spy scandal are designed to demonstrate to the Russian people that he, not President Dmitry Medvedev, is leading the country. More than two years ago, term limits forced Putin to surrender the presidential office and instead take the prime minister’s title. With the presidential election only 18 months away, Putin is gearing up to make his leadership of Russia official once again.

Latin America/Africa

Mexico’s drug war continues to escalate. On August 5, an improvised explosive device exploded inside a car near a police facility. On August 14 and 15, Los Zetas attacked the local affiliates of Televisa, a large media company. On August 24, Mexican marines found the bodies of 72 recently murdered people on a ranch a few miles south of the U.S. border; it was learned that the Zetas committed the deed. August 16, Edelmiro Cavazos, the mayor of Santiago, was kidnapped in a reasonably safe part of Mexico. Two days later, his dead body was discovered on a nearby road. Six of the mayor’s own police confessed to helping in the murder. These are just some of many ongoing incidents in Mexico’s drug war, which has killed 28,000 over the past four years.

Even worse than Mexico is Venezuela, where over 16,000 people were murdered in 2009 alone. By comparison, in Iraq, which has a similar population to Venezuela, 4,644 civilians died violently in the same year. Since 1999, there have been more than 118,000 homicides. Since 2007, there have been over 43,000. Morgues receive more bodies from homicides than from car accidents. The government’s response has been to crack down not on crime, but on a free press.

South Africa and China signed a “comprehensive strategic partnership” on August 24, as South African President Jacob Zuma visited Beijing. China has technical expertise and money that South Africa wants access to. The two nations signed commercial agreements relating to finance, mining, nuclear energy and many other sectors. South Africa already has a large trade deficit with China, its top trading partner, so these deals aim to give China access to South Africa’s resources. Expect China to continue to make inroads into Africa to get hold of them.

Anglo-America

The Pentagon is cutting spending on “big war” weapons, the Washington Times reported on August 3. Military planners are trying to save $100 billion over five years. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is looking to axe systems made for fighting large-scale international conflicts, such as next-generation ballistic-missile submarines and perhaps even one or two carrier strike groups. The Pentagon is looking to develop less-expensive systems for smaller conflicts comparable to Iraq and Afghanistan. Gates has already halted production of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter and scaled back or shelved missile defense systems, long-range nuclear bombers and other warplanes. While these attempts to trim budgets may seem prudent to some, the Trumpet projects that the Pentagon will soon miss those “big war” weapons.

On July 27, Britain opted in to the EU’s European Investigation Order. The decision means that Brussels can force British police to place British citizens under surveillance or hand over dna records. Police from European nations can even request information about activities that aren’t crimes in the United Kingdom.

The Daily Mail reported on August 3 that the number of pre-teenage girls on “the pill” has quintupled over the last decade. In 2009, doctors prescribed the contraceptive to more than 1,000 girls who were 11 or 12, usually without their parents’ knowledge. According to the National Health Service, another 200 children ages 11 to 13 received long-term implanted or injectable contraceptives. At least 58,000 15-year-old children were on the pill, compared to 23,000 in 1999.

In August, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that Australia should reject the Commonwealth and become a republic when Queen Elizabeth ii dies or abdicates.

The Remarkable Identity of the German People

It underpins some of the strongest prophecies in the Bible!
From the October 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

From its earliest editions, the Trumpet magazine has reported extensively on a particularly crucial geopolitical development. It is an event highlighted in many major biblical prophecies. Yet those who don’t understand these prophecies overlook the trend and reject our analysis.

This event is the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire led by Germany.

Though the German nation’s rise to world-dominating power is recorded in several major prophecies, its identity has remained largely unknown because the modern German name is not the one used in the prophecies. Only when Germany’s biblical identity is revealed can one understand these prophecies and comprehend the role Germany will play on the international scene.

The key to understanding biblical prophecy is to know the prophetic identity of the world’s great powers. And the identity of Germany isafter that of the American and British people—the most important to recognize!

A united, revived Germany as the powerhouse behind Europe is once again starting to dominate world affairs. It is a position Germany historically has enjoyed with few exceptions for the past 1,500 years.

Just who are the German peoples, and where did they come from?

The Bible, the foundation of all knowledge, records that mankind first settled just north of Mesopotamia after the Flood. From there, tribes of people migrated to their current locations, where they formed our modern nations.

As they migrated, various tribes often became identified by their locations of settlement rather than the name of their tribal patriarch, as they are in the Bible. Tracking the origins of the German people means identifying the ancestor from whom they sprang.

By traveling back in time through the works of ancient scholars and archeological data, we can tell the full story of the German peoples’ migration from Mesopotamia—home of their patriarch Asshur, the father of the Assyrians—to their location today!

Even the German people—before the 1900s when they rejected the history not only of the Bible but also of their own chronicles—demonstrate in their own records that they descend from Asshur!

The Origins of Germany’s Oldest City

The oldest city in Germany is Trier, a city whose inhabitants say was founded around 2000 b.c. by the Assyrians.

Josef K.L. Bihl writes in his German textbook InDeutschen Landen, “Trier was founded by Trebeta, a son of the famous Assyrian King Ninus. In fact, one finds … in Trier the inscription reading, ‘Trier existed for 1,300 years before Rome was rebuilt.’” To this day, this story is used to attract tourists to Trier.

According to Greek historians, the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh was built by Ninus. The biblical account tells us that the builder of Nineveh was Asshur, the son of Shem, who became the progenitor of the Assyrians (Genesis 10:11). Ninus is simply the Greek name for the Asshur of the Bible.

The original Ninus was Nimrod, grandson of Ham, of the black race. Asshur, son of Shem, who was white, also took the name Ninus. He is the Ninus ii of ancient historic record who founded Nineveh.

While ancient German records—such as the BayerischeChronik, the official history of Bavaria written by Johannes Turmair of Abensberg in the 1500s, but now relegated to pure myth—reveal that some of Asshur’s descendants settled in Europe from Mesopotamia soon after the Flood, the great majority of the German people didn’t begin their migration until a much later time, when their Assyrian Empire declined and collapsed in the seventh century b.c.

Let’s now track the migratory route of these remaining Germanic peoples and see how and when they joined their Assyrian kinsmen in the land of modern Germany.

The Assyrian Empire

Anciently, the Assyrian Empire and its allies were originally located in Mesopotamia on the Upper Tigris River. The Assyrians were renowned warriors whose empire was built on perpetual warfare. Their empire stretched north from Mesopotamia all the way to Asia Minor to reach the shores of the Black Sea.

The Assyrians were a white race whose fair features made them stand out from the other people in the Middle East. Strabo, a first-century Greek geographer, noted their fair complexion, calling the Assyrians “White Syrians” (Geography).

Their empire’s power rapidly declined just before Nineveh fell in 612 b.c. During their decline, the Assyrians were forced to settle the southern shores of the Black Sea by a group of invading warriors from Central Asia. Diodorus Siculus, a Greek historian who lived in the first century b.c., wrote in his work The Library of History that by these raiders, “many of the conquered peoples were removed to other homes, and two of these became very great colonies: The one was composed of Assyrians and was removed to the land between Paphlagonia and Pontus.”

Paphlagonia and Pontus both border the southern shores of the Black Sea. The land between was called Cappadocia by Herodotus, a Greek historian of the fifth century b.c., who also confirmed the existence of its Assyrian occupants in his work titled The Histories: “The Cappadocians are known to the Greeks by the name Syrians …. This people, whom the Greeks call Syrians, are called Assyrians by the barbarians.”

By the fifth century b.c., the Assyrians were so dominant in the Black Sea area that Greek geographers actually called the region Assyria: “The coast of the Euxine [the Black Sea] … was called Assyria by S[c]ylax, the author of Periplus (History of Art in Sardinia, Judaea, Syria, and Asia Minor, Volume ii). The Periplus of Scylax is considered by most scholars to have been compiled in the fourth century b.c., but it was based on source material from the fifth and sixth centuries b.c., when the Assyrians began migrating into the Black Sea area (Itineraria Phoenicia).

Years later, the Assyrians were still off the shores of the Black Sea when Herodotus recorded them fighting for the Persian King Xerxes i against the Greeks in a campaign in 480 b.c. (op. cit.).

Archaeological data reveals that shortly after Xerxes’s disastrous campaign, a great migration of the Assyrian people from the Black Sea region occurred. With the Persian Empire weakening, the Assyrians moved from Asia Minor and the southern shores of the Black Sea to the sea’s northern shores—to a land called Scythia. Here they began to be called Scythians, and their identity was eventually obscured. But these people didn’t just disappear into thin air. They migrated west and underwent a name change!

Scythia

To Greek and Roman authors, Scythia was the land beyond the civilized world. The land, consisting of mainly steppes, stretched eastward from Eastern Europe all the way past the Urals and from the Baltic Sea south to the Black Sea. All the many different people who lived in the territory were labeled Scythians.

Predominant in Scythian territory were numerous tribes from two races in particular. “[T]wo major currently recognized racial types, Caucasoids and Mongoloids, are considered to have existed historically in geographical proximity on the steppe,” observes The Cambridge Ancient History (Volume iii, Part 2).

Archaeology gives further insight into the area. “Archaeologically, it is clear that the eighth- and seventh-century b.c. ‘Scythians’ were not the same as the fifth-century ‘Scythians.’ Both were mounted elite war-bands originating in the more easterly regions of the steppe, and the Greeks, quite naturally, called both groups by the same name” (ibid.).

The composition of Scythia’s population was open to much change over time as new tribes moved in and out of the area. Central Asia, with its vast steppes, has served as a gigantic crossroads for different nomadic people, some of whom, such as the Huns and Mongols, once established large empires stretching far into the east and west. Anciently, Scythia was the same way, a land where different tribes and races of nomadic warrior bands traveled.

Archaeology shows five major phases in the area between 750 and 250 b.c., “with a fresh nomadic component arriving in three of them: 750-650 b.c. (‘Cimmerians’ and ‘Scythians’); 475-430 b.c. (‘Scythians’); and 300-250 b.c. (‘Sarmatians’)” (ibid.). These great migrations were the effects of great population displacement in the Middle and Near East resulting from the collapse of various empires and kingdoms. (They even included the movement of the Israelites following their overthrow by Assyria.)

When Herodotus wrote his Histories, he would have had knowledge of the first two of those new settlements. The first phase would have been recent history for him—like the settlement of the Americas by the Europeans is today. The second phase was current—like the breakup of Yugoslavia is today, though it was right after his death that this second phase really began to flourish in Scythia, with most of the spectacular archaeology material dating to the later fifth century b.c.

Herodotus confirms this fresh phase of nomadic settlement: “The Scythians say their nation is the youngest of all the nations.”

It is clear that the Germanic people comprised, at least in part, this second phase of Scythian migration. We can know this because Roman records show the Germanic people first began invading central and western Europe in the late second century b.c., soon after their northern move.

Archaeology confirms these Scythians migrating all the way into Germany proper. “Nomads and fierce warriors, they lived in Central Asia … and their culture spread westward to southern Russia and Ukraine, and even into Germany …” wrote Mike Edwards in National Geographic (June 2003). This German migration would have been a result of the pressure that the newest migrants into Scythia, such as the Sarmatians, were placing on the Germanic people who occupied the territory. After the Sarmatians began to move in during the third century b.c., the Germanic people were forced further west.

The dislocation of such a large population took time. Though the first tribes appeared in Roman records during the late second century b.c., it would take another several hundred years for the bulk of the Germanic people to finally reach the end of their long migration.

Even in the first century a.d., with this migration still occurring, the Germans were feeling pressure from the Sarmatians. “All Germania is divided from Gaul, Raetia and Pannonia by the Rhine and Danube rivers; from the Sarmatians and the Dacians by shared fear and mountains,” wrote Tacitus, a Roman historian of the first century, in his history of the Germans, Germania.

Thus, archaeology provides the evidence, chronology and the catalyst for the German migration out of the Black Sea region—and subsequent invasion of the Roman Empire!

A New Name

During this migration, the Assyrians were lumped in with the other Scythian occupants. Then, when they arrived on the Roman scene, they acquired a new name.

Roman historian Pliny the Elder, a contemporary of Strabo, explains what happened to the Assyrian people who migrated through this crossroads: “The name ‘Scythian’ has extended, in every direction, even to the Sarmatæ and the Germans; but this ancient appellation is now only given to those who dwell beyond those nations, and live unknown to nearly all the rest of the world” (The Natural History).

Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian, wrote this of a Germanic tribe called the Alans: “[T]here was a nation of the Alans, which we have formerly mentioned somewhere as being Scythians and inhabiting at the Lake Meotis” (Josephus, 7.4). The Alans lived off Lake Meotis, which is the ancient name for the Sea of Azov that is linked by a narrow strait to the northeast of the Black Sea.

As different Scythian people became known through warfare and trade, the Greeks and Romans gave them new names. This happened to the Germanic tribes during the second and first centuries b.c., when the Roman generals called these fierce tribes they battled Germani, meaning “war man” or “warrior.”

The same tribes that Greek historian Herodotus of the fifth century b.c. called Scythians, Pliny, Tacitus and Strabo of the first century a.d. called Germans. (Interestingly, however, even in Pliny’s time, the first century a.d., there were still remnants of the Assyrians on the north side of the Black Sea who had not yet invaded the Roman Empire and evidently kept their Assyrian name: “At the river Carcinites, Scythia Taurica [modern-day Crimea] begins … being inhabited by the … Assyrani.” [Note: Some manuscripts replace Assryani with Lagryani, giving more evidence of names changing.])

More Proof

Before German rationalism was introduced into academia and the biblical record was rejected, scholars knew exactly from where the Germanic people migrated. “[T]here can be no doubt that they … migrated into Europe from the Caucasus and the countries around the Black and Caspian seas” (A Classical Dictionary of Biography, Mythology and Geography, “Germania”).

It may seem strange today to think of German people dwelling on the Black Sea coast, but even during Roman times, Germanic tribes occupied territory that extended far beyond the borders of modern-day Germany.

Tacitus wrote of one such tribe, the Quadi, dwelling along the Danube River.

Strabo described German people living farther southeast, with one Germanic tribe, the Bastarnians, as far east as the Dnieper River, a major river that drains into the Black Sea.

From the Danube and the Black Sea, Germanic tribes once occupied land all the way north to the Baltic Sea and west to the Rhine River. So when the Germanic people were invading the Roman Empire, they were attacking not just from the north but from the east as well!

Jerome, the writer who gave us the Vulgate translation of the Bible, was an eyewitness to these invasions in the mid-fourth century a.d. He writes: “Savage tribes in countless numbers have overrun all parts of Gaul. The whole country between the Alps and the Pyrenees, between the Rhine and the ocean, has been laid waste by hordes of Quadi, Vandals, Sarmatians, Alans, Gepids, Herules, Saxons, Burgundians, Allemanni and … even Pannonians” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Jerome Letter 123, Section 16).

Remarkably, in this same letter, Jerome wrote, “Assuralso is joined with them.” Some say Jerome was using poetic license by quoting Psalm 83:8, but based on all the similarities of the people and the histories quoted that were available to scholars at the time, it becomes clear that Jerome was calling them actual Assyrians. Assur is another biblical name for Asshur, as any concordance will show.

According to modern and ancient historians, these tribes listed—most of which were Germanic—came from the Black Sea region. The Cambridge Ancient History lists all of these tribes as attacking from the east, mainly from the Danube region.

Thus, the history of the German people is made plain through the Roman and Greek writers.

The Clincher

Without a doubt, the Germans are modern-day Assyrians! The Germans themselves say so in their ancient history. A Roman scholar wrote that the Germans were Assyrians. The Black Sea shores—the same area where the historians and scholars from before the 1900s said the German people migrated from—are shown to have had Assyrians dwelling on both sides by Roman and Greek historians.

The Germans and Assyrians share the same physical features, the same warlike tendencies and even certain characteristics in art.

On top of all that, there is the overwhelmingly strong proof of prophecy! Only one nation today could fulfill the prophecies of the Bible that pertain to the Assyrians, and that is Germany! For more information, request our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. It will give you the eye-opening details of this final and most important proof.

Understanding the identity of the German people in prophecy opens up the grave meaning of whole swaths of inspired Scripture. Those prophecies were recorded in order to be understood in our day—as a powerful warning from the great Creator God!

[Editor’s Note: This article has been amended to clarify the identity of the Ninus who built Nineveh.]

Why Did Christ Build His Church?

From the October 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

“Jesus Christ came to die for the sins of mankind!” cries the preacher on Sunday morning. And he’s right. But why so little understanding about the many other reasons Christ came to this Earth 2,000 years ago?

In Matthew 16:18, for example, Jesus said, “I will build my church.” Why, after 4,000 years of human history, was it necessary to build something new like the Church? And why did Jesus select just 12 disciples for special training and preparation in laying the “foundation” for the Church? And why, since that time, have nearly 2,000 years passed without any sign of Christ returning to this Earth as He promised He would?

What, exactly, is God working out here on Earth?

A Parable Reveals the Answer

Throughout much of Christ’s ministry, the disciples thought He was going to establish His Kingdom during their lifetimes. Realizing this, Christ uttered a prophetic parable in Luke 19 concerning the timing of when that Kingdom would be set up. “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return” (verse 12). The nobleman in this verse refers to Christ. He went away into a far country, or heaven, to receive for Himself a Kingdom. He is to return when He receives the Kingdom. And since He hasn’t returned yet, He hasn’t yet received the Kingdom! But why?

“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (verse 13). Understand what the pounds represent. These are a gift the nobleman gives the servants. We become a servant of Christ at baptism (see Romans 6:4). And in Acts 2:38, Peter said that at baptism we receive “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” So the pounds in this parable represent a small portion of God’s Spirit.

Before returning to set up His Kingdom, Christ has called out servants to whom He has given a small portion of the Holy Spirit. With this Spirit, Christ said, “occupy till I come.” Occupy means “to carry on a business.” So these servants were to continue, or carry on, something Christ started.

The parable continues, “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). Here Christ introduces another group of people. First, He says His servants are to occupy. Then He mentions the citizens—or the overwhelming majority that hate Him and simply will not have Christ reign in their lives!

Millions of people today claim to be followers of Christ, but how many actually do what He taught? How many put God first in everything they do in life and actually allow Christ to reign over them? Nations in this world today are suffering because they will not have Christ reign over them. This is a message about government.

The small handful of Christ’s servants, however, are learning how to be ruled. Christ said occupy, or keep growing and learning how to be ruled so that you might eventually rule others!

Verse 15: “And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.” This is when Christ comes back—this time to RULE. And notice, He commands only His servants to come before Him! Why not the citizens? He calls only the servants because they are the ones being judged now in this age (1 Peter 4:17). The servants are being called out of this world and trained now for future responsibilities when that world-ruling government will be set up. Once that government is set up, then the citizens will have an opportunity to be called by God.

After Christ qualified to be King and after He finished His work (John 4:34), He ascended to heaven and received “all power” from the Father (Matthew 28:18). Christ is under God the Father in God’s government. Then, when Christ returns to Earth, those servants who have been called out of this world (John 6:44) will be commanded to come before Christ (Luke 19:15). Christ went to the Father to receive His authority—and true Christians will go to Christ to receive their authority! That is how God’s government works.

In order for the problems of this world to finally end, there must be a completely new government established by Christ as the supreme ruler—with many other servants serving under Him, fulfilling other governmental responsibilities. Christ is coming as the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). There are to be many other kings and lords serving under Christ.

The reason Christ did not set up His Kingdom when He first walked this Earth is that God’s ruling family government was not yet ready. God is preparing servants for government positions today within the Church!

That is why Christ said, “I will build my church.”

Christ Prepared the Early Apostles

Christ, as King of that future government, came first to establish His Church. But before the Church could begin, the Holy Spirit had to come—and that couldn’t happen until Christ ascended to heaven (John 16:7). So during His earthly ministry, Christ called out and prepared 12 disciples who would be taught and trained in that government, even prior to receiving the Holy Spirit. Christ did this in advance because the Church needed a foundation; and even though the disciples couldn’t understand much of what Christ taught, He knew that once the Holy Spirit came, it would guide them in the truth and help them remember much of what He told them (John 16:4, 13).

When the Holy Spirit finally did arrive, the Apostle Peter gave an inspired sermon of deep understanding (notice Acts 2:14-40).

After that, the early Church grew rapidly. New converts were taught and trained to “occupy” the Spirit, or carry on the work of Christ, within the government of God being administered in the Church.

But it wasn’t long before persecution came. Many became deceived. Paul rebuked those in Galatia for already having turned to “another gospel” (Galatians 1:6). The saints during this first era of God’s Church grew complacent. John wrote about this era in Revelation 2:1-7. In verse 4, it was criticized for losing its “first love.” True Christians became lukewarm and eventually lost their understanding of God’s purpose and plan for man. And so, Scripture reveals, God removed the lampstand that guided the Church. He raised a new era to carry on with the work of God.

But from the first century forward, God’s Church remained very small and scattered and was virtually powerless. The Church did continue just as Christ said it would (Matthew 16:18), but it was made up of very few converts. There never was a worldwide work—that is, not until the 20th century.

Government Restored Within the Church

Jesus Christ prophesied that, prior to His return to Earth, a man would come on the scene in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet, and prepare the way for His Second Coming (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6).

Notice this exchange, recorded in Matthew 17:10-11: “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” This wasn’t referring to John the Baptist. He had already come. This was referring to an end-time “Elijah” who would restore all things! John the Baptist didn’t restore anything. But to whom would this end-time Elijah restore all things? The world? That won’t happen until Christ returns (Acts 3:19-21). The end-time “Elijah” was to restore all things to the Church!

Much of what Christ had revealed and taught to the apostles was lost after the first century. For the government to be ultimately restored to the world, God had to restore it to the Church in this end time in order to prepare the way for Christ’s return.

We believe the individual who fulfilled the prophetic role to which Christ referred was Herbert W. Armstrong.

In a sermon on Oct. 2, 1982, Herbert Armstrong said this: “God raised me up to restore the government of God. But it is only restored so far in the Church. I have no authority from God; no ability to restore the government of God any further than just over you brethren in the Church. But that has been done.”

The problems and evils of this world stem from the fact that nations simply do not want Christ to reign over them (Luke 19:14). God will soon send His Son back to establish His government. But that will not happen until other government positions are filled by those who have been thoroughly prepared for and taught under that government. That is why Mr. Armstrong said it was only restored within the Church and not the world—not yet.

Mr. Armstrong knew who was behind him in his work. An example of this spiritual reality appears in John 4:1-2: “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples).” Notice that! Christ baptized more than John and yet it says He didn’t actually baptize any! His disciples did. Yet it was as if Jesus Christ did it Himself!

Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. He raised up Mr. Armstrong to establish God’s government within the Church and restore all things to the Church. God did not raise up anyone else for this purpose.

Restoring God’s Government

God’s master plan is to reproduce Himself (Genesis 1:26). Right now, that reproduction is happening in the Church first. But God’s plan of salvation will soon be offered to all who have ever lived! Those in God’s Church right now, who have been called out of this present evil world, are being trained to administer the government over all the Earth.

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). Remember in the parable of the pounds where the citizens wouldn’t have Christ reign over them? When Christ is finally crowned as King over the Earth, people will then have to submit to His reign. At first, Christ will literally have to force man to be happy.

The saints, or servants, who have been called out in advance of the others, will have been trained in that government before Christ’s return. They will be rewarded with government positions at His return. Read Isaiah 40:10, Luke 19:15-27, and Revelation 11:18 and 22:12.

Also notice Revelation 20:4: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them ….” How different this plain biblical teaching is from the popular belief today! These verses are not talking about a life of ease in heaven. Those who have been called out today are preparing for a time when we will rule the nations from thrones! Christ will be our King!

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (verse 6). Death will have no more power over those resurrected to immortal spirit life.

God’s plan ultimately gets down to either submitting to His reign, or submitting to the power of death. God’s servants have been called out of this world now to learn His way of life so that we might teach all others during the wonderful world of tomorrow!

What, then, is God doing? He is reproducing Himself in man. In doing so, He has allowed this world to go according to the way of Satan for 6,000 years to prove beyond doubt that Satan’s way of selfishness and get only results in misery and death. In reproducing Himself, God’s plan allowed for His Son to come in the flesh to not only die for mankind, but to establish the Church. The main function of the Church is to prepare people for positions of rulership. When Christ finally does return as King of kings and Lord of lords, the Church will have been made ready and will rule with Christ. Satan will then be put away and God will proceed to reproduce Himself in every human being who has ever lived—provided they sincerely want God’s government to reign over them.

Beyond that, as the Prophet Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 9:6-7), the government of Godandpeace will continue to grow forever.

Why the World Is Upside-Down

Why the World Is Upside-Down

iStockphoto

And how God plans to turn it right-side up!

Why should there be so much ignorance about Satan the devil? Many people scoff at the thought of his existence. Others, while they accept his existence, grossly underestimate the devil’s awesome power. They assume that his deceptive influence over the world is limited and easy to detect. On the other hand, there are those who think God and Satan are engaged in a tug-of-war over the “souls” of men. In this scenario—judging by the sheer number of people who have lived and died without ever having accepted Jesus as their Savior—Satan is clearly depicted as being stronger than God.

The reason for this ignorance is because Satan, as the god of this world, has blinded the minds of men from the truth about his existence, his rule on Earth and his fate in God’s master plan.

Lucifer’s Rebellion

Let us go back, even before the beginning of man, to the time when Lucifer was being trained at the very throne of God. Notice Ezekiel 28:14: “Thou [Lucifer] art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”

“Lucifer was the supreme masterpiece of God’s creative power, as an individually created being,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages. God made His masterpiece and then “set” him as an anointed cherub over His heavenly throne. This is where Lucifer was trained in the administration of God’s law.

Lucifer’s first field assignment was to take what he had learned at God’s throne and apply it to this Earth, where he would be given charge over one third of the angels. Besides administering the government of God, Lucifer was responsible for maintaining and beautifying God’s material creation on Earth.

God’s purpose for His angelic creation was derailed the moment Lucifer turned against God’s law to the way of lawlessness and rebellion. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12). Yes, how could something like this ever happen?

The prophet answers: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (verse 13). This important verse reveals that Lucifer’s sin began in his heart. It started with a corrupt attitude that came to violently rebel against God’s authority.

In the course of this rebellion, Lucifer even attempted to raise his earthly throne—yes, he has a throne—above his own Maker’s! “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High,” he said (verse 14). But God, in a literal sense, brought Lucifer back down to Earth. He changed his name to Satan, which means adversary. And the angels who rebelled with Lucifer became demons.

In all of this, however, God did not remove Satan from the throne of this Earth. This is why, when Satan offered Jesus Christ “all the kingdoms of the world” in Matthew 4, Jesus did not deny that Satan was now ruling over the nations of men. This is why Scripture refers to the devil as prince of the world (John 12:31; 14:30). And this is why, in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan is referred to as this world’s god.

Satan Is a Broadcaster

If Satan is the god of this world and the whole world is deceived, as it says in Revelation 12:9, let us now consider how Satan maintains his deceptive influence over the minds of men.

In Ephesians 2:2, the Apostle Paul wrote that the course of this world flows in the direction of Satan, who is the “prince of the powerof the air.”

Satan, in other words, is a broadcaster. He transmits his signal imperceptibly through the air, much like a radio or television signal is transmitted invisibly across the airwaves. “He does not broadcast in words or pictures,” Mr. Armstrong explained, “but in attitudes of self-centeredness, of vanity, lust and greed, of jealousy and envy, of competition, strife and violence, of hate, resentment, bitterness, of rebellion and resentment against authority. We call it human nature but it is actually Satan nature” (Good News, Aug. 28, 1978).

Human beings acquire this satanic nature soon after birth because the human spirit is automatically tuned into Satan’s wavelength (see Job 32:8; 1 Corinthians 2:11; Romans 8:7). This satanic influence explains why man, even though equipped with a mind that is vastly superior to the animal brain, is utterly incapable of solving even the simplest of problems.

From the beginning, God intended for man’s mind to combine with His mind—the Holy Spirit—thus completing man’s spiritual creation. He offered man the Holy Spirit through the tree of life. But Adam and Eve rejected that way of life and instead took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And so, as it says at the end of Genesis 3, God “drove out the man” and “sent him forth” from the Garden of Eden.

Ever since, man has been cut off from God and His Spirit. He has been held captive to the evil influences and deceptive sway of the prince of the power of the air.

This is why the world today is upside-down.

God’s Government to Be Restored

Against this backdrop, isn’t it now clear why Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God? (See Mark 1:14-15.) Jesus was a messenger with good news about a world-ruling government to be set up on Earth—one that would replace the administration currently occupied by Satan and his demons.

Yet Christ did not set up that Kingdom immediately at the time of His first coming. He plainly told Pilate in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Pilate then asked Him in verse 37, “Art thou a king then?” Jesus responded, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world ….” Yes, Jesus Christ was born to be the King (Luke 1:30-33). But His coronation won’t happen until He returns to this Earth.

In the first century, because the Jews misunderstood Christ’s gospel message, they failed to grasp the vital purpose for which Christ came in their day. “The Pharisees knew Jesus was the Messiah!” Mr. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages. “They were familiar with Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 53. The Pharisees knew Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. But they understood only one Messianic appearance. So they supposed he was planning to overthrow the Roman Empire then!” They didn’t want a conquering king to overthrow Rome because they rather liked the petty positions of governance the Romans allowed them to maintain in Palestine. And so, because they misunderstood the purpose of Christ’s first coming, they fought against Him every step of the way.

Even Christ’s own disciples thought He intended to establish God’s Kingdom at His first coming, which is why Christ set them straight in Luke 19: “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return” (verse 12). The nobleman here refers to Christ. He went away to a far country, heaven, to receive for Himself a Kingdom—“and to return,” which hasn’t yet happened.

Why not? Because God hasn’t yet finished preparing the saints for their positions in the Kingdom of God.

This is where the Church comes in. In order for the chaotic problems of this world to finally end, there must be a completely new government established by Christ as the supreme Ruler—but with many other servants ruling under Him, fulfilling other governmental responsibilities. Christ is coming as the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Scripture plainly reveals that there will be many other kings and lords serving under Him.

So, after Christ qualified to replace Satan on the throne of this Earth, and after He offered Himself as a Lamb sacrifice for the world, He then ascended to heaven and received “all power” from the Father (Matthew 28:18). At His return, those servants who have been called out of this evil world will be commanded to come before Christ to learn where they will be serving in the Kingdom of God on Earth (read the rest of the parable in Luke 19).

The Bible refers to this as a time of refreshing—of regeneration. Notice Acts 3:20-21: “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (verses 20-21). The word restitution means a time of restoring something that had been taken away. God’s government was once here on Earth until Lucifer abolished it when he became Satan! But God’s government will soon be restored to this planet. Jesus Christ is preparing to lead that Earth-wide restoration. When He does, He will see to it that Satan is banished and his malevolent broadcasting into human minds is stopped (Revelation 20:1-3, 10).

Isaiah prophesied of that soon-coming King who would restore God’s government. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). The government is placed on His shoulder because He is King! After Christ turns this world right side up, that government and peace, it says in verse 7, will continue to grow—even out into the universe!

The Crisis at the Close of This Age

The Philadelphia Trumpet, in conjunction with the Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course, presents this brief excursion into the fascinating study of the Bible. Simply turn to and read in your Bible each verse given in answer to the questions. You will be amazed at the new understanding gained from this short study!
From the October 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Non-Christians—and today even many professing Christians—scoff at the idea of the prophesied intervention of Jesus Christ. “There have always been prophets of doom,” the skeptics say. “People thought the world was coming to an end in the Middle Ages when the Black Death struck Europe.”

These skeptics do not understand God’s timetable of prophecy. The end of man’s rule must, and will, come as God has scheduled it. Though some had ignorantly thought otherwise, the end of man’s rule was not due in the Middle Ages.

Every prophecy has a definite time setting—usually not in the prophet’s own day. Most prophecies of the Bible are for our time!

Jesus taught that there is a timetable of prophecy—that certain specific events must occur in the months and years before He returns to rescue humanity from annihilation. Let’s begin to understand these prophecies. Let’s learn exactly what the world’s greatest newscaster foretold for this end-time generation!

The Beginning of Sorrows

1. While sitting on the Mount of Olives, Christ’s disciples questioned Him about His Second Coming (Matthew 24:3). Did Jesus foretell that many deceivers would arise to deceive many people before His return? Verses 4-5, 11, 24.

2. What are these so-called ministers of Christ called elsewhere? Are they the ministers of the archdeceiver himself? 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. Are they themselves deceived—and is the whole world deceived as a result of their activities? Revelation 12:9.

3. What else did Christ say would occur in the end time besides the coming of many false prophets? Matthew 24:6-7.

Comment: The 20th century was the bloodiest in human history. World War i began in 1914 and claimed 8.5 million lives. Then World War ii resulted in 55 million deaths. Moreover, according to author and professor of political science R.J. Rummel, totalitarian governments slaughtered 170 million people for ethnic, racial, tribal, religious or political reasons. Nation has continued to rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Just since World War ii alone, there have been over 225 armed conflicts in 148 countries! We are now fast approaching the third and final world war!

4. But are these events Jesus foretold only the beginning of sorrows? Matthew 24:7-8.

Comment: In addition to wars and false prophets, Jesus also foretold an increase in earthquakes, famines, and disease pandemics. This “beginning of sorrows” is also pictured by the first four “seals” of Revelation 6:1-8.

These four seals—what are commonly referred to as the four horsemen of the apocalypse—represent the four major world conditions Jesus said would exist at the end of this age—all increasing in severity and overlapping in their effects on the entire world!

The white horse represents the increasing number of false ministers preaching a false Christ and false ways to “salvation.” The red horse pictures the increasing tempo of the ravages of wars. The black horse—increasing famine. And the pale horse—rampaging diseases. For a more detailed description of these sorrows, request our free booklet The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

But let’s not forget that man is bringing this horrible suffering and death upon himself! Jesus knew that man, left to his own devices, would severely afflict himself and ultimately destroy all life—unless something totally unforeseen occurred to stop it. That is why He has promised to intervene in world affairs. Jesus Christ is coming soon to rescue the world from itself because man has reached the end of his rope!

The Great Tribulation

1. How is the fifth seal described? Revelation 6:9-11. What else did Jesus say about this time of religious persecution? Luke 21:12-17. What will happen to Judah and Jerusalem at this time? Verses 20-24.

At this point we need to understand the principle of prophetic duality. Many prophecies have a former, typical fulfillment, and then a final fulfillment in the end time. Some thought that Jerusalem’s destruction by the Gentile Roman armies in a.d. 70 was the fulfillment of this prophecy. But a.d. 70 was not “the end”! The presence of Roman armies in Jerusalem in a.d. 70 was only a type of what is to occur in the near future. The Roman legions that conquered Jerusalem then were only a type of modern legions that soon will again surge through the Middle East.

2. Will this future military action in the Middle East threaten to engulf the whole world? Matthew 24:15-21 (compare Luke 21:20).

3. Will this time that ensues—a time of unequaled strife and bloodshed involving weapons of modern warfare, called the Great Tribulation—threaten to utterly extinguish all life on Earth? Verse 22.

4. Who is responsible for inspiring this nightmarish time of tribulation on the whole world? Revelation 12:12. Why will the devil be extremely angry at this time? Same verse, last part.

Comment: This period of great tribulation is the time of Satan’s wrath. It will be unleashed not only on the Church of God, but also on the modern descendants of ancient Israel (request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to learn who those people are today) and on the whole world.

5. Does God promise to protect those who faithfully keep His Word and do His work? Revelation 3:7-8, 10.

6. A “woman” is sometimes used as a symbol for a church (see 2 Corinthians 11:1-2; Ephesians 5:23-32). Will God provide a place of safety for the end-time true Church where it will be protected from the devil? (the “dragon”—Revelation 12:9). Revelation 12:13-14.

Comment: This end-time prophecy shows that God’s faithful people will be taken to a place on Earth untouchable by Satan, protected from the devastation of the world around them. Regardless of where this place may be, God’s promise to take His obedient people there is sure!

However, some of God’s people will not receive this protection, and will have to experience this period of Satan’s wrath to wake them up spiritually (Revelation 3:14-19; 12:17). Request our free book Malachi’s Message for an in-depth scriptural explanation of this sobering truth.

Signs of God’s Intervention

1. How is the sixth seal described? Revelation 6:12-13. Where else are these events depicted? Matthew 24:29. How soon after the fifth seal is fulfilled does this occur? Same verse, first word.

Comment: The signs in heaven (the sixth seal) take place immediately after the fifth seal—the period known as the Great Tribulation.

2. Are these signs a warning that the “day of the Lord,” or the seventh seal—the time of God’s direct intervention to stop the destructive ways of man—is about to begin? Joel 2:30-31; Zephaniah 1:14-15, 18.

3. What is the reason for these punishments from God? Is it really a manifestation of God’s love for humanity? Notice the principle in Hebrews 12:5-8. To what purpose will God’s punishments be directed? 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9.

Comment: This “day of the Lord” is mentioned in over 30 prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments. Although a time of divine chastisement, this period culminates in the return of Jesus Christ to finally bring world peace!