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

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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!

What to Do With Germany?

Berlin is surging in power! Finally some observers are asking hard questions about the direction it is going.
From the October 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

One of the great constants about biblical prophecy is that if you wait long enough, it will eventually become today’s headline news. It’s inevitable.

Skeptics, doubters, those blinded to the truth, may even then deny the reality that those headlines proclaim. But this is no surprise, for the Almighty Himself declared it would be so: “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them” (John 12:40).

Humankind is about to learn a powerful lesson. The Creator that man has ignored, rejected and generally rebelled against from creation to this day is preparing for the inevitable: the fulfillment of Jesus Christ’s Olivet prophecy, particularly that of His direct intervention in the affairs of this world to save man from blowing himself and all life off this planet: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

But before God intervenes to save mankind from this fate, there are a people on this planet who are destined to feel the correction of their Creator in a very direct and personal way. They are the people of least excuse for their rejection of Almighty God—for they were once the direct recipients of His law, statutes and judgments designed to show man how to live according to the intention of his Maker. In fact, in recent history, they have been the most blessed people on Earth.

Anciently, these folk were labeled Israelites. They consisted of 12 individual tribes that developed into separate nations. They can be found today populating the United States, Britain, Israel, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Nordic countries, parts of the Baltic, France, Belgium and the Netherlands and include many of the whites of South Africa. For proof of this reality, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

But of all these peoples, the Anglo-Saxon and the Jewish nations are prophesied to suffer particularly drastic correction by God for their sins.

And there is one nation that God has reserved to deliver that correction. Biblically, it is identified as Assyria. Today, we call that nation Germany.

“The Wolf on the Fold”

Lord Byron aptly described the blitzkrieg nature of the Assyrian at war in one line in his poem “The Destruction of Sennacherib.” Of the storming of Sennacherib, Byron declared, “The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold.”

That lightning-strike approach to warfare has since been demonstrated by the descendents of those ancient Assyrians when motivated to war in more recent times.

The Daily Reckoning summed up that history this way: “The Teuton tribes are an aggressive lot. The Usipetes, Tenchteri, Batavi, Cherusci, Chatti, Vandals, Goths, Franks, Alans, Suebians—all jostled each other for centuries. … And when Rome wheezed her last gasps they fell on her like French tax collectors on a widow’s estate. The Vandals pushed all the way across Gaul and Iberia, crossed to North Africa, and from their new base in Carthage, continued to tickle the old empire until it rolled over on them” (August 20).

Thus was formed the Holy Roman Empire.

Well, one might say, more power to the Teutons. But the past is the past, and Germany has since proven itself a changed nation, peace-loving and democratic, just like us!

Well, is that so?

The same source observed, “It has been 65 years since Europe’s last major war. Still, when Germany gets up off its knees, the Continent trembles.

“Last week, the Berlin government announced the best results since the Wall fell in ‘89. From the first quarter to the second one the republic’s gdp rose 2.2 percent. At that rate—about 9 percent a year if it continues—Germany is running neck and neck with China. Compared to France and the U.S., Germany is flying nearly four times as fast.”

Teutonic approach to warfare, Teutonic approach to its economy. Same people, same attitude, same lightning achievements—be it in war or business.

What is really happening today in Germany, a nation that so powerfully impacted the 20th century? How is Germany already affecting the present century, and what will it do in the near future? Will Germany be content to “fly four times as fast” as the U.S. and France economically alone, or will it seek to transfer that powerful economic clout into offensive military power yet again? Will Germany revert to its ancient Assyrian, Teutonic type, yet again?

Serious foreign-policy minds with a view to history are now asking that question.

An Opportunity to Act

In the August-September issue of European Affairs, Dr. Jackson Janes asked, “During the last two decades the political and economic geometry of Europe has altered in favor of a more dominant position for Germany. … The current economic crisis has reaffirmed German dominance in the European Central Bank (ecb) and in almost all key economic and financial policy choices of the eurozone and the EU overall. … During the 20 years since German unification … Germany [has] increasingly [taken] de facto command of Europe’s economic choices.”

Jackson Janes is executive director of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, d.c. He sums up Germany’s achievements as follows: “Right now, Germany has a Europe it likes. Unification was achieved along with a strong economic position, limited exchange-rate risks and a degree of discipline enacted in the Growth and Stability Pact. Also it has the largest weight in the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers under the rules set by the Lisbon Treaty. And the current arrangements suit a Berlin that has become less ambitious about a more centralized European structure—especially after the decision last year by Germany’s Supreme Court to limit increased control by Brussels over German sovereignty” (ibid.).

Now that the wraps are off and Germany’s rapid rise to dominance in Europe has become undeniable, questions are again being raised as to its intentions beyond Europe.

A rash of recent headlines spotlighted Germany’s rapid gain of financial, industrial and economic power even as the U.S. continues to slide off its superpower perch. With America having substantially drawn down its presence in Europe over the past 20 years and now withdrawing from Iraq in addition to planning withdrawal from Afghanistan, will Germany—given its global industrial, financial and economic power—be able to resist converting that into military power? Someone has to fill the increasing security vacuum being left by a rapidly weakening America. Germany will not like either Russia or China getting the jump on the Fatherland in the wake of American weakness. For Germany to not react would be to risk its presence as a global power in all but military assertiveness and to be taken quick advantage of by these two competitive powers.

Germany will simply be forced to act, and to act soon, to raise its international profile as a military power on a par with its global economic weight. Otherwise it will not be taken seriously by a world that only recognizes might as right!

But there is more to this than would appear. For Germany’s elites have deliberately pursued a different strategy in their third try at global domination.

Consider the history.

Releasing the Genie

Though Germany ceased to exist as a global power when the nation surrendered to the Allies on May 8, 1945—its economy in ruins, its military power shattered and its society completely demoralized—the elite visionaries behind the Nazi dream of world conquest did not give up their goal at that point. In fact, as is well documented, they simply went underground to allow the dust of war to settle before quietly emerging to reconstruct the nation into the powerhouse economy it is today.

The German captains of industry rebuilt their shattered factories and industrial empires courtesy of American largesse via the Marshall Plan. Many operatives of the German secret service under Hitler simply transferred their allegiance—at least publicly—to the British, American and Russian secret services. Much of the Nazi gold and other booty were spirited out of Germany via numerous avenues—not the least being Vatican and Swiss banks—to accounts that would later be drawn on by those seeking to finance a resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

The result, with implicit support from Germany’s old Anglo-Saxon enemies, was what became known as the German Wirtschaftswunder—the economic miracle of the rapid German rebound from abject defeat in World War ii to the most prosperous nation in Europe.

During the 1950s, with the Anglo-Saxons running scared of what they perceived as an aggressive eastward and southward push by imperialist Soviet-style communism, the U.S. and Britain believed their only hope of stemming the rising Communist tide from sweeping across Europe to the Atlantic was to create a bridgehead at the line that divided Soviet East Germany from the democratic West. This they did by rearming their former enemy barely a decade after having totally dismantled its military forces.

The new German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, were formed in 1955. The same year, Germany joined nato.

From that point, Germany behaved like a typical democracy. It built a strong export base for its rapidly burgeoning industry and relied on nato for its national security. It was deliberately constrained to building a strong national defense establishment for the sole purpose of securing its national borders from within its own territory.

This continued for 34 years as West Germany thrived economically while its counterpart in the east remained in economic stagnation under the Communist boot heel.

Then something happened on Nov. 9, 1989, that would change the whole face of German politics. The Berlin Wall, the symbolic division between the Communist East and the free West, came tumbling down.

The old genie was released.

What to Do With Germany?

The German reunification that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall resulted in a 20-year drive by German elites to place a newly united Germany at the top of the pile in Europe.

By December 2009, Germany was the leading European economy by far: Europe’s top export nation; its greatest financial power; its strongest political force; and its most aggressively expanding military power in terms of active involvement outside its borders.

These are all clearly demonstrable, inarguable facts of Germany’s postwar history. And they raise a question. It’s an old question that has periodically arisen ever since Aug. 6, 1806, when Franz ii, the last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, dissolved that empire and capitulated to Napoleon. It raised its head again in 1918 when the Allied nations met at Versailles to conclude an armistice with a Germany that had instigated the greatest war in history to that time. Yet again, it arose when the Allies met at Potsdam in August 1945 after Germany’s defeat in the second of two world wars that Germany had initiated in the first half of the 20th century.

The question is, what to do with Germany? More importantly, what to do with a united Germany? For history has shown that is the real danger.

While Germany lay divided among the numerous competing local rulers of its various states, their own divisions and jealousies kept them warring among themselves and not against other nations. But when Germany unites, that spells trouble.

That was the problem facing the Allies in Potsdam seeking to conclude a rational peace after the war. Germany as a single united nation had twice shown itself discontented to constrain its power to within its national borders. So they partitioned Germany, with the east going to Soviet Russian control, and the west to Anglo-Saxon dominance.

Now, we view Germany 20 years on from reunification. It is again the most powerful nation in Europe. It vies with China alone for the crown as the globe’s top export nation. It is to Germany that Europe and, indeed, the world looked when the Greek financial crisis erupted, threatening a domino effect around the globe.

It is Germany that forced the hand of unwilling national electorates to sign up to the Lisbon Treaty/European constitution. Amid continuing global financial crisis, it is Germany that has forced the implementation of a global financial controlling body on the world, the Financial Stability Board. It is a German-dominated EU that in turn dominates the body that now sets economic policy for the world, the G-20.

What to do with Germany today?

Well, it’s really too late to ask the question. The horse has bolted. Germany is back strutting the world stage as a global power and gearing right now, believe it or not, to once again reinforce its military presence.

Conquest by Treaty

The German elites who are of the imperialist mindset that has prevailed over the centuries in the Teutonic quest for global dominance did not abandon their dream when their nation faced certain defeat in the closing stages of World War ii.

In fact, as a whole battery of authors and analysts has published over the years—from Sigrid Schultz in her revealing first-hand account Germany Will Try It Again, to more recent publications such as those of Bernard Connolly, Martin Lee, Rodney Atkinson, and that venerable confidante of Konrad Adenauer, Harry Beckhough—the imperialist vision of German elites was perpetuated and continued to be promulgated by those elites throughout the whole fabric and infrastructure of what we call today the European Union.

Yet, one thing those elites who backed the Kaiser and Hitler learned after the extent of their defeat in 1945 was that there had to be a better way to achieve their goal than by instigating outright war. Hence they chose treaties as their method, and the entity that has evolved from the establishment of the European Steel and Coal Community in 1951 into what is now in all but name a German-dominated European empire—the European Union—as the means.

Now, 60 years on from that first treaty, the Treaty of Paris, a whole array of 12 treaties, plus five acts of the European Parliament and one open-border agreement, have built an imperial European edifice of 27 nations into the greatest trading entity in the world. The latest treaty, the Lisbon Treaty, is but a European constitution cloaked in a deceptive title. This is the enabling document for the creation of a pan-European army!

Beyond Lisbon

Today, a united Germany sitting atop a united Europe lacks but two things to bring the elites’ dream of a resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation to full reality: consolidated military power, and a binding ideology with which to control the minds of the masses.

Two individuals—the acts of each masked by a public facade of political and priestly contention and division—are working hard to achieve these objectives.

The one, Germany’s defense minister, the Bavarian Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, is gaining headlines weekly by overtly touting for the elimination of military conscription. Pacifists, liberals and their fellow travelers welcome this as a further endorsement of the fiction that Germany has no aspiration to become a military power. Don’t believe it!

The facts are that Germany is on a drive to consolidate military industry continent-wide in Europe and build a strong military presence from the North Sea to the Persian Gulf, from Gibraltar to the Caucasus. It is already well advanced in doing so. Check theTrumpet.com archive for evidence. There’s plenty of it, and there will be more to come!

On the ideological front, another Bavarian, Pope Benedict xvi, watches the masses being distracted from reality by a liberal press lasciviously publicizing the pedophilia scandal within the Catholic Church. In the meantime, powerfully supported by an ultra-conservative curia built up by his predecessor, the pope quietly goes about building Rome’s power within the ranks of the giants in commerce, industry, banking and diplomacy in the European Union. It is they who will support and enforce the power of Rome when the pope rules in the future: There is coming a time when, if the masses want bread, they must first bow their knee to Rome (Revelation 13).

It is such overwhelming ideological, “religious” influence that will bind fractious Europe together for its brief moment of global power before its inevitable and final collapse.

Yet, as we always indicate, with the absolute confidence that is backed by the “more sure word of prophecy,” these current phenomena are building toward the greatest single event in the history of man—an event of which they are an ironclad sign of its imminence: the very return of your Savior to this world!

Do you really believe the words of Jesus Christ, the Savior of humankind? Then read and prove your belief! Read and study His great prophecy in Matthew 24, Mark 12 and Luke 21. Then read and believe His unbreakable guarantee for our time: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

Now there’s a message of real hope for our times!

‘Unconstitutional’?

The danger in the ruling against Proposition 8
From the October 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

According to Vaughn Walker, it was “unconstitutional” for Californians to vote to declare homosexual marriage illegal.

Why unconstitutional? In his ruling on Perry v. Schwarzenegger, Judge Walker criticized the moral reasoning behind Proposition 8, by which voters tried to prevent the institution of marriage from being legally redefined from what it has been for the whole of human history.

“The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples,” Walker wrote. This, he concluded, is an irrational basis for legislating against same-sex unions.

Religion and morality, in other words, must have absolutely no bearing on the law in these modern, secular United States.

This is the latest and most prominent example of an extraordinarily dangerous trend in American jurisprudence—and society in general: the effort to systematically, completely scrub God from public life.

Where Does Law Come From?

God is the Author of morality and law. “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy,” explained the Apostle James.

Biblical history shows God instructing man at various times in the particulars of His law. Just as the manufacturer of a sophisticated product includes an instruction manual, so the Creator of mankind provided detailed instructions on how to make life work—specifically, how to cultivate harmony between God and man, and with fellow man. He did not force man to work out on his own that murder, theft and deceit are wrong. He created sex, marriage and family, and then safeguarded them by forbidding all extramarital sex. He spelled these laws out, and later gave specific instructions on what to do to enforce those laws.

God is love, and His law represents His love (1 John 4:8; 5:3). His law is spiritual; it is holy, just and good (Romans 7:14, 12). Even the individual statutes and judgments enumerated in the Old Testament—though many no longer apply in letter today—illuminate the eternal principles of that law. As King David wrote, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: … The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. … [T]he judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:7-9).

The fact is, the degree to which human beings obey the eternal spiritual law of God—whether or not they realize or understand it—will determine their success in their relationships with God and fellow man.

However, our rejection of that revealed knowledge, and our selfish desire to pursue the course of action that seems right to us, is as old as humanity itself. The first two people chose to discard God’s instructions and believe the deceitful serpent who seduced them with promises of the glittering potential of self-conceived wisdom.

That same serpent is at work in the hearts of men today (Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:9). As a result, Paul wrote, “[T]he mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot” (Romans 8:7, Revised Standard Version).

The notion that society would be better off if we only eliminated laws derived from “moral and religious views” vividly testifies of this carnal hatred for God’s law.

Scripture is filled with admonitions and warnings about the dangers of human reasoning cut off from God’s direction. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). A society that exalts rationalism and rejects divine revelation as the foundation for its laws is writing its own epitaph.

Right to Privacy?

The legal reasoning that led to Judge Walker’s ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger is a revealing case study in how the human mind can justify lawlessness.

It shows contempt not only for the absolute, eternal law of God, but even for the law of the land that should guide court decision and limit judicial jurisdiction.

The ruling was built on a few ambiguous or problematic phrases that have accumulated in court opinions over the past 45 years or so. Within America’s precedent-based legal system, that shaky sequence of loaded language has been used to stretch and refashion the Fourteenth Amendment into a potent weapon with which liberal judges can force their twisted will on society.

The Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868 to safeguard the rights of the slaves freed after the Civil War. Part of it reads, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall … deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (emphasis mine throughout).

These two clauses—the promise not to deprive anyone of “liberty … without due process of law” and that of “equal protection” for all—are the two upon which Judge Walker based his legal argument.

The road from protecting the rights of freed slaves to banning voters from prohibiting homosexual “marriage” began with a single step.

In his 2005 book Men in Black, Mark Levin traces its origins to the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut case, in which Justice William O. Douglas found a heretofore-nonexistent “right to privacy” in the “due process” clause. To strike down a law that prohibited the sale of contraceptives, Douglas argued that it deprived married couples “liberty.” He wrote—try to follow this—that “specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.” That is smoke-and-mirrors phraseology. Penumbras and emanations are scientific terms without legal meaning—except as Douglas appropriated them to justify stretching the Fourteenth Amendment.

By finding a “right to privacy” in a penumbra of an emanation, Justice Douglas put his personal opinion above the law and struck a severe blow to the foundation of many other laws.

The invention of this right is a perfect example of the danger in flawed, self-justifying human reason. Essentially, the “right to privacy” as the court began to view it is a cloak for the “right” to commit crimes and to sin.

Obviously, many acts can occur in the privacy of one’s bedroom that are still illegal—rape or cooking up drugs, for example. As Justice Hugo Black wrote in his dissenting opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut, “‘Privacy’ is a broad, abstract and ambiguous concept which can easily be shrunken in meaning but which can also, on the other hand, easily be interpreted as a constitutional ban against many things other than searches and seizures. … I like my privacy as well as the next one, but I am nevertheless compelled to admit that government has a right to invade it unless prohibited by some specific constitutional provision.”

Sure enough, the Griswold v. Connecticut decision enabled secularist thinking to wedge the door open for greater influence down the road.

“Unwarranted Governmental Intrusion”

Seven years later, the issue of contraceptives and unmarried couples came up in Eisenstadt v. Baird. Here the Supreme Court used the “equal protection” clause to say that if married people could have access to birth control, then so should single people.

The majority opinion predictably expanded the “right to privacy,” saying, “If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.” (The superfluous insertion of “whether to bear” a child, which had no connection to the case, proved significant the following year, 1973. In Roe v. Wade, the court relied on this thin justification to rule that the “right to privacy” included a woman’s right to abortion. Here is another example of legal language becoming a lethal weapon.)

Thus the court again exalted the justices’ personal preferences—a mere five unelected individuals—over the laws legitimately created by a state legislature elected by the people. Levin calls this a “quiet revolution against representative government.”

More fundamentally, however, it further dismantled the moral underpinnings of the law. The state’s authority to forbid certain behaviors was condescendingly dismissed as “unwarranted governmental intrusion.”

The issue of homosexuality stormed the Supreme Court in 1986, in Bowers v. Hardwick. In that case, a 5-4 majority upheld a Georgia state law against sodomy, pushing back against the forward march of the “right to privacy.” The court argued that the notion that “any kind of private sexual conduct between consenting adults is constitutionally insulated from state proscription is unsupportable.”

Not only did that ruling uphold the Constitution by respecting the power of individual states in such matters, but it also respected the legitimacy of using morality as the basis for law.

Sadly, it wouldn’t stand for long.

“The End of All Morals Legislation”

In 1996 it was again court versus state in Romer v. Evans. This case addressed the constitutionality of an amendment to Colorado’s constitution that excluded “sexual orientation” from civil rights laws banning racial and religious discrimination. The Supreme Court killed the amendment based on the “equal protection” clause.

In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia exposed the central fallacy in this decision: “If it is constitutionally permissible for a state to make homosexual conduct criminal [which, of course, the court had acknowledged it could only 10 years before in Bowers v. Hardwick], surely it is constitutionally permissible for a state to enact other laws merely disfavoring homosexual conduct”—and certainly to pass a provision “merely prohibiting all levels of state government from bestowing special protections upon homosexual conduct.”

So true: There was a glaring contradiction between the court’s ruling on Bowers and its ruling on Romer. But rather than judge according to precedent and in respect of its clear constitutionally prescribed limitations, the court doubled down and, in 2003, reversed its Bowers decision. In the landmark Lawrence v. Texas case, a 6-3 Supreme Court found that—lo and behold—the Constitution did in fact guarantee Americans the right to commit homosexual sodomy.

The majority held that the dissenting opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick—which said that just because something is considered immoral doesn’t make it illegal—was actually correct. Justice Anthony Kennedy, in writing the opinion, spoke of an “emerging awareness that liberty [that all-important word in the due process clause] gives substantial protection” to sexual decisions. He also brought out that the European Convention on Human Rights invalidated sodomy laws. Who needs the Constitution?

“This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation,” lamented Justice Scalia in his dissent. “If, as the Court asserts, the promotion of majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest,” he wrote, and all laws are subject to “rational-basis review” alone, then that undermines the foundation for “criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality and obscenity.”

He continued, “The Supreme Court is clearly in the business of vetoing state (and federal) legislation by inventing new and increasingly more absurd justifications. It does not feel bound by the Constitution or even precedent. It is abandoning the constitutional framework that supports the moral foundation of our laws. … State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision.”

How right he was. Today, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, we witnessed the inevitable next step in this trend.

Not Rational

Judge Walker roundly attacked the moral argument against same-sex marriage. He argued that since “moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples,” then, from a legal standpoint, there is no basis for making any distinction. Opposition to same-sex marriage is simply not rational, he saidhence constitutionally impermissible.

Walker held that Proposition 8 violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s “due process” clause. Marriage is a fundamental right of Americans, he said, and homosexuals are Americans. Forget the fact that, for example, states also prohibit siblings from marrying, or parents from marrying their own children, or minors from marrying—all moral choices on the part of states. Forget that all three branches of the federal government as well as the state of California have already lawfully determined that for a state not to grant marriage to homosexuals is constitutional.

Walker also said Prop 8 violated the “equal protection” clause, which forbids sexual discrimination, by stretching the definition of sex to include sexual orientation. This is legally unprecedented, and, left unchallenged, opens the door for a great deal more litigation by homosexuals and other sexual deviants.

In Judge Walker’s mind, it is Bible-based theology—not unnatural or unlawful sexual orientation—that poses a dangerous threat to homosexuals and lesbians.

Among his “findings of fact,” for example, Judge Walker ruled, “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.” To support this finding, he cited 18 examples—most of them just doctrinal explanations from religious groups denouncing homosexual behavior as unbiblical and sinful.

“[T]he evidence shows beyond debate that allowing same-sex couples to marry has at least a neutral, if not a positive, effect on the institution of marriage,” he wrote.

Thus, this single district court judge cast aside current law, ignored precedent, and exalted his own secularist morality ahead of the moral judgment of a majority of voters in the most populous state in the union.

Beyond that, he attacked religion as the basis for forming moral judgment. He increased the growing supremacy of secularism. He advanced the cause of godless rationalism, and the ruinous campaign to make fallible human reasoning the only legitimate legal authority.

Wearing the cloak of constitutionality, he raised the banner of lawlessness. In ruling Proposition 8 unconstitutional, this judge tortured the Constitution. His 136-page ruling uses the highbrow language of law to dismantle the law.

Right in Our Own Eyes

The liberal judiciary’s grandiloquent assault on the Constitution is closely linked with a broader cultural trend toward casting off restraint. The contempt for law that this decision represents is one of the most grievous plagues of our times. It infects every level of society from the child’s nursery to the most exalted halls of power.

This opinion is part of a movement to disinfect the nation’s laws of their religious underpinnings and retain only what survives rational-basis review. This will supposedly increase justice, expand freedom and strengthen the nation. But that reasoning is already doing the opposite: increasing disorder and division, enslaving people to their own lusts, and shredding the nation’s social fabric.

It’s a far cry from the way our Founding Fathers viewed constitutional law. The way President John Adams viewed it, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

America’s first president, George Washington, said during his farewell address in 1796, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

These God-fearing men understood well that without the moral restrictions of a higher spiritual law, the many liberties afforded Americans in the Constitution would lead to anarchy—and end in destruction.

It calls to mind the darkest period in the history of ancient Israel—the period of the judges. As the nation turned its back on God and His law, it suffered curse upon nightmarish curse. Scripture uses a simple description of the moral and intellectual climate at that time—one that rings sickeningly true today: “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

Quoting that verse in his 2001 article “Justice and Our ‘Evolving Constitution,’” the Trumpet’s editor in chief wrote, “This was the condition of our biblical forefathers—just before their nation collapsed and they went into slavery!”

Watch for history to repeat itself.

The Demise of Solitude

The Demise of Solitude

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Want to be a better thinker? Then learn to love solitude.

A recent study at the University of Maryland asked 200 students to refrain from using electronic media for a day. After the exercise, one student commented: “Texting and im-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort. When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life (emphasis mine throughout).

Not being able to communicate via technology, he complained, “was almost unbearable.”

What a sorry state of mind. This young man was tethered so tightly to gadgets—and the perpetually connected world they open up—he actually feared being alone. He had conditioned his mind and emotions to find comfort and solace in friends. His existence had came to be defined by his place in the crowd. Solitude was his enemy!

In his international best seller The Art of Thinking, Ernest Dimnet says that the art of thinking is the art of being one’s self, and this art can only be learned if one is by one’s self.” Deep, independent thinkers, Dimnet writes, love being alone—they crave and create moments of solitude!

The thinking mind, writes Dimnet, is like the eye: “It must be single.” Great thinkers—or as Dimnet calls them, “people possessed of a mastering purpose leaving no room for inferior occupations”—stand apart for the “directness of their intellectual vision.” The mind of the weak thinker, on the other hand, has a “fatal capacity for letting in extraneous thoughts or mental parasites.”

Point is, if we are to engage in deep, single-focused thinking, we must create an environment devoid of distractions. We must love solitude.

This is not easy. These days, if we carry a cell phone or iPod, we are not alone. If we’re logged into Facebook or Googling, we are not alone. If we’re sitting in a silent room pecking away at the computer but have e-mail or instant messenger open, we are not alone. Chances are, if we have a screen and it is switched on, we are not alone.

Creating the solitude needed for thinking requires flicking the off switch on every screen in our lives! Here’s some other tips for creating solitude in our lives.

Whether you’re using a gadget or creating space for serious thought, budget your time. Put a limit on your recreational Internet use. When you’re on the computer, set the timer so you don’t lose track of time. Limit the number of texts you (or your teenager) send each day. Force yourself to only check your e-mail once an hour, or once a night. Turn the television off after the specified maximum time each day or week. Carve out blocks during the evening when all cell phones, or all gadgets, are off.

Truth is, by exerting a little more self-discipline—both with our time as well as our use of gadgets—most us could quite easily create the nooks of solitude required for quality thinking!

In Hamlet’s Blackberry, William Powers explains the value of what he terms the “Internet sabbath.” A few years ago, he and his wife began turning off the modem on Friday night and not switching it on until Monday morning. For the entire weekend, the family was disconnected from the Internet and the digital crowd. It wasn’t easy at first. But as time passed, the impact of the Internet sabbath was noticeable and welcomed.

On the weekends, Powers writes, the house became a “kind of island away from the madness.” Instead of each family member retiring to a room with a gadget, they gathered for board games and conversation. Naturally, the family grew closer. During the day they spent more time outdoors and grew to love nature. They got to know their neighbors.

Why not consider following Powers’s example and instituting a rest day from the Internet, or even all gadgets in your household. If switching off gadgets for an entire day isn’t practical, then carve out time—perhaps during dinner and for an hour afterward—when all screens must be off.

Here’s another idea: Create within your home nooks of solitude—areas where family members can go to be free of noise, distractions and screens. Teach the family to respect these as places where the stressed can unwind and read a book or poem, or simply reflect and contemplate.

Realize, though, we can be isolated in a silent environment and still be plagued by thought-destroying noise and bustle within. The mind that is overloaded, filled with commotion and unorganized, unfiled information, is incapable of in-depth, concentrated thought.

To think and reflect, we must also strive to create interior solitude.

This means switching off any extraneous programs running in our minds. It means removing mental distractions, obstacles that will divert us from focused concentration. If you’re distracted because you haven’t paid a bill, go online and pay it. Forget about the tv show you might be missing. When you sit down to read a book, switch the computer off so it won’t entice you with its alluring glow. Switch off your cell phone too. Do whatever it takes to purge the distractions from your mind.

“[T]o lead happy, productive lives in a connected world,” writes Powers, “we need to master the art of disconnecting.” Mastering the art of disconnecting will certainly go a long way to creating an environment conducive to deep and independent thought. But, alone, it won’t result in our leading “happy, productive lives.” If we want our lives to be happy and positive, productive and forward-moving, we need more than just peaceful solitude. And we need more than just the ability to think deeply.

To attain the heights of happiness, our minds, as the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12, need to be “transformed” by the truth and Spirit of God. To learn more about this ultimate mental and spiritual transformation, read The Incredible Human Potential.