Libya and Ethiopia Reveal Iran’s Military Strategy

Libya and Ethiopia Reveal Iran’s Military Strategy

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From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

What is the immediate future of Libya and Ethiopia? We must go to the Bible for the answer—you will find it no place else.

Just look at what has happened in the first couple of months of this year: 1) The Tunisian government has fallen, probably into the hands of the radical Muslims; 2) Lebanon has fallen to the Hezbollah terrorists, controlled by Iran—the number-one terrorist-sponsoring nation in the world by far; 3) the government of Egypt has fallen, and its replacement will form some kind of an alliance with Iran, the king of the south. We have been prophesying this for about 20 years!

Now the whole world can see it happening very dramatically!

As usual, many of the Western world’s leaders see what is happening in Egypt as good news. They fail to see the strength of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, and some of them fail to see the broken will of America—which all the Middle East leaders see!

The government of Yemen is very shaky.

All these events are bad news for America and Israel. But they show us almost precisely where we are in Bible prophecy!

Now let me illustrate a new and stunning piece of the puzzle about the Middle East.

The whole scenario is explained in Daniel 11:40-44. These verses reveal what is unfolding in the Middle East, Europe and Asia—the most critical prophecy of the next few years.

Until now, I have not understood much about why the two nations of Libya and Ethiopia are mentioned in verse 43, along with Egypt. These two nations are thekeythat unlocks the strategy of radical Islam. That strategy is going to shake the U.S. and Europe to their foundations!

We are about to be flooded with bad news. But it is all concluded by the best news you have ever heard!

Soon you will see the prophesied 10 European kings unite into the Holy Roman Empire that is going to clash with radical Islam, or the king of the south. Europe understands what the U.S. does not: Radical Islam must be stopped! And the stronger leaders know it won’t be done through negotiation!

Here is what I wrote in the Trumpet magazine, July 1993—nearly 18 years ago: “So when does the king of the south ‘push’ at the king of the north? It must happen after the book of Daniel was revealed to Herbert W. Armstrong in this end time. Daniel 12:9 tells us the time of the end begins when Daniel was revealed. [The book can only be understood in this end time (Daniel 12:4, 9).] So the king of the south must arise after Daniel was revealed to God’s end-time Church—specifically to Herbert W. Armstrong. These verses point to a king of the south that is yet future. And I believe all indications point to radical Islam, headed by Iran, as this king.”

How could I have known so long ago that Iran would be the king of the south and clash with the Holy Roman Empire? Because of what was happening in Iran and the Middle East, coupled with Bible prophecy. It is time for all of us to wake up to what is happening in this world. We are facing the greatest catastrophe ever on planet Earth.

What happened in January and February of this year was only a small dress rehearsal of what is about to explode in the Middle East! The whole world will be dragged into this unparalleled crisis! Iran is about to get the nuclear bomb. It is the greatest terrorist-sponsoring nation in the world—no other country even comes close. And here is the worst part of all: Iranian leaders and many of their people believe the 12th imam (their version of the Messiah) is about to return. They think his return can be hastened by creating chaos!

You can create a lot of chaos with many terrorists and nuclear bombs. Never in this modern age has a powerful nation held such extremely dangerous beliefs. That makes Iran a terrifying danger far removed from what we have ever faced before!

No other nation on this Earth brings such certain and deadly danger to this world! It is on a path thatmustlead to war!

Egypt’s Fate

Egypt adjoins Israel’s southern border, geographically. That is one big reason why the people of Israel fear what is happening in Egypt.

Here is another quote from my July 1993 Trumpet article: “Islamic extremism is gaining power at a frightening pace in Egypt also. There is a prophecy that indicates Egypt will probably fall to Islam—or be strongly influenced by Islam. Let’s read Daniel 11:40 and 42: ‘And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. … He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.’ This verse indicates Egypt will be allied with the king of the south. That is probably the reason Egypt is also attacked and taken captive! I believe this prophecy in Daniel 11:42 indicates you are about to see a radical change in Egyptian politics!”

The Holy Roman Empire, led by Germany and the Vatican, is going to wage war against radical Islam with all the power it can muster. That one whirlwind blow will destroy the king of the south.

Since I wrote that, Egypt has been shaken repeatedly by Iran and radical Islam. Anwar Sadat, the president of Egypt before Hosni Mubarak, was killed by the Muslim Brotherhood—the strongest opponent of Mubarak today and closely tied to Iran. Now that radical, violent organization is about to get much more influence and control in Egyptian politics. The Brotherhood has been less violent the last 30 years because of the strong leadership of Mubarak. But now he is gone. Egypt’s close relationship with America is history!

The Hamas terrorists of the Gaza Strip are the Palestinian counterparts to the Muslim Brotherhood! This terrorist Brotherhood could get control of Egypt. It could be very similar to how Hamas got control of Gaza.

Here is what the Christian Science Monitor wrote January 25: “[T]hey’re seeking the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, who ascended to the presidency after Sadat’s assassination in 1981. A popular uprising in Tunisia may have just pushed out President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali [That did happen.] …. But activists, political analysts and average people in Egypt insist that something crucial shifted for Egypt today. Egyptian political scientist Mustapha Kamel Al Sayyid predicts that now the dam has broken, protests will continue. ‘The reservoir of discontent is huge,’ he says. … ‘[T]here’s a revolution coming,’ [a protester added]” (emphasis mine throughout).

The future is quite bleak for Egypt, just as your Bible prophesiedinthe book of Daniel about 600 years before the first coming of Christ!

Why won’t people believe their own Bibles?

Here is what Stratfor wrote January 4: “The most vulnerable time in Egypt is the period before Mubarak leaves the scene [when America’s government was humiliating Mubarak, our friend for the last 30 years]. … Let’s consider for a moment what an Islamist Egypt would mean. The Mediterranean, which has been a strategically quiet region, would come to life. The United States would have to reshape its strategy, and Israel would have to refocus its strategic policy. Turkey’s renaissance would have to take seriously a new Islamic power in the Mediterranean. Most important, an Islamist Egypt would give dramatic impetus to radical Islam throughout the Arab world. One of the linchpins of American and European policy in the region would be gone in a crucial part of the world. The transformation of Egypt into an Islamist country would be the single most significant event we could imagine in the Islamic world, beyond an Iranian bomb.”

Stratforplaces the move of Egypt into the radical Islamic camp as more deadly than anythingexcept Iran’s getting the nuclear bomb—which it is about to do!

That is exactly what is going to happen inside Egypt—according to Bible prophecy.

President Mubarak resisted the radical Muslims in their violence toward Israel and other nations. He was a powerful ally in helping America, Britain and Israel in their war against terror. Mubarak fought against Iran getting the nuclear bomb.

In terms of its peace, Israel is going to lose its best friend in the Middle East—Egypt. The Jewish nation is in grave danger! The Jews know it and many of them blame the U.S. for much of this Egyptian crisis.

President Mubarak exerted the power needed inside Egypt to control his strongest opponent, the violent Muslim Brotherhood. He has lived through six assassination attempts on his life.

Still our leaders seem to have no real concept of what he had to deal with every day.

In spite of Mubarak’s positive fruits, the present U.S. administration set out to humiliate him publicly from the beginning of the massive demonstrations in Egypt! Only a rebuke from Saudi Arabia slowed our government’s tactics.

No Arab country in the Middle East has done more to befriend America!

Yes, Mr. Mubarak made some serious mistakes. But America has utterly betrayed a friend of 30 years. The result? America’s influence in the Middle East has plummeted to near zero!

Why? Because we support the enemies of America and the moderate Arab states and humiliate nations that are friendly toward us. For example, the American government said nothing to support many thousands (some say millions) of dissenters in the summer of 2009 when they marched against Iranian leaders who stole their election!

America will never have another opportunity as it did with that first and most powerful wave of dissent. The brutal military has since gotten control over the dissenters, who are now more fearful.

On the other hand, the U.S. government immediately supported the dissenters in Egypt and humiliated our friend of many years, Hosni Mubarak.

The U.S. could have diplomatically spoken encouraging words to both sides.

How can we explain such a dangerous, upside-down foreign policy? Why should moderate Arab nations and Israel give any support to America? Surely, we must see how our actions negatively impact those nations in the Middle East!

The whole world is watching. America’s foreign policy is an unmitigated disaster!

In a crisis, what Arab country would now help us secure the massive amounts of oil we get from the Middle East—without which our economy would be wrecked?!

What Egyptians Really Want

Egyptian presidential elections are scheduled to be held in September 2011! What results should we expect?

Many people in the West hope to see Egypt transform into a picture of democracy and peace. But what do the Egyptian people want? Are Western leaders willing to look at the reality?

A major survey by the Pew Research Center last year showed that the people of Egypt have no interest in Western-style democracy. Theyactuallywantstrict Islamic rule.

Look at these results from the Pew poll.

Fully 85 percent of Muslims in Egypt want a strong Islamic influence in the nation’s politics.

Nearly the same number say those who leave the Muslim faith should be killed for it.

Eighty-two percent support stoning adulterers, and 77 percent think thieves should have their hands cut off.

Well over half would support segregating women from men in the workplace.

Fifty-four percent believe suicide bombings that murder civilians can be justified.

Nearly half have a “favorable view” of the terrorist group Hamas, and 3 in 10 are positive toward Hezbollah. One fifth of Egyptians even hold positive views of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

Among the 18 Muslim nations Pew surveyed, Egypt had the highest unfavorable rating toward America: 82 percent of Egyptians dislike the U.S.

A powerful Mubarak was able to control or contain the more extreme views of his own people. But that dam was broken when he resigned.

No new leader could ever get the power to resist such strong beliefs of the Egyptian people. This all plays into the hands of Iran and its strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. What happened to Iran in 1979 is somewhat similar to what will happen in Egypt. And let’s not forget how Iran turned Gaza and Lebanon into its own terrorist arms. In each of those places, it started with a group like the Muslim Brotherhood.

We continually underestimate the power of Iran! That wealthy nation gives full, fanatical support to terrorist groups!

The people are now rejoicing in Egypt. But it is not a time for joy in America—it is a time for fear. If we don’t understand that now, we soon will!

Iran’s Strategy—U.S. and EU Nightmare

Stratfor Intelligence mentioned the Mediterranean area twice. Turkey, already an ally of Iran, is on the northern part of that strategically important sea.

Stratfor believes the U.S. and Israel will have to reshape their strategy. Stratforalso mentioned Europe. Germany and the Vatican are going to cause the whole world to reshape its Middle East strategy! Bible prophecy makes that very clear.

Most authorities overlook how these events are affecting Europe. Germany and the Vatican see the new Middle East crisis as deadly serious. The king of the north, or the Holy Roman Empire, is soon to have a strong leader who will see the danger much like Stratfor Intelligence does and will act accordingly. That too is prophesied in the Bible. (Request our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. All of our literature is free.)

Germany and the Vatican probably see Iran’s strategy better than any power outside the Middle East.

There are several Middle East nations not mentioned in Daniel 11:40-44 either by their ancient or modern names—for example, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.

But two more nations are mentioned for a reason I have not understood as I do now.

Libya and Ethiopia

“But he [the king of the north] shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps” (Daniel 11:43). Why did God inspire the mentioning of Libya and Ethiopia? Every word in God’s inspired Bible has significance. God placed two nations in the same verse as Egypt for a definite reason. This verse states that Libya and Ethiopia are also going to be closely allied with Iran!

Here is how the Soncino Commentary defines at his steps: “Either joining his army, or placing themselves at his beck and call.”

The Gesenius‘ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines that expression as “in his company.”

The Moffatt translation reads this way: “following in his train.”

Libyan protesters seek to topple dictator Muammar Qadhafi in February 2011. (Getty Images)

So you need to watch Libya and Ethiopia. They are about to fall under the heavy influence or control of Iran, the king of the south. That is why they are subdued in the king of the north victory.

That prophecy is easy to understand. The big question is this: Do you believe your Bible?

Why would Iran be so interested in getting some measure of control over Libya and Ethiopia? To me, the answer is intriguing.

All you need to do is get a good map of the Middle East, with the emphasis on the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Then you can see why the king of the south, or radical Islam, is so interested in an alliance with or control over these two countries (as well as Egypt and Tunisia). They are on the two seas that comprise the most important trade route in the world!

Whoever heavily influences or controls Ethiopia will undoubtedly also control the small areas of Eritrea and Djibouti on the Red Sea coastline. These areas only recently became independent of Ethiopia. Also, I believe the Bible view is that these small areas are included as a part of Ethiopia.

Controlling the Suez Canal is not enough. Egypt tried that in 1956, when Britain, France and Israel kicked it out in one attack. But what if you have radical Islamic nations along this sea trade route with real air power—including missiles?

That could give Iran virtual control of the trade through those seas. Radical Islam could stop the flow of essential oil to the U.S. and Europe!

Iran could also potentially get control of Jerusalem, its third-holiest site. I believe Jerusalem is more important to Iran than the oil is. The Islamic people have fought the Catholic Crusades for about 1,500 years over control of Jerusalem. Bible prophecy says one final crusade is about to erupt.

Iran conquering Jerusalem wouldSUDDENLYgalvanize the whole Islamic world! It would spread radical Muslim influence to many countries outside the Middle East. It could lead to dangerous rioting and terror in Europe, Asia and even America.

The soon-coming Holy Roman Empire—a superpower with 10 kings, dominated by Catholicism and led by the most deceptive and aggressive Germany ever—realizes that Arab fervor could spread like wildfire. Many Catholics consider Jerusalem their most important religious site.

If Iran gets control of that trade route, it could create enormous damage and chaos in America and Europe almost overnight. Germany and the Vatican, the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, are not going to allow the king of the south to get control of Jerusalem and the world’s number-one trade route!

I did a television program on January 27 of this year. The viewers were asked to watch Libya and Ethiopia because of new understanding I had received the previous day.

There was almost no news about Libya at that time. The nation seemed stable. Less than one month later, Libya’s government was about to be overthrown, or a civil war was beginning.

We believe that the new understanding we received about Libya was a miracle. We also believe thetimingof when we received that understanding wasamiracle.

Such miracles are not just coincidence.

You need to continue to watch for Libya and Ethiopia to make a severe and rapid turn into the radical Islamic camp.

You also need to watch closely what we speak and write about Bible prophecy.

The king of the south is going to push at the king of the north, probably from its trade route power. That push will be a dramatic act of war! The Holy Roman Empire will respond with an all-out whirlwind attack—and Iran and radical Islam will fall immediately.

Arab-Iranian control over the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea could be the real reason the U.S. is not involved in this Mideast war. Our economy is shaky, the dollar is extremely weak, and Iran could threaten or even cut off all our oil and wreck the U.S. economy to keep America out of the war.

The prophecy about Libya and Ethiopia unlocks Iran’s military strategy! We wrote over 15 years ago about Iran’s global ambitions. They have only intensified since that time.

So the Bible indicates that Libya and Ethiopia also have to be subdued by the king of the north because they were in the radical Islamic camp. Those two nations were “at his steps.” Both countries have already been influenced by radical Islam. But they are not in the radical Muslim camp—yet.

Why are these two nations even mentioned in this prophecy if they don’t play a key role?

Lebanon’s Government Falls

The Lebanese government has been friendly to the U.S., but it also fell in late January this year. Hezbollah, a terrorist arm of Iran, has now gotten control of Lebanon.

Agence France-Presse wrote on January 26, “Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said on Wednesday that Lebanon was being taken ‘hostage’ by Iran and Hezbollah, after the Shiite group’s preferred candidate was named as Lebanese premier-designate. ‘The international community must do everything to stop Hezbollah and Iran from taking Lebanon hostage,’ Shalom told Israeli public radio. ‘Hezbollah is not simply a terrorist organization, it’s a terrorist organization controlled by the Iranian state,’ he said.”

That is the king of the south in action!

This is another dangerous shift in Middle East power to terror-sponsoring Iran. It’s more bad news for Israel and the U.S., because the Lebanese government was friendly toward them. Iran’s terrorist arm of Lebanon is geographically joined to Israel.

The alarm bells are ringing!

While I was writing this article, the Yemen government pledged to soon step down because of large demonstrations. That government has also been helping the U.S. and others fight the war against terror. Yemen is already infested with terrorists. It is located on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden—and is another strategically powerful country if you are trying to control world trade.

World War III and Christ’s Second Coming

Events in the Middle East are going to trigger World War iii. The king of the north, after conquering the king of the south, will be alarmed as the kings of the east prepare to attack. So the European power will strike first. Europe will then be overwhelmed by Russia, China and probably Japan. (For more information, request our booklets Daniel—Unsealed at Last and The King of the South.)

This will lead to Armageddon, which leads to Christ’s Second Coming.

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination [the king of the north] that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Daniel 12:11).

Verse 12 then says, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” Here God draws attention to 1,335 days and says those who make it to the beginning of this time period are blessed.

From Daniel 10:10 to the end of Daniel’s book is the longest single prophecy in the Bible. Mainly it focuses on “the time of the end” (Daniel 11:40). The Moffatt Bible translates that expression, “when the end arrives.”

The end time has arrived! Mighty prophecies are being fulfilled before your eyes! That means monstrous and lightning-fast changes in world events. But these extremely dangerous end-time events conclude with the coming of the Messiah. That is the finale to the longest single prophecy in the Bible!

Whether we like it or not, the end time has arrived. Ninety percent of Bible prophecy is being fulfilled in this end time. News reports are filled with prophetic events.

America is about to go bankrupt. Soon riots and race wars are going to explode in the U.S. They will make the demonstrations in Egypt seem like child’s play by comparison!

God is going to get our attention!

The Great Tribulation is about to burst on the world scene. It will be followed immediately by the Day of the Lord—which is concluded by the Messiah’s coming.

Bible prophecy proves that God is alive and His plan always prevails. It is time for all mankind to wake up to the reality of Bible prophecy!

The extremely good news is that these cataclysmic events lead directly to the Second Coming of Christ. Then Christ will rule this Earth forever under the direction of His Father.

Mankind’s terrible suffering is about to end forever.

Iran’s terrorist infrastructure in the Sinai

With Egypt in turmoil, Iran is wasting no time in developing its weapons smuggling infrastructure in the Sinai Peninsula, according to Israeli defense officials, the Jerusalem Postreports.

“Iran wants to take advantage of the current anarchy in Egypt and establish a stronger foothold in Gaza,” a senior defense official said. “They are building new capabilities, upgrading smuggling mechanisms and studying the new military presence there to see how it will affect them.”

Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, Iran’s proxy has bombarded southern Israel with rockets and small missiles. With the demise of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, Israel now fears that the whole Sinai border could become a launch pad for similar projectiles endangering the southern Israeli port city of Eilat.

For the past 30 years of Mubarak’s reign, Israel’s southern border with Egypt was a non-threat. But now, just weeks after his ouster, the 240-kilometer-long border is another worry for Israel in its battle for survival.

Using the Bible as Her Guide

Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar discusses the value of the Holy Book for Israeli archaeology.
From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

With over 10 million copies sold, Werner Keller’s book The Bible as History stands as the principal literary work highlighting the accuracy of the Bible. Originally published in 1955 and again in 1980, the book travels through the biblical epic, pointing out how archaeology has time and again proven the Bible as a legitimate historical document. Further excavation over the years has vindicated most of Keller’s positions and disproved a few others, but the fact remains that the Bible preserves a compellingly truthful account of ancient Israel’s history.

Since that book was published, scores of recent archaeological excavations are corroborating the biblical history as well.

Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar unabashedly uses the Bible as one of many tools in her kit. Famed for discovering King David’s palace in 2005, Dr. Mazar is a solid supporter of the Bible’s function in informing successful Israeli archaeology. “What is amazing about the Bible is that very often we see that it is very accurate and sometimes amazingly accurate,” she told the Trumpet.

So accurate, in fact, that she actually used one specific verse to locate the massive but heretofore elusive palace of King David from over 3,000 years ago.

Scripture Supplies a Clue

When David conquered the Jebusite city around 1000 b.c. he took up residence in the stronghold—the Jebusite fortress at the north end of the city. According to 2 Samuel 5:9, he then began to build up the area around Millo and inward. The New International Version says David “built up the area around it, from the supporting terraces inward.” So David set out to enlarge the city limits—first concentrating on a royal palace. The Bible says King David’s palace was partially built by workers sent to him by the Phoenician king of Tyre as a gesture of friendship (verse 11). “And David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him” (verse 10).

Near the end of David’s palace construction, the Philistines attacked. And since the new palace may not have been reinforced strongly enough to withstand the Philistine assault, verse 17 says David went down to the citadel to barricade himself within the city walls until the conflict ended. This, Dr. Mazar theorized more than a decade ago, indicates that David’s new palace stood on higher ground than the Jebusite fortress.

She published her theory in Biblical Archaeology Review in January 1997 under the title, “Excavate King David’s Palace.” On a two-page artist’s rendering of the ancient City of David, Mazar drew an arrow pointing at the north end of the city, underneath the caption “it’s there.” She wrote, “Careful examination of the biblical text combined with sometimes unnoticed results of modern archaeological excavations in Jerusalem enable us, I believe, to locate the site of King David’s palace. Even more exciting, it is in an area that is now available for excavation. If some regard as too speculative the hypothesis I shall put forth in this article, my reply is simply this: Let us put it to the test in the way archaeologists always try to test their theories—by excavation.”

A decade later, excavation did exactly that. In 2005, just under the surface in the northern-most region of the City of David, she found what she calls the Large Stone Structure and labeled it King David’s palace.

But Is It Scientific?

Naturally, in the scientific world, Dr. Mazar has detractors who discredit her work because of how she uses the Bible. They label her as a religious fundamentalist with obvious bias. However, in talking and working with Eilat Mazar in person, you hardly get that impression. Much the opposite, Dr. Mazar is as scientific as they come, her conclusions based firmly in sound archaeological method.

While archaeological method is constantly improving, Dr. Mazar is as scientifically respectable as anyone in the field. She actually invites other archaeologists to the site, “especially ones that think differently,” she says. “Everybody is most welcome to observe how we work, and afterwards, how we process the finds. We make sure that everything can be observed and criticized. Then nobody can blame us that we are not doing the best updated work.”

Some archaeologists dislike that Dr. Mazar actually found what she was looking for, and label that premise as being unscientific. However, is it not scientific to have a hypothesis before you start an experiment and then use a controlled method to test that hypothesis?

Once the excavation is over and the artifacts and stratigraphy are studied, it is the right of the archaeologist to suggest the best possible explanation of what has been excavated, to objectively decide whether the hypothesis held up. In the case of King David’s palace, it most certainly did. The widely acknowledged dating of the structure to sometime during the 11th and 10th century b.c., its location within the city and its enormous size all testify that King David’s palace is the most logical and scientific identification of the Large Stone Structure.

Actually, it is good science to find what you are looking for. But it requires great ability to draw on all the sources at your disposal to conduct the best possible research before you excavate. In Dr. Mazar’s mind, this research necessitated tapping the biblical text.

Dr. Mazar can hardly understand why some of her contemporaries work to pick holes in the text rather than use it to aid their work. “Archaeology cannot stand by itself as a very technical method,” she related. “It is actually quite primitive without the support of written documents. Excavating the ancient land of Israel and not reading and getting to know the biblical source is stupidity. I don’t see how it can work. It’s like excavating a classical site and ignoring Greek and Latin sources. It is impossible.”

Impossible indeed! As impossible as recovering Egyptian history without Manetho.

The Stones Ignore the Sponsors

Many delegitimize Dr. Mazar’s work at the palace of David because of the religious views of her sponsors. But consider: She waited 10 years from when her paper was published before she could get funding to excavate. No doubt if a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or atheist gave her the money to excavate she would have used it to produce the same investigative process, arriving at the same conclusion.

What would Dr. Mazar say to critics who fault her archaeology because of its Jewish sponsors?

She laughs and replies, “Well, the stones, and the structure, and the stratigraphical layers—they don’t care who is giving the funds. There are very clear and very advanced scientific methods our days. You can have all theories and working hypotheses as you go to the field, but the minute you start to excavate, all these theories need to be put on the side. From that minute onward, you have to document and give every little item a precise height and photograph what you find.” She concluded, “I think that the people who get to know the details of how archaeology works nowadays understand that you cannot force agenda on the facts.”

For Dr. Mazar, her whole academic reputation is on the line with her excavations and conclusions. Still, she holds firm to the historical application of the Bible.

Inspiration From a Grandfather

Although she may be the poster child of biblical archaeology today, Dr. Eilat Mazar isn’t the first archaeologist to hold the Bible in such high esteem.

“There is nothing new about reading the Bible to see how much of the reality can be tangible. It is a whole school that started with Robinson and later on in force with Albright, of which my grandfather considered himself to be a follower and a student,” she says.

“My grandfather” is the late professor Dr. Benjamin Mazar, a leading Israeli archaeologist in his own right. He is best known for his massive excavation at the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount that spanned the late 1960s and the ’70s. He also served as president of the Hebrew University between 1953 and 1961.It was his enthusiasm for archaeology and the Bible that captured the imagination of a young girl named Eilat who loved to visit his digs. She recalls that many times she would sit before her grandfather as a child when he would conduct advanced seminars for scholars in his home. “He was sharing his enthusiasm with the whole academic world and with us, the children.”

From home to the excavation site to anywhere beyond, archaeology saturated Mazar family life. Naturally, Eilat and others in the family followed Dr. Mazar into the field. “When I studied at the university, he guided,” she says. While at university, the two Mazars began working together on publication of The Temple Mount Excavations. The project would continue for 10 years.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mazar worked in the City of David excavations under the direction of Dr. Yigal Shiloh. Each day after the excavations, as she worked with her grandfather, he would ask her, “What’s new at the excavation?”

“What’s new? We just discussed all the new things yesterday, so what can be so new?” she would reply.

“No, no, no; what’s new?” the professor would ask again.

“He was expecting new and fresh thinking every single day. He really pushed me. On the one hand it was quite distressing, but on the other hand it pushed me to constantly be thinking every time that I am excavating,” Mazar recounts.

That training and birth, if you will, into archaeology served Eilat Mazar well. So did Professor Mazar’s deep understanding that the Bible should be used as a historical source for Israelite history.

And it was the two together who would first discuss the idea that King David’s palace was located exactly where it was later found.

Ever since the early 1800s, many in the scientific community have sought to malign the authenticity of the biblical text. The God of the Bible actually claims to be not just a casual observer of the history of mankind, but an actor in it as well—making the Bible unlike any other religious book. Thus, when men presumably destroyed the historical basis for the Bible, it put people’s faith on shaky ground. For that reason, Keller’s book in the mid-20th century was a refreshing change.

Thankfully, there are still some, like Dr. Eilat Mazar, who are willing to practice true science and acknowledge the Bible as history. If more did, who knows what else would be found?

WorldWatch

From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

WorldWatch | Europe

What to do about persecution?

Following an attack on a Christian Coptic church in Egypt in December, European Union officials began a debate on how to confront the persecution of Christians increasing in the Middle East and North Africa.

Further such violence occurred on January 28, when a group of Muslims in the Nigerian city of Jos stabbed a couple of Christian students. Soldiers standing by did nothing. When some students criticized them, a soldier opened fire, injuring seven students. The next day, protests broke out. In the chaos, soldiers fired on some youths from a predominantly Christian community. This fueled Christian-Muslim tension and led to Christian protesters targeting Muslim homes and workplaces. On February 1, a predominantly Christian village was attacked, killing 19 people.

On February 21, EU foreign ministers denounced attacks on both Christians and Muslims. The move came after they previously failed to draft a declaration that referenced Christianity specifically in the text. The proposed declaration was rejected on January 31 as Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said it showed an “excess of secularism.” He said, “The final text didn’t include any mention of Christians, as if we were talking of something else.” France, too, wanted Christians and Shiites mentioned, but Britain and several Nordic countries feared that references to specific religions might spark a “clash of civilizations.”

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (comece), a group that represents Catholic bishops in Europe, criticized the foreign ministers’ failure in January. The president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Aneglo Bagnasco, said the persecution of Christians in some countries is reaching the level of ethnic or religious cleansing.

As it turned out, those wanting Christianity specifically included won out. “The Council expresses its profound concern about the increasing number of acts of religious intolerance and discrimination … against Christians and their places of worship, Muslim pilgrims and other religious communities, which it firmly condemns,” the February statement said.

comece welcomed the Council’s decision and urged the EU to follow up the words with deeds. “The fusion of ‘common sense’ and ‘political will’ has prevailed to secure the strong statement urgently needed to stop the widespread acts of terrorism and sectarianism against Christians worldwide,” comece said in a statement. “Yet the security and survival of Christian communities, especially in the Middle East, requires concrete action.”

Watch for a confrontation to continue to build between Christianity and Islam. Spurred on by the Vatican, Europe’s leaders are already starting to take action.

1 | France 

Stop praying in our streets!

French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared on February 10 during a television interview that multiculturalism has failed, adding, “We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him.” Sarkozy joins the ranks of German and other European leaders in criticizing multicultural policies for failing to successfully integrate immigrants into Europe. Sarkozy singled out Muslims, saying France doesn’t want them praying in the streets.

2 | Germany 3 | Russia

Helping the Russians—look out

Russian Defense Ministry officials signed a contract on February 9 with German private defense firm Rheinmetall to construct a combat training facility for Russia’s military on the Mulino base. Russian defense officials have also offered for Rheinmetall to manage the “support, repair and modernization of military equipment.”

The agreement is significant because Rheinmetall is the first foreign company to construct such a training facility in Russia, and the German company has a sobering Nazi-era history.

Moreover, the deal indicates a quickly warming relationship between Moscow and Berlin. History makes plain where such a relationship will lead. Any peace pact between the two countries indicates that one or both are gearing up for another imperialistic campaign.

Unmasking Europe’s Muslims

The German state of Hesse banned civil servants from wearing the burka on February 2; other states have signaled they may follow suit as a backlash against Islam builds in Germany. Hesse’s Interior Minister Boris Rhein said a headscarf is fine but the burka could be seen as “hostile to Western values.” Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister Uwe Schünemann said his state is considering a similar ban. “The burka has no place in the public service,” he said. Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann also welcomed Hesse’s ban. Expect more such moves as Germany and other European states respond to the incursion of Islam.

2 | Germany 4 | Israel

How close are they really?

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Israel this past February, she declared that Germany’s relations with Israel have “no parallel with any other country to which Germany has ties.” So close have the two former enemies become that they each take turns hosting an annual joint cabinet session of their governments in the other’s country. Merkel also declared that “the security of Israel is not just a two-state issue, but a global issue. We have to make certain that the security of Israel in secure borders is assured.”

Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, stated during that visit, “We are allies, Israel and Germany, and we have a great desire, on both sides, to strengthen our relationship and our bilateral cooperation. We also have the strong desire to advance peace and security in our region.” Chancellor Merkel replied, “We have similar values, which makes it very easy for us to cooperate.”

But remember where all this collaboration started. Our longtime readers know that we have long anticipated a close liaison between Germany and the embattled nation of Israel. But few realize just how soon after World War ii Israel began reaching out to Germany.

As early as 1960, Israeli intelligence leaders contacted Germany for help in stemming the rising, even overwhelming anti-Israel pan-Arab aggression driven by Egypt’s Gamul Abdul Nasser.

Paradoxically, the first meetings between the Israeli secret service and the postwar German intelligence service took place in Munich, Bavaria, in the villa once home to Martin Bormann, Hitler’s chief of the chancellery, the man who had signed the edicts giving Adolf Eichmann full power to slaughter millions of Jews in Nazi death camps. Yet, for the largely friendless, struggling nation of Israel, the threat to the nation’s survival led the Jews to seek aid from their former genocidal enslavers.

That first clandestine meeting between Isser Harel, head of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, and Reinhard Gehlen, president of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (bnd) and chief Nazi spy in Hitler’s Wehrmacht Foreign Armies East, marked a turning point in Israeli-German relations.

This situation was all the more remarkable in light of the fact that the bnd was infested with Nazis. Under the auspices of the United States and Britain, Gehlen was encouraged to create Germany’s postwar spy network. This he did, with the full connivance of the Allies, by culling ex-Nazis, former SS officers and Nazi sympathizers, especially from the Soviet East, into the bnd structure. These unrepentant Nazis were among the very group that Herbert Armstrong stated “went underground” toward the close of World War ii, still clinging to imperialist dreams of world conquest.

Of such were those who founded today’s German intelligence service. Of such came the postwar industrialists, bankers, businessmen and bureaucrats who formed the postwar Adenauer-era West German republic. That vision has been passed on to other generations of German elites by those who never did free themselves from the dream of global hegemony. Much of that vision is now embedded in the Lisbon Treaty/European constitution upon which the imperialist European Union is established.

Thus, when Harel entered that Bavarian villa to consort with some of the most extreme elements of Jew-hating Nazidom, he sowed the seeds for the fulfillment of the words of the Prophet Hosea.

As our editor in chief writes in Jerusalem in Prophecy, “The book of Hosea was written as prophecy for the end time. Again, the nation called Israel today is really biblical Judah. There are some specific prophecies about Judah in this book.” He then quotes Hosea 5:13: “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.” “Studying this verse in the original Hebrew reveals that both Ephraim (Britain) and Judah (called ‘Israel’ today) go to Assyria (or Germany …).” (These national identities are proven in our free booklets The United States and Britain in Prophecy and Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.)

Gerald Flurry then asks: “Why do the Jews go to Germany, and what is Judah’s wound?” He points to Obadiah 1:7, where another word for wound appears, defined by Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon as “falsehood; hence, fraud, insidious dealing … net, or snare.” As Mr. Flurry shows, that word “is directly related to being deceived by a peace pact!”

That initial meeting between the heads of Israel’s and Germany’s secret services began a process of intelligence and military cooperation between Germany and Israel that has continued for more than five decades. It resulted in the establishment of diplomatic relations, and most recently, Israel and Germany have publicly recognized each other as the closest of allies.

When one knows the history, and even more so the Bible prophecies relating to the current nexus between Germany and Israel, one understands that Hosea’s prophecy is well advanced in its fulfillment. It had an early start on that chilly winter evening in Bavaria. The venue, and the host, could hardly have been more indicative of the outcome. Harel’s visit would place Israel on a road to disaster.

Here is why this is so dangerous. In many end-time prophecies, God reveals how Israel will be the victim of a treacherous diplomatic double cross. Ezekiel 23 discusses this calamity. “Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted” (verses 9, 12).

Our booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy is a timely read as insurrection is stirring throughout the region surrounding the tiny embattled nation of Israel. This present unrest is but a catalyst guaranteed to place the Middle East “peace process” back on the international agenda. But this time, watch for the U.S. to take a backseat—and for Europe, particularly Germany, to be right in the middle of it.

Desperately seeking WDMs

Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are working to produce chemical, biological and radioactive weapons to attack the West, according to WikiLeaks diplomatic cables released by the Telegraph on February 1.

One cable revealed that India’s national security adviser warned U.S. senators that terrorist groups were trying to obtain the ingredients necessary for a dirty bomb. Cables also showed that Syria and Iran are still pursuing a chemical weapons program and that al Qaeda and other groups are working to produce a biological weapon.

Other cables contained details of where terrorists could obtain chemical, biological or nuclear material. Cables also noted instances of individuals trying to sell or transport nuclear material.

These leaked cables show that terrorists stand a good chance of getting hold of terrifying weapons that threaten us all.

WorldWatch | Middle East

1 | Israel

PA: The more things change …

Amid growing unrest in the Arab world, the cabinet of the Palestinian Legislative Council resigned February 14. Many saw the shake-up as an attempt to calm mob fervor against the government of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was immediately reinstated and commissioned by Abbas to fill the cabinet posts within six weeks.

This party reshuffle is unlikely to change life for Palestinians much, though it will give the sense of political change the populace yearns for. Abbas also called for Palestinian elections to be held in September. If that happens, it will be the first elections since Hamas won the majority vote in 2006. While Hamas has said it will boycott the September elections, the Trumpet expects the terrorist group to not only continue to reign over the Gaza Strip but also attempt to take over the West Bank. Instability in the Fatah hierarchy could help bring about that change.

Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat quit on February 12 after two decades in the diplomatic service, taking responsibility for the leak of over 1,600 documents stolen from his office. The documents, detailing dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli officials from 1999 through 2010, reveal Erekat and his colleagues were willing to give more to Israelis than they had made known to the public. But while the leaders might have discussed such concessions, Erekat’s resignation reveals they would have never flown with the Palestinian public. For 20 years Erekat was an outspoken critic of Israel’s methods for achieving peace, always blaming Israel for failed peace talks. His belligerence was exactly what the public wanted. One small revelation that he was actually willing to do what all negotiators do—compromise—and he is out of a job. Erekat’s resignation shows that the Palestinian public will not allow their leaders to make a peace with Israel that concedes one inch.

2 | Jordan 

A different outcome

Jordanian King Abdullah ii fired his government and asked replacement Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit to form a new one on February 1 after three weeks of protests. The Muslim Brotherhood is a powerful political force in Jordan. Its political wing, the Islamic Action Front, had demanded the government’s resignation, reform of Jordan’s election law, and the formation of a new unity government with a prime minister chosen by the people rather than the king.

Don’t expect protests to overthrow the Jordanian regime, however. The leader of the Islamic Action Front, Hamza Mansour, said, “Unlike Egypt, we don’t want a regime change in Jordan and we recognize the Hashemites’ rule in Jordan.” Moreover, we can know that Jordan will not fall to radical Islam because the same Bible prophecy that says Egypt will be aligned with Iran also states that Jordan will not.

3 | Iran 

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk

Another round of nuclear talks between Iran and the UN Security Council plus Germany was held January 21-22. Though U.S. and European officials headed into the two-day negotiations with increased confidence that sanctions and covert actions were taking their toll on Iran’s nuclear program, the talks ended in stalemate. Tehran remains defiant toward the Security Council and continues to work toward its goal of becoming a nuclear nation. The talks never got past Tehran’s precondition that the “P5+1” nations recognize Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium and agree to drop sanctions before substantive negotiations could begin. Besides setting the agenda of the talks, Iran scored another victory by setting the location of the talks in ally Turkey.

WorldWatch | Asia

4 | Japan

Finally, a plan to turn it around

Following decades of energetic growth after recovering from World War ii, the Japanese economy fell into trouble at the end of the 20th century. Through the first decade of the 21st century, it continued to languish. Japan’s problem was systemic. Drastic surgery was needed to cut deep into the corporate and societal mores that were placing a drag on any effort for forward momentum.

Perhaps that surgery is now about to happen.

Japan’s current prime minister, Naoto Kan, following an unimpressive start to his premiership, has unveiled a package of initiatives designed to shock the nation back into a growth curve. Described by the Economist as “recklessly ambitious,” though making “economic sense, which is a novelty in Japan,” the program calls for a complete overhaul of the nation’s social security system, raising sales tax to offset the national debt, and enabling growth through joining the nine-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade zone. As the Economist opined, “For the first time since Mr. Koizumi, a prime minister is articulating a vision of Japan’s place in the world, as well as a response to a rising China” (February 3).

The catch is, will Japan buy the package? The whole electorate would have to suffer temporary pain for long-term gain. This will be a hard sell for the prime minister should he have the courage and his party’s support to take his proposals to the nation, even perhaps forcing an election over it at risk to his own prime ministry.

There are early signs that business and the press are turning to support Prime Minister Kan. If he can mount a positive media campaign to gain the backing of a majority of the electorate, then any resistance from political opponents may well be overcome and Japan could find itself—for the first time in two decades—returning to its prior position as an Asian powerhouse economy, competing effectively with the rising giants of China and India. To understand how such a scenario would fit with biblical prophecy for our times, request our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

5 | China

Dollar ‘a product of the past’

On January 16, the evening before he left for Washington, Chinese President Hu Jintao made the boldest statement to date about the U.S. dollar’s position as the global reserve currency: “The current international currency system is the product of the past.” Hu went on to lambast the U.S. for pumping dollars into the global market. The timing of his comments revealed China’s growing confidence. Beijing cares less and less what America thinks as it invests more of its cash—and its confidence—in Europe instead.

Tightening rare earth monopoly

China is stockpiling strategic reserves of rare earth metals. In recent months, it has built facilities able to store thousands of tons of the crucial technology-producing resources. China’s control of over 95 percent of the world’s rare earth production gives it substantial power, and its increased reserves will tighten its grip on that market. In January, Beijing nationalized 11 rare earth mines, effectively consolidating the industry and further strengthening China’s leverage in the rare earth market. Expect an increase in global competition for rare earths as a result of China’s stranglehold on supplies.

6 | Philippines

Reading the writing on the wall

In December, Philippine police arrested 14 Taiwanese citizens along with 10 Chinese nationals who were part of a fraud gang operating on Philippine soil. Taipei asked Manila to repatriate the criminals to Taiwan to face justice, but in February, the Philippines gave in to Beijing’s demand instead and extradited the Taiwanese gangsters to mainland China.

The move was the latest in a series of steps Manila is taking toward Beijing. The decision suggests that, from Manila’s perspective, mainland China and Taiwan are already unified. In recent months, Beijing and Manila have signed the first Sino-Philippine military agreement and collaborated on a code of conduct regarding the disputed Spratly Islands.

Historically, Manila has depended on the U.S. for assistance, but the U.S.-Philippines military relationship is cooling, and Beijing sees the trend as a chance to gain a foothold in the Philippines and expand its sphere of influence in Southeast Asia. Manila is reading the writing on the wall, and is positioning the Philippines for the inevitable demise of U.S. dominance in Asia.

WorldWatch | Latin America and Africa

1 | Colombia

China’s other ‘Panama Canal’

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos revealed February 14 that the Chinese plan on building a 138-mile-long railway across his country—from the Gulf of Urabá on the Atlantic coast to the port of Cupica on the Pacific coast. China, now the world’s second-largest economy, plans on using this new transportation thoroughfare to ship coal by rail from mines in eastern Colombia to Pacific ports, where it can then be shipped across the ocean. The railway is already being hailed as a sort of land-based Panama Canal. Since China already controls the Panama Canal, the completion of this railway will give Beijing almost complete control over all land-based and sea-based freight passing from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. If Beijing ever decides that it wants to cripple the world’s largest consumer of natural resources and assume control over it suppliers, America had best beware.

2 | Paraguay 3 | Uruguay Building a transatlantic trade bloc

While visiting Paraguay and Uruguay in early February, EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht made a clear statement that he desires a wide-ranging economic collaboration pact with the Mercosur regional trade bloc to soon be signed. “I strongly believe in a trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur,” he said. “The moment has come and I’m convinced it can be reached.” EU leaders have been reluctant to sign such an agreement due to fear of a flood of cheap Latin American goods into Europe. Now that financial analysts are proposing increased trade between Europe and Latin America as a remedy to lift the EU out of recession, however, EU officials want a balanced free-trade agreement signed as soon as possible. Expect the relationship between the EU and Mercosur to continue to improve as they work to build a gigantic trade bloc that will increasingly isolate America on the world scene. Based on biblical prophecy, the Plain Truth wrote as far back as May 1962 that “the United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce.”

4 | Zimbabwe

A dictator’s willing partner

China will invest $10 billion in Zimbabwe within the next few years in a bid to pump new life into the nation’s ailing economy, a Zimbabwean government minister said January 31. The news contributes to concerns about the nature of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s relationship with Beijing, whose human rights record has earned the ire of the West. China’s drive for resources is drawing it deeper into Africa, and intensifying the global scramble for the planet’s wealth. As China devours an increasing proportion of resources, watch for Europe to tighten its grip on its supply channels.

5 | South Africa

Flood waters cost South Africa

Floods in South Africa in January killed more than 100 people and displaced about 20,000. Thirty-three municipalities across eight of nine provinces were declared disaster areas, and the flooding is expected to cost the farming sector about 2.8 billion rand (us$392 million) in damages. South Africa is the continent’s main breadbasket and some observers fear future food insecurity as above-average rainfall is forecast for the region over the coming months.

6 | Sudan

It’s nearly unanimous: There’s going to be a new country

On February 8, the result of January’s independence referendum in South Sudan was announced: 98.83 percent of South Sudan’s predominantly Christian population voted to break away from the Muslim-controlled north. Many north Sudanese Christians began packing up and heading back to their homeland in the south due to fears of an Islamic crackdown. Saints Peter and Paul Parish, the second-largest Catholic Church in greater Khartoum, has lost about three quarters of its parishioners. As tensions between Christians and Muslims rise across Sudan and the rest of Northern Africa and the Middle East, expect the Vatican to get increasingly involved.

WorldWatch | Anglo-America

Parliament defies EU court

In early February, British members of Parliament in the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to reject a European Court of Human Rights demand that Britain give prisoners the vote. The Council of Europe, which enforces the court’s judgments, immediately retaliated in a strong statement declaring that it was “deeply disappointed” by the defiance of the ruling.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the British government was now caught in a dilemma: “Parliament … has clearly expressed its distaste for granting votes to prisoners. The court has made it very clear that we are now in breach of law ….”

Other senior politicians are now calling for a showdown. London Mayor Boris Johnson urged Prime Minister David Cameron to make a stand against the meddling court at Strasbourg: “I think we’ve come to a real crunch point. There is absolutely no way that we can allow Parliament to be overruled in this matter. … This is not a matter for Strasbourg, it is a matter for the sovereign Parliament of this country …. I hope … the prime minister … forces a showdown.”

Since its creation in 1959, the European court has passed judgment on 418 British rulings, 80 percent of which Britain has lost and then meekly complied with. But it now faces a growing revolt by MPs keen to assert the country’s sovereignty, as well as a judicial backlash.

The February 10 parliamentary vote showed that Parliament, after decades of submissively ceding power to Brussels, has taken the first bold step of reasserting its strength and independence. In doing so, Britain has in effect declared war on a foreign court that has ruled consistently against Britain’s interests.

The question now is whether Prime Minister Cameron has the stomach for a major fight with the European court that would lead to Britain opting out of its jurisdiction.

“Let’s Say Goodbye to Strasbourg and Its Daft Decisions,” headlined the Sunday Telegraph. If Britain opted out of Strasbourg’s jurisdiction, the article said, “We would avoid its silly decisions. There would be a lot of shouting from Europe’s lawyers and politicians, but short of military invasion, they can’t force us to submit” (February 5; emphasis ours).

“Military invasion” is an interesting phrase to use in light of Bible prophecies relating to the outcome of Britain’s membership of this imperialist European institution. The result of this tussle for power with a foreign European court has already been foretold in Bible prophecy and made crystal clear in Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy (request your free copy).

You’ll find this of interest

Interest on the national debt became a major talking point when President Barack Obama spotlighted it in a February 15 news conference. By 2014, net interest on the national debt will exceed the amount spent on education, transportation, energy and other discretionary programs outside defense. By 2018, interest payments will exceed Medicare spending as well, and only defense and Social Security will be costlier. The interest is the fastest-growing portion of the federal budget. Last fiscal year, interest costs rose more than 13 percent, more than any other category.

One disaster after another after another

On February 5, a cyclone the size of Italy slammed into Queensland, Australia, right after floods inundated 75 percent of the state. Cyclone Yasi, an Australian Category 5 storm, brought sustained winds of up to 155 mph, with gusts peaking at 170 mph. Reuters estimated the storm would cause $3.5 billion in damage, which would make it the second-most damaging cyclone on record. Added to damage caused by the catastrophic spring floods, the total economic loss for Australia could amount to more than $20 billion, Impact Forecasting said.

Why everything is bigger in Texas

Census figures reveal huge growth in the number of Hispanics living in Texas. Hispanics account for two thirds of growth in the state over the past decade and now make up 38 percent of the population. Texas has grown 20 percent over the last decade, double the national rate of 9.7 percent.

Americans’ tax dollars at work

A pair of videos in early February exposed the actions of employees at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics. They record one clinic manager in New Jersey and another in Virginia dispensing advice about prostitution. The group that filmed the sting videos says the problem is institutional, and some are calling for the abortion services provided to be stripped of taxpayer funding.

Jacob’s Tangled Web

From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Does the Bible commend lying? Some say Jacob was rewarded for deceiving his father into giving him the blessing that he sought to give Esau. But read Genesis 27. It is a compelling study against the practice of deception.

In this history, Moses brings to light that Jacob was not the only one guilty of deceit; in fact, it was the entire family. Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob all use one of the four broad categories of deception.

Verses 1 through 4 lay the foundation for the history of Jacob’s ruse. His father, Isaac, was old, feeble, blind and preparing for death. Under a veil of secrecy, the patriarch called for Esau, his favorite son (see Genesis 25:28). Isaac informed Esau that he planned to confer upon him the birthright blessing, undoubtedly a spectacular inheritance. As part of their private celebration he desired that Esau both hunt and prepare his favorite venison meat dish. Esau quickly complied with his father’s wishes and rushed off into the wilds (Genesis 27:5).

Here, both of these men were guilty of deceit. Why? Isaac offered his firstborn an inheritance he could not rightly give him. Before Esau’s birth, God informed Rebekah by a prophecy that her younger son would rule over his elder brother. Isaac would have known this meant that Jacob was to receive the birthright blessing (Genesis 25:23). Notice that Isaac did not include Rebekah in his plans for Esau. Why? He knew she would disagree. Also realize that Esau never valued his birthright and had sold it to his brother for a bowl of soup (Genesis 25:31). He neglected to tell his father he had done so. His lust for wealth motivated him to conceal the fact that Jacob already possessed the blessing.

In verses 6 through 30 of Genesis 27 the history gets interesting. Isaac’s plan would have been carried out flawlessly, it would seem, had not his wife listened in on her husband’s conversation. Rebekah—believing the prophecy yet not having the faith to confront Isaac or let God work it out—concocted a complex scheme to mislead Isaac into believing that Jacob was Esau. Jacob was wary of the plan because of his radically different physical appearance from his brother—Esau was very hairy; he was not. Jacob feared getting caught and cursed for lying to Isaac (verse 12). Notice, however, that Jacob did not stop the plan. Like his mother, he lacked the faith to let God work it out. What a shame: He actually was doubly entitled to the birthright. God had assigned it to him through prophecy, and he had purchased it.

Rebekah’s darkest deceit is revealed in her discussion with Jacob, the cooking of the goat meat and the design of Jacob’s disguise. She even used some of Esau’s own clothes (verse 15). The meat of two goats was necessary to conceal the fact that the meat dish was not actually venison (verse 9).

It was awful that she took advantage of her husband’s blindness, making Jacob appear to be hairy. Of course, Jacob’s knack for deception is exposed in verses 17 through 22. Like a deceitful spy, Jacob went to his father. Using the knowledge gained from his mother, he perfectly played the part of his brother. He said, I am Esau—a bald-faced lie. He presented his father with the false meat dish his mother had made as “my venison”—another calculated deception. When questioned about how he had returned from hunting so quickly, Jacob lied by saying that God had blessed him. How insidious to bring God into this dark picture! Jacob allowed his father to feel his hair-cloaked hands and smell Esau’s robe that he wore—real depravity.

Yet, the lie worked. Jacob received the blessing. But did Jacob get away with the outright lying and theatrical deceits? Not at all!

Look at the damage done by his deceit. Isaac was emotionally crushed by Jacob’s actions. Esau became so bitterly angry that he planned to assassinate Jacob after Isaac died. Jacob had to flee for his life. He never saw his mother again; she died before he returned to Canaan. Essentially, Rebekah was cursed because of all the lying (verse 13).

Genesis 29-50 show that Jacob’s pain did not end there. His uncle Laban deceived him into marrying Leah instead of Rachel. The woman he loved (Rachel) was barren. Laban, even after he became his father-in-law, took advantage of Jacob, practically enslaving him for 14 years. God forced Jacob to wrestle with Him all night to eventually receive the blessing (Genesis 32). Jacob’s daughter Dinah was raped. His beloved second wife, Rachel, died in childbirth. To teach Jacob the deep evil of lying, God allowed him to be deceived by his own family. His sons misled him to believe that his favorite son, Joseph, was dead. When moving to Egypt to be with Joseph, Jacob confessed to Pharaoh that his life had been very hard—the few years he lived were filled with evil (Genesis 47:9).

We can only wonder what his life would have been like had he waited for God. Yet surely we can agree that Jacob was not better off after his lies and deceit.

Germany Wants First Say on EU Bailouts

Germany Wants First Say on EU Bailouts

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Battle lines are being drawn over negotiations on the solution to the eurozone crisis. The German government’s ruling coalition agreed on a paper on February 24 that establishes how far Germany will compromise on any deal made with the rest of the European Union in the negotiations.

The paper is expected to be approved as a resolution on March 17 in the German legislative body, the Bundestag. While Chancellor Angela Merkel insists the paper is in line with the plan for a “competitiveness pact” that France and Germany jointly presented to a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on February 4, the paper goes even further and limits just how much she can maneuver in negotiating a bargain.

The competitiveness pact calls for eurozone members, and even non-eurozone members who sign up, to coordinate their economic and social policies. It is an effort to save the common currency. Germany and France are now in the process of selling the plan, which includes nations harmonizing their corporate tax levels, installing “debt brakes” and adapting retirement ages to a country’s average life expectancy.

The Bundestag’s paper—agreed to by the coalition partners, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, its sister Bavarian party the Christian Social Union, and the Free Democratic Party—goes even further, however, by definitively establishing who will have charge over the EU bailout purse.

Should a eurozone country need a bailout under the European Stability Mechanism, which is to come into existence in 2013, the Bundestag must first give its approval.

Germany’s goal is publicly clear: It wants direct control of the bailout funds.

The paper also rules out the idea of a “debt union,” where the EU as a whole guarantees the debts of all its member nations. The paper also calls for greater coordination of national budget processes, an EU financial market tax and stronger centralized surveillance over compliance.

And if eurozone nations don’t like the rules or fail to comply? They will receive no future bailout funds.

On the other side, European social democrat parties are stiffening their resistance as well, calling the options under discussion “shameful.” The Party of European Socialists issued its own document, which described the process as “bullying” and ignoring “basic principles of democratic accountability.”

When the competitiveness pact was proposed at the February 4 summit, it was strongly criticized by heads of states. The European Commission also took a swipe at the plan, saying only the measures that don’t “undermine the single market” should be included.

The battle lines are being drawn, with few supporters for Germany and France’s plan. Poland, a non-eurozone member, declared its support for all of the points of the plan, as long as Poland was included in negotiations.

Still, even with few supporters, Germany holds a strong position in negotiations. As Europe’s largest economy, it is the biggest contributor to the bailout funds, funds that it looks like several nations will desperately need.

The European Economic Advisory Group (eeag) of leading European economists warned in a report published last week that Greece may need another bailout by 2013 at the latest. The eeag even advised that Greece may have to drop out of the eurozone or impose harsher austerity measures to prevent the EU having to provide it with long-term aid.

Portugal’s finances are also in trouble. The country must refinance $5.8 billion in bonds, but many expect the rates will be so high that Portugal will have to seek aid from the bailout fund. Spain is also facing problems, specifically over billions of outstanding real-estate loans.

These countries that are facing the prospect of a bailout will not have much room to move in negotiations. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was pressuring Ireland to back the plan by pointing out how Ireland had already been bailed out.

“I rescued you, and I went to my parliament on your behalf,” Sarkozy told his Irish counterpart at the Brussels summit, reported Der Spiegel. “Now you have to help us.”

As Proverbs 22:7 states, “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

Germany may face an uphill battle in promoting its competitiveness pact, and may not be able to pass the plan as it was originally presented. But there is no denying that the eurozone crisis can only be resolved with Germany’s consent. This means any reform to save the euro will be led by Germany and will fulfill its demands.

Continue to watch Germany use the eurozone crisis to transform the EU into the image it wants. For a detailed forecast of Germany’s growing power in the EU, read our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.