Is God Trying to Save the World?

Is God Trying to Save the World?


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 May 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Among people who believe in God, it is commonly believed that God is desperately trying to save the world now. That He is struggling with Satan to save all mankind now, while the devil is feverishly trying to keep as many as he can “lost” forever.

If God and Satan are in a titanic battle for human lives, and if God is as all-powerful as the Bible reveals, then why are two thirds of the people in the world non-Christian? And why have billions already died without ever having had a chance to be saved?

Many people have grieved over dead loved ones who had never “professed Christ”—perhaps over one who was a terrible sinner; perhaps over one who lived a “good” life but never became an active church member. Still others grieve because they are not sure whether some loved one died “saved.”

The teaching that a person is either saved or lost comes from the assumption that God is trying to save the world now—that the mission of the Church is to save mankind now—that this is the “only day of salvation.”

If you believe any of these things, can you prove them from the Bible? Let’s examine what Scripture reveals. It may be very different than what you think!

Jesus Hid the Truth About Salvation

Shocking as it may sound, God does not intend for everyone to understand His truth at this time! If He did, they would understand!

But at the same time, God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Everyone will ultimately be called and given an opportunity to receive salvation! God is absolutely fair!

Let’s understand the truth about God’s plan for the salvation of mankind!

1. Who is the god of this world? 2 Corinthians 4:4. Has he blinded people to God’s truth? Same verse. Has he indeed deceived the whole world? Revelation 12:9.

When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, God closed off the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24) from the world as a whole. This marked the foundation of this present world, still held captive and ruled invisibly by Satan the devil. At that point, God decreed that Christ, the “Lamb of God” (John 1:36), should come and be sacrificed to redeem mankind from the rule of Satan the kidnapper (Revelation 13:8).

But contrary to what many have been taught, Christ did not come to Earth the first time to try to save everyone. He did deliver His Father’s message—the gospel of the Kingdom of God. But Jesus did not try to get everyone to believe this wonderful message! Notice the proof.

2. Did Jesus speak to the multitudes in parables to make His meaning clearer, or to hide it so the public would not understand? Matthew 13:10-15; Mark 4:11-12. Did He speak to the general public only in parables? Matthew 13:34. Was this because it was not the time for most to be forgiven their sins and converted? Mark 4:12.

3. Did Christ explain His parables only to His disciples? Mark 4:1-2, 10-11; Matthew 13:10-11, 16.

comment: Christ worked with only a few purposely called and chosen disciples, or students. They were the ones whom He really wanted to understand the truth about salvation. We will see why, later.

4. Can one come to Christ only if God the Father specifically selects and calls him? John 6:44, 65.

comment: Some will ask: “What about one who really wants salvation—wants to believe in Christ—is willing to truly repent and come out of this world and be led by God’s Spirit in a true commandment-keeping Christian life? Do you mean this individual cannot come to Christ unless God calls him?”

Answer: That’s what Scripture says. Such a person isbeing called by God, otherwise he or she would have no such desire. However, most who think they are in that category have followed a false gospel, a false teaching, and are yet deceived. They have a false idea of what salvation is, a false concept of repentance and a false idea of what God’s way is.

5. Did God tell us in advance in Scripture that He would call only a few into His Church, and that His Church would remain small, even persecuted? Luke 12:32; Matthew 10:16-17; 7:13-14; John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12.

comment: From Christ’s human ministry until His return to Earth, God has called only a small minority of people. God’s Church through the centuries has continued to be small. Why God has called only a few will become apparent by the end of this study.

Most Neither Lost Nor Saved

But first, the question remains: If God only calls a relative few today, what happens to the rest of humanity?

1. Have all sinned and therefore earned the penalty for sin—eternal death? Romans 3:23; 6:23. But did Christ, the Creator of all mankind, give His sinless life to pay that penalty in our stead? Romans 5:8-10. Can salvation come only through Christ? Acts 4:10-12; 1 Timothy 2:5.

comment: No one can have the death penalty he has incurred paid except through Jesus Christ. But neither can anyone receive the benefit of Christ’s payment unless he has an opportunity to accept it. Millions have lived and died without ever having so much as heard the name of Christ. Thus, they are not “saved”—and cannot be given eternal life! How tragically unfair that reality would be if they were forever condemned!

2. What does 2 Corinthians 6:2 have to say about a “day” of salvation? How does Isaiah 49:8, from which 2 Corinthians 6:2 is quoted, correctly state it?

comment: A better translation of the Greek of 2 Corinthians 6:2 (as is the Hebrew in Isaiah 49:8) is “now is a day of salvation.”

This age is indeed “the” day of salvation for the few God is now calling. Those called now are being judged now (1 Peter 4:17). But all others will have their “day” of salvation later!

3. Does God want to eventually call and save everyone? 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4. Is everyone saved at the same time, or is there a definite time order, or sequence? 1 Corinthians 15:22-24.

comment: Even as all men die, the same all will be made alive. But each will be called in his own time. Most, today, are still blinded (Romans 11:25; Revelation 12:9). They are not saved, but neither are they lost forever. Their time for salvation is later.

Why a Select Few Are Called Today

When least expected by a world blinded by the devil, Jesus Christ will come in supreme supernatural power and glory as King of kings.

1. When Christ returns, will those who were called in this lifetime rise first in time order—before others? 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16.

2. Will these who are raised first reign with Christ? Revelation 20:4-5.

comment: The first part of verse 5 is actually a parenthetical comment. The verse should read: “(But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection.” That last sentence, “This is the first resurrection,” refers back to verse 4, to the spiritual resurrection of those called in this lifetime, which occurs at Christ’s return, just before the 1,000-year period begins (also verse 6).

3. Will those in the first resurrection be priests with God? Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6. What is the function of a priest? Malachi 2:7 (first part).

Just as ancient Israel’s priests taught God’s way, those called today will also be teachers of God’s way of life, helping to bring the knowledge of the way to salvation to the rest of the world after Christ returns. This is why God has called a few out of Satan’s world and into His Church now! They are not called for special favors, but to be trained and prepared for special responsibilities—to help teach the rest of mankind.

The process of learning God’s way and coming to salvation will be easier after Christ’s return, because Satan will be bound (Revelation 20:1-2). His corrupting influence will no longer be present.

As the world becomes reeducated, people will begin to experience the blessings that result from obeying God’s law of love. They will look back at thousands of years of strife under Satan’s rule and compare it to peaceful, joyful life under God’s rule.

4. Will the nations on Earth, which have in general never heard about the true God and His way of life that leads to salvation, learn God’s ways and walk in His paths? Micah 4:2; Isaiah 66:18-23; 11:10.

All who live during the 1,000 years after Christ returns (Revelation 20:4) will have their opportunity to participate in the salvation process. They will then be able to grow spiritually toward spiritual birth into the God Family.

But what about those who have already died without having understood God’s truth?

All Who Ever Lived to Be Called

1. Recall that those called today will be part of the first resurrection. It follows, then, that there will be a second resurrection. When will this occur? Revelation 20:5, first part.

comment: Everyone who has ever lived and died without knowing God’s truth will be resurrected after the 1,000 years of Christ’s rule on Earth! They will be raised to physical life (read Ezekiel 37) and given their chance to learn God’s way of life and the way to salvation! This will be their “day” of salvation!

Most of our loved ones who have died “unsaved” in all probability are not lost. They most likely were not called during this age, but their call is coming later.

Your Bible shows that the vast majority of those who have ever lived will finally be born into God’s Family at the end of their coming period of judgment. God’s master plan of salvation for mankind will then be complete.

How wonderful and reassuring is the truth of our all-wise, loving and merciful Creator God!

Plagiarism—First Guttenberg, Then Stoiber?

Plagiarism—First Guttenberg, Then Stoiber?

Getty Images

German newspapers report on an allegation that Edmund Stoiber’s daughter is guilty of plagiarism.

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” quoth Marcellus in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Thinking people could be forgiven for thinking the same in reference to Germany concerning allegations of the plagiarism of doctoral theses attached to two names famous in German politics.

First it was Germany’s once most popular politician—currently the nation’s most popular ex-politician—Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. Now similar allegations have cropped up in reference to Veronica Sass, daughter of former Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber, who, as reported in a number of German newspapers, is said to have plagiarized part of her doctoral work in pursuit of her higher degree in law.

Two high-profile names in Bavarian-csu-German politics and a common allegation in relation to their names. What’s going on here? Is this pure coincidence or is someone on some sort of queer vendetta? Makes you wonder.

For someone to dig around into Guttenberg’s background, and, finding him apparently otherwise immune to political destruction, having to resort to digging around and checking his academic achievements, subjecting his doctoral thesis to intense and widely publicized scrutiny to the point of then having Germany’s most popular politician resign on the eve of elections crucial to the survival of the Merkel government, always sounded very fishy.

But why resort to the same tactics for the daughter of elder Bavarian statesman Edmund Stoiber? What’s going on here? And, more to the point, who’s behind this and who’s likely to be next?

It’s all rather intriguing.

Is someone fearful of a Stoiber comeback and intent on blackening his family name to mitigate that?

Chancellor Angela Merkel is on the back foot politically, her party, the Christian Democratic Union (cdu), having now lost badly in Hamburg’s state election, lost ground in Saxony-Anhalt, barely held on to its existing proportion of the Catholic vote in Rhineland Palatinate—the result being retention of Social Democratic leadership in that state—and been thoroughly trounced on its home turf in Baden-Württemberg. The next state election will be Bremen in May, followed by Mecklenburg-Vorpommen and Berlin in September. Merkel’s problem is that she has lost the cream of the crop of experienced cdu-csu politicians over the past year and is left with little to offer in terms of leadership strength to man her various coalition ministries. It would be no surprise then if her political rivals are hard at work seeking to blacken the names of any of her former colleagues who might attempt a comeback should she be forced to call an election in the wake of continuing declines in cdu/fdp fortunes in the remaining three elections.

Politics is a murky game, and as the Guttenberg fracas showed, there are some who will leave no stone unturned to destroy the political fortunes of those who do not agree with their particular ideology. Whatever the outcome of Germany’s remaining elections, one thing is certain. The whole face of politics is undergoing a sea change in Germany in 2011. With the nation now the dominant force in Europe economically, financially and politically, and now asserting its own sovereign role against all comers in foreign policy, it is only lack of powerful, charismatic leadership that is holding Germany back from baring its teeth as the supreme ruling power in Europe and a force to be reckoned with internationally.

If Merkel is forced to call an election later this year, it will be intriguing to see who pops out of the woodwork to take the chancellorship and assume leadership of Europe’s most powerful nation.

Prophecy Comes Alive in Egypt!

The upheaval in Egypt demonstrates the veracity of Bible prophecy— in particular a prophecy our editor in chief has been pointing to for 18 years.
From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Now that Hosni Mubarak is gone, what will happen to Egypt? Commentators are all over the map on Egypt’s future, with predictions ranging from a Western-style democracy to an Islamic state. There is little certainty on how these volatile events will play out and what they will mean for the region and the world.

But there is a way we can know. It is because we have “a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19) that we can know Egypt’s future. It is also because of that “sure word” that the Trumpet was not surprised at recent events in that country. In fact, our editor in chief has forecast such developments for over 18 years.

The Basic Prophecy

End-time prophecies regarding Egypt revolve around one pivotal prophecy. It describes a massive clash between a northern Catholic power and a southern Islamic power that will trigger World War iii. The southern power—termed the “king of the south”—will provoke a massive retaliation by the northern power—the “king of the north.” The prophecy is detailed in Daniel 11:40-42.

When the southern Islamic power is overthrown, “the land of Egypt shall not escape,” verse 42 says. It is this scripture that Gerald Flurry has consistently drawn attention to for insight into the future of Egyptian politics.

In the December 1994 Trumpet, Mr. Flurry explained the significance of verse 42 thus: “Egypt is conquered by the king of the north probably because of an alliance with the king of the south.” The king of the south, Mr. Flurry believed, would be radical Islam, headed by Iran. This Iranian-led Islamic movement, he wrote, was already “very strong in Egypt and Algeria.” He went on to state: “This religion will probably take control of both countries very soon.”

A year and a half before that, based on the same prophecy, Mr. Flurry wrote, “Islamic extremism is gaining power at a frightening pace in Egypt. I believe this prophecy in Daniel 11:42 indicates you are about to see a radical change in Egyptian politics!” (Trumpet, July 1993).

Throughout the 18 years since, the Trumpet has reiterated this basic prophecy that Egypt would be taken over by Islam. Now, with the popular uprising, the fall of Mubarak and the rise of the opposition movement largely controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt is in more danger than ever of falling to the Islamist camp.

In the August 1998 Trumpet, Mr. Flurry pointed to this scripture again, including verse 43: “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.”

“Twice it mentions that Egypt will not escape,” Mr. Flurry wrote. He went on to point out that Egypt had been the most moderate nation in the Middle East for 20 years but that Iran was already pushing Egypt toward its camp. “That is because Egypt fears terrorism and their own radical Muslims,” he wrote. Indeed, Egypt continued to draw closer to Iran as President Hosni Mubarak tried to placate the increasingly radical Egyptian population.

A “Radical Change” in Egyptian Politics

In the 2001 edition of his booklet The King of the South, Mr. Flurry elaborated further on the Daniel 11 prophecy: “Egypt is mentioned apart from the king of the south. This proves that Egypt is not the king of the south, although anciently it was in type. Today, Egypt is the most stable country in the Arab world. It is viewed as the leader of the more moderate, stable Arabs. But recently, Egypt has become much more friendly to Iran and more distant from Israel and the West.”

Again, Mr. Flurry emphasized, “The king of the north will destroy the king of the south—and Egypt. Why Egypt? Is it because Egypt was allied with the king of the south? Does that mean radical Islam will soon control or direct Egyptian politics?” (emphasis ours throughout).

Four years later, the Muslim Brotherhood won 88 seats in parliamentary elections—about one fifth of the parliamentary seats, a six-fold increase over the previous election. And this despite the Mubarak regime’s authoritarian measures to quash and disqualify opponents.

Mr. Flurry speculated that President Hosni Mubarak could be assassinated by Islamists just as Anwar Sadat was. “This could radically change Egyptian politics even more quickly,” similar to what happened in Iran’s 1979 revolution, he wrote. “In the past, Egyptian politics have been changed radically by Middle East assassinations and other violent acts directed by Iran. Such acts can rapidly change the minds of people. Revolutions often result. However it happens, Egypt will also become the enemy of the king of the north.”

In the June 2003 Trumpet, Mr. Flurry wrote that in Egypt, “Islamic extremism—which spawns terrorism—is gaining power at a frightening pace.” Again, in reference to Daniel 11:42, he asked, “Does that mean radical Islam will soon control or direct Egyptian politics? Bible prophecy answers YES.”

In the November 2003 edition, Mr. Flurry declared that a radical change in Egyptian politics is “happening before our eyes in this end time, and it is mainly because [of] Iran’s ‘push’ toward radicalism.”

Loss of an Ally

On Jan. 3, 2006, Mr. Flurry wrote a letter to Philadelphia Church of God members and co-workers giving further insight on the direction Egypt was headed and what this would mean for America. “We have said for years that Egypt has been a friend to the West,” he wrote. “But, because of this prophecy [Daniel 11:42], we also said that could change.”

He continued: “Now we can clearly see Egypt moving in that direction. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB), though officially banned, is now Egypt’s largest and most influential opposition party. It is clear that this outlawed radical Islamic group has made significant inroads in Egyptian politics. …

“The political success of this long-established Islamic group can be perceived as a sign of a fundamental shift in Egyptian politics. The Brotherhood’s rising popularity indicates many things—among them, a love for Islamic leadership and law in Egypt, and a hatred for the government of President Mubarak.” Opinion polls—and events—since then have verified these statements.

“The time is coming when the MB could gain heavy influence or even control over Egypt,” Mr. Flurry continued. “This is apparently what a growing number of Egyptians want. President Mubarak is growing older (he’s in his 70s), and his health is ailing.

As the MB grows more popular, it will strengthen its ties with Islamic powers throughout the region—especially Iran. … As Mubarak’s health weakens and the MB grows stronger, watch for Cairo to distance itself from America. Should the MB ever take control, there is no doubt that a strong alliance between Iran and Egypt will be built.

“Certainly, as discontent with the political system in Egypt increases, we can expect to see the Islamists grow in popularity. A change of leadership WILL occur—and probably sooner rather than later.”

This “discontent with the political system” has now erupted. Watch now for the Islamists, the most organized opposition movement, to angle for control.

Egypt-Iran Alliance

In a March 2008 Trumpet article titled “Iran-Egypt Alliance Prophesied,” Mr. Flurry again focused on this end-time prophecy. He outlined how the assassination of Sadat “bitterly divided Egypt and Iran,” but despite that, “Egypt and Iran would become very close allies in this end time.” According to Daniel, “Egypt happens to be one of the allies of the king of the south, and that forebodes a lot of bad news for the Egyptians,” Mr. Flurry wrote.

Again pointing to a radical change in Egyptian politics, he said: “The moderate government in Egypt is being threatened by a popular and growing Iranian-aligned, anti-American, radical Islamist movement. In fact, we expect the most radical elements within Egypt to assume control and directly ally themselves with Iran. This worst-case scenario for the U.S. is just what the Bible prophesied will occur soon.

“Already Iranian President Ahmadinejad has said, ‘We are determined to pursue normalization of relations with Egypt, and if the Egyptian government declares its readiness, before the working hour is over today, we are willing to open Iran’s embassy in Cairo.’ The head of Iran’s National Security Council said Iran was willing to help Egypt produce nuclear energy. Events are moving at a greatly accelerated pace! …

“We know the radical Islamic movement in Egypt will certainly have a lot of influence in Egyptian politics; and it’s going to swing that nation toward Iran. Ultimately, that means bad news for Egypt because of the final outcome.”

Proof of the Bible

After President Barack Obama spoke at Cairo University in June of 2009, Mr. Flurry again warned, “Egypt is about to experience a radical change!” Responding to the fact that President Obama had invited members of the Muslim Brotherhood to his speech, Mr. Flurry said, “No doubt the Muslim Brotherhood is going to gain control of Egypt.” The Brotherhood’s “invitation to hear that speech from the leader of the free world absolutely strengthens its cause! … How much did America’s president help the terrorist cause? Probably far more than we imagine. Regardless, God’s prophecy will be fulfilled!” (Trumpet, August 2009).

Now, Mubarak is out and the Muslim Brotherhood is on the cusp of becoming part of a new government in Egypt—one that will undoubtedly draw closer to Iran. Beyond what this means for Egypt, the Middle East and the rest of the world, these stunning developments are evidence of one of the biggest proofs of the Bible. As Mr. Flurry wrote in his March 2008 article, “Daniel was written over 2,500 years ago. God knew Egypt would retain the same name it had almost from the beginning and that it would ally itself with Iran! That’s something to get excited about, because one of the foundational proofs of the Bible being God’s Word is fulfilled prophecy!”

But further, what does God purpose we do with this “more sure word of prophecy”? “[Y]e do well that ye take heed,” the Apostle Peter admonished, “as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn …” (2 Peter 1:19). Fulfilled prophecy is a light leading to a new day—marked by the return of Jesus Christ!

Mexico’s Drug Wars Rage On

Mexico’s Drug Wars Rage On

Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images

Americans worry about Pakistan and Afghanistan becoming failed states, and those nations are thousands of miles from the U.S. What about America’s neighbor to the south?

Around 230,000 people have been displaced in Mexico as a result of drug wars, with half of these believed to have taken refuge in the United States, according to a study by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (idmc) published Saturday. The report provides another sobering indication of the scope and severity of Mexico’s intensifying drug wars.

The report notes that “an estimated half of those displaced crossed the border into the United States, which would leave about 115,000 people internally displaced,” and it says that a primary reason so many have been affected is because of the indiscriminate nature of Mexico’s drug violence.

Why So Much Violence?

Mexico’s drug business is gigantic, generating $30 to $50 billion each year, which is up to 5 percent of the nation’s $1 trillion gross domestic product. The bloody competition between cartels for these massive profits has resulted in more than 35,000 deaths since December 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon began an offensive against drug gangs. The situation in Mexico was treacherous back in 2006, and has only deteriorated since Calderon’s campaign began, invovling 50,000 soldiers, and even more policemen.

Mexican officials glibly claim that the vast majority of the 35,000 dead were drug smugglers, but veteran American reporter Charles Bowden has called this claim “preposterous.” “Most of them are nobodies. … They’re men, women, kids, poor people in barrios,” Bowden said.

A look into some of the incidents corroborates Bowden’s statement, and reveals that the brutality of the gang members knows no limits.

It is a regular occurrence for authorities to uncover mass graves and dismembered body parts, including severed heads, throughout Mexico. In one instance, the head of a baby was found in the middle of a road.

In late 2009, Mexican authorities killed a drug lord named Arturo Beltran Leyva. A marine was also killed in the operation. Hours after the marine’s funeral, the traffickers exacted their revenge on his family, killing his mother, brother, sister and aunt.

Police in Monterrey reported on March 25 of this year that the host on a children’s television show was abducted, along with his cameraman and his cousin, and all three were killed by gunmen for no apparent cause. The actor’s bound and blindfolded body was first found in a vacant lot early on Friday; it was then stolen by gang members as officials were cordoning off the scene. The body was found for a second time later on Friday by a road in the city center where authorities were able to properly secure it.

The next day, in Acapulco, five dismembered bodies, four of them policemen who had been kidnapped hours earlier, turned up just blocks away from the location where President Calderon inaugurated the city’s Tourism Fair just hours earlier. The crime is believed to have been an instance of intimidation killings, a tactic used by drug cartels especially during high-profile visits by such men as the president. This tactic is designed to display a cartel’s power and to show local populations and the federal government that authorities are not able to prevent even the most brazen violence.

Thanks in large part to corruption, the cartels are right. Bowden says that the Mexican and American governments and media claim to be engaged in “a war ON drugs,” but actually “the war is FOR drugs.” “The police and the military fight for their share of the profits,” he said.

And it is this rampant, indiscriminate and unstoppable type of carnage that is driving many Mexicans from their homes.

Although the Mexican government does not compile data about people who have fled their homes because of violence between drug cartels, it published census figures earlier this month which support the idea of an exodus in many parts of Mexico. The census said that 61 percent of the 3,616 homes in the war-torn border township of Praxedis G. Guerrero were vacant, and in Ciudad Juarez, 111,103 of the 488,785 homes are unoccupied. The figure for vacant homes for Mexico as a whole was 14 percent.

The Root of the Problem

What is at the heart of this violence and murder? What is the cause?

Although the gnarled tree of the problem grows in Mexican soil, its twisted roots sprawl across the border into the United States. The illegal drug business operates like any other, and adheres to the universal marketing laws of supply and demand. It is America’s insatiable appetite for illegal drugs that drives the suppliers in Mexico to compete with each other, and because the risks are high, so are the profits.

Calderon has often slammed the U.S. for its demand for drugs, and for the flow of guns from the U.S. into Mexico.

“As far as reducing the demand for drugs, they haven’t done so,” Calderon said to the El Universal newspaper. “As far as reducing the flow of arms, they haven’t—it has increased.”

But Americans don’t want to admit that the real problem of the drug war is right under their noses embodied by the U.S.’s demand for drugs. Drug cartels and the pandemic devastation they breed are only symptoms of America’s disease: moral decline.

“There is a cause for every effect,” the late Herbert W. Armstrong often said. America’s lust for drugs creates the demand that keeps these cartels afloat. For more on why the world’s greatest superpower is also the world’s biggest drug addict, read “The Drugging of America.” For analysis on what the collapse of Mexico could mean for America, read “Disorder South of the Border” and “Is Mexico About to Collapse?

British Riots Show Divided Society

British Riots Show Divided Society

Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

Over 250,000 protesters marched in London on March 26 in Britain’s biggest protest since the Iraq war, with violent elements causing thousands of pounds worth of damage. Both the peaceful and violent protesters shared the same target: the rich.

The have nots being jealous of the haves is not new, but the rage against the rich is surging in Britain.

Violent protesters targeted the Ritz—a symbol of opulent living—and the shops around it, smashing windows and throwing paint.

Some protesters took to the awning of Fortnum & Mason, a high-class store, where you can reportedly spend £25,000 on a picnic hamper.

The protest, titled “March for the Alternative,” was aimed at promoting “an alternative in which rich individuals and big companies have to pay all their tax, that the banks pay a Robin Hood tax.” The focus was on making the rich pay.

The protesters’ targets demonstrated their agenda. For example, UK Uncut, one of the main actors in the protest, claims it targeted companies and individuals it believed were breaking UK tax law and robbing the state of tax revenue.

Associated British Foods (abf), it claims, has avoided £40 million in tax. To protest this, did it target the discount clothing store abf owns, or the longstanding brand of tea it sells, or any other of the myriad brands, popular across the UK? No. Instead it targeted Fortnum & Mason, linked to abf because it is owned by a family that owns 54 percent of abf.

That’s not a reasoned attack on tax avoiders—that’s an attack on the rich. And, as the Institute of Economic Affairs points out, none of UK Uncut’s other targets were worthy of their attention. The accusation of tax dodging is simply an excuse to target rich and successful companies and individuals.

But perhaps nothing shows the hatred of privilege more than the attacks on the royal family. Last December, tuition fee protesters attacked Prince Charles and his wife as they drove by in a Rolls Royce. After this most recent demonstration, a senior policeman announced that the police believe anarchist militants will target the royal wedding on April 29.

The protesters were encouraged and supported by the Labor Party, with its new party leader, Ed Miliband, addressing the march. As London Mayor Boris Johnson eloquently points out, the Labor Party chose to join in the rich-bashing, despite the fact it has said it would have enacted many of the same cuts that the current government has.

In fact, Miliband contributed to the division, comparing the protesters to the suffragettes and Nelson Mandela.

The British tax and welfare system have created a situation where a lot of people get a lot of money from the government. They feel entitled to it. Now, as the coalition moves slightly in the direction of austerity, they have come out on the streets, angry, demanding the rich pay for the benefits or jobs they think they’re entitled to.

But, as Trumpet columnist Robert Morley pointed out, and as these graphs show, Britain isn’t cutting its debts. The debts are getting bigger, albeit at a slightly slower rate.

That means these problems are not over. The cuts will continue, and so will the protests and division.

Why Iran Is Sweating Bullets

Why Iran Is Sweating Bullets

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

As Syria unravels, the mullahs in Iran are growing alarmed.

When it comes to understanding Middle East geopolitics, one question brings terrific clarity: Does this work to the advantage of Iran?

Generally speaking, if an event, decision or circumstance pleases Iran, it will come with negative repercussions for Israel, America or the broader Western community. If Iran is displeased—if sweat is pooling on the brows of Iran’s mullahs—the West must somehow be gaining an advantage. Consider the wave of anti-government uprisings rolling across the region. In virtually each case, be it Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain or Libya, Iran watched the chaos with an ear-to-ear grin. Why? Because in each instance Tehran knew the outcome would bolster its regional influence, either directly or via its radical Islamic proxies.

The only exception to this trend is the unrest in Syria—which has the mullahs in Iran sweating bullets!

Sporadic anti-government demonstrations have occurred throughout Syria since late January. Until recently, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad had no trouble quieting the dissent, often with brutal force. Two weeks ago, the unrest reached critical mass when government security forces used live ammunition to disperse a crowd of demonstrators in Daraa, an impoverished city in southern Syria. The decision to quiet protesters by killing some did not satisfy their demands for government reform. In fact, it inspired more angry Syrians to hit the streets in protest in cities across the country, including the capital, Damascus. Assad responded by dispatching security and military forces throughout Syria, shutting down electronic communications and getting tougher with protesters. Amid the crackdowns, thousands have been arrested, hundreds injured and more than 100 killed, many shot.

As pressure mounts on Assad and Syria approaches a tipping point, it is important to consider events in the regional context. This means setting Syria’s anti-government protests against Iran’s overarching strategy in the Middle East, which is to undermine and remove Western-friendly governments, replace them with Iran-friendly administrations, and ultimately forge itself as the unrivaled regional power. When it comes to Iran’s regional aspirations, 2011 has unfolded splendidly.

Until this week.

In Middle East geopolitics, Syria is to Iran what Robin is to Batman: Iran’s faithful, hardworking, generally submissive accomplice. Although their religious underpinnings aren’t perfectly aligned, Tehran and Damascus (under Assad’s leadership) are on the same page ideologically and on most of the region’s political and strategic issues.

The Assad regime is Iran’s most important ally in the Middle East. The two work in cahoots on all levels. For example, Syria is the primary transit hub for weapons flowing from Iran to southern Lebanon, Gaza and Israel. Earlier this month, Israel’s navy seized a ship carrying a load of weapons that it said were sent by Iran and Syria to Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. Syria is more than just a pack mule for Iranian artillery; Assad has forged Syria as a willing supporter, and even an extension, of Iran’s rogue nuclear weapons program.

Strategically, Syria is the most important staging ground for Islamic terrorism in the Middle East outside of Iran. It has been the predominant launching pad for al Qaeda operatives en route to Iraq. Outside of Tehran, Damascus is the primary refuge and meeting point for the likes of Hezbollah, Hamas and sundry Palestinian terrorist organizations. Key terrorist leaders, such as Hamas’s political leader Khaled Mashal, live and operate in Damascus. For years, Damascus under Assad has been the securest place outside of Tehran for meetings between Iran and Hezbollah, its most important proxy.

Syria is the keystone of the pro-Iran axis,” wrote Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s former chief negotiator with Syria, on Sunday. “Weakening the Assad regime, to say nothing of its collapse, would be a blow to Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah” (emphasis mine throughout).

Put slightly differently, Syria is an asset that Iran will go to great lengths to defend!

It is no surprise then that Iran has rushed to Assad’s aid. Earlier this month, Syrian opposition reported that Iran had dispatched hundreds of elite commandos from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (irgc) to Syria. In addition to Iranian forces, Hezbollah operatives have also been sent to assist in curtailing the unrest. Citing opposition sources, the World Tribunereported recently that both the irgc and Hezbollah are “providing anti-riot, armored and air support for Assad’s military and security agencies.”

Regarding the reports of Iranian and Hezbollah forces being “deeply involved in the violent repression of protesters in Syria,” Caroline Glick noted this week that “their involvement is apparently so widespread that among the various chants adopted by the protesters is a call for the eradication of Hezbollah.”

That Assad enjoys Iran’s support partially explains the remarkable confidence behind his speech yesterday to the Syrian Parliament. When word spread earlier this week that Assad would speak to the public Wednesday, anti-government protesters and Western media pundits breathed a collective sigh of relief. Many believed that Assad, facing intense civil unrest and growing international pressure, was about to announce significant reforms, including the lifting of the state of emergency that has existed since 1963 and has underpinned his Baath Party’s grip on power over the past 48 years.

Yet Assad didn’t even deliver token concessions. Instead, to well-choreographed applause from sycophantic politicians, Assad smilingly said that the unrest was largely the result of “the plots that [have been] hatched against our country.” While he admitted that the Syrian people have some demands that have not been met, he said their complaints were being “used as a cover to dupe the people to go to the streets.” Instead of caving to pressure, Assad made it clear that he is not going anywhere.

Assad knows that he is of vital strategic importance to Iran and Hezbollah and remains confident that both will continue to stand by his side.

While Assad remains energized and up for further conflict, so too do the tens of thousands of anti-government protesters. Following that speech yesterday, the opposition group Syria Revolution 2011 called for an immediate uprising and encouraged citizens to rebel and take control of the cities. With more protests likely in the comings days, and the Assad regime refusing to compromise, unrest and violence in Syria could get a lot messier.

So far, the United States and other Western countries have been determined not to get entangled with the Syrian uprisings. Beyond the requisite verbal condemnations and typical circumlocution, Washington has kept the issue at arm’s length. If the opposition forces remain energized, and Assad remains determined to respond with violence and brutality, this will not last. At some point, America will have to make a decision.

Judging by precedent, as well as the few remarks made about Syria by U.S. leaders thus far, America will likely come down on the wrong side of history. In the Middle East, it seems America’s chief foreign-policy goal is to do whatever is necessary not to upset Iran. In Egypt, Yemen and Libya, this meant supporting the ouster of the incumbent governments. In the case of Syria, pleasing Iran would mean refraining from doing anything that might destabilize the Assad regime.

The current unrest in Syria actually raises the prospect of prying that country away from Iran and thus inflicting a painful blow to Tehran’s mullahs. It wouldn’t be easy, but it could go a long way toward checking the number one sponsor of terrorism and violence in the Middle East. More than likely though, that won’t happen, because America is afraid to confront Iran.

Even so, Bible prophecy does in fact reveal that a split between Iran and Syria is inevitable. You can find this fascinating prophecy in Psalm 83. Between this prophecy and the prophecy in Daniel 11:40, we learn that in the end time the Arab Middle East is to be divided into two camps. The first is a radical Islamic camp, headed by Iran and including Iraq and Egypt. The second camp is comprised of more “moderate” Arab states that eventually align with a German-led European empire.

Syria, the Bible foretells, will fall into the second camp. This means, sooner or later, one way or another—and perhaps even as a result of the current crisis, which is fluid and evolving daily—Iran will lose its most pivotal ally. Iran’s mullahs ought to be sweating. Not because the United States is about to exploit the unrest in Syria to drive a wedge between Tehran and Damascus—but because Bible prophecy says a divorce is inevitable.

To learn more about this pivotal prophecy in Psalm 83—which even now is in the process of being fulfilled in the Middle East—read The King of the South. Also, keep an eye out for the next issue of our print magazine. The Psalm 83 alliance and its imminent fulfillment is the theme of Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article in the May-June issue.