Roughly 2,500 years ago, God inspired His prophets to record many prophecies, which have been preserved in writing for us today. These prophecies comprise approximately one third of the whole Bible. Why does the Bible focus so much on prophecy?
According to what appears to be a leaked Syrian state document, Syria’s government orchestrated the Nakba raids on the Israeli border on May 15 this year. The internal memorandum outlines how the regime ordered security officials on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights to grant passage to 20 buses containing Palestinians to the border, where the crowds would attempt to climb the fence and enter Israel.
The document states, “It is essential to ensure that no one carries military identification or a weapon as they enter, with a strict emphasis on the peaceful and spontaneous nature of the protest”—so spontaneous that there was time to create an official memo about it!
Even a recent UN report accused Syrian police of standing idly by while demonstrators crossed the ceasefire line, walked through an unmarked minefield and breached the border fence into Israel.
At least 27 people were killed in the ensuing demonstrations on May 15 and June 5.
This is another example of Palestinians being used as cannon fodder to further Arab ambition—this time around, to divert attention away from President Bashar Assad’s brutal onslaught against internal dissenters.
Way ahead of his time, Herbert W. Armstrong once wrote, “Few people stop to realize to what extent the teenagers have taken over today. They pretty well dominate the world picture” (God Speaks Out on “The New Morality”). He wrote that in 1964—more than 45 years ago!
Mr. Armstrong asked, “Who determines what is ‘popular music’ today? The ‘teens.’ …
“Adolescents determine dancing trends, motion-picture themes, radio formats, and even advertisements and most fields of entertainment!”
Yes, indeed. Teenagers pretty much dominate Western culture.
Mr. Armstrong continued, “What many do not realize is that this teenage influence on the whole society is predominantly sexual influence. There is much more intense preoccupation with sex during these years than in later maturity.
“Therefore sex became the basic formula for motion pictures—along with crime, including murder.”
Here again, this was written in 1964!
By today’s standards, of course, television, movies and music from the early ’60s certainly seem harmless. But that is exactly the point—look at today’s “standards”!
With about 75 million in America, children 18 and under make up almost 25 percent of our population. In a godly society, we would be applauding and encouraged by that statistic. God has always intended for children to be a blessing to their parents—like “olive plants” around the table (Psalm 128:3)—and to society (Proverbs 20:29; 1 Timothy 4:12).
In these latter days, however, prophecy points to our youth as being a burden on society. Instead of helping to build it up, our own offspring are tearing it down. Isaiah 3:12 describes our children as being “oppressors”—a word that means to tax, harass and tyrannize.
This prophecy in Isaiah 3 is being fulfilled in two ways, primarily. One is in the more literal sense of youth oppressing society by their rebellious disregard for adult authority (verse 5).
The other fulfillment of this prophecy is even deadlier. It’s described in verse 4: “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.“ God isn’t talking about children with respect to age necessarily, but rather the way adults are ruling: like children! Read the first three verses of Isaiah 3 and you will see all the qualities of leadership that have vanished from our society: vision, prudence, judgment, wisdom, honor and eloquence. God said these kinds of qualities would be practically extinct today. And it’s because, in far too many cases, our leaders—whether in the home, within education, or business, or in government—have degenerated to a child’s level of understanding. Instead of preparing our children for the responsibilities of adulthood, we, as adults, are acting like children.
In 1 Corinthians 13:11, the Apostle Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Today, instead of putting away childish things and preparing our own children for adulthood, we are letting youth culture educate us.
“It’s the commercial media entertainment economy at work,” wrote Marcel Danesi in Forever Young—the Teen-Aging of Modern Culture. “Age is now considered a disease. Youth sells. There’s a big emphasis on having it all: good living, keeping your youth, having as much fun as you can. It’s empty because there is no wisdom behind it.” Worse still, he goes on to explain, “It’s a cultural disease. And now we’re into the final silly stages.”
A Different World
There are those who brush aside our cultural slide into gross immorality as being no different than previous generations. In one sense, that’s true—human nature has always been hostile to God’s law. But in these latter days, we are beginning to see just how rotten human nature is.
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). People deceive themselves by thinking there is no special danger right now—that the world has always been like this. It has always been bad—but it’s getting so much worse. And today, unlike eras of old, modern advances have made the possibility of human annihilation a stark reality. That, of itself, ought to wake us up!
Of greater concern is our upside-down society—our rapidly deteriorating marriage and family structure. “Few, indeed, realize the shocking facts of this accelerating downward plunge,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “It is rapidly becoming a greater threat to humanity than the hydrogen bomb!” (ibid.). This statement will be proven true.
Jesus assured us of that in Luke 17:26: “And as it was in the days of [Noah], so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Christ said these latter days would be comparable to the days before the Flood. Genesis 6:5 describes the pre-Flood society: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
God is disgusted with our sexually-charged, teen-dominated culture just as He was with the pre-Flood society—and the way He was with Sodom and Gomorrah. Read 2 Peter 2:4-6 and see what pervasive sin ultimately led to in the case of those two societies.
It will happen again. God assures us of that in Bible prophecy.
Seven years after Mr. Armstrong first published God Speaks Out on “The New Morality,” he revised and updated the text under a new title: The Missing Dimension in Sex. In 1981, five years before he died, Mr. Armstrong updated the book one final time. He wrote in that final version, “Since it is a basic truism that a solid family structure is the foundational bulwark of any stable and permanent society, this fact means only one thing—civilization as we know it is on the way down—and out—unless that great ‘Unseen Strong Hand from Someplace’ soon intervenes and saves today’s sick society.”
In fact, God will intervene to save humanity, but not until we teeter on the brink of total disaster.
We have been freely distributing The Missing Dimension in Sex for the past eight years now. If you don’t have a copy, please request one. It was inspired by that “Unseen Strong Hand”—and it reveals the only safe passage out of our sin-sick youth culture.
It seems the saga of the self-absorbed, ill-behaved congressman has finally come to an end.
The Anthony Weiner spectacle should be a national embarrassment, yet many have brushed it aside as a personal matter, an issue of no or little consequence. Truth is, this sad affair was a stark reminder that this once great nation, particularly its government and leadership, is in a rapid state of decline.
When it comes to our national leadership, the once universally valued traits of high standards, morality and self-discipline have all too often been replaced with greed, self-service and even varying levels of debauchery. Along with our politicians, leadership on every level is fast losing credibility. Sadly, most of today’s leaders in America’s military, education, culture, religion, and finance and business simply don’t compare to the standard of old. Added to this, the most important leader that is fast losing credibility is the head of the family—the father.
As we consistently witness irresponsible, undisciplined behavior, our trust and confidence is replaced by doubt and disappointment—and even a growing sense of hopelessness!
Though it is difficult to watch, this growing dearth of quality leaders is not a surprise to long-time Trumpet readers. In his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong showed that the Bible reveals how and why the United States of America became the world’s greatest superpower. Likewise, he showed that the Bible reveals why we are in the midst of such a swift decline today. America’s God-given blessings are being removed because of disobedience—we’re reaping what we’ve sown.
High-quality leadership, as Mr. Armstrong explained, was a blessing from God. In the same manner, the diminishing quality of leadership that prevails today is a curse!
For proof of this reality, all you need to do is turn to Isaiah.
Roughly 2,500 years ago, the Prophet Isaiah foretold of our current leadership crisis. In chapter 3, we find a detailed account of God’s judgment against the end-time descendants of Israel, which mainly comprise the U.S., the British Commonwealth and the nation called Israel today. Because of our disobedience, God said He would remove any and all leadership that provides societal strength, stability and confidence.
In the first three verses alone, 11 different types of leaders are mentioned as being removed by God: “For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away [t]he mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, [t]he captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.”
How many “mighty” men, leaders capable of “judging” righteously, with “prudence” and “honor,” do we have today? How many “cunning artificers” and “eloquent orators”?
The quality of our leadership is more like that prophesied in verse 4: “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.” Too many of our leaders today, from both ends of the political spectrum, exhibit the immature, undisciplined behavior of children. Biblical commentaries identify these leaders as capricious and insolent—leaders who brashly serve their own pleasures rather than the needs of the people. The International Critical Commentary even says that their behavior is made to look ridiculous in order to humble our nations.
Considering recent headlines, could God’s prophecy be more exact?
God continues His judgment of these perverse leaders in verse 9: “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.” You know it’s the end time, God says, when you see immoral leaders showing partiality and openly parading their wicked vices. Just as it was in ancient Sodom, these leaders even celebrate their sins openly, with pride. The U.S. government, for example, recently recognized and celebrated June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month!
In verse 12, God addresses the leadership void that would arise in the home. “As for my people,” He says, “children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Look around: The role of the father has been radically undermined. In fact, there is a raging and widely successful war on fatherhood. Today’s culture is one of out-of-control children, dominant women and weak-willed men.
In his booklet Isaiah’s End-Time Vision, editor in chief Gerald Flurry aptly describes this family condition as being upside down. Too many fathers are allowing their leadership to be usurped. In too many cases, either the wife is leading and making all the decisions or the demands of the children are giving direction to the family. In either case, the family is upside down because the father has abdicated his God-given role. The family is the building block of every society and nation. Upside-down families result in upside-down nations—which is exactly what we see today!
As Isaiah 3 states, our cursed leadership is leading us into error—our path is headed for destruction.
But there is hope! Through all this, God is teaching mankind a lesson when it comes to family and leadership. God wants us to learn that we can’t trust ourselves. To learn, albeit the hard way, that due to our faulty nature and evil, deceptive hearts, we can’t trust the laws of men, the governments of men and the leadership of men (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
When it comes to leadership, God is teaching us to trust Him.
When it comes to leadership, God is not a respecter of persons, but a respecter of righteousness and character. Character does count. Our once-great nation was largely built on religion and morality. Our Founding Fathers were governed by both private and public morality. Those men followed biblical laws that require care and concern for our fellow man. These men were great leaders because they acknowledged the supremacy of God.
Despite the difficulty we’re experiencing today, the time is fast coming when God’s laws will be the foundation in the life of every man, every family and every nation. God says He will write His law of love into our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). In the very near future, our leaders will obey and trust God and direct all others to obey and trust God. As a result, trust and confidence will be restored. Our prosperity, liberty and happiness will be unmatched!
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (akp) won a resounding victory in parliamentary elections on June 12 with 50 percent of the vote. It won by a larger margin than it did in the previous elections in 2007.
Because of a quirky rule about how political parties are assigned parliamentary seats, however, the akp actually lost 15 seats. Now with 325 of the 550 seats, it failed to gain the supermajority it hoped for in order to change the constitution unilaterally. This means the status quo in Turkey remains much the same, with the Islamist-rooted akp remaining in power as the most powerful party in the country.
Economic growth in Turkey during the akp’s time in power has been largely credited for the party’s success. However, two other important factors contributed just as much to its win: the appeal of the akp’s Islamic orientation to Turkey’s Muslim population, and the anti-Western and anti-Israel direction the akp has taken Turkey’s foreign policy.
Since Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan first came to power in 2002 elections, he has slowly taken the secularist country in a more religious direction, seeking to bring Islamic culture into the public and political spheres. Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center, says the elections in fact mark an Islamist revolution by stealth. He says Turkey is at a turning point: “Of course, it will take time, but now Turkey is set on a path that is ending the republic established by Kemal Ataturk in the 1920s. The Turkey of secularism and Western orientation is finished. … In short, the akp is entrenched in power, and can now proceed with the fundamental transformation of Turkey” (Jerusalem Post, June 13).
In his victory speech, Erdogan underlined his anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian stance: “Sarajevo won today as much as Istanbul; Beirut won as much as Izmir; Damascus won as much as Ankara; Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, the West Bank, Jerusalem won as much as Diyarbakir.” The Turkish prime minister was sending the message that he fully intends to support the Palestinian cause against Israel.
“[S]een from Jerusalem the strategic balance in the Middle East is looking increasingly dangerous, and Erodgan’s remarks have only heightened this feeling of insecurity,” writes Courcy’s Intelligence Brief. It continues:
Israel sees Hamas spreading its influence from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank by way of a unity government with Fatah; it sees Egypt moving away from Camp David and facilitating the rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah; it sees Hezbollah consolidating its power in Lebanon; it sees chaos in Libya, Syria and Yemen (along with the possible return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan) providing space for post-bin Laden al Qaeda to regroup; and it sees little prospect of the nuclear-weapon-seeking Iranian regime succumbing to the democratic waves sweeping the Middle East.Now, on top of all that, Turkey has reelected the akp for a third term, in part because of the akp’s steering of Turkish foreign policy away from its pro-Western orientation towards a policy based on Muslim leadership. And such a policy, as Erdogan has made clear, has to include opposition to Israel.
The Trumpet wrote back in November/December 2007: “Any shift within Turkey away from secularism and toward Islam could help alter the balance of power in the Middle East—most notably, in favor of Iran.”
Watch as Turkey treads a course that prophecy reveals will ultimately be deadly for Israel, America and Britain. But, as we wrote back in 2007, that is not the end of the story: “The biblical prophecies regarding events in the Middle East are clear: A Muslim-Jewish war is about to erupt—initiated by Islamic forces clearly unrestrained by Turkey or anything else. That conflagration will trigger a series of events leading to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”
Two weeks after Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh was taken to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment after being injured in an explosion on June 3, it is still unclear what his departure means for the future leadership of the country. Officials in his regime say he will return to Yemen, while other onlookers believe that unlikely. In the meantime, violent clashes continue and opposition parties and the international community are hoping to force a power transition in Yemen without the country falling to civil war.
On Tuesday, large-scale protests were held in nearly every city in the country, with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators calling for Saleh’s family and close aides to be brought to trial and for a transitional governing council to be formed.
Wednesday, Islamist militants—reportedly including al Qaeda members—attacked the southern city of Houta, seizing control of several neighborhoods. Islamic insurgents already captured two other southern cities last month.
If the security and governance situation in Yemen further deteriorates, the failed state will provide an even greater haven for al Qaeda and also Iranian-linked operatives. With the country critically situated at the opening of the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden, a crucial shipping lane, the stakes are high.
As such, Iran would be quite happy for Saudi Arabia and the other countries involved to fail to contain the crisis and secure a power-sharing agreement in Yemen. In a highly symbolic and provocative move, Tehran announced on June 8 that it had deployed submarines just off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea, close to where much of the fighting between government troops and Islamists has been taking place. This move, says Stratfor, allows Iran “to flex its muscles at a time when each and every one of its Arab rivals are dealing with internal crises” (June 8). Stratfor also reports that the Saudis are on guard for possible Iranian attempts to escalate the ongoing Shiite Houthi insurgency in the borderland between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which Tehran has been aiding.
With all the many factions competing for power, Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, believes anarchy, after the sort in Somalia and Afghanistan, is more likely than civil war. “Yemeni Islamists range from members of the Islah party, which competes in parliamentary elections, to the Houthi rebels fighting Saudi forces, to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Their growing power boosts the Iranian-backed ‘resistance bloc’ of states and organizations,” he writes.
Columnist Joel Hilliker wrote back in March that the fall of the Yemeni government, “in addition to being a blow to America and a potential boon to terrorists, would likely challenge the region’s balance of power by pitting its two biggest powers—Saudi Arabia and Iran—against each other all the more.”
This is already happening.
As Mr. Hilliker wrote, “Amid the flurry of earthshaking headlines, keep an eye on Yemen! It is vividly highlighting the Bible’s prophecy of the Iranian ‘king of the south’ pushing its way into a war that will engulf the whole region—and eventually the world.”