Edmund Stoiber Calls for European Economic Integration

Edmund Stoiber Calls for European Economic Integration

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Prominent German speaks out about Europe’s debt crisis.

The financial crisis in Greece could have worse consequences on the global financial system than the collapse of Lehman Brothers, according to statements made by European Union anti-bureaucracy czar Edmund Stoiber on June 10. In an interview with Focus, Stoiber recounted how he warned against letting Greece in the eurozone in the first place.

“I wanted a smaller eurozone,” he reminisced (translation ours throughout).

In a speech made three weeks earlier, at the nrw Academy of Sciences, Stoiber presented his solution to the crisis. “We can only defend the euro together,” he said. “The next step is a common economic policy. Only then can a transfer union be prevented.” In other words, like European Central Bank head Jean-Claude Trichet and others, Edmund Stoiber sees the need for a pan-European financial authority.

Unlike most other European leaders, however, Stoiber has actually been blunt concerning the consequences awaiting eurozone nations that do not get their financial house in order. “When a state refuses to bring its finances into order, then it should be possible for the other members of the eurozone to exclude it,” Stoiber said last year.

With Greek citizens showing up en masse to protest new austerity measures, it is looking more and more likely that Greece will not be able to get its finances back on track. If this is the case, the other members of the eurozone may indeed exclude Greece in order to stay afloat.

Like the late Franz Josef Strauss, both Edmund Stoiber and his protégé Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg share a dream of a united Europe under the dual leadership of Germany and the Vatican. If a nation like Greece cannot be brought under the economic governance of Germany, expect the European Union to give it the cold shoulder in favor of other nations that can be ruled.

As our editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote back in February, “Germany will use this crisis to force Europe to unite more tightly. In the process, some eurozone countries will be forced out of the union. When that happens, the pundits will say European unification is dead, that the European Union has failed. Don’t listen to them!

“Every country that leaves the EU puts us one step closer to seeing the German-led 10-nation European superstate.”

Asian Security Bloc Set for Massive Expansion

Asian Security Bloc Set for Massive Expansion

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s anticipated assimilation of India and Pakistan would boost the bloc’s collective population to 2.5 billion people.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (sco), a regional security bloc dominated by China and Russia, celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this month, with the leaders from its six member states gathering in Astana, Kazakhstan, for the occasion.

The milestone meeting gave sco member states the opportunity to review the decade of progress behind them and to chart out a path for the future. The organization’s most notable consideration for the time ahead is the possible acceptance of India, Pakistan, Mongolia and Iran as members. Although the last two nations are not likely to join, there are multiplying indications that India and Pakistan will soon be admitted, which will significantly increase the sco’s power.

The sco was originally created in 2001 as a security group to keep Central Asia stable and reduce foreign military presence in the region. The admission of India and Pakistan would greatly extend the sco’s geographic reach, and boost the population it represents to 2.5 billion.

The inclusion of India and Pakistan would essentially broaden the sco from being a Central Asian security bloc to being an Asian one, and could also transform the mission and geopolitical significance of the sco as a regional multilateral organization.

Over the past 10 years, sco member nations have signed over 100 cooperation agreements and have greatly expanded cooperation in economics, politics, security, culture and other areas. If India and Pakistan are admitted, the cooperation will lurch ahead with renewed speed and vigor. The sco’s enlargement would boost economic and energy cooperation among the organization’s members because India, like China, is a rapidly growing economy with an enormous thirst for energy exports from Russia and the Central Asian nations. If an expanded sco stabilized Pakistan and Afghanistan, as analysts anticipate, it could allow gas to be transported into India via those two nations.

Letting India and Pakistan into the sco would be a boon to Asia, but it would be detrimental to the United States.

Washington would benefit from the sco’s efforts to snuff out Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but India’s sco membership would diminish rivalries between China and India, thereby decreasing India’s commitment to the U.S. as an ally. Similarly, a warmer relationship between Pakistan and the sco would boost Islamabad’s bargaining power with Washington, thereby reducing the U.S.’s power in the relationship.

The sco’s first decade fostered remarkable unity among the member nations, but the years ahead will prove even more significant for the Asian bloc as it expands to include new member nations and adds new goals and objectives to its mission.

China and Russia are the regional behemoths driving the unification of the East, but the sco may well be a vehicle they use to attain that destination.

To understand the significance of a unified Asian bloc and how it is connected to the most inspiring and hope-filled event that Earth has ever seen, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

Iran Woos America’s Allies as U.S. Troops Exit Region

Iran Woos America’s Allies as U.S. Troops Exit Region

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Iranian leaders are working to solidify ties with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq in a move that highlights Iran’s goal of taking a lead role in the region, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

At a meeting in Tehran last Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan about “many issues … that might come up after the nato military force goes out of Afghanistan,” according to Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

“The three presidents were very forthcoming in carrying out the cooperation and contacts so as to make sure things will go as smoothly as it could,” Salehi said in a comment that is seen as taking a jab at the United States, which is competing with Iran more and more for influence in the region, especially since January when populace uprisings began to sweep through the Middle East.

Western nations had urged countries not to attend the summit, which Iran called an “International Conference on the Global Fight against Terrorism.” But representatives from around 60 nations attended despite the lobbying of the U.S. and other Western nations.

Why is Tehran ramping up its overtures to these three key U.S. allies now? The timing coincides with the U.S. military’s withdrawal from the region.

On June 22, President Barack Obama announced U.S. plans to withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan over the next 15 months. Previously, Washington announced that it will pull all of its remaining 45,000 troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

The U.S. is packing up, and Iran wants to fill any void it leaves behind.

Iran’s overtures to these three nations also come amid rising tensions between the U.S. and the three separate governments, each of which Washington has pumped billions of dollars of aid money into.

In a statement posted on the Iranian presidency’s website on Friday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said, “The Afghan people want the departure of foreign forces, and therefore Iran and Pakistan can play an important role in establishing a durable peace in Afghanistan.”

A few days before that, Karzai celebrated President Obama’s announcement about the U.S. plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, a surge of anti-Americanism spawned by the U.S.’s killing of Osama bin Laden near Islamabad in May has placed Pakistani leaders under domestic pressure to reduce their U.S. ties.

In beleaguered Iraq, there is no shortage of voices blaming the continued presence of U.S. troops for the country’s instability and security issues.

For example, Saad al-Mutallebi, a member of the country’s State of Law coalition, called on Iraq last week to maintain its ties with neighboring nations, and not to permit Washington to persuade Baghdad that these countries are a threat to Iraq. Also Muqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shiite cleric, has staked his reputation on driving U.S. troops out of the country.

With tensions on the rise between the U.S. and these three nations, Iran views it as a perfect time to pounce. Iran has been encouraging Afghanistan and Pakistan to sever their military ties with Washington, and used the summit in Tehran this weekend as an opportunity to play up its international clout.

Two of the overarching trends the Trumpet watches for and reports on are the decline of the U.S. and the rise of Iran-led radical Islamism. Both of these trends are seen in Iran’s wooing of U.S. allies away from Washington and toward Tehran. Expect Washington to continue to lose power in the Middle East as Iran’s sphere of influence expands.

Have You Ever Gone Hungry?

Have You Ever Gone Hungry?

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A few reasons that question might get real serious, real quick.

Have you ever gone hungry? Ever had to scavenge for any scrap of food-like garbage just to stave off your gnawing hunger?

Probably not. You can’t even begin to imagine it.

But of the nearly 7 billion people on Earth, an estimated 850 million are undernourished or chronically hungry. With global food production hurting and prices rising, this number is climbing swiftly. In February, the World Bank estimated that food costs had pushed 44 million more people into these unhappy ranks just since last June.

Forty-four million. Between June and February. More than 180,000 new people going hungry every day. The entire population of Huntsville, or Providence, or Tallahassee. Day after day after day. If that rate has continued, nearly 22 million more have joined them since.

When your belly is plenty full, your tendency is to brush aside such facts. After all, what can you do?

But there are several good reasons why you need to give this some serious thought—because chances are extremely high that soon, you won’t just be reading about those hunger pains.

Stop a moment and think about just how much you take plentiful food for granted. In the First World, we have enjoyed several decades of practically unprecedented abundance—limitless food variety, available year round, at some of the cheapest prices enjoyed on a mass scale in human history. Thanks to increased food production, the share of underfed people on our planet has been dropping for centuries; in recent decades—until lately, anyway—percentages of malnourished and starving people have been more than halved.

No wonder we take it all for granted. This auspicious historical anomaly is the new reality. The party can last forever, right?

Well, there is a catch. This period of plenty has largely been sponsored by a complete revolution in the way we produce and distribute what we eat. And along the way, this revolution has made us dangerously vulnerable to massive disruptions in our food supply.

As our modern world has shifted from an agricultural society to an industrial and now a service- and information-based society, farmers have vanished en masse. A century ago, one in four Americans lived on a farm, and the average farmer grew enough food to feed 12 other Americans. Today, while the nation’s population has more than tripled to over 300 million, only 2 million farmers remain. On average, each one grows food to feed 140 people.

Making food has become a profession for experts. In the First World, less than 2 percent of the population is feeding the other 98 percent. The vast majority of us get our food from hundreds or thousands of miles away, and have only about a week’s worth of groceries in the pantry. We are wholly sustained by a complex system about which we are almost completely ignorant.

Each step in this intricate process is susceptible to major potential breakdowns.

The reason this matter is increasingly becoming a concern is that signs of those breakdowns have started to appear.

This month the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said that worldwide, the cost of a typical food basket rose 48 percent from a year ago. According to the World Bank, global wheat prices have more than doubled since the second half of last year, and corn, sugar and oil costs have taken off. The G-20’s agriculture ministers met last week amid mounting evidence that these high prices are only going to get worse—along with food shortages.

“The problem is very complex,” says Julian Cribb, author of The Coming Famine. “The population is increasing, more children are being born and people are living longer. At the same time, we are seeing shortages of water, land, oil, fertilizers, technology, stable climates and finance.”

Every year, the human race produces 100 million more mouths to feed. But the problem isn’t just more mouths—it is what is going into those mouths. The average person worldwide eats 20 percent more calories per day than 50 years ago. And in many cases, those calories require considerably more energy to produce. For example, the emerging middle class in China and India has a growing appetite for meat, poultry, dairy and fish—far more labor- and energy-intensive menu items than rice and vegetables. As Cribb brings out in his book, China’s meat consumption tripled in less than 15 years, “requiring a tenfold increase in the grain needed to feed the animals and fish” (emphasis added). Within a short 15 years, China’s grain consumption rose 1,000 percent!

The combination of global population and food demand is rising about 2 percent a year. Food production is rising at only half that rate.

You can add to this fundamental reality a myriad of other pressures on the food supply. More adverse weather—droughts, floods, and other disasters—that reduce crop yields or wipe out harvests. Vanishing marine life, including ocean fish catches—the top source of protein for Asians—because of over-fishing, pollution and other causes. Government enactments like farm subsidies, food price controls or taxes, regulations and restrictions and so on.

Paul Roberts lists still more factors in his 2008 book The End of Food. “Arable land is growing scarcer. Inputs like pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are increasingly expensive. Soil degradation and erosion from hyperintensive farming are costing millions of acres of farmland a year. Water supplies are being rapidly depleted in parts of the world, even as the rising price of petroleum—the lifeblood of industrial agriculture—is calling into question the entire agribusiness model.”

For some few realistic observers—and, perhaps, that spreading mass of hungry people who can no longer afford a place at the table—these problems may be “calling into question the entire agribusiness model.” But the reality is, our modern society has become impossibly dependent upon it. Calling that model into question is tantamount to recognizing the inherently, irreversibly flawed nature of civilization as we have created it.

Consider the cold reality as Cribb spells it out in The Coming Famine: “To sum it all up, the challenge facing the world’s 1.8 billion women and men who grow our food is to double their output of food—using far less water, less land, less energy and less fertilizer. They must accomplish this on low and uncertain returns, with less new technology available, amid more red tape, economic disincentives, and corrupted markets, and in the teeth of spreading drought. Achieving this will require something not far short of a miracle.”

My recommendation: Don’t count on that miracle.

Instead, look starkly at present conditions—and then look into your Bible and judge for yourself whether, in fact, the dots we see today connect directly to the prophecies in God’s Word.

In Matthew 24, amid the signs Jesus Christ told us to watch for preceding His Second Coming, He gave this warning: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (verse 7).

Where are today’s dwindling food stocks and rising prices leading? Bible prophecy gives us a sure and sobering answer. Poor harvests, dwindling supplies of food, breakdowns in food production and distribution, economic collapse that shuts down commerce and the free flow of necessary commodities—all of these conditions, and the nightmares they produce, are about to besiege our world!

Christ’s words are backed by biblical prophecy after prophecy of the most affluent, blessed nations on Earth today suffering a dramatic, precipitous fall into conditions too horrific for our minds to even imagine. Today’s trends link directly with these prophetic warnings, which God recorded to prove His omniscience and omnipotence, and to induce us to repent and turn to Him. You can read many of them in Chapter Three of our booklet The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

With that context, consider Cribb’s chilling observation: “[T]he well-off part of humanity has largely forgotten what it is to go hungry and is awakening to an unpleasant shock: Starvation and the wars, refugee crises, and collapse of nation-states that often accompany hunger have not been permanently banished after all. Indeed, they are once more at our doorstep.”

A Nation Without Natural Affection

Why is there so much hatred and strife—violence and bloodshed—between human beings? What is the cause and where is it leading? God reveals the answers to these questions in the one book most people ignore—the Holy Bible.

In looking at the way world events are unfolding, a discerning observer would know that an explosion is coming. It’s only a matter of time. Just look at the widespread and senseless acts of evil in our world. And modern technology is only helping to spread the violence and immorality that much faster.

Here in the United States in recent months, we’ve seen the “flash mob” phenomenon take a violent turn for the worse. It used to be young people would text, tweet and post messages on Facebook to encourage masses of people to assemble together in public for seemingly harmless fun, like dancing.

But now some of these flash mobs are morphing into violent gangs, where young people coordinate assaults and robberies with the help of social media. Last year in downtown Philadelphia, a group of violent youths started fighting with each other, assaulting pedestrians and vandalizing the shopping district.

This year in February, about 50 young people in St. Paul, Minn., assaulted a convenience store worker and then looted the store before law enforcement officials even knew what happened.

In April, another gang of about 20 people descended on a clothing store in Washington D.C., and quickly grabbed about $20,000 worth of merchandise before fleeing the scene in every direction. In all of these cases, authorities believe the mob robbing was organized through cell phone texting.

In New York, another group of teenagers used social media devices in May to coordinate an attack on a restaurant. The teens simply showed up at the restaurant in broad daylight and ransacked the place. They kicked over tables, flung chairs at employees and destroyed equipment. Then they grabbed some food and drink and took off. They left almost as fast as they arrived.

Then there’s Chicago. Have you noticed what’s been happening in Chicago lately? Over Memorial Day weekend, six people were gunned down and another 21 were wounded in shootings. There have been several other incidents of “flash mob” violence in recent weeks. It’s gotten so bad that tourists have even been told to avoid the magnificent mile—the upscale shopping and dining district.

Earlier this year in April, two Illinois lawmakers called on the National Guard to protect the streets of Chicago—the National Guard! This is Chicago, remember—not Gaza or Fallujah! This is America’s heartland! The mayor of Chicago has since added 150 policemen to the streets of the city—just to help curb these senseless acts of violence and murder. And that, in itself, reveals how bad it is. Most major cities in the U.S. right now are scaling back law enforcement resources because they’re broke. They have no money. Chicago is up to its eyeballs in debt. But the streets are now so dangerous that they have no choice but to flood the city with more policemen.

Is this normal? When will this current of hateful violence subside? Or will it get worse?

Look at the news. It seems like every week there’s another shooting or a brawl at a fast food chain. And when have we ever witnessed this much indifference and apathy from bystanders who watch violent behavior firsthand and do nothing about it?

Some of you may have seen a video of the two girls who attacked a young woman at a McDonalds in Baltimore back in April. The victim was beaten so badly that she had a seizure after the assault. Throughout the sustained and brutal assault in front of many witnesses, the victim’s only defender was a little old lady who tried to fend off the criminals. And the men? They couldn’t be bothered. They were too busy laughing and cheering. One of them even filmed the incident so that he could later post it online. Not one man stepped forward to protect that woman!

A few weeks ago, Robert Morley wrote a powerful piece we posted at theTrumpet.com about an incident in San Francisco where a man suffering from suicidal depression decided to drown himself in the bay. Onlookers actually witnessed the incident, which went on for nearly an hour, as the man waded out into the bay and waited to be swallowed by the rising tide. No one tried to save the man. Only one bystander called the police. Even after rescuers arrived, no one helped. There were firemen there, policemen, dozens of spectators—and a man in the water flailing about, face down.

Mr. Morley writes, “When firefighters arrived, they refused to act—even later as the man began to drown.” They made the excuse by the way that they hadn’t been properly trained. He says, “The Coast Guard did nothing because the water was too shallow for its boat. Reporters did nothing because they were too busy getting the story. Hikers, dog walkers, cyclists-turned-spectators did nothing. The police did nothing because it wasn’t their jurisdiction. Other bystanders did nothing because the police wouldn’t let them.” Mr. Morley said, “Zack’s horrified, wheelchair-bound stepmother was understandably outraged that she was forced to watch her son die—while ‘rescue’ officials stood idly by.”

It’s hard to imagine something like that happening just 15 or 20 years ago—let alone at America’s founding. In fact, as Mr. Morley writes, there are times when you find better examples of life-saving sacrifice in the animal kingdom than you do in the human kingdom! He referred to a YouTube video where a herd of water buffalo was chased by several lions. And in that dramatic scene, one little calf ended up being chased into the water’s edge, where lions swarmed in for the kill. And then, to make matters worse for the little buffalo, a crocodile emerged from the water and grabbed hold of the calf. The lions eventually won the tug-of-war with the crocodile and prepared for a feast on shore.

And that’s right when the video takes a sudden and unexpected turn! The herd of buffalo responded to the cries of distress coming from the calf and rallied to its defense. The buffalo actually managed to drive away the lions, one by one and save the life of that little calf! Think about that! The natural impulse of those buffalo was to intervene on behalf of the dying calf.

Now one would think that if a young woman was being assaulted and beaten at a public facility that a young man’s natural impulse would be to step forward and help. But more often than not, that isn’t what happens.

What a sad commentary on our society today. And what a revealing sign of the times in which we live. Let’s turn to the Bible and see what God has to say. Notice Luke chapter 10 to begin with. This is in Luke 10 and verse 25. “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Noticed now how Jesus responded to this question. Verse 26, “He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?” What do you read in the law? You’re a lawyer, you know the law, what does the Bible say? Verse 27, “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” The lawyer answered, correctly; he had the right answer, but as Jesus brings out you’ve got to go beyond that and actually act on that right knowledge and actually act on that truth.

Verse 29, “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” Who is my neighbor? In this scholar’s mind he loved his neighbor the way he saw it. He loved his best friends. That that’s what he considered his neighbor to be—his buddies, his friends.

Jesus goes on to explain though, verse 30, “And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” So here He slips into this parable now to reinforce the lesson that He wanted to teach this lawyer. And He says there is this man, this traveler who goes to Jerusalem, he probably sold some goods, made the money or pocketed the money and then headed back to Jericho—about a 20-mile journey. And the along the way he’s attacked by these bandits who rob him and beat him, who leave him; he’s left for dead basically.

Verse 31 “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him,” the victim that is, “he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.”

Now these were religious teachers. They undoubtedly were very familiar with the two great commands quoted in verse 27 of this chapter. They knew about these two great commands but they, like that lawyer, probably reasoned in their minds, Well who is my neighbor? I mean after all this is a Samaritan; this is a Gentile. This isn’t one of my fellow Jews; this isn’t one of my neighbors. This is someone else; this is someone outside that circle. This is the way they must have thought, this is the way they must have reasoned around God’s law. Because, as you can see from the parable they went to the other side of the street and quickly passed by, they quickly moved on. They just didn’t want to get involved; they didn’t want to be bothered with this problem; they didn’t want to help their fellow man.

Verse 33, “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” I mean, in the case of this Samaritan his natural impulse, his spontaneous reaction was to help the victim no matter who it was. He had compassion on this victim, he took him in, he nurtured him, he nursed him back to health, he left money with the innkeeper to then take care that the situation thereafter. And then promised to return and reimburse him for any additional cost. What an attitude; what an example of how we ought to treat our fellow man, of how we ought to treat human beings. This is the lesson that Jesus wanted us to learn—to go above and beyond for others, to love our neighbor. That’s the way of a Christian.

Verse 36, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do likewise.” There’s a lesson here; Jesus was teaching that a true Christian must be compassionate and impartial in rendering assistance to others—a compassionate and impartial being who is helpful.

This is from the Daily Mirror, a recent story from back in April about one who did step forward and help to try to settle a dispute. And notice the outcome of it. It’s about a father, he’s a father four over in London. And he walked into McDonald’s one day to get a hot chocolate, he sees two people fighting and he goes to break up the fight. And the Mirror writes that one of the two patrons that he was trying to break up then shouted at this man. And according to the Mirror, it says, “You are gonna die tonight, you are not gonna see the morning.” “The thug is then said to have phoned an accomplice to fetch a gun, yelling into his mobile: “Bring me that thing.” And then the victim “left the 24-hour McDonald’s but was chased into a cul-de-sac. The gun was then delivered and [the victim] was beaten and pistol-whipped before being shot three times in an alley in Brixton, South London.” What a world we live in. Here is a case where one actually did step forward, a good Samaritan if you will, to try to stop a fight, to try to stop two people from killing themselves. And this is how they repaid him.

God destroyed the entire world in the days of Noah, because as it says in Genesis 6, the Earth was corrupt and filled with violence. It was just filled with violence—violence and evil. Is this what we’re facing? Could we be facing this, this kind of outcome that they experienced at the end of that antediluvian age?

Look at 2 Timothy 3. See what Paul wrote to his assistant, Timothy. In a world with this much evil and violence, you can see why people are afraid to step forward and help others.

That Daily Mirror article continues, “One neighbour, who saw the shooting but was too terrified to be named, said: ‘He was begging, literally begging for his life. I didn’t dare look out my window in case they saw me.’” Here she’s terrified to speak up, to reveal her name for fear of getting killed herself. This is the world we live in, this is the world of so many of our big cities, London, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore. Look at what happened in Vancouver after a hockey game finished. Just one big city after another—and right here in these prosperous nations of Israel, the people who descended from Israel anciently, and all of our cities just falling apart, terrorized by violence besieged by violent behavior.

In 2 Timothy 3 and verse 1, Paul says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” In the last days it would be uniquely perilous, or dangerous as that word means. I mean mankind has always had its share of evil; there has always been evil in society—the days of Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, is certainly proof of that. But what would these final days, these last days, be particularly known for? Well for what Paul lists off here in these next few verses. Verse 2 it says, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” Here is human nature in all of its true and ugly colors—disobedience to parents, disobedience toward authority, rebellion toward authority—do we have that, has that run rampant through society in Britain, in Canada, in the United States? It says lovers of their own selves, selfishness, people who care only about their own needs and desires—certainly not about other people, certainly not about someone else who’s suffering, certainly not about someone else who’s being beaten in a restaurant. We can’t bother ourselves to be concerned about that—there’s more important things to attend to: having fun, laughing it up, posting videos to have your 10 minutes of fame. This is the way of the world, this is the way of our society.

Verse 3, “Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.” See, loving our own selves, disobedient to parents, unthankful, covetous, boasters, he goes on to say. And then at the start of verse 3, notice that, “without natural affection.” Without even a natural affection for others; just to care for fellow man, just to uphold the sanctity of human life, of human existence. That’s beginning to disappear. People are steadily degenerating to the point where we as a society are becoming almost totally, totally devoid of natural affection. And you see this even where you should see it the most, the affection I mean, within families in marriages. Why this is often where violence breaks out first among family members, or within those that know each other in a special kind of way. Look at the fighting and the strife and the bitterness there is in nations, just between groups, political organizations in nations.

Note that too in verse 3 where it says, “despisers of those that are good.” In the case of that McDonald’s beating, instead of helping the victim who was having a seizure there on the floor, the bystanders were there yelling for the attackers to leave so that they wouldn’t get caught—they heard the police sirens coming. So they wanted to help the two that were administering the beating, and couldn’t care less about the one being beaten. Is that a fulfillment of “despisers of those that are good”?

Look at Isaiah 59 and verse 15. It’s important for you to go and look at these scriptures on your own. If you don’t have your Bible now, write these down and look at them later. Isaiah 59 and verse 15 says, “Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.” The one who departs from evil, who tries to come out of this evil, makes himself a prey in this very evil world that we live in.

2 Timothy 3:4, “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” You see you could hardly find better terms to describe our society today than what Paul lists off in these three verses. “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Doesn’t that ever describe our society.

Mr. Armstrong, Herbert Armstrong, wrote back in 1981—he actually wrote this earlier, this is the final version of his book Missing Dimension and Sex, and he said in that book, “But before we leave the world scene of the eighties,” he’s writing in 1981, “bear in mind the present world in revolt is in rebellion against much more than pre-20th century sex repression. And the modern downward spiral of humanity involves a much wider area than sex alone.” He spends quite a lot of time in that book talking about our sexual depravity, and the moral slide downward, but there’s more to it than just that as he explains. “Today the family structure of Western life is endangered by much more than illicit and promiscuous sex.” He says, “Along with the modern sex rampage of adolescents has come other addictions that titillate, arouse, stimulate and please the physical senses. Accompanying sexual indulgence has come, in teen life, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, modern X-rated movies, gangsterism, violence.” See, gangsterism and violence. Here is Mr. Armstrong writing well ahead of his time telling us where society was headed, and way back in the 1960s when he first produced God Speaks Out on the New Morality. And that book later became The Missing Dimension in Sex. Way ahead of his time.

Look at verse 5 here in 2 Timothy 3, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” See there’s plenty of people who talk about God today, there certainly is no shortage of religious programs, there is no shortage of talk about God, but look at our society and look at how we deny His authority by our actions, by the way that we live. We don’t submit to the Word of God, we don’t submit to His way of life the way that we should. Even in religion there is a strong current of hostility toward God’s law—the law’s supposed to be something that’s bad—we want to get rid of the law, we don’t want to have strong authoritarianism from God, no nothing like that. So we get rid of that and then we talk nice in religion and hope that that’ll solve the problems of this world. And look at the problems as they multiply; look at the evil as it multiplies.

As I said earlier it’s like every week when you see another report of some brutal and senseless crime that’s carried out for no good reason other than to get a few donuts and a drink, and to run off and post the video on the Internet. Crazy behavior. Insane behavior. What’s behind this? Who is behind this behavior? Is there a god of this world? And is it the true God? Or is the one that Paul talked about 2 Corinthians 4:4? Who is Satan the devil—who God left on the front of this earth until Jesus returns to remove him and to establish the kingdom of God, which is God’s family administering God’s laws—God’s law of love. How else are we going to solve these problems that we see playing out on news screens—except by God’s loving family government? How do we know are in the final days? How do we know we are in the last days?

Look at verse 13 it says, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” See it’s getting worse and worse and worse. Now you know that’s true, you know that’s true. Look at the United States just as one example. I mean there is a time going back several generations when the United States was founded by people who were willing to sacrifice, who were willing to lay down their lives for someone else, who were willing to give up their lives for a greater cause. You don’t see much of that spirit anymore. There’s a few examples that pop up from time to time, a few good ones. But certainly it’s not a case where good is overcoming the evil. We’re being overcome by the evil, by this evil spirit, by this tidal wave of discontent, of hatred. Worse and worse—it is getting worse. You can see that. If you’re an honest observer, if you haven’t just been calloused to all that’s happening, you can see, you can know.

This is what Mr. Armstrong wrote, going back to The Missing Dimension in Sex, he said, “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.” I mean we don’t have hope unless that strong hand from someplace intervenes to save us from ourselves, to save us from this evil.

This is in the New Morality book, back in the 1960s, Mr. Armstrong said this downward plunge is “rapidly becoming a greater threat to humanity than the hydrogen bomb!”

Egypt: Muslims Burn Christians’ Houses, Threaten Priest

Egypt: Muslims Burn Christians’ Houses, Threaten Priest

Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

The Egyptian government has not dealt with radical anti-Christians as promised.

“We will kill the priest, we will kill him and no one will prevent us,” chanted hundreds of Muslim extremists in the central Egyptian village of Beni Ahmad, the Assyrian International News Agency reported on June 24.

The Muslims began threatening to destroy the church in the village in March after Christians began renovations. A Muslim mob ordered the church to stop restoration work and to expel the priest on March 23.

A similar incident took place on June 25 in Awlad Khalaf in southern Egypt. Muslims with bulldozers tried to destroy a church that was being built on Christian-owned land, according to local security chief Assem Hamza. Christians fired on the Muslims and three were shot, said Hamza. One Christian was stabbed. The church, according Hamza, was being constructed illegally.

The Assyrian International News Agency gives a different version of events, saying that 200 Muslims torched eight Christian homes. The news agency states that the Muslims were acting on rumors that a church was being built; the Christian who owned it claims he was only building a house. “The police arrived three hours after the looting and torching had ended,” it reported.

The violence comes after the Egyptian government promised to deal with this kind of anti-Christian violence. After attacks on a church in the Imbaba neighborhood of Cairo last month, Christians, along with some Muslim sympathizers, protested outside the state tv building. After they sat there for nearly two weeks the government promised to protect places of worship and use “an iron fist” to stop the mobs and end the violence.

At first things looked promising. Police arrested over 200 people connected with the Imbaba attacks and quickly stopped fighting in Ain Shams, on the outskirts of Cairo, where Muslims claimed a church was being opened illegally.

But appearances are deceiving. Writing in the New York Review of Books, former Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal Yasmine El Rashidi says:

Of those arrested for the attacks in the Imbaba quarter, many have been released without sentences—including Salafis who had been seen on videos inciting violence against the churches. One had said about the Coptic Church, “It’s a mafia that harbors weapons.” Of those still under investigation, 48 have recently been referred to the Supreme Court for trials—among them many Copts. Only two of 16 people arrested for attacking the Copt protesters during their 13-day sit-in received sentences—two years, with bail. “It’s telling. These are all simply gestures,” Father Sarabamon told me between his conversations with well-wishers. “The government has made the gesture of arrests, of trials, but when you look at action, nothing has happened. Even the churches they promised to reopen have not been opened.”

With the Muslim Brotherhood poised to take power, things are set to get worse. “The Brotherhood made scathing statements against women and Copts soon after Mubarak’s ouster,” writes El Rashidi. “Its leaders are now openly calling for an Islamic state, something they had previously denied was among its goals.”

They may have recently accepted Coptic Christian members, but as Nabil Abdel Fattah, a political analyst at the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said, they are “just for show … like flowers on the Brothers’ jackets.”

Neither the current Egyptian government nor the Muslim Brotherhood have shown that they will do anything about these anti-Christian attacks. The attacks are part of a building global clash between Muslims and Christians—and Egypt will be firmly on the Islamic side.