World’s Greatest Danger: Germany Domineers Over Europe Again!

World’s Greatest Danger: Germany Domineers Over Europe Again!

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/GettyImages

Germany has the bloodiest history of any nation when it comes to starting wars. Now it is leading Europe again. Let the world beware!
From the September 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Adolf Hitler didn’t consider his National Socialist party a movement; he thought of it as a religion. He saw himself as a religious leader. He was motivated and inspired by his evil god.

The Nazis had a colossal assembly hall, and they called it a hall of worship. Nazism was an extreme cult worship in a way. Hitler said he followed the Jesuit order, the part of the Catholic leadership that expresses fierce allegiance to the pope; he patterned the elite SS after that. It was a religion. It was, in fact, the Holy Roman Empire.

Pope Pius xi subscribed to the same principles. These two men formed quite a church-state relationship. This was proved in 1933 when the Vatican and Hitler signed a concordat: “The church agreed to keep priests and religion out of politics while Hitler, among other things, granted complete freedom to confessional schools throughout the country, a notable victory for German Catholics,” wrote John Toland in his book Adolf Hitler. “The Vatican was so appreciative of being recognized as a full partner that it asked God to bless the Reich. On a more practical level, it ordered German bishops to swear allegiance to the National Socialist regime. The new oath concluded with these significant words: ‘In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interest of the German Reich, I will endeavor to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it’” (emphasis added throughout).

This is history you would think people would never want to forget! It’s right there in the history books for everyone to see. But few pay any attention to it. They think it is all in the past. But it isn’t, really. The worst is yet to come, if you look at it prophetically.

One million Jews were killed in Auschwitz! Seven hundred and fifty thousand Jews died in Treblinka. Over half a million perished in Belzec; 200,000 were murdered in Sobibór, and another 200,000 in Chelmno and Lublin. All told, 50 to 60 million people died in World War ii.

This is what the Holy Roman Empire is all about: destroying people. Above all, it is a machine of destruction! That is what it is famous for.

This is pretty recent history. We need to understand that—because it’s only a small forerunner of what is about to spring upon us.

A Warning Ignored!

Thursday, July 21, was a historic and powerfully prophetic day. I would imagine that almost 100 percent of Americans were totally unaware of it. They were wrapped up in discussion over the debt ceiling—and yet they don’t even realize what that means. It means America is finished, but they won’t look at it that way.

None of us would understand the historic and prophetic significance of July 21 if not for the Bible’s prophecies revealed through a man named Herbert W. Armstrong. God sent a message through this man to warn the world of what was coming—yet few listened. Now the world is on the threshold of World War iii, and we are trumpeting that same warning as loudly as we possibly can.

Back in 1945, at the conclusion of World War ii and during the inaugural session of the United Nations, Mr. Armstrong said to his radio program listeners, “The war is over in Europe. Or is it? We need to wake up and realize that right now is the most dangerous moment in United States national history, instead of assuming we now have peace.” What this man warned about over 65 years ago is exactly what this world is coming face to face with today, though people are very ignorant about it.

“Men plan here to preserve the peace of the world,” he continued. “What most do not know is that the Germans have their plans for winning the battle of the peace. Yes, I said battle of the peace. That’s a kind of battle we Americans don’t know. We know only one kind of war. We have never lost a war—that is, a military war—but we have never won a conference, where leaders of other nations outfox us in the battle for the peace. We don’t understand German thoroughness. From the very start of World War ii they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned in such eventuality the third round, World War iii!” This was really a warning from God—yet people laughed and scoffed.

“Hitler has lost. This round of war, in Europe, is over, and the Nazis have now gone underground,” he said. “In France and Norway they learned how effectively an organized underground can hamper occupation and control of a country. Paris was liberated by the French underground, and Allied armies. Now a Nazi underground is methodically planned. They plan to come back and to win on the third try” (May 9, 1945).

Today’s headlines prove that Mr. Armstrong was exactly right. What happened on July 21 was a giant step toward fulfilling that prophecy!

Some years later, in the June 1952 Plain Truth, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The United States is determined now to let nothing stand in the way of building up a rearmed independent Germany. This will be the heart and core of the united Europe, and that will revive the Roman Empire.”

The February 1957 issue reminded readers, “Even during World War ii, while Allied bombers were busily pounding Germany to a shattered, bleak pile of rubble, Mr. Armstrong was warning his listeners and readers that Germany was going to rise again!” He was ridiculed for those warnings: People thought the world would never let Germany do such a thing. Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an agreement saying, “‘It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and to ensure Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world.” Germany has the worst history of any nation when it comes to starting wars! Have we forgotten that it started World Wars i and ii?

But what is happening today? How much do you know about what’s happening in Europe right now?

In a letter to Plain Truth readers on July 24, 1983, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The very first issue of the Plain Truth magazine appeared February 1934—just 50 years ago lacking about six months. The article starting on the cover page warned of a coming sudden appearance of a resurrected ‘Holy Roman Empire’ in Europe—a union of 10 nations in Europe under one government, with one united military force. For 50 years I have been crying out to the world the Bible prophecies of this coming ‘United States of Europe’—a new united superpower perhaps more powerful than either the Soviet Union or the United States!”

In 1984, nearly 30 years ago, Mr. Armstrong explained to his readers exactly how Europe would unite. A global financial crisis could erupt, he wrote, which “could suddenly result in triggering European nations to unite as a new world power larger than either the Soviet Union or the U.S.”

On July 21 this year, a giant part of that financial crisis erupted.

What Happened on July 21?

The July 21 edition of the Telegraph featured this headline by that newspaper’s chief political commentator, Peter Oborne: “The euro crisis will give Germany the empire it’s always dreamed of.”

That stunned me when I read it. Germany has been dreaming all this time of having an empire again—the Holy Roman Empire! Mr. Armstrong warned about this for 50 years! So many people ridiculed him—but today’s headlines say exactly what he warned about!

I have to tell you, this sends a few chills through my body—because I know what is coming! I know what the Bible’s prophecies say! The suffering of World War ii was nothing compared to what is about to descend on this world very soon—probably in less than five years!

Mr. Oborne was commenting on a eurozone meeting in Brussels that took place on July 21. Many observers thought it was just another meeting. Some economists thought European leaders just kicked the can down the road once again. But the truth is that Europe’s leaders made several important long-term decisions that catapult the continent toward becoming a European superstate!

Oborne wrote, “It is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of the decision which European leaders seemed last night to be reaching.” That sounds like he understands the prophecies Mr. Armstrong talked about! There are quite a number of people out there who do—but they don’t want to talk about it!

This is the Holy Roman Empire that Mr. Armstrong prophesied of so many times! It is proof that those prophecies did not come from a man. The God who gave him that prophetic understanding lives! Mr. Armstrong has been dead for over 25 years—but his God lives on, and everything He said through Mr. Armstrong in those prophecies is coming to pass in detail!

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a lady not prone to exaggeration or speaking in dramatic terms, announced, “This is a historic day.”

Oborne continued, “By authorizing a huge expansion in the bailout fund that is propping up the EU’s peripheral members (largely in order to stop the contagion spreading to Italy and Spain), the eurozone has taken the decisive step to become a fiscal union.”

What does that mean? Well, if the eurozone becomes a fiscal union,somebody must have the political power to make it work! And whom do you suppose it will be? Germany. The Germans just pushed themselves into domineeringoverthe European Union. Germany has the economic might and the political will to do what it feels must be done, and nobody else does. Whoever controls the money controls the empire.

The eurozone leaders’ decision turns the bailout mechanism into a “European Monetary Fund,” and even the prototype of a European treasury. The fund will now be allowed to help out Spain and Italy without those nations having to submit to a formal bailout. It will also be allowed to buy government debt from banks and investors.

In essence, it subjugates southern Europe to Germany!

Oborne explained, “Their economic sovereignty has been obliterated; they face a future as vassal states [or, you could say, slave states], their role reduced to the one enjoyed by the European colonies of the 19th and early 20th centuries. They will provide cheap labor, raw materials, agricultural produce and a ready market for the manufactured goods and services provided by the far more productive and efficient northern Europeans.”

Germany is now telling these countries how to run their business. These countries are not democratic anymore. Germany is calling the shots.

“It is important to understand that the crisis is not fundamentally about Greece or even about the indebtedness of the entire currency bloc,” wrote Marko Papic. “[T]he real crisis is the more fundamental question of how the European continent is to be ruled in the 21st century” (Stratfor, June 28). How true that is! And as has become clear, it is to be ruled by Germany!

“For all practical purposes, the next chapter of history has now opened in Europe,” wrote Peter Zeihan and Marko Papic for Stratfor on July 26. “Regardless of intentions, Germany has just experienced an important development in its ability to influence fellow EU member states—particularly those experiencing financial troubles. It can now easily usurp huge amounts of national sovereignty. Rather than constraining Germany’s geopolitical potential, the European Union now enhances it;Germany is on the verge of once again becoming a great power. … Germany’s reemergence does force a radical rethinking of the European and Eurasian architectures.”

“Yesterday’s witching hour of the European Union means that Germany has come very close to realizing Bismarck’s dream of an economic empire stretching from central Europe to the eastern Mediterranean,” Oborne wrote. And that is very similar to what Hitler was striving for as well.

This was a giant-size leap into what we have come to know as the Holy Roman Empire. And it is almost totally controlled by the very people who tried to obliterate the Jewish race and killed 6 million of them in World War ii! People say we shouldn’t talk about such things—that those horrible events are in the past, and we don’t want to give the Germans or the Vatican a guilt complex. They want to pretend the truth doesn’t exist.

But it does! This is the power that is rising before us! Mr. Armstrong warned it would happen. He prophesied that Europe would consist of 10 kings, dominated by one king, helped by a great universal church. Today there are 27 nations in the European Union, and they’re beginning to morph into 10 kings already—and are about to gain unprecedented power!

‘Be He God or the Devil’

“It was always obvious to anyone with an ounce of discernment that a single currency would fail in the absence of political union.” These words were written on July 20 by a man with the pseudonym Archbishop Cranmer; he runs the sixth-most influential independent political blog in the UK.

So—that currency is on the verge of failure, and in order to rescue it, Europe is about to have a full political union. Who will lead it? Everyone is looking to Germany, in spite of that nation’s history. I am not saying this to condemn the Germans, because the prophecies say that God is doing this work through them. But they have a history of starting wars time and time again, and prophecy tells us they will do so one more time. Then comes the best news this world could ever hear!

“When we hear talk of ‘German destiny,’ we are talking about the self-perceived divine mission to preside over a unified Europe, achievable through a dominating German state,” Cranmer wrote. He is right. The Nazis talked about that plan over and over, and here it is. Now they have it, and they’ve gotten it through what most people would call peaceful means.

Cranmer continued, “Such a notion of ‘destiny’ or ‘divine right’ was also in the mind of Kaiser Wilhelm ii, when he said: ‘[A]fter the elimination of the British and the Jews … the result will be a United States of Europe. The hand of God is creating a new world: a United States of Europe under German leadership.’” They think they are the chosen people!

“Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl for many years declared his dissatisfaction with a common market of independent states, and believed it was German ‘destiny’ not merely to lead a European union, but to dominate it”—in true Holy Roman Empire tradition! “Another former chancellor of Germany, Konrad Adenauer [who came to power right after Germany’s defeat in World War ii], declared: ‘Germany has a divine mission to save Western Europe.’” Did Germany save Western Europe in World War ii? Is that what it was doing in those concentration camps all over the Continent?

“Since the era of Charlemagne, the notion of a ‘German destiny’ has been deeply ingrained in the national psyche,” Cranmer wrote. They believe they have a divine right and that God has appointed them to rule Europe and even the world—and they’re ready to take on the job! And repeatedly throughout history, they have shown that if you don’t believe in God the way they believe in God, they think they need to kill you! Isn’t that what they have done time and time again?

What Europe needs most of all right now is strong leadership. Cranmer concluded his blog entry, “[W]e await the man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people; the one who will lift us out of the economic morass in which we are sinking. Send us such a man and, be he god or the devil, we will receive him. … And so the plan will be perfected: the ‘Germanization of Europe’ will be complete; her ‘destiny’ fulfilled.”

We have often written about how Germany is waiting for a strongman. But these events show that all of Europe is waiting for some kind of a strongman to make this system work. They must have somebody with real authority.

“The broader concern” in Europe, warned Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is that “we are still waiting for some sort of true leadership out of Europe.” Even people in America are waiting for that!

As Greece, Ireland, Portugal and now Italy wobble, Europe is realizing that it must take drastic and far-reaching measures, which require active, decisive,streamlinedleadership. That aligns perfectly with Germany’s thinking.

“[I]n attempting to quell the economic crisis, policymakers may only have succeeded in creating an almighty political one,” Jeremy Warner wrote in the Telegraph (July 21). Of course that is what they have done. It’s prophesied. “Despite the compromises won from reluctant political leaders, this crisis is far from over,” Warner wrote. What does that mean? It becomes increasingly clear as you look into this. We are seeing how a strongman is going to come on the scene very soon—a man prophesied in Daniel 8, Habakkuk 1, Isaiah 10, Daniel 11, and other scriptures.

They need a strongman. The power is already there, and Germany is directing nearly everything—though people won’t admit it. But the leadership they have now simply isn’t up to the job. The Europe project can’t really move forward until they have a strongman with the power to make it happen! Once he gets in there, he will be the most destructive leader in human history!

Where Is the Man?

Right now, Germans are upset, and Chancellor Merkel is walking a rough road. Before the July 21 meeting, she told people not to expect a spectacular step, but just a “controlled process of gradual steps and measures.” Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote in the Telegraph, “Given the simmering wrath from top to bottom of German society, it may be impossible for her to do much more” (July 19). The Germans are angry that their taxes went to pay off the debt for the Greeks. They see the economic crisis in Europe and they’re getting anxious and afraid.

Every time the German mindset becomes that way, they want a strongman to lead them!

This is exactly what happened before World War ii. The German economy had runaway inflation; it took a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread. They all wanted someone to solve the crisis—and in stepped Adolf Hitler. The same thing happened with the Kaiser in World War i.

But people say not to worry. Don’t worry about what the Germans did in 1870, or World War i, or World Warii, or repeatedly over the centuries.We’ve got to get this economy straightened out!

The German people are upset, and if this crisis doesn’t end soon—and it won’t—Merkel is probably going to go, perhaps even this year. “Above her head hangs a sword of Damocles, a ruling by her constitutional court in September that may curb or even block German participation in the EU’s rescue machinery,” Evans-Pritchard wrote. That would really throw things into chaos! Yet it probably will happen, and that may be the beginning of the end of Angela Merkel—and the beginning of the strongman coming on the scene to get things under control.

On July 12, Evans-Pritchard wrote about the overarching structural question that Europe’s economic crisis poses: “The implications of this are profound. Germany must now be willing either to buy or guarantee Spanish and Italian debt, and in doing so to cross the Rubicon to fiscal and political union, or accept that [European Monetary Union] must break up with calamitous consequences for German foreign policy. Large matters, beyond the intellectual vision of Germany’s current leaders.” That is putting it bluntly. None of the current leaders have the intellectual power and strength of character to do the job! Of course the Germans can see that.

Where is that man? They’re looking and waiting for him! And we think we know who he is.

Once this man comes on the scene, the world is going to be deceived, and then shocked, frightened and brutalized by him!

On July 21, Germany crossed the Rubicon. There is no looking back. It is committed. The Holy Roman Empire is here! All they’re waiting for now is a strongman to whip everybody into line financially, politically and militarily—and the Holy Roman Empire is in business once again, for the final time!

A Mind Change

The Prophet Daniel said this of the coming strongman: “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Daniel 11:21). He’s not even going to be voted in, but he’s coming into power! And he’s doing it because God wants to correct the modern nations of Israel—chiefly the United States and Britain (this is proven in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy).

In Habakkuk 1:6 God says, “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.” God is going to bring the Chaldeans, or the Holy Roman Empire, into the U.S. and into Britain and into the Jewish state called Israel today, in order to correct them for their evil! Verses 7 and 8 describe what a fearsome war-making machine they are, “terrible and dreadful.” Just look at the concentration camps to see how true that is!

Verse 11 says of the strongman leading this empire, “Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.” Isaiah 10:7 tells the same story: “Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.” There will come a point when this man will realize what power he really has, and he will probably become possessed by the devil—and his mind will change!

The devil loves concentration camps! He loves to see humanity suffer! He hates the exalted potential God has given human beings, who are made in His likeness and image. The devil doesn’t want human beings to rule as God intended. He is going to seize this opportunity and annihilate as many people as he possibly can—especially Jews and the descendants of the Israelites!

“O mighty God, thou hast established them [the Germans] for correction,” Habakkuk 1:12 tells us. Verses 14 through 17 speak of how utterly meaningless human life is to these warmongers. “Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?” (verse 17). They slay nations over and over again!

When will we learn from history? What will it take to finally awaken the modern nations of Israel—the only people to have a history with God? It’s going to take the Great Tribulation, and a lot of correction from God.

A Wonderful Sign

Many experts believe the measures put forward on July 21 aren’t enough to fix Europe’s problem. The drama is definitely not over. Europe just took a giant leap toward becoming a German-led superstate, but expect this crisis to force Germany and Europe to take more radical steps toward unification.

As I wrote to you back in our January edition, “Watch closely. Germany will use this crisis to force Europe to unite more tightly.” That is exactly what is happening now. “In the process, some eurozone countries will be forced out of the union,” I continued. There are still more turbulent times ahead for the euro. But as I wrote, “Every country that leaves the EU puts us one step closer to seeing the German-led 10-nation European superstate! … We are witnessing one of the most significant moments ever in the history of Europe.”

How can I know this? Because it is exactly what Mr. Armstrong told us years in advance would happen, based on the sure word of Bible prophecy. He forecast “a sort of soon-coming ‘United States of Europe’—a union of 10 nations to rise up out of or following the Common Market of today.” The Bible tells us that when this government is fully empowered, it is going to plunge this world into the most terrifying and violent period in human history.

But the Bible also tells us that at the end of this “great tribulation,” Jesus Christ is going to return! As we watch the rise of this Catholic-inspired, German-led beast, we must never forget: The emergence of this institution is a sign that the most joyous event in history is about to take place.

Above all, this is the most important lesson to take from these events: After July 21, the world is now a giant step closer to the return of Jesus Christ!

WorldWatch

From the August 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Europe

The birth of a dictatorship

European Union democracy has large, dangerous cracks, according to a June 17 EU Observer article. In essence, the EU has gone from trying to coerce the public, to autocratically controlling the Union’s political parties.

“Europe seems to have slipped almost imperceptibly in the space of only a few months into an electoral interzone, a crack in the pavement of democracy,” EU Observer said. “The formal trappings of clean elections—in which political parties with competing manifestos contest a ballot free of voter intimidation—are all still there, but someone else has decided in advance what the result will be.”

With EU member states Ireland, Portugal, Finland and Greece having already fallen victim to this “post-political phenomenon,” the article said more are sure to follow. Even without military maneuvering, it said, “a junta has installed itself nonetheless, a junta of ‘experts,’ technocrats, those educated in the knowledge of What Needs to Be Done.” Having seen “how easy it is to intimidate democracy,” these experts “have now gone so far, it appears, as to be on the verge of decapitating a government.”

European officials forced Ireland into bailing out its banking sector, putting taxpayers on the hook. Then when Ireland held elections, the EU and the International Monetary Fund told all parties they couldn’t renegotiate the bailout or opt out—essentially depriving Irish voters of any choice in the matter. The implication was, even parties that campaigned on renouncing the bailout would not be allowed to do so. The message from the EU was: Take the bailouts, further indebt your country, or we will crash you ourselves.

This dictatorial approach was repeated with Portugal. It is becoming clear that EU nations are not as sovereign as they thought they were.

EU Observer then showed the absolute power of the European Central Bank (ecb), which is largely controlled by Germany. It literally brought down the Portuguese government. “After months of [Portugal’s] prime minister, José Sócrates, refusing to acquiesce to pressure to accept a bailout for the sake of the wider eurozone, the European Central Bank simply pulled the plug on his economy.” It did this by giving the head of Portugal’s banking association what he later called “clear instructions” to ensure Portuguese banks would stop buying government bonds if Lisbon did not seek a rescue.

After that, the same day Portugal agreed to the deal, “EU and ecb experts demanded that even though the parties were in the middle of an electoral campaign, all main parties sign an accord endorsing the bailout memorandum, no matter the result of the vote” (ibid). Thus, voters could no longer decide on the matter: Whoever was elected would be beholden to Frankfurt.

In Finland too, the ecb is flexing its muscles. In order to satisfy his European masters, the prime minister elect was forced to eschew forming a durable governing coalition in order to cobble together a parliamentary coalition certain to pass the bailout. The Observer reported, “Parliamentary historians have searched in vain to locate a precedent whereby a majority has been formed in a chamber for just one vote, rather than to build a government.”

And with each success, the European overlords are gaining confidence.

The most remarkable example is what the Eurocrats have done to Greece. “[T]he experts [require] that the country give up all remaining vestiges of its sovereignty, and, if necessary to win such national unity, even the office of the prime minister is negotiable,” the Observer wrote, accusing these “experts” of being “addicted to the ease of being able to force through what they want without heed of democratic norms.” In order to receive a second bailout, Greece is being forced to sell off tens of billions of euros’ worth of public assets (some say as much as €300 billion) under the scrutiny of “eurozone overseers.”

Clearly, a European monster is rising. But even more astounding, though unelected officials in Brussels and elsewhere are forcing their agenda on the Greeks, Irish, Portuguese and Finns, many people are actually craving an autocratic “strongman” to come and set things right.

In Greece, a recent Kappa Institute poll showed that 30 percent of the people actually want the country to be led by “a group of experts and technocrats.” Less than a quarter believe a democratically elected government can solve the nation’s economic problems, and a full 22.7 percent want “a strongman” to solve the crisis. The Observer commented, “When the experts who give lip service to how much they believe in European democracy treat it so cheaply, they should not be surprised when the real junta, the real colonels, take command.”

Democracy is dying in Europe. National sovereignty is being washed away. And Europe is being primed for a “strongman” to come to the forefront with solutions to its economic crisis. To see where the Bible says it is all heading, read Gerald Flurry’s February cover story, “A Monumental Moment in European History!”

Waking up to a religious war

Over 105,000 Christians are martyred every year, Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne said at the International Conference on Inter-religious Dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims, which concluded on June 3. Cardinal Péter Erdo of Budapest stated: “Europe should be preparing for a new wave of emigration, this time of Christians fleeing persecution.” The conference was hosted by Hungary as the highlight of its presidency of the EU. Watch for Europe to forcibly confront this persecution.

1 | Germany 2 | Russia

Look out—they’re cooperating

Berlin and Moscow are collaborating to formally resolve the continuing frictions between Moldova and its breakaway region of Transnistria. These efforts mark the first demonstrable indication of Russo-German collaboration to resolve European security problems. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin agreed on the resolution on June 14 when they met in Switzerland.

Ever since the region of Transnistria gained de facto independence from Moldova shortly after the Soviet Union’s fall, tension has thrived. Moscow has propped up the breakaway territory, in part by stationing 500 Russian soldiers there. Moldova leans toward Europe in its politics, but Transnistria is a staunch Russian ally. The new resolution is expected to grant Transnistria representation in Moldova’s parliament and allow European security forces to help Russian troops there.

However, Stratfor notes, “The specific details of the agreement are far less important than the fact that this is the first concrete instance of Russia and Germany working jointly to dictate the terms of key European security issues” (June 17).

The real significance is that Berlin and Moscow hope the agreement will convince the world that rising German-Russian cooperation is not a threat. Berlin wants to convince other European nations, especially in Central Europe, to view the cooperation as a force for peace; it is willing to see Moldova move toward Russia in order to sell this idea.

Germany and Russia have been at odds with each other throughout history. The periods of cooperation between them, such as those initiated by the 1922 Treaty of Rapallo and the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, have been based on mutual strategic necessity in the lead-up to major conflicts. History is consistent on this point: Germany and Russia are not close friends, and any appearance that they are is a harbinger of conflict.

3 | Spain 4 | Greece 

No job? Take to the streets

The financial crisis is fueling unrest across the Continent. The most dramatic has been in Spain: With the jobless rate now at more than 45 percent for 16-to-24-year-olds, tens of thousands of Spanish youths have taken to the streets to protest. Greece’s youth unemployment rate is also high, at 33.5 percent; Ireland’s and Italy’s are both 28 percent, and Portugal’s and France’s are above 20 percent. This mass unemployment and dissatisfaction with the political system risks sending nations in a radical new direction. Even moderate citizens of several EU nations have recently voted for parties with an extremist past, militant rhetoric and a dubious political agenda. In France, Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the National Front, is leading in the polls. In Germany, genuine fears exist concerning the possible emergence of a nationalist party. This growing discontent could well lead to the ascension of a new Charlemagne in Europe.

1 | Germany 5 | Saudi Arabia

Making friends in the Mideast …

German federal police have been training Saudi Arabian forces in how to deal with protests, according to a report by Fakt shown on German television on May 30. Officially, the police officers are aiding in border security, but classified documents and anonymous German police revealed that their job goes beyond the official government description. Watch for Saudi Arabia to increasingly reach out to Germany for protection.

6 | Iran … as well as enemies

Flying to India on May 31 and about to cross Iranian airspace, a plane carrying German Chancellor Angela Merkel received a message that Iran had rescinded its permission for the plane to traverse its territory. The incident instigated a diplomatic row and showed a growing rift between Germany and Iran. Despite U.S. and EU sanctions, until recently Germany was one of Iran’s most important trade partners. Now, German politicians are cracking down on Iran. Giant German corporations such as Siemens and ThyssenKrupp are moving out of Iran, and Merkel recently announced that the Hamburg-based European-Iranian Trade Bank (eih) would be shut down. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Stuart Levey called the eih one of the “few remaining access points to the European financial system.” Its closure will be a blow to Iran. Expect Iran to lash out in response—and push the limits of European patience.

Middle East

1 | Iran 2 | Iraq 3 | Afghanistan 4 | Pakistan

Eager to show America the door

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 June 27. At a meeting in Tehran on June 24, for example, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan about issues relating to the departure of nato forces from Afghanistan.

In Iraq, tens of thousands of supporters of anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched through Baghdad on May 26 in a warning that they would restart the Shiite insurgency if U.S. troops do not leave Iraq by the end of the year. Sadr is backed by Iran and enjoys considerable support among Iraqis. His party’s support of Nouri al-Maliki was critical to the prime minister gaining a second term and forming a government last year.

This public protest is a complication for America. Outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked Baghdad to host American troops in Iraq past the end of the year, the deadline stipulated in the current agreement between the two countries. While some Iraqi political groups support such an extension, it is widely opposed by Iraqi citizens—and Sadr.

America wants to stay in Iraq longer in order to maintain stability and counteract Iran. “The Iraqi Security Forces will not be able to defend Iraq’s sovereignty, independence from Iran, and internal stability without American assistance, including some ground forces, for a number of years,” defense analyst Frederick Kagan argued in a paper released in May.

Washington is trying to delay the inevitable. As the Trumpet has long said, Iran will cement its takeover of Iraq once the U.S. leaves.

And don’t forget its ‘peaceful’ nuclear program

Iran has worked on technology to place nuclear material on a missile and detonate it, the International Atomic Energy Agency wrote in a nine-page report May 24. The report cited evidence that Iran had begun “experiments involving the explosive compression of uranium deuteride to produce a short burst of neutrons.” This type of device would be used as a trigger for a nuclear bomb; Harold M. Agnew, former director of the Los Alamos weapons lab, said, “I don’t know of any peaceful uses” for it. The evidence discredits Iran’s claims that it is developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

5 | Libya 

Where jihadists are the ‘good guys’

A report by two French think tanks indicates that the West is on the side of Islamic terrorists in the war against Muammar Qadhafi in Libya. Six experts who consulted with representatives on both sides of the conflict concluded that jihadists have played a predominant role in the eastern Libyan rebellion and that “true democrats” represent only a minority. They also found that the justifications given for Western military intervention in Libya were largely based on media exaggerations and “outright disinformation.” It appears the current military campaign in Libya may well facilitate that country falling to Islamists and into the Iranian orbit—an outcome prophesied by the Prophet Daniel.

6 | Turkey 

Islamist revolution by stealth

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (akp) won a resounding victory in parliamentary elections on June 12 with 50 percent of the vote. This means the status quo in Turkey will remain, with the Islamist-rooted akp staying in power. Economic growth under the akp 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 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan first came to power in 2002 elections, he has taken the secularist country in a more religious direction, seeking to bring Islamic culture into the political sphere. Political analyst Barry Rubin says the June elections mark an Islamist revolution by stealth. 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.”

7 | Lebanon 

Hezbollah coup complete

Five months after Hezbollah brought down the Lebanese government, Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced his new cabinet on June 13. Unsurprisingly, it is dominated by allies of Hezbollah. Most cabinet posts are held by the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition, which helped bring the government down in January when its members quit in protest of a UN-backed tribunal investigating the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (a tribunal expected to indict several Hezbollah members). Five months later, the Shiite terrorist group’s coup was complete. Hezbollah and its Christian and Druze allies secured 18 posts in the new government—up from 11 under the previous coalition—enabling them to pass or block decisions more easily. In holding majority sway within parliament, Hezbollah is now freer than ever to pursue its terrorist agenda within the bounds of democratic rule in Lebanon’s government.

Asia

A boom in security cooperation

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (sco), a regional security bloc dominated by China and Russia, celebrated its 10th anniversary in Kazakhstan on June 15. Over the past decade, sco member nations have signed over 100 cooperation agreements and have greatly expanded cooperation in economics, security and culture. Now the sco is on the verge of further expansion, with observer states Mongolia, Iran and Pakistan all seeking membership. India has also expressed its desire to gain full membership, an addition that would bring a further 1.19 billion people into the sco’s area of influence. Although China and Russia are the regional behemoths driving the unification of the East, the sco may well be a vehicle they use to reach that destination.

8 | China 

Hungry for energy

A surge in energy consumption last year bumped China ahead of the U.S., making it the world’s biggest consumer of energy. According to a report published June 8, for the year 2010, China’s consumption accounted for 20.3 percent of global demand compared to 19 percent for the U.S. China’s consumption grew by 11.2 percent over the previous year, more than any other nation. As China’s consumption grows, other nations, especially in Europe, will assume a more combative stance in securing resources for themselves. When more than one power aggressively pursues the world’s wealth, intense competition results and eventually gives way to war.

9 | India 

Talking again

An eight-member Indian military delegation arrived in China on June 19 to begin a six-day visit with Chinese military officials, marking a return to defense cooperation between the two Asian behemoths that was at a stalemate for a year. The two sides made the decision to resume military ties during the most recent brics summit in April.

10 | Philippines

U.S.: Don’t count on us!

Tensions in the South China Sea have been escalating since June. The Philippines appealed to the U.S. for help in the event of a military conflict with Beijing, expressing confidence the U.S. would honor the Mutual Defense Treaty it has held with Manila for 60 years. However, U.S. press attaché Rebecca Thompson responded that America would not side with any party. As America’s willpower and financial resources wane, expect Asian nations to abandon the sinking U.S. ship and resolve their intercontinental skirmishes.

8 | China 11 | Russia

Dumping U.S., a dollar at a time

Moscow is likely to continue lowering its holdings of U.S. debt as Washington scrambles to boost its anemic economic recovery, a top aide to President Dmitry Medvedev said on June 18. U.S. Treasury figures show that Russia’s holdings of American debt fell from $176.3 billion in October 2010 to $125.4 billion in April 2011. Russia’s financial reserves, totaling $528 billion as of June 10, are the third largest in the world, after those of China and Japan.

China is following the same pattern, no longer buying dollars, but favoring euros instead. Premier Wen Jiabao visited Germany for the first-ever German-Chinese joint cabinet meeting on June 27, where he said he will continue to back purchases of European debt. Because China has around 26 percent of its currency reserves in euros, Beijing is committed to the currency’s stability. Wen also underscored the important role confidence can play in helping the EU to correct its sovereign debt crisis. As Athens convulses, Beijing knows that holding euros is risky, but clearly it sees that holding dollars is far riskier.

In a further move to decrease their dependence on the dollar, Beijing and Moscow signed an agreement on June 26 permitting their bilateral trade to be conducted in their national currencies. Russian and Chinese companies will now be able to settle their business in rubles and yuans, and it is viewed as a consequence of rising bilateral trade between the two Asian giants. Last year, bilateral trade between them soared 50 percent to reach $59 billion, making China Russia’s biggest trading partner. Earlier in the month, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Russia and set the goal to increase Russo-Chinese trade to $100 billion by 2015 and $200 billion by 2020.

Watch for more nations to dump dollars as the U.S.’s economic fissures grow deeper.

Latin America, Africa

1 | Argentina

U.S. snubs UK over Falklands

The United States has once again sided with Argentina, along with Venezuela, against the UK over the Falkland Islands. On June 7, America signed on to a draft declaration that calls for Britain to negotiate with Argentina over the sovereignty of the Falklands. This comes as Argentina has been increasing its aggression against the islands, and despite the fact there is nothing to negotiate: Argentina’s claim to the islands is tenuous at best, and its inhabitants want Britain to retain sovereignty. The incident shows that despite President Obama’s words of support during his visit to Britain in May, the special relationship between these two countries is dead. Britain, certain to get no help from the U.S., is prophesied in Scripture to lose the Falklands.

2 | UNASUR 

A continent unites

The Union of South American Nations (unasur) has made progress in becoming more like its EU role model. unasur leaders met in Lima, Peru, in May and issued a declaration calling for the region to pursue a common methodology in monitoring defense expenditures among member nations. Latin America remains a major customer for global defense suppliers and there are now calls for unasur to become more militarily integrated. Expect South America to continue looking to Europe for guidance as it integrates economically, politically and militarily.

3 | Chile 4 | Colombia 5 | Peru

Look out, Mexico: New stock exchange in town

The stock exchanges of Chile, Colombia and Peru officially combined into a new South American Stock Exchange on May 30. This new market, called the Integrated Latin American Market (mila), will start with a listing of 560 companies and will overtake Mexico as the largest stock market in Latin America. The launch of the new market doesn’t mean the disappearance of each country’s local exchange, but rather the creation of a new multi-border stock exchange that will provide an additional platform for companies to access investor capital.

6 | South Africa Strengthening China’s foothold

The government of South Africa agreed in early June to closer relations with China in an effort to combat crime. South African Police Minister Maggie Sotyu met with the Chinese vice minister of public security on May 30. “Our main relationship with China is trade,” said Sotyu. “They are our number one trade partners, but China felt that we needed to go beyond trade and we needed to deal with the issues of crime.” Cooperation with regards to police training and the possibility of exchanging information between the police forces of both countries formed the basis of the talks. Expect China’s interest in South Africa to magnify Beijing’s voice in sub-Saharan affairs.

7 | Somalia 8 | Kenya

New wrinkle on Horn of Africa

Kenya is preparing to recognize Somali-land’s independence from Somalia, which would create another new country in the Horn of Africa, according to claims made on May 22 by the Somaliland Press. Kenyans who are calling for their government to recognize Somaliland argue that its independence would help stabilize the region and stop Somalia’s dreams of expansion into Kenya and eastern Ethiopia. Expect violence in the Horn of Africa, however, to push the region further into the arms of Iran and radical Islam. Bible prophecy predicts that Ethiopia will soon be allied with Iran, the end-time “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40).

Dry run

The Horn of Africa is engulfed in a devastating drought. The UN reported in June that more than 20,000 Somali refugees had arrived in the Dadaab refugee complex in northern Kenya over a two-week period. More than 50,000 refugees are living in makeshift shelters outside the structured camp. Expect droughts to increase in frequency and severity as the world nears the end of this age.

Anglo-America

One ridiculously tall stack of dollars

The United States hit its legal borrowing limit on May 23. The Treasury Department said Congress must raise the debt ceiling by August 2 if the government is to avoid a default. The Obama administration is trying to hammer out a deal with lawmakers to cut federal spending in exchange for a debt-limit increase. The federal debt currently stands at $14.5 trillion. If such an amount were made into a single stack of $1,000 bills, it would be more than 900 miles tall. If the pile were made with $1 bills, it would stretch to the moon and back twice.

The world is starting to wake up to the magnitude of the American government’s debt. On June 10, a Chinese ratings agency accused the U.S. of defaulting on the massive debt it owes China. On June 13, pimco bond manager Bill Gross said America’s financial condition was worse than that of Greece and other debt-saturated European nations. Then, the following day, a Gallup poll was published showing that Americans’ confidence—the only thing keeping the beleaguered dollar afloat—was plummeting. If you are following economic developments closely—payrolls, railway loadings, the housing market, banking sector, foreign exchange markets and gold price—you know America is heading back into a recession.

Why Empire died

At the end of June, Empire, Nevada, became a ghost town. Gone is one of the biggest mines in America—and along with it the mineral production, jobs and families it supported. After more than 100 years and two world wars, the Empire gypsum mine is eerily silent—not because the gypsum ran out, but because America is no longer growing like it once was. Gypsum is the primary ingredient in drywall and other masonry products. If homes are not being constructed and office complexes no longer being built, who needs wallboard? Empire is the latest victim in a country that has stopped building and expanding.

A ‘brotherhood’ fraught with sibling rivalry

The United States hosted Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for six days in May. Setting the stage for tension, President Obama, in a State Department speech just prior to the visit, explicitly endorsed a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines and stated that such a state must be “contiguous.” On May 22, Netanyahu met with Obama at the White House and two days later spoke before a joint session of the U.S. Congress, rebuffing the U.S. president’s stated policies. The trip demonstrated that the Netanyahu-Obama relationship is at a low point. We could soon witness the prophesied breaking of the historic brotherhood between America and the Jewish state.

Tide of war ‘recedes’ in time for election

President Obama announced June 22 that he will bring home 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011 and 23,000 more by next summer, a withdrawal window that will conclude two months before voters decide whether to give him a second term. “Tonight,” the president said from the East Room, “we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding.” Earlier in the month, Obama emphasized that America would be working closely with Germany and other nato allies in empowering Afghans in their political and economic efforts to forge a lasting peace. Watch for Germany and the EU to step up efforts to stabilize the Middle East region as America withdraws into geopolitical isolation.

To raise a family, don’t come here

Britain is the third-least family-friendly country in Europe, according to a study by the Relationships Foundation, a UK-based think tank. Its study looked at 25 indicators showing financial pressures, work pressures, caring and parenting pressures, and living environment. Only Romania and Bulgaria did worse in this study. It found that 20.9 percent of UK households with dependent children experienced “difficulty” or “great difficulty” in making ends meet. Fourteen percent of households in the UK, as well as in Germany, suffered under “highly critical” debt burdens (versus only 1 percent of Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian households). The study also found that Britain has the third-worst living environment in Europe.

Why gamblers always lose

Australians last year lost close to $1,300 on gambling for every resident (not including tourists) age 17 and over, according to international gaming industry consultants H2 Gambling Capital. This statistic places Australians in the lead as the world’s biggest gamblers. The Australian gambling industry, with clubs, hotels and casinos, employs about 160,000 people. “Problem gamblers routinely lose everything, including their jobs, family and friends, homes, minds and sometimes even their lives,” said Tasmanian Independent mp Andrew Wilkie. This problem is having a devastating effect on thousands of people across the social spectrum. The bottom line is that any and all forms of gambling corrode our character to one extent or another—and that is why, even when money is won, gamblers always lose.

‘Canceled, Capped, Ended’

‘Canceled, Capped, Ended’

©iStock.com/PhilAugustavo

The U.S.’s frontline defenses are being attacked … by a poor economy—and an even greater, unseen force.
From the September 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

More than a fifth of America’s Navy ships are not ready to fight. And almost 40 percent of the time, deployed ships are not fully mission capable due to a defect in at least one “mission essential” system, according to a recently released congressional report. If that is not startling enough, the number of combat vessels on the Navy’s sick list is set to skyrocket. And America’s naval aircraft are in an even more shocking state. More than half of all F/A-18 Hornets are not fully mission capable. F/A-18s are the Navy’s main fighter aircraft. Disrepair is so endemic that for every two jets deployed, one cannot perform a critical mission due to breakdowns.

The House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee’s July report leaves only one conclusion to be drawn, and it is not a reassuring one: America’s naval power is vastly overestimated, and its power projection capabilities are set to drastically shrink.

The report paints a sobering picture: America has reached peak power—and is now well down the back slope. This is not what a superpower is supposed to look like.

America’s allies in Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and especially Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia and Israel, should pay particular attention to this news.

Insufficient Resources

“Our Navy already has insufficient resources to preserve its current fleet, let alone reverse the negative trends of years of underfunding, deferred maintenance and gaping holes in Navy readiness,” said subcommittee Chairman Randy Forbes.

And it is not just one politician sounding the alarm. “We’re not at a sustainable rate” of deployment, said Vice Adm. William Burke, the deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics. With ongoing operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, in addition to fighting pirates in the Indian Ocean and aiding disaster victims in Japan and Pakistan, the wear and tear is becoming obvious. Then there is securing the Persian Gulf oil flow, checking Chinese aggression in the Pacific, and countering Russia’s resurgence in the Arctic. The list goes on.

We’re simply “not good to go today,” said Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command. Due to the constant demand for naval forces, some of the readiness indicators “will get worse.”

The stories the two admirals tell are startling. The fleet is structurally in poor shape. Its ships carry damaged gear and insufficient spare parts; they have advanced weapons and sensors that are unreliable. Of the Navy’s 22 cruisers in service, every single one has cracks in its aluminum superstructure. The Navy’s fighter aircraft are designed for a 6,000-flight-hour life, but they are being forced toward 10,000 hours. Over half of all EA-18G Growlers and P-3C Orion spy planes are not ready for combat because of various maintenance and safety issues.

As bad as this report is, though, the situation may actually be a lot worse.

A well-known secret circulates within naval circles; everyone among the rank and file knows it, but officials don’t like to acknowledge it. It is called fleet cannibalism. In order to avoid getting cited during an inspection for not having functional gear, crews will borrow equipment from other ships—and then return it after the inspectors leave. Thus, even with reports as bad as they are, the implication is that even worse disrepair and equipment shortages exist. As the Navy adopts the more rigorous inspections the vice admirals propose, even bigger problems will probably be exposed.

One big problem, however, will not be so easy to track down and patch up.

Trojan Horses

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. administration launched a penny-pinching initiative designed to cut costs but keep as large a military as possible. Rather than using only custom, government-made military products at higher cost, federal agencies were encouraged to purchase commercial, off-the-shelf hardware in some cases. The money for secure, trusted, domestic electronics manufacturers dried up, and a bumper crop of smaller, bargain-bin parts brokers sprang up—businesses that got their products from who-knows-where.

The government also introduced affirmative-action goals that required the military and other agencies to purchase equipment from ethnic minority and women-owned suppliers—even if better products existed elsewhere.

The result produced more than just enormous cost savings, allowing America to keep more soldiers and sailors. It also created some gaping security holes.

In 2008, Naval Air Systems Command expert Robert Ernst reiterated a startling warning. Foreign-manufactured military components—especially computer chips—were exposing America to sabotage. He estimated at the time that foreign counterfeit components were degrading weapon system reliability by 5 to 15 percent each year. “We are having field failures regularly within our weapon systems—and in almost every weapon system,” he reported.

The warnings and revelations, however, did nothing to halt the trend. The military simply could not overcome the stark and growing realities driving much of the increase in foreign chip acquisition: squeezed defense budgets, aging military equipment draining resources, the skyrocketing cost of new equipment, and growing ranks of pensioned personnel.

In October 2010, it was revealed that the Navy had unknowingly purchased 59,000 counterfeit computer chips from China for use aboard American warships and fighter planes, in a classified Raytheon missile system and in antiballistic missile systems. Not long before that, two California men pleaded guilty to importing 13,000 fake Chinese-made computer chips.

But that is the good news: The military caught those fakes. The question remains, however, how many other potentially compromised chips have gone undetected.

Sabotaged or otherwise poorly constructed computer chips are called “hardware Trojans”—after the famed stratagem used to topple Troy: the gift of a wooden horse that secretly contained crack Greek troops. It is feasibly impossible to thoroughly inspect each chip, so no one really knows what is already lurking inside the bowels of otherwise operational equipment. How many “hardware Trojans” now lie dormant in military equipment just waiting for the signal to self-destruct, or worse?

As the revelation about the 59,000 fake Chinese chips illustrates, America has knowingly opened the gates to allow these potential Trojan horses inside its sturdiest walls of defense—and by the boatload.

But if the debt-laden economy continues to sink, there may be a whole lot fewer potentially sabotaged ships sailing the seas anyway.

Budget Constraints

Militaries cost money, and none more than America’s. The United States has spent more on defense than any nation in history: close to a billion dollars a day, every day, for over six decades—more than the rest of the world combined.

But those days are coming to an abrupt end. America is getting crushed by debt, and such spending is simply no longer sustainable.

The U.S. currently spends around $700 billion per year on the military. President Obama has asked for $400 billion in cuts spread over the next 12 years—but that is just the starting point.

President Obama’s choice to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates with former cia director Leon Panetta is further evidence that drastic cuts are coming. You don’t remove America’s most trusted commander while he is in the midst of managing three wars in Muslim nations unless he has made a major mistake, or big changes are in the works. Replacing him with a man who earned a reputation for his ability to successfully navigate the mine-infested waters of defense-budget cutting while serving in the Clinton White House gives good reason to believe that this will be his job again.

But how much more “cost cutting” can the fleet handle before it has to start mothballing ships? It is already cracking under the strain.

America’s Navy has shrunk by 15 percent since 1998. Yet, the number of ships deployed overseas has remained constant. What this means is that America’s fleet is being used and abused more intensively each year—even as the fleet is rapidly aging. Each ship goes to sea longer and is used more heavily. According to the Heritage Foundation, there is “no surge capacity left in the fleet,” and “each new casualty ripples through the schedules of dozens of ships.”

It wouldn’t take much to render a navy of 250 to 280 ships “capable of keeping only 50 to 60 ships at sea,” writes Heritage. The U.S. fleet currently boasts 100 ships continually deployed.

But could the world’s largest, most powerful navy ever really suffer such dramatic cuts? Could half the navy be scuttled? It sounds drastic—but look at what happened to the Soviet Union. Surely collapse seemed equally implausible to Russians in 1986. Russia seemed to be at the peak of its power when Mikhail Gorbachev came into office. Then, in 1989, the Berlin Wall tumbled and a few short years later the mighty Russian Navy was mothballing ships by the hundreds.

It is hard to picture dozens of rusting, scavenged hulks haphazardly littering eerily silent harbors in San Diego or Norfolk. Yet via Google Earth images, the world can literally see the dozens of rusting naval hulks haphazardly littering the harbor in Murmansk and elsewhere. These provide stark proof of what happens after an empire’s economy reaches peak military carrying capacity. In Russia’s case, the plateau after the peak was very short—and the sudden collapse, very cliff-like.

Already there is talk of eliminating one of America’s aircraft carriers and delaying the scheduled purchase of the next two. And that is before any fallout from America’s budget-ceiling negotiations—and before the reality of a post-economic-peak has fully begun to be realized.

“[T]he biggest threat to our national security is our national debt,” Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told students at Fort Bliss in March.

“The whole thing [European force cuts] is being driven by the U.S. defense budget and the deficiencies in the American budget as a whole,” confirmed defense analyst Charles Heyman. As politicians and military commanders face off, he said, “The politicians are always going to be right because they hold the purse strings. … At some stage in the next 18 months to two years we’re going to see a real ax taken to the American defense budget.”

A real ax? In the past two years, more than 30 defense-related programs have been “canceled, capped or ended,” according to Robert Gates. Among them: plans for a long-range bomber; the F-22 program; the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk; two Pentagon agencies. The nation’s nuclear stockpiles are to be reduced by 30 percent; the missiles, subs and bombers used to deliver them, halved. The ranks of admirals and generals have been thinned. Hundreds of military bases have closed.

Earlier this year, Secretary Gates announced $78 billion in long-term military spending cuts and an additional $100 billion in reallocations. The Navy axed the U.S. Second Fleet, which trains all strike groups before deployment. The Army canceled a missile system. The Air Force consolidated three numbered Air Force staffs. The Marine Corps got rid of its expeditionary fighting vehicle. The Army and Marines agreed to shrink their numbers.

Already, the 18 combat divisions the Army had in the 1980s now stand at 10. The Navy’s 600 ships have been reduced to less than half that—fewer than at any time since the First World War. The Air Force’s tactical air wings have dropped from 37 to 20. Its planes are now fewer and older than at any time in its history. “The useful life of the tanks, artillery, planes, ships and missiles that date to the Reagan buildup is ending, and the cost of replacing them is now far greater than it was back then,” wrote former Army officer Jeff Lukens (Right Side News, June 12).

America risks “the slow dismantlement of the greatest military on Earth,” said Representative Forbes. Actually, Forbes is only half right. America’s military risks a very rapid dismantlement. But don’t just blame the economy.

Real Cause of Collapse

Being a superpower is incredibly expensive. Just ask Britain. During its glory days of empire, it was ridiculously wealthy, the master of global trade. The picture dramatically changed with World Wars i and ii, which left Britain bankrupt and unable to sustain the operating costs of empire—particularly maintaining a military that could protect resource-supplying countries. The United States then took over as the world’s greatest power, and today Britain languishes in irrelevance.

Now, though, it is America’s turn to find itself priced out of the superpower market. And like Britain’s former colonies, America’s allies will increasingly be left out on their own.

Just as with Britain, though, America’s economic woes are not the cause of its problems. They are a symptom that points to the cause. They themselves have a far greater cause that must be understood.

Herbert W. Armstrong explained the reason for Britain’s and America’s rapid decline in his landmark book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. “There is a reason!” he wrote. “It is bound up with history and divine promises pertaining to Israel.”

America’s massive and growing problems—epic indebtedness, impossibly expensive entitlement programs, unwinnable nation-building-type military projects—all stem from the nation’s having turned its back on the Source of its prosperity and broken His immutable laws.

Just as Herbert Armstrong warned, America’s financial predominance is disappearing—and with it, its military predominance. Now, he continued, “the American nation is slated to go down even more suddenly [than Great Britain] to utter ignominy and loss of all national wealth, greatness and power!”

As we have said for years, America has won its last war. The view from the old, creaky, poorly maintained and debt-laden deck of uss America is increasingly bleak.

The Week in Review

PT/Getty Images

Algeria’s “Arab Spring,” what the Norway massacre is a sign of, the eurozone’s unsolved crisis, Chinese jets over Taiwan, and why requirements to speak English in England are “racist.”

Middle East

U.S. paying salaries to jailed Palestinian terrorists: The Palestinian Authority (PA) spends more than $5 million a month paying salaries to terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons, according to a Palestinian Media Watch report presented to congressmen in Washington on Tuesday. According to the media watchdog’s report, the money transfers contravene U.S. law, which prohibits the funding of anyone who “engages in, or has engaged in terrorist activity.” “The U.S. funds the PA’s general budget,” the report reads. “Through the PA budget the U.S. is paying the salaries of terrorist murderers in prison and funding the glorification and role modeling of terrorists.” Authors of the report are attempting to persuade U.S. congressmen to cut U.S. funds to the PA because of its support and glorification of terrorists. According to the report, “A law signed and published in the official Palestinian Authority Registry in April 2011 puts all Palestinians and Israeli Arabs imprisoned in Israel for terror crimes on the PA payroll to receive a monthly salary from the PA.” The report says this law “formalizes what has long been a PA practice.” Anyone imprisoned for participating in the “struggle against the occupation [Israel]” qualifies to receive these payments. An official daily newspaper of the PA says that 5,500 Palestinian prisoners receive such funds. Palestinian Media Watch says the average monthly salary for these terrorist prisoners is ils3,129 (us$907), which is more than the average monthly wage of a PA civil servant. As a major foreign contributor to the Palestinian Authority’s budget, America is continuing to demonstrate its politically correct and weak approach to Palestinian terrorism, even as its support for ally Israel wanes.

Algeria seeking to ward off its own “Arab Spring”: In the wake of neighboring countries falling to revolutionary forces in recent months, the Algerian government has been taking steps to preempt the same happening in Algeria, the bbc reported Wednesday. Back in February, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika lifted a 19-year-old state of emergency. Since then, the government has embarked on further initiatives and compromises to win over the public—including appeasing Islamists. In early May, it revised the national budget to allocate more money to public sector workers’ salaries and subsidies for basic foodstuffs. This month, the president is expected to release 4,000 Islamists from prison, most of whom have been held since a 1992 clash between Islamists and the military. President Bouteflika is also promising democratic reforms including an amended constitution and new electoral laws. One of the two people he nominated to organize and lead a national dialogue on reforms was selected for his connections to Islamist leaders. Analysts doubt that Bouteflika’s moves thus far will be enough to counteract the discontent arising from poor living conditions and the lack of transparent and fair political representation. However, any opening up of the electoral process—which currently bans Islamists and religious-based parties—will more than likely only give more power to radical Islam, just as we have seen in several other countries over recent months. Whether it is through the current government’s appeasement of the Islamists, or through popular uprising, we can expect oil-rich Algeria to trend toward the Iranian-led Islamist camp. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in The King of the South, “Sudan is already in the radical Islamic camp. Algeria may be there very soon.”

Iran and North Korea increase nuclear missile collaboration: Iran and North Korea are working together on weapons programs designed to build a long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, a leading British security think tank has said. According to a study by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, North Korea is currently benefitting from Iranian technology, and Iran could increase the output in its uranium enrichment program with the help of North Korean technology. The Telegraph reported Thursday that the disclosure marks a “disturbing escalation in the race for nuclear weapons technology by the two states.”

Europe

Massacre in Norway: A 32-year-old Norwegian murdered at least 76 people in a huge bomb blast in the country’s capital and a massive shooting spree at an island retreat for young people, on June 22. Anders Behring Breivik is a self-described Christian fundamentalist with links to anti-Islamic establishments in both England and Norway. In a 1,500-page online manifesto titled 2083—A European Declaration of Independence, he railed against Islamic immigration and claimed that multiculturalism was sapping Europe of its Christian heritage. It would be grossly unfair to consider Breivik’s senseless and barbaric actions as representative of the majority of far-right political adherents in Europe. However, the fact is that many in the far-right wing of European politics are coming to share many of Breivik’s ideas about the need to take radical action against the threat of Islam. In recent years, anti-immigrant parties have gained influence throughout northern Europe by tapping public anxiety over the relatively new phenomenon of mass Muslim immigration to their region. Mainstream politicians are now expressing anti-immigration viewpoints as a means of placating the populace. French President Nicolas Sarkozy banned the wearing of burkas in France earlier this year in the face of rising public support for Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant National Front Party. Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have all expressed concern in recent months about national ailments associated with Islamic immigration and the failures of multiculturalism. Even though the peoples of Europe are currently standing aghast at the brutal murders committed by Breivik, many are starting to adopt his ideas about the need to take radical action against the threat of Islam. Watch for Europe to take more extreme measures in the future. History and prophecy reveal that Europe will indeed act forcefully to solve the “Muslim problem.”

Belgium bans the burka: Belgium banned the wearing of face-covering veils on July 23, becoming the second European nation, after France, to do so. Those who break the ban could be fined €137.50 or be sent to jail for up to a week. Belgium’s politicians overwhelmingly voted to approve the ban last year.

Economic crisis not over: Despite the radical steps taken by Europe last week, the eurozone’s economy is still in trouble. Standard & Poor’s cut Greece’s credit rating to CC—just above the level of default—on July 27. It said that the restructuring of Greek debt proposed by eurozone leaders was a selective default. At the same time, Moody’s cut Cyprus’s debt rating from A2 to Baa1. Cyprus’s cabinet has resigned and is facing a reshuffle after an explosion at a naval base on July 11 blew up the country’s main power station. It is expected to cost €1 billion to repair. Moody’s said that Cyprus’s political division as well as “the material risk that at least some Cypriot banks will require state support over the medium term as a result of their exposure to Greece” contributed to the downgrade. Spain, too, is still having difficulty. It had to offer a high interest rate in order to sell its debt at a bond auction on July 26. As we wrote last week, “The drama is definitely not over. Europe just took a giant leap toward becoming a German-led superstate, but expect this crisis to force Germany and Europe to take more radical steps toward unification” (July 22).

Asia

A new silk route to China: Beijing is making great strides in its development of a “new silk route to China” to secure its rising oil and gas imports, India’s former ambassador to Iraq R.S. Kalha wrote on Monday. By the end of the year, China’s import of crude oil is expected to exceed 300 million tons, and nearly 80 percent of this oil currently passes through the Straits of Malacca. A Chinese newspaper said in 2004 that whoever controls the Straits of Malacca has a stranglehold on the energy route to China, an analysis which prompted policymakers in Beijing to work toward options that would decrease China’s dependence on the potentially vulnerable route. Most notable are China’s joint pipeline projects with other nations across Central Eurasia. Among these is a 620-mile pipeline completed in December 2005, which runs from Atasu, Kazakhstan, to Xinjiang, China, and may carry 4 million barrels a day of crude oil by 2012. Then, in 2009, Beijing finalized negotiations for a 710-mile gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and finally into Horgos, China. Kalha pointed out that the most significant of such projects has been the construction of the Russian Eastern Siberian-Pacific pipeline, which started in mid-2009 and spans 2,500 miles. “These pipelines,” Kalha said, “are beyond the reach of a credible military threat, freeing China from the worry of its economic lifeline being choked at the Straits of Malacca. This also gives China a freer hand to maneuver, particularly in the South China Sea area. India will have to be very watchful.” Powers in the West are also watchful as China’s thirst for energy, and other Asian nations’ supplies, bring the Eastern countries ever closer together.

Taiwan: China breached our airspace: Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that two Chinese aircraft crossed into its airspace in late June, a move that Taipei says is the first such incursion by China since 1999. Although it is possible that the trespass was accidental, China still claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has not ruled out the use of military action to reclaim the island, which it considers to be a rebel province.

Africa/Latin America

Angola attracts Iran’s attention: In a meeting with the Angolan ambassador to Iran held Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stated that Tehran stands ready to share its experience in the oil industry with the third-most oil-rich country in Africa. Both officials called for the expansion of ties between Iran and Angola. This meeting comes just two weeks after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Angola to pledge her county’s willingness to help train Angolan soldiers for peacekeeping. She also told Angolan officials that Germany would be prepared to help “with your defense efforts, for example in bolstering the navy.” Both Iran and Germany are vying for Angola’s favor in an attempt to get closer to the country’s massive oil reserves. Expect tension between these two powers to rise as their respective spheres of influence expand across the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

Bolivia’s president suspects a U.S. conspiracy: The U.S. is using the war on drugs as a pretext to promote its own geopolitical interests in Latin America, according to Bolivian President Evo Morales. At a United Nations conference in New York on Wednesday, Morales spoke to reporters of his suspicions. “Lately, it is no longer Communists or terrorists but drug traffickers that we are being called,” he said. “There have been many accusations and attempts to involve me in drug trafficking first as a leader and now as a president, so we shall see what happens in the future.” Even before he left for the conference, Morales reportedly voiced concern that cocaine or bombs could be planted on his plane in an attempt to frame him. “I am very afraid of the U.S. government because I know their political operators. Drug trafficking is handled with geopolitical interests in mind. The [Drug Enforcement Administration] was not struggling against drug trafficking but was controlling it with political interests in mind, and everybody knows that.” Bolivia and its Latin American allies are becoming increasingly anti-American as the power and influence of the U.S. wanes on the world scene.

Anglo-America

British court told immigration law is racist: The legal requirement that all immigrants to Britain must speak English is “blatantly, admittedly, racially discriminatory,” according to the defending QC in a case brought before the country’s High Court. Laws introduced last year require anybody moving to the UK in order to live with their spouse or partner to demonstrate a basic knowledge of English. Manjit Gill QC, however, claims that this is racist and violates the immigrant’s “right to family life.” This is just another example of how some use phony “rights” to try to deprive Britain of control of its own borders.

Cheat on your spouse or your money back: A controversial, Toronto-based, adultery website is now offering a money-back guarantee if its customers are not able to arrange an extra-marital affair, the Herald Sun reported Tuesday. Affairs had to be worked on, said website founder Noel Biderman: “If you want to find the right level of success, we think there is the commitment level you need to make, and if it doesn’t work out for you then we’ll give you your money back.” The website, which claims to have around 8 million members worldwide, has been widely criticized by family groups as an online brothel. In Australia, Family Council of Victoria president Peter Stokes rightly placed the blame back where it truly belongs by saying that the website’s success was a sad reflection on our society. Marriage and family are the backbone of a stable society. The successes of websites like this one just show how close Anglo-America is to chaos and social breakdown.

Half of American voters view Congress as corrupt: A Rasmussen national telephone survey released Wednesday shows that 46 percent of likely American voters now view the majority of congressional representatives as corrupt. This percentage is up 7 percentage points from June and is the highest finding yet in the history of Rasmussen polling. Less than a third of those polled believe honest representatives are in the majority. As greed and self-interest become increasingly endemic to America’s political system, expect more and more people to lose faith in the government. Eventually all people will come to realize than man cannot rule over man.

A Revolutionary Change in Britain’s Relationship With Europe

A Revolutionary Change in Britain’s Relationship With Europe

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Europe is on the brink of becoming a superstate. The economic crisis has shoved aside a host of obstacles—but one remains: Britain.

Earlier this month, for example, the EU’s high representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, suggested the European Union build a new military headquarters. Virtually everyone in the EU backed it until it was slapped down by British Foreign Minister William Hague.

But the British brake is about to be released. Comments by both the British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne show a huge change in the direction of British foreign policy.

For years Britain has fought against a “two-speed Europe,” where the more gung-ho nations would speed toward a superstate while nations like Britain trundled along in the slow lane. Britain has forced the Europhile nations to drag it along.

That position is poised to change. “I think we have to accept that greater eurozone integration is necessary to make the single currency work and that is very much in our national interest,” Osborne said in an interview with the Financial Times (FT) published on July 20. “We should be prepared to let that happen.”

Cameron made the same point in an interview with the Spectator. The eurozone, he said, will have to move “towards much more single economic government.”

This reverses centuries of British foreign policy. The primary objective of its foreign policy has been to prevent a single power from dominating the Continent. By taking its foot off the brake, Britain will be encouraging the rise of a German-led united Europe.

Maximizing British Independence

As Europe begins to speed toward integration, Cameron indicated that Britain may take the chance to turn around and head the other way—creating not so much a two-speed Europe as a two-directional one.

If the eurozone makes major changes to the way it is run, Britain will have the chance to veto those changes—even if it is not affected by them. But Cameron hinted he may allow the eurozone to head toward greater integration in exchange for the EU allowing Britain to head the other way.

As the eurozone integrates, “there will be opportunities for Britain to maximize what we want in terms of our engagement with Europe,” he said.

While Germany will be building a new European empire, Britain will go its own way—just as the Trumpet has forecast for years.

In fact, the economic crisis is hardening British opposition to the EU. Fifty percent of Britons would vote to leave the European Union if given the option in a referendum, according to a YouGov@Cambridge and Politics Home poll published July 13. Only 33 percent would vote to stay.

Thirty-four percent said that the Greece financial crisis had made them more favorable toward a British withdrawal from the EU.

Britain’s opposition to the EU apparently hasn’t changed much: A YouGov poll last September found that 47 percent would vote to leave the EU and 33 percent to stay. But the more recent poll does suggest that opposition to the EU has been hardened by the crisis.

Britain’s Parliament is also moving against Europe, passing a law July 13 requiring the nation to hold a referendum before transferring any significant powers to Brussels. The government left itself some wiggle room, however, as it can decide exactly what powers count as significant. But this law does stop Britain from taking major strides down the road to integration.

Stratfor’s Peter Zeihan wrote, “The British are feeling extremely thoughtful. They have always been the outsiders in the European Union, joining primarily so that they can put up obstacles from time to time” (July 26). With Germany taking control of Europe using financial powers outside of EU structures rather than votes, Britain cannot use its veto to slow down its plans, he said.

“Just as the Germans are in need of a national debate about their role in the world, the British are in need of a national debate about their role in Europe,” he wrote. “The Europe that was a cage for Germany is no more, which means that the United Kingdom is now a member of a different sort of organization that may or may not serve its purposes.”

A Dangerous Assumption

As Herbert W. Armstrong pointed out at the time, Britain’s entry to the EU was a mistake. “Britain is going to look back on Monday, Jan. 1, 1973, in all probability, as a most tragically historic date—a date fraught with ominous potentialities!” he wrote at the time.

For years, Britain’s freedom and economy have been stifled by the EU. But Britain’s newly emerging strategy of disengagement from Europe could be just as dangerous. As FT’s chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman pointed out, one of the main reasons Britain is reversing its policy “is that Britain no longer fears invasion from continental Europe.”

“The very idea seems almost unimaginable in the modern world,” he writes. “So the idea of a united Europe is no longer a question of national security, as it was in the age of the Kaiser or Napoleon. These days, the worries are much more prosaic—simply that Britain will lose influence in the European Union and will no longer have much influence over the third Horse Box directive, or whatever other nonsense happens to be coming out of Brussels.”

This assumption—that history is over, and that world events will now be completely different to the way they have been for thousands of years—is a deeply dangerous one that constantly plagues mankind.

Every time there is a financial bubble, people say, “This time it’s different: This time there won’t be a crash.” And then the crash hits.

In the same way, in the good times before war hits, people always believe that this time it is different, mankind has finally banished major wars for good. Before World War i, people believed, according to Winston Churchill, that the “interdependence of nations in trade and traffic, the sense of public law, the Hague Convention, liberal principles, the Labor Party, high finance, Christian charity, common sense have rendered such nightmares impossible.” Sound familiar? In the 18th century, people argued that modern weapons and enlightened thinking would render devastating battles a thing of the past.

In both joining the EU and in turning away from it, Britain makes the same mistake. It is trusting in other nations instead of God. It joined the EU depending on its European allies; now as it encourages European integration, it trusts that its former enemies will always remain friendly.

Hosea 7:11 warns Britain (biblical Ephraim; see our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for proof) of its danger: “Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.” As Trumpet columnist Brad Macdonald explained: “In Old Testament times, both Egypt and Assyria posed significant threats to Ephraim. Hosea was lamenting Ephraim’s proclivity to act like a foolish dove by flocking to its enemies. Regarding this verse, the Matthew Henry Commentary says that the dove is ‘easily enticed by the bait into the net, and has no heart, no understanding, to discern her danger, as many other fowls do.’”

Britain does not discern its danger. Hosea 5:4 states: “They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God ….” The Bible reveals that Britain relies on foreign “lovers” instead of turning to God.

As long as Britain seeks other nations above God, it will not solve its problems. The EU isn’t the root cause of Britain’s problems—the refusal to trust God is. Withdrawing from the EU will cut the British off from stifling European regulation. It will not, however, save them from the rising German empire.

But Hosea also has good news for Britain. Hosea 5:15 states, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”

Britain will learn its lesson, but only after it suffers great affliction.

The Ruins of Tel Dan

The Ruins of Tel Dan

Artville

Even the seemingly unimportant finds validate the biblical record.

Yesterday, our Trumpet Daily television crew taped a program at the Tel Dan Nature Reserve in northern Israel. It’s a beautiful park, featuring trails winding through lush greenery and numerous footbridges spanning dozens of streams that seem to flow in every direction. The network of streams empties into the gushing Dan River—the largest and most important source of the Jordan River.

Nestled in the midst of the sprawling vegetation are the excavated ruins of the ancient Israelite city of Dan—the most important city in the northern part of the ancient kingdom of Israel, according to some historians.

The Bible tells us this city was originally known as Laish, before the people of Dan, known for naming places after the name of their father, captured the city during the period of Israelite judges. Thus, the city of Dan was to become one of the first examples of many self-identifying places named by the people of Dan—the tribe prophesied to leave behind a “serpent’s trail” (Genesis 49:17).

A couple of well-preserved structures from the earliest days of the Israelite kingdom still stand at the excavation site, including a city gate complex and a long section of the wall of the old city. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the well-preserved inner gate can be considered a typical example of what Israelite city gates looked like during biblical times.

Then there is the cultic precinct, or “high place” of Dan, where Jeroboam built a pagan temple around a golden calf. After Solomon’s death, as God had prophesied, the kingdom of Israel was rent in two. In response to the heavy taxes imposed by King Rehoboam, the 10 northern tribes of Israel left the kingdom in protest and selected Jeroboam to be their king.

The contentious division nearly caused a full-scale civil war between the north and south, but God intervened to stop the Israelite people from self-destructing.

After the dust settled from the bitter separation, Jeroboam reasoned in his heart that if he didn’t fundamentally alter Israel’s system of religious worship, the northern tribes would continue looking to Jerusalem and eventually switch their allegiance back to Rehoboam. So Jeroboam made two golden calves—golden calves, of all things!—and he placed one in Bethel and the other in Dan—within the temple precinct that has since been excavated.

“And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi” (1 Kings 12:30-31).

Jeroboam convinced the people to go along with this rebellious form of religious worship by telling them that there was a much easier way to observe God’s commands. He was like many preachers you hear today—those who speak “smooth things” to their congregants.

Jeroboam also dissolved the Levitical priesthood and instead “made priests of the lowest of the people” (verse 31), upending the priesthood in an attempt to maintain control over religion and thus the masses. This decision effectively sent the tribe of Levi packing; they ran back to Judah in hopes of retaining their prominent status.

“And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense” (verses 32-33). Again, note how similar this is to the way human nature reasons today. Jeroboam took a religious-sounding festival and made it into something he thought would work better.

But even if it has the exact same name and includes all of the same forms of worship, if it is not observed at the time God designates or carried out the way He commands, it’s certainly not God’s festival!

This was Jeroboam’s religion through and through. And Israel simply followed right along after this pagan form of worship—within less than two generations after King David! God sent one prophet after another to plead with Israel to return to the true God. But these God-fearing men were despised and rejected.

Notice Judges 18:30: “And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.” The tribe of Dan, in other words, along with the other northern tribes, went into captivity first—a full 120 years ahead of Judah.

According to Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, Volume 2, the city of Dan flourished until the late Iron Age, when Galilee and the northern coastal regions became the first areas to be conquered by the Assyrians. The Assyrians, under Tiglath-Pileser iii, destroyed Dan and a new city was later constructed over it. Assyrian pottery vessels and statues, in addition to Phoenician chapels and settlements from the Persian period, have also been uncovered in Tel Dan. Unsurprisingly, the name of the pagan god “Ba’al” appears in a few of the finds from Dan.

As an interesting aside, we’ve written before about the most famous discovery made at the Tel Dan site. It’s a ninth-century b.c. stone tablet bearing a clear reference to the “house of David” and “king of Israel.” The author of the inscription, a Gentile king, boasts of having defeated both the king of Israel and the king of Judah—the latter monarch being a descendant of the “house of David.” Even Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman—two notable skeptics, when it comes to archaeological discoveries that confirm the biblical record—could not ignore the significance of the Tel Dan tablet. They wrote in 2001, “Thus, the house of David was known throughout the region; this clearly validates the biblical description of a figure named David becoming the founder of the dynasty of Judahite kings in Jerusalem.”

It certainly does validate the biblical description of the Davidic dynasty and its founder. But after seeing the other excavated remains at the Tel Dan site during our tour yesterday—the pagan temple precincts and the large stone gateway, as well as the new city structures the Assyrians built on top of a defeated Israelite city—I couldn’t help but think about how those excavated ruins also validate the many sobering warnings delivered by the prophets of old, who constantly warned Israel to return back to God’s laws and festivals so they wouldn’t be overrun by enemy empires and then carted off into captivity.