Europe’s Precisely Engineered Disaster

It looks like chaos, but actually, everything is unfolding according to plan.
From the January 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Are you watching Europe? Imploding national economies seem to be threatening the entire project of European Union and sending shock waves through financial markets around the globe. This is a moment of extreme significance—for the future of not only Europe but all of us. What is happening? Where is it leading? Such questions are on the lips of observers everywhere.

To the layman, Europe is in the midst of cataclysmic change. Yet the longtime student of European affairs understands that this crisis was both premeditated and planned.

Two principal actors are behind it, and these two will shape the Continent’s future. The first is Germany. This is already patently obvious to anyone watching events there.

The second, believe it or not, is the Vatican.

The Patient Engineers

The European Union is not a product of the people. It is the masterpiece of certain Franco-German Catholic elites. It was built by treaty, without any say in the process by the national electorates. The common people of Europe have had no voice in either accepting or rejecting the acquiscommunautaire, its main body of regulations. The sheer size of that document, said to currently exceed 100,000 pages, is beyond the capability of any person to absorb.

That is the way of EU elites. So much for democracy—this is a technocracy. Its agenda is pursued not by elected representatives but by unelected technocrats based at its headquarters in Brussels-Berlin—administrators who were appointed to the mushrooming EU bureaucracy for a specific purpose: to ensure that the imperialist vision of Franco-German elites reaches fruition.

In spite of appearances, the EU is no haywire invention destined for the scrap heap. It is a carefully crafted grand design decades in the making. It sprang from a vision shared by Nazi elites, key German industrialists, scientists, bureaucrats and military officers during the closing stages of World War ii. That vision of a powerful Europe controlled by Germany continued quietly in Germany’s first postwar administration under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, which employed many people who held fast to the Nazi spirit. Those elites bided their time—and educated a second generation in the same imperialist strategic concept.

It is this generation of committed Roman Catholic imperialist socialists that has driven the revival of Germany to its present position as the dominant nation in Europe.

Germany has finally gained enough economic and political advantage to pressure the EU into a crisis. The irony of this dire crisis is that its instigator now stands ready with the solution: Impose greater unity and, by default, greater German control.

Berlin’s vision of a resurrected Holy Roman Empire is finally on the verge of becoming reality.

But these elites also had to wait for something else: the German public. They needed signs that the average German was tired of paying penance for Germany’s past sins and was prepared for a new national assertiveness. The great show of national spirit at the soccer World Cup in 2006—with thousands proudly waving German national flags and singing “Deutschland Über Alles” in the grandstands—was proof enough. The national mood was ripe for Germany to declare, unashamedly, that Deutschland was back, and ready to lead Europe—according to an agenda in its own national interest.

That is what Germany has been doing ever since—to the point that it now is deciding who will be in and who will be out of the imperialist Euro club.

In her hour-long speech delivered to the cdu party faithful on November 14, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared her goal for this generation: “to complete the economic and currency union in Europe and, step by step, create a political union. It’s time for a breakthrough to a new Europe ….”

A new Europe.Run by Germany.

Ten Kings

What is next in this empire-manufacturing process?

German pressure to meet that goal of a centralized economic, currency and political union for Europe will inevitably produce a breaking point. Any nation unwilling, unqualified or simply unable to meet German requirements will have to leave. Britain will most certainly be among those nations that depart or are ousted from the EU.

This is deeply significant. Why? Because biblical prophecy shows that Europe is about to be radically transformed! It speaks of a modern European power that will ultimately consolidate into a combine of 10 nations, or groups of nations, led by 10 kings.

Read it for yourself: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Revelation 17:12-13).

What we see happening right now is the progressive fracturing of the current 27-nation EU bloc into the future federal Europe prophesied in the Bible. The EU is now set on a course of downsizing to the prophesied core of 10 nations ruled by 10 “kings,” all ruled by “the beast”!

The Heart of the Machine

Now, consider how Germany is positioned geographically to be right at the center of this emerging empire.

Mountains separate Europe’s Iberian, Italian and Balkan peninsula regions in the south from the more accessible north. These barriers restrict, and thus add to the cost of, the free flow of goods between the north and south, and help to form an economic divide as well. This is a major reason why the north has traditionally been richer ever since continental infrastructure development shifted the bulk of trade from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic routes by the 18th century.

The economic crisis has heightened the economic divergence between the two regions. The superior infrastructure of the north continues to play in its financial favor: Its web of roads and railways, as well as its vast system of waterways, allow for the cheap and easy transit of goods among the core northern European nations.

The resourceful Germans have taken full advantage of their central location in the rich northern region. Germany dominates the very crossroads between east and west. German elites well understand the strategic economic and defensive control this gives their nation.

Crucial to the reconstruction of postwar Germany was the rebuilding of a German transport and distribution infrastructure. Up to 1990, West Germany worked to develop a substantial north-south transit system. But not until Germany unified could it add to this already highly developed north-south system an infrastructure to cope with the increased load of east-west traffic that unification inevitably brought.

Following unification, the German government quickly implemented the German Unity Transport Projects. The vision behind this massive investment in construction was not just to link the former East and West Germany, but also to lay the groundwork for linking Eastern and Western Europe. The German leaders of the early 1990s obviously saw German unification as but the start of a much broader unification of Europe—one that would even incorporate many states of the old Soviet Union. They immediately began preparations to dominate the transit systems that such a united Europe would need for the flow of goods and services, particularly east and west.

A detailed look at the highly developed transport and distribution system of the EU economic colossus reveals one nation at the hub: Germany!

What is particularly intriguing is this: The vision of Germany controlling the transport and distribution system for the movement of goods throughout Europe goes way back to Charlemagne, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire! In the ninth century, he dreamed of building this infrastructure as a means to dominate a united European empire—but he failed to fully realize it.

Yet now we see such systems being developed to support the resurrection of that old dream. The vision that drove Charlemagne is a vision shared by the elites of Rome and Berlin today. It’s just that the sheer scale of the project and the technology at its disposal render it far, far more devastatingly destructive in its potential when ultimately brought to its fruition—which it will be—than Charlemagne’s empire! (Revelation 13:15).

Watch as Germany leverages its position to maximum advantage. Watch as it leads the richer nations of northern Europe to increasingly dominate those in the poorer south. That geographic barrier dividing north and south Europe may well prove significant in determining which European nations or groups of nations will ultimately comprise the prophetically significant “ten kings”!

Plugging Into a Power Source

For all their planning and masterful manipulation of the tools at their disposal, German and European elites presently lack one crucial element of empire: a uniting ideology.

Revelation 17 reveals that these 10 “kings” will yield their political power to one overarching leader under the spiritual influence of a religion called “Babylon.” This is where the Vatican enters the scene.

Rome has not had a high profile in the development of the European Union. That changed last November, however, when two Romans were appointed to key positions within the EU. Romano Draghi—Jesuit-trained, committed Roman Catholic and governor of Italy’s central bank—was appointed president of the European Central Bank, the world’s largest central bank, on November 1. Barely two weeks later, Jesuit-educated Mario Monti, a member of Italy’s elite economic technocracy, received a mandate from President Georgio Napolitano to form a government until scheduled elections in 2013. He is to oversee the highly sensitive restructuring of the hugely indebted Italian economy. Soon after Monti’s appointment, the pope publicly gave his blessing to it.

Add to these two the EU’s most influential president, Herman van Rompuy—also Jesuit-trained—and you have a most influential unelected threesome of elite technocrats now guiding affairs at the top through Europe’s present crisis.

We at the Trumpet have long watched and waited to see how the Romish influence would overlay the rising economic, political and eventual military might of a German-dominated European Union.

Of course, the influence of Rome was there even within the minds of the EU’s founding fathers, since its earliest beginnings. From the federalist manifesto of Austrian Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi, who cherished the prospect of reviving Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire, to the foundational work of Italian Alcide De Gasperi, Frenchmen Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman, and Belgian Paul-Henri Spaak—consummating in the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1951, establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, followed by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 that founded the European Economic Community—the spirit of “holy” Rome has always guided the minds and actions of its founders.

Yet, the reality is that Rome’s influence on the EU has been largely hidden and unseen—that is, until Van Rompuy, Draghi and Monti suddenly entered the scene, the latter with open papal endorsement. Now, Rome’s men preside over the EU, head the most powerful bank in the world, and lead interim governments in Italy, not to mention Greece.

Ready to Roll Out an Empire

Today we look back and see that the plans were in place from the very beginning for the European Union to ultimately divide between the rich and the poor. The eurozone project has achieved its goal of separating the wealthy, industrial north from the weaker south, and resulted in a major contribution to the coffers of the German export economy. It has literally resulted in Germany becoming the EU paymaster. Germany is at the controls of Europe’s economy, transportation network and foreign policy.

Now we see Rome carefully making its crusading move to provide the spiritual glue that will weld the great European combine together for its brief moment in time.

As we watch interim governance by technocracy successively take over national economies, virtually enslaving the bottom-tier nations within the EU to the diktat of Berlin/Brussels, we see key Roman Catholic operatives precisely inserted into positions of incredible power. Thus Rome emerges as a powerful force within both the nation of which it is capital, and the main central bank to which the whole world currently looks to solve the euro crisis, and indeed over the whole European imperial project.

The timing of Pope Benedict’s 2009 encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” could not have been better. It provides the blueprint for Rome’s ultimate project: influencing the coming leader of the 10-nation combine in Europe to dictate trade policy (Revelation 13:16-17). To a cursory observer, that document looks so lamblike, but to the wise it contains the teeth of a dragon (verse 11).

Italian Prime Minister Monti—one of the EU elites who holds to Charlemagne’s vision of resurrecting the Holy Roman Empire—said, “The ‘Caritas in Veritate’ document resembles a technical governing handbook for society in which economy plays a fundamental role, as a natural outcome of ethical reflection, and even has the agreement of those who do not share in the Catholic ethical vision.” That ought to shock the world! The “technical governing handbook” he is talking about was authored by the spiritual head of Rome!

Yet, overarching all that is so suddenly happening in Europe in fulfillment of biblical prophecy today, one great reality stands out. This is the greatest of signs of the closeness of Jesus Christ’s return to this Earth!

As the Savior of mankind declared in Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

Build a Better Brain

Build a Better Brain

Rapid Eye Media/iStockphoto

What do walking out your front door, hitting the pillow, and eating fat all have in common? As even some of history’s greats have learned, improving your mental health is just a matter of making the right decisions.
From the January 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Winston Churchill was hounded by what he called his “black dog.” Whenever his political career suffered setbacks, it stalked him: mental gloom—depression. Yet he was a fighter. He would not be weighed down for long. And the weapon he used to attain victory in his battle was vigorous activity.

Churchill literally worked his way out of moroseness. His literary career and political leadership are a testament to this fact. He was a gifted and prolific writer. He wrote thousands of newspaper and magazine articles and authored over 40 books. Paul Johnson, in his bestselling biography Churchill, estimates that the man has somewhere between 8 and 10 million words in print. And when needed most, Winston Churchill was able to stand strong against the tide of intense personal attack launched by pacifist politicians. Full of zeal and undying energy, he led Britain and the entire Western world out of defeat by the Nazis in the years leading up to and during World War ii.

In a similar vein, Abraham Lincoln used the personal growth he gained struggling against melancholy as a motivating force to find greater purpose for his life. As president during one of America’s darkest hours, the Civil War, he found that purpose by leading his beloved country to win the struggle against deep division and embrace the high call to provide equality and freedom for all oppressed people. Amid personal and national tragedy, he was able to step outside of himself and dedicate the full power of his mental energy and political career to the dual causes of the Union’s preservation and human emancipation.

Depression, left unchecked, paralyzes a person’s will power. The severely depressed become imprisoned in a concentration camp of the mind—starved of positive productive thought—prevented from creative accomplishment—frozen stiff in a block of ice.

True freedom from depression is won through the self-discipline of building a positive, productive mind—even in the midst of personal suffering. The way to beat inactivity is to propagate positive accomplishment.

Here are the steps you must take to build a productive mind.

Healthy Lifestyle

“The most perfect mechanism ever designed and made is the marvelous mind and body that is man,” Herbert Armstrong taught. Like any machine, the human mind and body must be well maintained to function properly. In fact, a healthy mind can only be built by building a healthy body.

Over the last several decades, scientific research has delivered to us a vast amount of knowledge concerning the connection between mind and body. Yet most people have not carefully applied what is known. We embrace an unhealthy lifestyle and pay a high price for our irresponsibility.

We must face reality. Our high-stress, technologically developed, pleasure-driven society is sapping our physical health and dulling our minds—literally killing us.

Stephen Ilardi, in his book The Depression Cure, references some fascinating cross-cultural studies of depression. He tells us, “Only one known group of Americans hasn’t been hit by the modern depression epidemic: the Amish. Still clinging tenaciously to their 18th-century way of life, Amish communities have a rate of depression dramatically lower than that of the general population.” He also mentions, “In developing (Third World) countries, the lifetime rate of depression is often a fraction of that observed in the West.” In the Kaluli people of the New Guinea highlands, for example, “clinical depression is almost completely nonexistent.” Meanwhile, countries that move away from traditional to Americanized lifestyles see the prevalence of depression begin to rise.

What can we learn from such facts? The Amish, people in developing countries and the Kaluli have a much harder life than the people of America, Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany or New Zealand. So one might assume they would have more mental ills like depression. Why is the reverse true?

Take a look at the Kaluli. These indigenous and illiterate people are sometimes referred to as horticulturists because they subsist on a natural diet taken by hunting, foraging and gardening. Essentially they live on fresh fish, game, fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables. They are active people who must work hard to survive. The Amish lifestyle, though not as stark, is similar: The Amish work hard physically in order to grow and preserve their own fruits, grains, meats and vegetables according to Old World traditions.

To put it simply, these two groups of people get plenty of whole fresh food, exercise, fresh air, sunshine and water. In addition, they live within a closely knit, emotionally supportive community of families.

Unfortunately, there is not a similar description for the majority of the Western world.

Begin With Diet

Your brain—the physical component of your mind—is not separate from your body. To function at peak performance, the brain—your thinking, operating, motivating control center—must be fed healthy food. Shockingly, that food is primarily fat!

Fat has become a dirty word for most Americans. Yet, the human brain is 60 percent fat by dry weight. Fat molecules, including saturated fats and cholesterol, play a critical role in the construction of brain cells and the insulation of nerve fibers. Your brain needs healthy fat to thrive. Medical tests run on depressed patients reveal a lack of healthy fats in the blood. This means that a majority of depressed patients have starved brains.

The human body manufactures most of the fats that the brain requires for proper functioning, yet two crucial types of fat the brain needs a steady supply of—omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—can only come from food. Most modern Western diets tend to be low in omega-3 fatty acids and high in omega-6. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as brussels sprouts, fish, flaxseeds, kale, olive oil, salad greens, spinach and walnuts. Good-quality omega-6 fatty acids come primarily from seeds and nuts or the oils produced from them. A healthy diet must include a balance of these two fatty acids along with other natural foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.

There is a direct link between omega-3 deficiency and depression. It is becoming common practice to have depressed patients take cold-water fish oil supplements to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. What an easy lifestyle change! The results are dramatic and well documented. Many easy-to-locate sources in books and on the Internet will provide you a wealth of facts and information on this subject. If you want to be truly mentally healthy, you must take advantage of what is known.

Besides incorporating omega-3 fatty acids, many people need to reduce the amount of omega-6 fatty acids in their diet. This is not as easy as taking a supplement. To be truly healthy, every individual has to move far away from eating large amounts of highly processed snacks and fast foods. Foods such as cereals, cookies, chips (crisps), crackers, fast foods and shakes are full of omega-6 fatty acids. The best way to fill your need for omega-6 fatty acids is to eat raw nuts and seeds and to use non-hydrogenated, cold-pressed olive, coconut or palm oil while cooking. Realize, butter is not the evil villain it has been made out to be. Yet it is important to eliminate the omega-6 fats found in margarine, Crisco and other polyunsaturated oils (soybean and canola) from your diet.

The best diet is made up of foods that are properly cooked at home. Eating mostly home-cooked meals has become a rarity, especially in America.

Here is a truth that cannot be denied: A diet full of fresh whole foods, including leafy greens, raw fruits and vegetables, and also low in caffeine and alcohol consumption, provides the means for securing good mental and physical health.

Exercise, Fresh Air and Sunshine

To function properly, the brain needs oxygen-rich blood. No one can increase the oxygen content in his blood sitting in front of a computer surfing the Internet. Couch potatoes can’t run with the wolves! A positive, clear-thinking brain needs an active body. Getting regular exercise, out of doors, in fresh air, is the least expensive, side-effect-free anti-depressant you could use. An invigorating walking program is probably one of the easiest exercise programs to undertake—but one of the hardest to begin. To borrow a phrase from a well-known shoe company, just do it!

The average Kaluli walks 10 miles each day, carrying water, hunting, foraging for fruits and veggies and carrying firewood. For most of us, a brisk 30-minute walk in the park or the neighborhood at least three to five days a week is much more appealing. You pick. But seriously, Stephen Ilardi shows that experts who have studied exercise as a treatment for depression have proved that walking briskly for 30 minutes only three times a week is better than Zoloft!

Of course, to get the maximum mental benefit from exercising you’ll need to get your heart pumping above its resting level, which is also known as aerobic exercise. When beginning a walking program, it is a challenge to get and keep your heart rate at an aerobic level. This means it would be good to get a physical exam before starting such a program. Besides a good pair of walking shoes and some exercise clothing, it might be good to invest in some kind of heart-rate monitor. It is easy to find good ones for about $40. It should be your goal to get your heart rate in a range of 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can find on the Internet a chart that will give you the aerobic heart rate for your age. If you do not want to invest in a heart rate monitor, a rule of thumb to follow when walking is that if you can carry on a conversation, you’re not walking fast enough. If you can’t sing, then you are on target. However, if you are gasping for breath, you need to slow down.

Of course, there are other kinds of aerobic exercise such as cross-country skiing, cycling, jogging, mountain hiking and swimming. Besides age and physical skills as factors, these sports will require more investment in time and money.

Here is the major point to consider when it comes to exercise: Whatever exercise you pursue, fully commit to it—truly make it a lifestyle change—and make it enjoyable.

Many people get depressed in the dark winter months. Most people spend less time out of doors than they did just a few decades ago. But getting out into the sunshine is a necessity for good mental health. Even the light of a cloudy day is far better than being indoors with artificial light. Sunshine brightens human mood. “As it turns out,” Ilardi tells us, “the brain gauges the amount of light you get each day, and it uses that information to reset your body clock. Without enough light exposure, the body clock eventually gets out of sync, and when that happens, it throws off important circadian rhythms that regulate energy, sleep, appetite and hormone levels.” Of course, the disruption of these critical biological rhythms can set off depression. Just 30 minutes of natural light each day is enough to keep circadian rhythms in good working order. Those who stay indoors from dawn to dusk make their body clocks go haywire, causing unwanted and unnecessary health problems.

Sufficient Sleep

Sleep deprivation is on the rise in our Western society. Multiple millions of people are not getting a good night’s rest every night. Ilardi tells us that Americans in particular clock in only an average of about 6.7 hours of sleep each day. Not surprisingly then, most people struggle drowsily and unproductively through the day. This has been a boon for caffeine suppliers like Starbucks; many rely on coffee and other stimulants to kick-start the workday.

There was a time when many in business and industry considered sleep an unnecessary luxury. Yet now the field of neuroscience has proven that insufficient sleep wrecks a person’s emotional, mental and physical health. To function at peak performance levels, our brains need adequate sleep. There are those rare individuals who can get by on less sleep—6 to 7 hours. The rest of us, though, need a minimum of 8 hours of sleep—some 9 to 10. Lack of proper sleep is one of the most powerful triggers of depression. It is now a proven fact that mood disorders are preceded by several weeks of subpar sleep.

Sleep deprivation will slow down your thought process, impair your memory, disrupt your reaction time and significantly alter your mood. People suffering from sleep deprivation are often irritable, quick to get angry and have little ability to cope with stress. It is a good thing to evaluate your sleep habits, especially if you have to fight depression.

There are some simple things that you can do to improve your sleep: Reduce your intake of coffee and other stimulants, exercise, and turn off the television and go to bed, for example. However, making the commitment to change your habits will be the challenge. If you have a chronic sleep problem, work diligently to get that situation solved. Ilardi provides a detailed, information-packed chapter on the subject. The Internet is full of extremely helpful websites that give tips on gaining proper sleep. Make it your goal to get adequate natural sleep.

Work Hard, Work Continually

To build a productive mind, you must work your mind. People paralyzed by depression stop working. Many have been known to lose their jobs and wreck their careers. It should not be surprising then to learn that one of the most effective therapies for the clinically depressed is to get the patients back into fruitful and productive work.

Abraham Lincoln learned this vital lesson on his own. “As a young man he stepped back from the brink of suicide, deciding he must live to do some meaningful work,” Joshua Shenk tells us in Lincoln’s Melancholy. Lincoln, a self-taught lawyer and failed politician, found a purpose for his life when the debate over American slavery came to the political foreground. He believed slavery was morally, socially and politically wrong. He also passionately believed that the Constitution demonstrated that America’s Founding Fathers envisioned a country without slavery. Shenk mentions, “For Lincoln, this sense of purpose was indeed the key that unlocked the gates of a mental prison.”

This does not mean Lincoln never experienced depression again. In fact, as president, he suffered through struggles and problems that would have crushed lesser men. Here is the lesson. Lincoln’s life’s work provided the means for him to step outside of his own mental gloom and fight for a cause bigger than himself.

This kind of work ethic has been drained from the American workforce. Most now simply work for the cash to party hearty on the weekend. Those depressed need to find a meaningful life purpose that will open the door for them to step outside of themselves. Of course, not every occupation can be neck-chills thrilling, but every job can be done passionately and with purpose.

No matter the task laid before him, Winston Churchill performed it with gusto. As prime minister during World War ii, “Churchill began to set a personal example of furious and productive activity at 10 Downing Street,” Paul Johnson tells us. “He was 65 but he looked, seemed—was, indeed—the embodiment of energy. He worked a 16-hour day. He sought to make everyone else do likewise.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10 states, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might …” (English Standard Version). No matter what your job, stay enthusiastically active in your work for the entire time you are at work. Stay mentally engaged; do not let your mind drift.

The vast majority of us will not be called upon to end slavery. Yet, the key here is to find some kind of engaging and productive mental activity that keeps your mind off yourself and your problems. For example, Winston Churchill pursued painting. A little brainstorming—which itself is productive thinking—will show you that your options really are endless. Some learn a musical instrument, others pursue vegetable or flower gardening. Find something you can be passionate about and challenged by. Then do it continually—especially when personal problems weigh you down.

Stay Socially Fit

Depression takes its toll on relationships. Familiar acquaintances of people descending into depression often work hard to support and encourage their downtrodden friend. Yet when the problem persists over weeks with little improvement, even the strongest bonds are strained. Some snap completely.

Depression’s core symptom—its dark side—is one of isolation and withdrawal. It is very difficult to experience a friend pulling away and shutting down. What most don’t understand is that depressed people withdraw—don’t return phone calls, refuse to get together, show no interest in staying connected—because they want to protect their friends from experiencing their black world. Depressed people often say, “My friends are better off without me,” or “I am such a downer to be around.” This is often not the case. Many depressed people can actually crack the funniest jokes. In fact, Abraham Lincoln was known for his talent at telling humorous stories.

The point here is to work hard to stay out of depression. Those who have suffered depression and have lost friends as a result are encouraged to reconnect with old friends and family. Of course, if those old friends are toxic to a person’s full recovery, they should be avoided. Reconnecting with old friends is a big step for a formerly depressed person. It takes a lot of courage. Most friends are only too happy to welcome a recovered depressive back into their life. A few are not. Yet even in this situation, there may be a valuable lesson: learning who are true friends.

Great men like Lincoln and Churchill forced themselves to get out with people while fighting black moods and melancholy. A key strategy for a recovering depressive is to get back into social situations where he can serve others. Volunteerism is highly recommended. This world is full of people and problems that need a helping hand. It is really a simple solution: If you’re feeling down about yourself, get out and help someone else.

Jesus Christ is described in the Holy Bible as having been a man of sorrows and encompassed with grief. Yet the Apostle Paul tells us that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, esv). Luke said also in the book of Acts that Christ “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed” (Acts 10:38). Loving, serving and giving will keep you not only socially fit, but also very happy.

In previous articles we have shown you that God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). This was for an awesome purpose. God is a Family, and He intends to expand that Family through man. God gave man a mind like His own, though it is significantly inferior. God has a highly productive, positive and creative mind. He intends for us to develop and have that same kind of mind.

So let’s get to it. Let’s work to build a productive mind.

You Are Cordially Invited …

You Are Cordially Invited …

DNY59/iStock

To the world premiere of two of the most significant archaeological artifacts ever discovered in Jerusalem.
From the January 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

It was an epic decision. For years, Judah’s king had been caught in the middle of a bitter struggle between a brave, faith-filled prophet and a cabal of ambitious princes. Now, as the Babylonian army closed in on Jerusalem, King Zedekiah had to choose.

Judah’s princes told the king to not surrender. Meanwhile, God told the king and the inhabitants of Jerusalem through the Prophet Jeremiah that the only way to survive was to surrender. The king deliberated. Should he heed the prophet’s counsel, surrender Jerusalem and possibly save his people? Or should he capitulate to his princes, kill the prophet and prepare the nation for war? The fate of the nation rested on his verdict.

It’s a gripping story, told in the book of Jeremiah. But is it true?

The best way to test the authenticity of Jeremiah’s story would be to discover tangible proof corroborating the events and characters he describes. Jeremiah recorded one of his confrontations with the princes in chapter 38. In fact, in verse 1 the prophet even identified the names of his accusers, two of whom were “Jehucal, son of Shelemiah,” and “Gedaliah, son of Pashur.”

What if you could find physical evidence proving these men lived in Jerusalem during the time of Jeremiah? Such proof would corroborate Jeremiah’s account. It would also confirm the accuracy of his entire work—and even the Bible itself!

Once-in-a-Lifetime Finds

Archaeologist Eilat Mazar has been excavating in Jerusalem for more than 40 years—since she was 11 years old, in fact. In 2005, Dr. Mazar was digging into the northern section of the City of David when one of her colleagues spotted a small piece of clay lying in the dust. It had originally been made to seal a cord tied around a papyrus scroll. The tiny artifact bore a three-line Paleo-Hebrew inscription: “Belonging to Yehucal, son of Shelemiyahu, son of Shovi.”

This was the seal of Jehucal!

Three years later, Dr. Mazar and her team set about enlarging the dig, a process that included wet-sifting debris they had excavated just a few yards away from the location of the Jehucal bulla. After washing away 2,600 years of dirt and dust, Mazar found herself staring at another bulla. This one read, “Gedalyahu ben Pashur,” or, Belonging to Gedaliah, son of Pashur.

It was the seal of Gedaliah!

These bullae are remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime discoveries. As Mazar told the Trumpet not long after the Gedaliah bulla was found: “It’s not often that such discoveries happen in which real figures of the past shake off the dust of history and so vividly revive the stories of the Bible.”

Rarely do science and the Bible converge as dramatically and as tangibly as they do with the Jehucal and Gedaliah bullae. These artifacts are invaluable—to science, to Jerusalem archaeology, and to history. Their ultimate value, though, lies in the fact that they illuminate the life and work of Jeremiah and prove the Bible true.

An Enduring Partnership

Many of our readers know that since 2006 Herbert W. Armstrong College, our college here in Edmond, Oklahoma, has worked closely with Dr. Mazar on her digs. Our students have assisted on various excavations, both in the City of David and on the Ophel. Three of our students were actually present the day the Gedaliah bulla was discovered.

Our relationship with Dr. Mazar actually stretches back to the 1960s, when Herbert Armstrong, the founder of our work in Israel, began supporting the archaeological endeavors of Dr. Benjamin Mazar, Eilat’s grandfather and a pioneer of Jerusalem archaeology. Although more than 40 years have passed since Benjamin Mazar and Herbert Armstrong formed their extraordinary friendship, and both men are now deceased, this wonderful partnership is today being perpetuated through the partnership of Eilat Mazar and Gerald Flurry, the editor in chief of this magazine and pastor general of the Philadelphia Church of God.

Your Invitation

Now, we would like to invite you to the world premiere of the Gedaliah and Jehucal bullae from the City of David!

In addition to the bullae, which will be on display to the public for the first time ever, our archaeological exhibit will feature about three dozen other artifacts from ancient Israel. Among these will be handles from ancient clay jars that bear lamelech, or lmlk, seal impressions. In ancient Hebrew, lmlk means “belonging to the king.” Discovered in the ruins of the ancient City of David, and dated to the First Temple period, these impressions are evidence of a sizeable monarchy in ancient Jerusalem.

Also displayed will be a large pithos, or clay storage jar. Measuring nearly 4 feet tall and up to 2½ feet wide, this vessel (one of only 12) is the first of its kind to be discovered in Jerusalem, and one of the largest storage vessels ever found in Israel. These pithoi were discovered on the floor of what is believed to be an ancient royal structure. On the shoulder of one of the jars is a partial inscription in ancient Hebrew that says “belonging to the minister of O….” Each of these vessels testifies to the royal character of the structure it was found in.

If these artifacts interest you, then plan now to visit our small but special exhibit. Hosted by the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation (our humanitarian organization), the exhibit will be housed in the gorgeous lobby of Armstrong Auditorium, our world-class concert hall here in Edmond. The grand opening, which will include a special concert by Israeli artists and addresses by vip representatives, will be Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The exhibit will open Jan. 16, 2012, and run through October 16, during which time Armstrong Auditorium will host multiple concerts from a smorgasbord of world-class artists.

Together, these remarkable artifacts will tell the inspiring story of ancient Israel’s dramatic rise under King Solomon, its tragic collapse under King Zedekiah—and the faith-filled work of Jeremiah.

How to Make Sense of the Stormy Middle East

How to Make Sense of the Stormy Middle East

abzee/iStockPhoto

The whole region has violently been turned upside down, and the tempest isn’t over yet. But to get a clear picture of the future you have to scan the past.
From the January 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

The seasons have changed in Tunis, Cairo and Tripoli. The turbulent gusts of the “Arab Spring” have blown through northern Africa and continue to roar through the halls of power in Syria, Jordan, Yemen and far beyond.

For just a moment, the revolution inspired a warm glow of anticipation as the Western world looked for the rays of liberal democracy to shine through the clouds onto a region dominated by strongmen.

But we see no blossoming Western-style democracies—only the harsh winter of radicalism. The overthrow of the military dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya is leading not to the birth of new democracies, but rather to a rebirth of Islamic states. As these nations embrace the tenets of radical Islam, one regional power stands to gain the most: Iran.

Governments in Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are struggling to prevent contagion on their own soil. On top of these great political upheavals, Iran is shaking the whole region militarily by making steady progress toward acquiring nuclear weapons. Whispers of Israeli airstrikes are loudly broadcast. Even the United Nations reported in November that some of Iran’s nuclear experiments could only be for the purpose of weapons development.

Governments, policymakers, intelligence analysts and pundits are all trying to gauge where these troubling events are heading. Will winter set in, putting the Middle East into the cold clutches of radical Islam and Iranian dominance? Will it reject cooperation with the Christian Western democracies?

With so many nations involved, so many interests to be protected, so much history, and so many cultures and brands of religion converging, the Middle East is the most complicated region in the world.

Yet there is a source that can accurately answer all these questions! That source is biblical prophecy.

Two prophecies in particular make sense of the volatile international relations occurring in this region: Daniel 11 and Psalm 83.

These prophecies show what is in store for those nations involved in the “Arab Spring,” those whose governments have successfully resisted overthrows, and those facing rebellion right now.

Taken together, these two prophecies show us that the region will be conquered and controlled by one major power. Ultimately, it will not be Iran or an Islamic power!

To understand these prophecies, you must know which nations they are talking about.

The Whirlwind Attack

In the prophecy of Daniel 11:40-43, we learn that there is a “king of the south” ruling parts of the Middle East. But Daniel also says a different power will conquer the region: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind … and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. … [A]nd the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.”

There are two primary powers here: the king of the north and the king of the south. The king of the south can only be Iran. (For an explanation, request our free booklet The King of the South.) It is not this “king,” though, that is prophesied to conquer North Africa and the Middle East. It is the king of the north!

The king of the north is a German-led European combine. To prove why the ancient “king of the north” is modern Europe, request our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

Daniel 11 lists the enemies of the king of the north, Iran’s key allies: Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia, which are still called by their ancient names today. Egypt and Libya are already falling to the control of radical Islamic elements supported by Iran!

This prophecy is why the Trumpet accurately predicted—as far back as July 1993—that these nations would be overtaken by radical Islam! Current events are unfolding exactly according to this prophecy.

However, just as important as who is allied with the king of the south is who isn’t.

Daniel writes that when the king of the north hits the king of the south and its allies with a blitzkrieg, three peoples will escape: “Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon” (verse 41). These three peoples will not be allied with Iran.

This means that ultimately Iran will not succeed—not only in confronting Christian Europe, but also in its efforts control the entire Middle East.

But what will happen to these other nations, such as Edom and Moab? This is explained in a different prophecy of events shortly after the king of the north conquers the king of the south.

An Anti-Israel Alliance

“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” This prophecy is found in Psalm 83:4. It describes a group of nations forming a confederacy to destroy the modern nations of Israel.

“For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them” (verses 5-8).

Assur is biblical Assyria, the prophetic name for modern-day Germany! (See the October/November 2010 issue for proof of Assyria’s modern identity.)

The Middle Eastern nations listed in this passage will form an alliance with Germany. Their purpose will be to “cut off” the modern descendants of Israel—primarily America, Britain and Judah, the modern Jewish State of Israel.

So, which are these nations that will ally not with Iran, but with Germany?

Edom and Amalek

Edom, also called Esau in the Bible, is listed first in Psalm 83. As we covered in our November/December 2011 issue (“East, West or Neither?”), this is modern-day Turkey.

Also included is a son of Esau, Amalek. Amalek and his children became a prominent people at the time of the Exodus. Moses records in Numbers 24:20 that Amalek “was the first of the nations.” That phrase refers not to chronology, but power: The Amalekites were the first people to attack the Israelites after they escaped from Egypt. They were even powerful enough to enslave Egyptians, according to an account in 1 Samuel 30:11-13. At the height of their power, the Amalekites colonized various areas of the Mediterranean, including the Aegean and western Turkey. In biblical prophecy, Amalek also refers to modern Turkey.

Turkey, like Iran, is a formidable regional power, but it has strong ties to Europe. It is not difficult to foresee how Turkey can and will resist falling into radical Iran’s orbit. In fact, the Psalm 83 prophecy shows that, despite present appearances to the contrary, Turkey will at some point renew its efforts to ally with Europe! Watch for it.

What about the other nations listed in this prophecy?

Moab and Ammon

Remember that the prophecy of Daniel 11 says the king of the north, after conquering the king of the south, will then “enter also into the glorious land”—the nation of Israel, specifically Jerusalem. Then, it says, “Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon” will escape. All three of these names also appear in Psalm 83.

Keeping the Daniel 11 invasion in mind, we can thus conclude that the nations listed in Psalm 83 are geographically near Israel.

Moab and Ammon were the sons of Lot by his daughters. During the time of King David and Solomon, Moab and Ammon created kingdoms in the territory of modern-day Jordan. Even today the name of the capital of Jordan, Amman, can be traced back to Ammon.

The descendants of Moab and Ammon evidently remained in the same area as their ancient kingdoms. They avoided captivity and the population dispersion policies of the Assyrians by paying tribute (Jeremiah 48:11). Considering that Moab and Ammon are in the vicinity of Israel, it becomes clear that Moab and Ammon constitute the modern nation of Jordan.

Gebal and Tyre

The same logic can be applied to the other names on the Psalm 83 list. Gebal is a city in Lebanon, also called Byblos. It is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

This was the most prominent city of the Phoenicians until being replaced by Tyre, also located in modern-day Lebanon and once a powerful trade center of the Mediterranean.

The Phoenicians were an ancient race of people, well known as traders, merchants and colonizers, who established cities all over the Mediterranean. While some of these cities grew very powerful, the Phoenicians never developed into a single empire or nation.

The prophecy focuses only on those major Phoenician cities that are now located in Lebanon. This means that the two cities reference a geographic location, not the people who founded them. It is clear, then, that Gebal and Tyre refer to Lebanon.

Hagarenes

The Hagarenes are also located in the same area. These are the descendants of Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, known as Hagarites in the other scriptures. Moses recorded in Genesis 25:18 that Ishmael’s sons dwelt in the land ranging from Egypt to Assyria.

By the seventh century b.c., during the reign of the Assyrian King Sennacherib, the Hagarenes were recorded as living among Aramean tribes off the middle section of the Euphrates. They are among the Aramean tribes invaded and ravaged by Sennacherib, according to George Raw-linson’s The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World. The Arameans settled in what is today known as Syria. Therefore, the Hagarenes, who dwelt among the Arameans, are those who inhabit modern-day Syria.

Ishmaelites

The rest of Hagar’s descendants are known more prominently as the Ishmaelites. The identity of the descendants of Ishmael was once widely known, but today this history is being forgotten. Under the article “Arab” in the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, printed in 1911, we read that Arab “people, according to their own traditions, are derived from two stocks: the pure Arabs, descended from Kahtan or Joktan … and the Mustarab or naturalized Arabs, from Ishmael.”

The descendants of Joktan “are represented at the present day by the inhabitants of Yemen, Hadramut and Oman, in general a settled agricultural population” on the southern Arabian Peninsula, while those Arabs from Ishmael are located in Saudi Arabia in “Hejaz, Nejd, El Hasa, the Syrian desert and Mesopotamia, consisting of the Bedouin or pastoral tribes.”

Though there is much regional variation in the Arabian Peninsula, the distinction between the desert nomads and the town dwellers and agriculturalists remains.

Thus, history, and even the Arabs’ own evidence, reveals that the modern Ishmaelites now dwell in Saudi Arabia.

Philistines

Last are the Philistines. Anciently the Philistines occupied the southern coast of Canaan, dominating five major cities, including Gaza, Askelon and Ashdod. It is from the Philistines that the term Palestine is derived. Geographically this would essentially describe the Palestinian territory known as the Gaza Strip.

When looking at this list of nations, excluding Turkey and Germany, all the nations listed are populated by people now called Arabs. If they are all the same people, why wouldn’t Bible prophecy label them as one people?

The Arabs in Prophecy

Beginning early in the seventh century, the Arabs conquered the entire Middle East and more. Just as the Bible prophesied, Ishmael became a great nation. It was the religion of Islam that inflamed the Arabs with the drive to conquer. As the Encyclopedia Britannica says, Islam “was the religious force that united the desert subsistence nomads—the Bedouins—with the town dwellers of the oases” (online edition).

As the Arabs conquered, they spread Islam around the world. The Arab language was also adopted throughout much of the Middle East and North Africa as Islam dominated the religions of those areas.

Today, the name Arab describes many different people who speak the same language.

No doubt there was a considerable mixing of the Arab people into the local populations as they conquered. Many of the nations outlined in this prophecy have been mixed over thousands of years and multiple invasions. The biblical record shows much intermarrying among these people from the beginning, and many of these Arab people are distantly related.

Genesis 28:9, for example, records a marriage between Ishmael’s daughter and Esau. The Ishmaelites were also shown to intermarry with another Arabian people, the Midianites—so much so that their names are used interchangeably in Genesis 37. The numerous children of the Ishmaelites most likely would have sought wives from the neighboring descendants of Joktan as well.

The Hagarenes are also distantly related to the Ishmaelites through the matriarch Hagar.

The Bible even comments on the Philistines being a mixed race in Zechariah 9, most likely a result of mixing in the neighboring peoples listed in Psalm 83.

Even with populations mixing and moving, though, biblical prophecy still labels modern nations that factor in end-time events by their predecessors. It is a mistake to label them all the same people. While they may share the same language and religion and have had a history of intermarriage, God still calls them by their respective patriarch’s or matriarch’s name.

And while the mixing of so many people in this area may make it difficult to be exact, there is enough information to give us a good picture of which nations will join in this Psalm 83 alliance.

The Future of the ‘Arab Spring’

Given our understanding of these prophecies, then, we return to our original question: Will what is left of the “Arab Spring” produce any Western-style democracies? Not a chance! There will emerge two distinct groups—one radical, Iranian-led alliance, and the other a violently anti-Israel and anti-American coalition.

Will all these nations turn their backs on cooperating with Christian Europe? Believe it or not, the answer is no!

Shocked and awed over the mighty power of the king of the north’s victory over Iran and its allies, and driven by deep hatred of the Israelite nations, certain Muslim nations in the Middle East will actually ally with a Roman Catholic European power!

This is the general outline of future events the Bible gives for this region of the world!

If you believe these prophecies, you can see where the “Arab Spring” is heading. You can understand why Europe was so eager to intervene in Libya! You can know why the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will not succeed and how it will end!

You can know ahead of time what will happen! That is why the Trumpet was able to forecast the Islamic takeover occurring right now in Egypt 18 years ago, and why we foretold events in Libya and Tunisia. But it is only possible if you believe what the Bible says about these nations.

If this is still not enough to convince, just watch! The fulfillment of these prophecies is rapidly springing forth!

Why the Week?

Why the Week?

Dmitry Ekimovsky/iStockphoto

The surprising origins of the universal seven-day rhythm of human life
From the January 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Why is it that the Wednesday just before Thanksgiving felt so much like a Friday? Why are most tv shows aired every seven days instead of every four or five? And why is it easy enough to mistake a Tuesday for a Wednesday, but almost impossible to mistake a Friday for a Saturday?

These questions point to something so pervasive, so universal, and so deeply entrenched in our lives that we take it for granted: the seven-day week. Next to the day, the week is the most important calendar unit in our lives.

How did this seven-day cycle come to so conspicuously occupy our minds and our calendars? Where did it originate? How did it become such a ubiquitous backbeat in the rhythm of human life?

(Listen to the episode of The Sun Also Rises on this topic).

Most other major measurements of time are determined by what happens in the skies above us. The length of a year is determined by how long it takes our planet to make one full revolution around the sun. The month is based on the time required for our moon to complete its cycle. A day is the time the Earth takes to complete one full rotation on its axis.

But what about the week? What astronomical cycle determines this seven-day span?

Divided Lunar Cycle Theory

One common explanation says the week is based on one quarter of the 29.531-day lunar cycle, which would come to nearly 7.4 days. Proponents of this theory say ancient peoples used the moon’s cycle to determine the duration of both the month, in its complete cycle, and the week, as one quarter of that cycle. They say this quartered lunar cycle gave rise to a calendar, like those used by early Babylonians, in which each month began on a new moon and was separated into four 7-day segments followed by one or two odd days each month.

In The Origins of the Seven-Day Week, Eviatar Zerubavel dismisses this theory. “One of the most distinctive features of the week is the fact that it is entirely dissociated from the lunar cycle,” he writes. “It is essentially defined as a precise multiple of the day, quite independently of the lunar month. … Any subdivision of the lunar cycle necessarily involves some mathematically inconvenient remainder of hours, minutes and seconds. A precise quarter of the lunar cycle, for example, amounts to 7.38625 days, and any week of that length would necessarily have to begin at different times of the day.”

The divided lunar cycle theory also does not explain the fact that, in almost all societies, the week is seven days long. After all, a lunar month could just as easily be divided into three 10-day sections, or five 6-day blocks, six 5-day spans, or other variations, with the final “week” being shortened by a day or two as needed. Why would early societies choose to divide the lunar cycle by four? The number is arbitrary. Other major units of time—the day, month and year—are derived from complete astronomical cycles, which are clearly visible in the skies. But the divided lunar cycle explanation for the week is built on an arbitrary, man-made division.

Visible Celestial Bodies Theory

Another popular explanation for the week comes from adding up the number of celestial bodies in our solar system that are visible with the naked eye. The sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn would all have been visible to early stargazers who had no telescopes, so the sum is seven.

Peter Meyer of Hermetic Systems explains this theory: “[I]t is obvious why there are seven days in a week: This is the number of visible planets plus the sun and the moon. If, instead of an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, there had been a planet, then there would have been six visible planets, not five, so the number of celestial entities would have been eight, not seven. In that case humans would have developed a week of eight days, not seven.”

It is undeniable that the days of the week on our calendars (in English and European languages) are named after the visible bodies (e.g. “the day of Saturn” is Saturday). It’s also true that ancient societies named these celestial bodies after their various gods and goddesses. However, the facts of history prove that the seven-day week existed long before its days came to be associated with these ancient gods, and that the association came about only in the third century b.c.

Originally, the seven visible bodies were used only for ancient Babylonian fortune-telling and had no influence on the week or any other cycle of human life. Zerubavel explains this by saying, “[W]hile the Chaldean origin of astrology is indisputable, there is no evidence that an actual astrological seven-day cycle ever existed in ancient Mesopotamia …. A permanent correspondence between the Sabbath and ‘the day of Saturn’ was thus established no later than the first century of the present era …. Sabbath observance had been established long before the astrological week ever came into being, and obviously preceded both the making of the calendrical association between ‘the day of Saturn’ and the Sabbath and the naming of the planet after the latter.”

So, the association between celestial bodies, pagan gods and the seven days of the week didn’t happen until many centuries after widespread adherence to the week. Thus the visible celestial bodies theory doesn’t explain the week’s origins any better than the divided lunar theory. History and logic easily disprove both of these theories, and reveal how weak they really are.

An Invention of Ancient Israel?

In his thorough book, Zerubavel, after conclusively disproving both of the above theories, finally concludes that the seven-day week was the invention of ancient Israel. He says that it eventually spread from that early society into the whole world.

The trouble with that theory, though, is that biology proves the seven-day week predates all societies.

Mankind has long understood that our bodies operate on circadian (daily), monthly and annual rhythms, but chronobiologists have only recently discovered seven-day patterns written into the biology of people, animals and plants.

According to The Secrets Our Body Clocks Reveal by Susan Perry and Jim Dawson, the blood pressure cycle, coping hormone cycles, immune responses to infections, production of blood and urine chemicals, and even the heartbeat operate on a seven-day pattern.

Experiments conducted by scientist Franz Halberg also prove that seven-day cycles govern fundamental aspects in the lives of flies, rats and other critters. Research by Halberg, Perry, Dawson and others has uncovered no cycles (between daily and monthly frequency) that occur in five, six, eight, nine or any other number of days—only seven.

A rat can’t tell the Talmud from the Huffington Post, so, if the seven-day week was invented by people, as historians like Zerubavel maintain, what explains these biological seven-day rhythms?

The Week’s True Origins

The week is completely oblivious to seasons, tides, orbits and every other aspect of external nature. Nothing in the cosmos happens in seven days, so there is no astronomical reason for the week. There is no recurring cycle of the stars, moon, planets, sun, or anything else that happens in seven days’ time. So the week had to originate from another source. Science proves that the seven-day cycle is also etched deeply into mankind’s dna, proving it could not have been the invention of any society.

The intelligentsia of the world have strained in vain to attribute the week’s origins to something secular, but it cannot be done.

That is because the week was created by God.

It was created by God, and its existence provides evidence that He is the Creator of the universe.

The first two chapters of the book of Genesis detail God’s re-creation of the Earth after it had been wrecked in the angelic rebellion (Genesis 1:2; Isaiah 14:12-14). The details of the account show that this re-creation was completed in seven days (Genesis 2:2-3), with the Creator resting “on the seventh day” following the six days of creation. God then commanded His people to rest on each seventh day from then on, as an eternal tribute to God’s re-creation and rest (Exodus 20:8-11; 31:15-17). So, almost as a by-product of the work He accomplished during the seven days of re-creation, God also created the week.

Other calendar units are determined by heavenly bodies, but the week was determined by the heavenly Father.

The Universal Week

The week is universal. In almost every nation and civilization on the planet, throughout all chapters of human history, you will find people living out their lives to the rhythm of the week.

We take for granted that all around the world everyone uses a seven-day week, but that hasn’t always been the case. Some cultures have used “weeks” varying in length from as few as three days to as many as 19.

At the time the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica was written, there were some isolated pockets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the people still operated in “weeks” of only three or four days. In African Cultural Astronomy, author Jarita C. Holbrook discusses the Igbo people of Nigeria, pointing out that they function on a four-day week. And the same is true for some other isolated cultures around the world, although globalization and the technology explosion make such instances rarer all the time.

The explanation for this is that Noah the patriarch knew all about the seven-day week, and taught the time cycle to his progeny. But when God confounded the languages at Babel around 4,000 years ago, the people split into separate nations and migrated to disparate locations all over the globe. As the generations passed, many of these cultures forgot and rejected an increasing amount of what they had been taught, including the correct length of a week. But it is interesting that none of these societies forgot the general concept of the week. They only altered the specifics. Nevertheless, the general concept of the week, as a recurring time frame within the lunar cycle, has remained universal.

The Sabbath Was Made for Mankind

In Mark 2, Jesus Christ says, “The Sabbath was made for man.” Leviticus 23:3 says, “[S]ix days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein ….” So, it was not just the Sabbath, but the entire seven-day week that was actually made for men. The command to labor for six days is every bit as clear as the command to rest on the seventh. And Christ did not say this model is just for Jews or Israelites, but for “man,” or all mankind.

Even in purely physical terms, there are some fascinating proofs that the seven-day rhythm of life will lead to maximum productivity and health. It’s not hard to see why this is true.

On one extreme, there are some cultures like those mentioned above that operate on a week of only three or four days. Rather than working six days and resting one, a person operating on a three-day week would work two days and then rest one. But the cultural and economic output of such cultures is weaker than those of societies that labor six days before resting one.

On the other extreme are civilizations that have experimented with “weeks” longer than seven days. In 1793, just after the French Revolution, France adopted a 10-day week. The revolutionaries made the move in an effort to simultaneously de-Christianize the country and increase its productivity. But productivity did not increase. According to R.R. Palmer’s The World of the French Revolution, France only kept the 10-day week around for 12 years because of its extremely disappointing results. During these years, French society saw a stark increase in injuries, exhaustion, illness, and work animals that collapsed and died at astounding rates. These people were attempting to operate on a rhythm other than the one that was created for them, and the results were disastrous.

Other societies have conducted similar week-extension experiments, but, like the French, they all reverted back to the seven-day model within a short time. The Sabbath was made for man, and mankind functions at its best when operating on a seven-day cycle. A shorter week reduces productivity to a trickle; a longer one places an unsustainable strain on workers. We are not only commanded to rest on the seventh day, but also to work on the first six days. More or less than this, and penalties are inevitable.

The Mind-Staggering Big Picture

The Apostle Peter knew that the week and the day were symbolic of something far bigger. He wrote, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Why did Peter place such emphasis on this seemingly arbitrary numeric scale? Because God inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15), and man’s destiny is to be born into His eternal Family.

God wants our minds to comprehend eternity, but the concept is so vast and abstract to us that striving to contemplate it can overwhelm us and cause our finite brains to overload or go blank. So Peter tried to bring it down to a bite-size level.

The seven-day week is precisely patterned after God’s master plan to bring men into His Family. Herbert W. Armstrong explained the parallels, saying: “[T]he first 6,000 years of God’s 7,000-year plan were allotted to allow Satan to labor at his work of deceiving the world, followed by 1,000 years (one millennial day) when Satan shall not be allowed to do any of his ‘work’ of deception. Put another way, God marked out six millennial days to allow man to indulge in the spiritual labor of sin, followed by a millennium of spiritual rest, under the enforced government of God” (The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like; request your free copy).

To God, who is not confined to time as we are, a thousand years is like a day. Thus, the seven-day week is a type of God’s 7,000-year plan. Exodus 31 says “in six days [a type of the 6,000 years of mankind’s rule since Adam was created around 4,000 b.c.] the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day [a type of the coming Millennium] he rested, and was refreshed” (verse 17). By resting, God created the Sabbath and completed the creation of the seven-day week.

So, interlaced into the week is this awe-inspiring prophecy: Mankind’s 6,000 years of pathetically attempting to rule itself are almost over, and the “Sabbath” is almost here!

The next time you stare into the night sky, marveling at the stars and other celestial bodies, you might look to the moon and consider how man has patterned the month after its cycle. Or you may consider the rotation or revolution of the Earth and how that has given us the day and year. But don’t waste time searching the firmament for something that explains the seven-day week. The week was created by God.

Nail That Job Interview!

Nail That Job Interview!

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You got your foot in the door, and now you’re up for a personal interview. What do you do?
From the January 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Congratulations! The company of your dreams liked your résumé; now you are scheduled for a job interview. Take a moment to savor it: In today’s precarious job market, just getting an interview can be a victory. Still, you’re only partway through your journey to employment. Making it to the next step has a lot to do with your performance during that interview.

Job seekers often misunderstand the job interview process. It’s not an interrogation where the hirer blasts pointed questions at the applicant to test his responses under pressure, or asks outrageous, irrelevant questions in order to check the candidate’s mental and critical thinking acuity. (Although I know one interviewee who was asked, “If you were to visit the zoo, what would be the first two animals you would see?”) It isn’t even wholly for the purpose of determining if you would be the right fit for the position offered.

The interview process should not be a one-way conversation totally controlled by the interviewer. Consider it more of a collaborative discussion between two experts concerning the position in question. You need to use the interview to pitch why you (being the expert in your field that you are) would be the best fit for the position. In this sense, you are nearly as much in control of the interview process as the interviewer is.

Successfully navigating this process requires starting long before you enter the room, and it continues even after you leave. It can be divided into three parts—or the three Ps: 1) the preparation; 2) the performance; and 3) the post-interview.

The Preparation

Not only is preparation the first step, it may well be the most important. Yet the most common error I come across when working with job interview candidates is their near total negligence of this step.

If you were asked to give a public address before an audience of a few dozen hiring decision-makers at companies you would love to work for—and for which you possess the career expertise—would you prepare that speech, or just wing it? Surely, if you really wanted a job, you would prepare—probably intensely and in detail.

The same applies for your sales pitch before one or two hirers at the job interview. Benjamin Franklin succinctly put it, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” So prepare, and prepare hard. Here are some specific things to prepare for at your interview.

Review your résumé. Your interviewer is going to be basing most of his questions on your résumé, so know it well.

Find out all you can about the company you have applied for. Research the company’s website; request printed material showing what services or products the business offers; chat with a friend who worked or works there. When you shop for an item, you want to know what you are buying. Shopping for a job requires even more research.

Think of questions you would like to ask the interviewer. Now that you have done the research, formulating questions should be easy. Consider if you were offered the position immediately after the interview. What questions would you ask before accepting? What do you need to know about the job and company prior to beginning work? Write them down in an organized fashion and bring them with you to the job interview. Here are a few questions you may want to ask:

How do you measure the productivity of this position?

What critical issues require immediate attention at this position?

What are the parameters of authority for this position?

What benefits will be offered to the hired employee by the company?

Who will I be reporting to if I am hired?

Anticipate questions you believe the interviewer will likely ask you. Some common interview questions are:

What do you consider three of your greatest weaknesses?

What do you consider three of your greatest strengths?

Why did you apply for this job? Why do you want to work for this company?

What makes you think you can perform this job effectively?

What sets you apart from other employees in your field?

What do you expect as a starting salary?

Why are you leaving your present position?

Are you punctual?

What are your non-work-related hobbies, interests, talents?

If your associates were to describe you in one word, what would it be?

Prepare your physical appearance for the interview. Make your attire and appearance clean and professional. Shower; shave; brush your teeth; be sure your clothing is neat, clean and ironed. Also, no matter what job you are applying for, come dressed in modest business attire. Don’t chew gum; don’t wear too much cologne or perfume; don’t bring your kids; and don’t bring your cell phone. Look professional. The importance of this point cannot be overemphasized. First impressions are huge.

The Performance

After you have diligently prepared, it’s time to put all that effort into practice during the job interview itself. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying that success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration. Well, this is your opportunity to perspire!

Leave for the interview at least 20 minutes earlier than it would normally take to get there. There is nothing worse you can do for a job interview than arrive late. Those extra 20 minutes can make all the difference when it comes to traffic backups, car problems or getting lost. You can always wait in the parking lot for a few extra minutes, reviewing your notes for the interview.

Be happy. Smile. Be genuinely friendly, positive and uplifting in your demeanor, voice and wording. No one likes to work with a negative person. However, I emphasize genuinely friendly and happy. Don’t act. You’re excited and happy about the opportunity to be hired by the company, aren’t you? Then be happy!

Use the interviewer’s name. When you ask a question or give an answer, occasionally address the person by name like you would a friend. Well, Jim, this is what I think; or, Karen, this is what I would do. Don’t overuse it; just be natural.

Be yourself. Naturally, you will probably be a bit nervous. However, remind yourself as you are walking into the interviewer’s office that you are there because he or she asked you to come as the expert to help their business succeed. He or she felt, based on your résumé, you would be a top candidate for the job. Have confidence and know that you do have something worthwhile to offer the company with your skills, experience and work ethic.

Listen. Don’t come into the interview all guns blazing like John Wayne in a bar with bad guys. Allow the interviewer to ask the questions, especially at the start. Be courteous and alert. Listen intently to each question, and, after the interviewer gives you the floor, answer exactly what was asked. However, do feel free to add your personal input, thoughts and views throughout. In other words, be courteous, but don’t be a robot.

Sell yourself. The résumé is only the first step in trying to sell yourself to a company. The interview is the second and most important part. Yes, it is important to listen; however, don’t be too bashful to sell yourself. For example, when you are asked about what you feel you can offer to the company, tell them what you have to offer in detail and with enthusiasm and confidence. Explain the results you would like to create and how exactly you plan to accomplish them. Too many times, interviewees are unprepared and demonstrate a lack of enthusiasm, rigidness, somberness—and insecurity about themselves. This won’t get you the job! Sell yourself with the same drive you plan to perform your job if hired. You only have one chance to sell yourself, so make it count.

The Post-interview

This final, essential step is also too often neglected. The post-interview process—if effectively performed—can leave some of the most lasting and positive impressions on the hirer. That in turn gives you a much better chance of getting the job you seek.

Review the reasons you applied for the job and determine if they still apply after reviewing your interview notes. If they don’t, send the interviewer a note explaining this.

If you still feel you would be a great fit for the position, send a “thank you” note to the interviewer within 24 hours of your interview. Express gratitude for the person’s time, effort and consideration. Also, a “thank you” note is a great way to again advertise why you believe you would be the best candidate for the job. It also gets your name before the decision-makers one more time.

If you haven’t heard back from the hirer within a week of the interview, give him or her a call. This is a good action for a number of reasons. First, you never know if the company received your thank-you note and if they have forgotten about you. This gives you a chance to get your name in the forefront again. Second, by making the call you have another opportunity to express your interest in the position with enthusiasm. Also, you can follow up with any questions or additional thoughts you may have concerning the position or what you would be able to achieve within that role. The follow-up call also shows your persistence and seriousness about winning the job.

The next time you have a job interview scheduled, use the three Ps in your interview process: preparation, performance and post-interview. Remember, you are (or should be, if you’re applying for the job) the expert called in to discuss the position in question and explain why you are the perfect fit. Then, show your earnest desire for the position by providing post-interview contact. Diligently apply these points, and your transition from the job interview to the new job will be around the corner!