At Least Nine Killed in Central U.S. Tornadoes

A series of tornadoes plowed through the American Midwest early Wednesday morning. At least nine people have been reported killed from the storms, and hundreds are injured. Those numbers are expected to increase. Right now, severe storms are thrashing the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, and the threat of tornado outbreaks is ongoing.

At least six people were killed in Harrisburg, Illinois, after a storm leveled large swaths of the town of 9,000 people. A shopping center was smashed to bits, and scores of homes have been badly damaged and destroyed.

Since Tuesday night, at least 16 tornado sightings have been called in from Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, according to the National Weather Service. The weather service said the chance of hail, damaging winds and tornadoes is increasing this afternoon.

The year 2011 went into the record books as the deadliest year for tornadoes since 1953, and, with this year’s early start, 2012 could follow suit.

Along with tornado damage, the U.S. has also suffered significantly worse droughts, wildfires and floods. These disasters devastated around 7 million acres of American land in 2011 alone.

In Leviticus 26, God promises “rain in due season” and the land yielding her increase—but only if we keep His commandments. Although weather may seem chaotic and not subject to anyone’s influence, the truth is that if we followed the laws of the Creator, He would intervene to cause beautiful, stable weather. If we depended on God, we would not experience crop failures, famine, drought or deadly tornadoes.

But Bible prophecy shows that our increasingly chaotic weather is due to get far, far worse. Only after our nations humble themselves and repent will we see the calm after the storm.

ECB Loans Billions to European Banks

The European Central Bank (ecb) has loaned more than €500 billion to European banks. The loans constitute a second round of massive credit infusions intended to ease the eurozone debt crisis.

ecb President Mario Draghi encouraged banks to take the low-interest loans, saying there was “no stigma” or sign of weakness associated with them. More than 800 banks took the ecb up on the offer.

While the ecb’s massive injections of liquidity have improved Europe’s financial situation, some see the ecb loans as preparation for Greece exiting the eurozone.

Robert Halver, who is the head of Market Research at Baader Bank AG, said he believed the ecb knows Greece will leave in less than a year and that it is actually trying to shield Europe by “building firewalls with lots of liquidity.”

The euro crisis is still in critical condition. The European Union is holding a two-day summit at the end of the week to find ways to protect itself against its ongoing financial crisis. This issue will be determined by whether or not Germany acquiesces to offering up more money.

The Trumpet has forecast that whatever the EU’s solutions are, they will lead to a stronger, more centralized government with Germany at the helm. Continue to watch as European headlines prove this forecast true.

Pakistani Extremist Coalition Leaves Government Impotent

Pakistani Extremist Coalition Leaves Government Impotent

Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

A new coalition of Pakistani extremist groups is bad news for Islamabad and the United States.

Thousands of jihadists poured onto Islamabad’s streets on February 20 chanting “death to America,” demanding holy war against the West, and heaping scorn on Pakistan’s government. The gathering concerns the U.S. State Department because it represents a coalescing of some 40 anti-American parties—previously at odds with each other—but now unified under a new banner: the Defense of Pakistan Council (dpc).

Among the world-class Islamists who spoke at the dpc rally were Chairman Maulana Sami ul Haq, nicknamed “the Taliban’s spiritual father”; Muhammad Ijaz-Ul-Haq, son of Zia-Ul-Haq, who ruled Pakistan until his death in 1988; Fazlur Rehman Khalil, signatory to Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa declaring war against the West, and former head of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, an outlawed Islamist group connected to al Qaeda; Hafiz Abdur Makki, the deputy head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a UN-banned outfit thought to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks; and Abdullah Gul, son of a former leader of Pakistan’s isi intelligence agency.

These are not petty terrorist thugs. They are tier-one players who have been central to the success of the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. In the past they’ve often clashed with each other over how best to wage anti-Western jihad. Today, however, their shared hatred for U.S. involvement in Pakistan, and frustration with Islamabad’s Western cooperation, has persuaded them to set aside their grievances with each other and to unite against the United States and Pakistan’s leaders who don’t hate the U.S. enough.

“Today, we have gathered here to raise a voice of protest against U.S. intervention in Pakistan,” said Sami ul-Haq.

“America wants to break Pakistan into pieces,” Gul told the crowd. “For 10 years our rulers as an ally of the United States spilled the blood of this nation. We insisted in the past and say it again now—this is not our war,” he said.

Makki roused the angry mob to chants of “Death to America,” and said, “Both the U.S. and our spy agencies know how many jihadis have been trained during the past decade and who will defend the country in case the military fails in its job.”

The crowd then chanted: “America deserves one treatment: jihad, jihad!”

Not a Fringe Movement

The Telegraph’s Pakistan correspondent Rob Crilly was present at the rally. He said it was “the kind of gathering that, had it been held in Pakistan’s tribal heartlands, might well have invited an American drone or missile strike.”

But this assembly was not in Waziristan’s badlands or the Islamist cities of Peshawar or Quetta. It was in the heart of the capital city of Islamabad, only 2 miles from Pakistan’s parliament and the American embassy at whose ambassadors most of the hatred was aimed.

During his time behind the megaphone, Gul said, “We will fight to the last drop of our blood.” He stirred the crowd into a frenzy, reminding the people of how close they were to the U.S. Embassy.

Crilly pointed out that the crowd wasn’t just a handful of tribal hotheads, but “about 5,000 people, young and old, all united in hatred of the West.”

The rally was the most important meeting yet of the quickly growing dpc, a group largely unnoticed outside Pakistan. This organization threatens the nation’s delicate democracy and hopes to terminate all cooperation with the West. It has been staging rallies around Pakistan since it was established three months ago, prompting fears among the country’s moderates and Westerners that Islamists will take over Pakistan—nukes and all.

Islamabad’s Impotence

The coalition could not have emerged at a worse time for the Western-leaning government of President Asif Ali Zardari, which has teetered on the brink of collapse several times in the past year.

Zardari and Pakistan’s other civilian leaders appear impotent against the dpc for three reasons. First, the country’s army—which really holds Pakistan’s reins of rule—is protecting and even encouraging the growing anti-U.S. movement. Second, the government is limited by Pakistan’s law since most of the banned outfits have renamed themselves to bypass restrictions. Third, Islamabad fears the inevitable political backlash that would result from its intervening.

The existence of the dpc is terrible news for the United States. Pakistan, Washington’s supposed ally in the war on terror, has accepted more than $20.7 billion of military and economic aid from the U.S. since 9/11. Now, the Pakistani government that has accepted all of those billions in exchange for loyalty to America is becoming powerless against the rising, America-loathing force that is the dpc. The dpc is now planning to field its own candidates in Pakistan’s general election expected later this year. Some analysts think it could be the death knell for Pakistan’s moderate and Western-leaning government.

The Trumpet has often warned of the danger of Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal falling under the control of radical Islamism and Iran. For example, in January 2008, editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote that “Pakistan also has the nuclear bomb and could be taken over by radical Islam, with plenty of help from Iran.” This nation, the world’s seventh-most powerful military power, could soon become a “proxy of the Iranian mullahs,” he warned. “[T]his would be the worst possible disaster!”

The dpc and other Islamists already hold great sway over Pakistan’s shaky government, and Islamabad’s growing ire toward Washington will bolster their power. With much of the Muslim world still reeling from populist uprisings, the time may be ripe for a coup or an election that could ally nuclear Pakistan with Iran.

Jesus Christ specifically forewarned of the age of nuclear proliferation we are living in and showed that this time of peril points to the imminence of His return. To understand how events unfolding in Pakistan tie in to that hope-filled event, read “Pakistan and the Shah of Iran.”

Van Rompuy: Euro Crisis Turning National Parliaments Into EU Institutions

Van Rompuy: Euro Crisis Turning National Parliaments Into EU Institutions

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

The euro crisis is welding EU nations into one superstate—just as European elites intended.

National parliaments are becoming like EU institutions as part of the “growing interweaving of European and national politics,” said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on February 27.

European integration is a “slow process which sometimes gets a sudden push,” concluded Mr. Van Rompuy. “In this crisis we have reached a whole new level of cooperation, a sort of European home affairs.”

“In the old days, exaggerating just slightly, the European Community used to exist on one planet, and national politics on six, nine, twelve, fifteen other planets,” he said at the start of his speech. “This is over now. The debt crisis, difficult and painful as it is, brings home the fact that the Union is us. Right here and now, in everyone’s daily life. Europe is not a great abstract idea for the future, no it is our daily experience!”

Speaking at the opening of a conference for officials across Europe to discuss economic policy, Mr. Van Rompuy said, “Maybe not formally speaking, but at least politically speaking, all national parliaments have become, in a way, European institutions.”

“Here the old slogan of the three musketeers applies: ‘All for One; One for All!’ It is the responsibility of the parliaments to adapt themselves to this situation,” he said.

The euro has made the European Union more interdependent, he said, so that “Decisions by one national parliament—be it in Germany or Ireland, in Slovakia or Portugal—are watched all over Europe.”

Van Rompuy also highlighted how much power the EU had gained as a result of the crisis: “The Commission has received unprecedented supervisory power. The Court of Justice will control the transposition of the debt brake. The European Parliament was decisive in designing the new budgetary and macro-economic surveillance ….”

He also admitted that EU nations had lost sovereignty over their finances and economy. Under new agreements on deficits, “the national parliaments keep their budgetary sovereignty, at least as long as national policies do not threaten the financial stability of the whole,” he said. In other words, if the EU deems that their budget threatens the European economy, they lose sovereignty. “The Commission and other euro area member states have to be consulted before adoption of any major fiscal or economic policy reform with potential spillover effects, so as to allow for an assessment of possible impact on the euro area as a whole,” he said.

This EU power grab is exactly what the Trumpet forecast right from the start of the crisis. We’ve often drawn attention to this insightful statement by Bernard Connolly, former EU civil servant and author of The Rotten Heart of Europe:

[T]he EU quite deliberately created the most dangerous credit bubble of all: emu [European Monetary Union]. And, whereas the mission of the Fed is to avoid a financial crisis, the mission of the ecb [European Central Bank] is to provoke one. The purpose of the crisis will be, as [Romano] Prodi, then Commission president, said in 2002, to allow the EU to take more power for itself. The sacrificial victims will be, in the first instance, families and firms (and banks and investors) in countries such as Ireland …. Subsequently, German savers (or British taxpayers) will bear the burden of bailouts that a newly empowered “EU economic government” will ordain.

This is exactly what has happened. Even Eurocrat in chief Herman Van Rompuy admits that the crisis has forced nations to give power to Brussels.

But the crisis is not over, and it won’t end until EU nations have been forced to cede even more power to the EU and Germany.

Satan the Devil Is Making Headlines

Satan the Devil Is Making Headlines

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Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is an extremist, a “zany fanatic,” a “religious nut”—for believing in the active existence of a devil.

The devil is in the news.

“If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age? There is no one else to go after other than the United States,” said presidential candidate Rick Santorum in 2008, in a recently publicized speech that has created an uproar.

“The father of lies has his sights on what you would think the father of lies, Satan, would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country—the United States of America,” Mr. Santorum told students at a Catholic university in Florida. He warned that the devil has infiltrated America’s academia, its politics and even its religion.

In terms of helping his reputation as a candidate, he might as well have said that he sacrifices oxen, or wants to punish thieves by chopping off their hands.

The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd compared Santorum to a Muslim extremist. “Mullah Rick,” she called him. In the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin called him “not a conservative but a reactionary, seeking to obliterate the national consensus on a range of issues.” Even right-wing voices piled on. One prominent conservative writer called Santorum’s comments “ill-advised, horribly misguided,” “fringe,” “zany,” “nonsense,” and said they paint Santorum as a “religious nut.”

Wow. It has been said that the devil’s canniest strategy is to convince us that he doesn’t exist. It seems that—among media talking heads, at least—he’s playing his cards quite well.

Supposedly, though, most Americans believe in the devil. A 2007 Gallup poll put the figure at 7 in 10. A Harris survey in 2009 found slightly less, but still more than 6 out of 10. So that belief of itself doesn’t seem particularly controversial.

But just what is the devil? That is where major differences of opinion emerge. Confusion reigns. The devil is a mystery, even to religious people.

Mr. Santorum’s belief in a living being, with power, and malicious intent—a being that can actually influence people and subvert institutions or weaken nations—is definitely a minority view.

Among Americans who consider themselves Christian, beliefs about Satan are fuzzy. A 2009 Barna survey showed that 59 percent strongly or somewhat agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional 9 percent only “disagree somewhat” with that statement, and 8 percent more weren’t sure what they believe about Satan.

It’s a strong measure of how little the Bible informs most Christianity today. Because the Bible is clear about the subject. And Satan the devil is not a symbol.

Where do you suppose evil comes from? It saturates our world today, as it has for all of human history. For those who believe in the inherent goodness of the human heart, it’s a little difficult to explain how people can be so hateful, violent and barbaric toward fellow human beings.

But the Bible reveals the existence of a very real but invisible spirit world—like another dimension that exists alongside the material world—not directly discernible with the five senses. The spirit realm actually exerts influence on human minds, both good and evil.

The Apostle Paul said that human beings have been walking “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [speaking of Satan the devil], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).

How well can you discern that spirit at work in our world? In the way that children treat their parents, and parents treat their children? In the way that honorable people are ignored or mocked, and disgraceful behavior is hyped? In the foul entertainment that pollutes minds and destroys families? In the greed and corruption that drives business and politics? In the hatreds and divisions increasingly carving up the populace of this once great United States?

Most people are simply unaware that there is, in fact, a malicious spirit power broadcasting hostile attitudes into their minds!

The Apostle Peter spoke of him as “your adversary the devil,” who prowls around like a lion looking for people to destroy spiritually (1 Peter 5:8).

Jesus Christ—the one whom Christians profess to be following—certainly believed in Satan. While in the flesh as a man, He personally faced the devil down, warding off his temptations (Matthew 4). He was the one who first called Satan “the father of lies,” as well as “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).

Jesus was clear: We must beware this destructive being. Jesus warned one disciple that Satan was coming after him personally to destroy him (Luke 22:31). When teaching His disciples how to pray, He taught them to include the request, “Deliver us from the evil one”—the devil (Matthew 6:13; New King James and most translations); and He personally prayed for their protection from him (John 17:15).

How vulnerable do you suppose you are if not only are you failing to pray this prayer, but you aren’t even aware of this monster’s actions? Answer: Paul exhorts that Satan will “get an advantage of us” if we are “ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

How exposed is a country whose leaders, shepherds and critics scoff at even the suggestion of his existence? Answer: The Prophet Isaiah said this great fallen archangel “didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12). Not just the United States, but “the nations.”

The Apostle John, in fact, described him as “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveththe whole world” (Revelation 12:9).

Jesus Himself called Satan “the prince of this world” (e.g. John 12:31). Paul said he “hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,” and called him “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Rick Santorum suggested that the devil has insinuated his way into America’s schools, its politics, its churches. Are people really so convinced of the incorruptibility of these institutions that this is such an outrageous charge? The bad fruits of these organizations prove otherwise.

The fact that such a statement gets a politician tarred as a zany extremist is, in reality, evidence of its truth. The prince of this world, the god of this evil world, has deceived the whole world. And among America’s arrogant illuminati, he has done a masterful job of turning himself into a punch line—so he can carry on his work undetected.

You need to know more about “your adversary the devil.” Can you prove he is real? How pervasive is his influence? Did God create a devil? To receive satisfying, thorough scriptural answers to these fundamental questions, watch Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s television program “Satan Is a Mystery,” and read Chapter Two, “Mystery of Angels and Evil Spirits,” of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book Mystery of the Ages.

Egypt’s Islamists Control Both Houses of Parliament

Egypt’s Islamists Control Both Houses of Parliament

Mahmud Khaled/AFP/Getty Images

The world wakes up to an Islamist future for Egypt.

A Muslim Brotherhood member, Ahmed Fahmy, was elected leader of the Shura Council, the upper chamber of Egypt’s parliament, on February 28, as Islamists take control of both houses of parliament.

The Brotherhood control 58 percent of the seats on the council, and 47 percent of seats in the lower house. The ultra-conservative Al-Nour has around a quarter of the seats in both houses.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is finally starting to wake up to the fact that Egypt’s future is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

“If you want to influence the next government’s policy, you need to talk to the Brotherhood, and you need to talk to them in depth,” Reuters quotes an anonymous Western diplomat in Cairo as saying.

“The steady stream of delegations driving up the hill to the Brotherhood’s new headquarters on a plateau overlooking central Cairo testifies to the fact that Western states, foreign businesses and international institutions are already courting the group as a government-in-waiting,” writes Reuters. “Top U.S. diplomats and senators have been among the visitors to the new cream-colored headquarters with green shutters and an arched portico, filing through the cavernous reception where portraits of bearded Brotherhood leaders from the past hang.”

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (scaf), Egypt’s ruling military council, is responding to the change by supporting the Islamists’ anti-American beliefs.

“The scaf appears unfazed by the turn of events, as if it has come to the conclusion that channeling against the hated Americans the frustration of increasingly disillusioned masses who have yet to see some positive results of the revolution is a sound political move,” writes Zvi Mazrl in the Jerusalem Post. “Both the Muslim Brothers and the Salafists, who view American democracy as their most dangerous enemy, support them.”

“But what happened to the much-touted friendship between American top brass and their Egyptian counterparts?” he asks. “What about a little gratitude for the considerable sums poured into Egypt to help the country’s development and the modernization of its army? What about the generations of young officers who studied and trained in the U.S.?”

Despite all the money America has poured into Egypt, the nation is going down a radical Islamic path. Issam Alarian, a leading member of the Brotherhood, tried to blackmail America over the aid, saying that if it is cut, Egypt will end its peace treaty with Israel. Already America’s money has become Danegeld, tribute to pay off the Islamists. Egypt is already the radical Islamist country that the Trumpet forecast it would become, years ago.