Why Did Angel Babcock Die?

Why Did Angel Babcock Die?

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There has to be a reason, and we have to find it.

On Sunday, Angel Babcock died. I was 750 miles away. I didn’t know about it; I didn’t know her. I was just mundanely cleaning out the garage.

Lots of things went in the trash, but one old shoebox survived the purge again. It’s filled with old papers, a few worn photographs and some decade-old newspaper clippings. When I go through that box, I go back.

Back to Washington County, Blue River, and Eastern High, rolling wooded hills, creeks and cornfields. Back down Voyles Road, Highway 60, Shorts Corner and Daisy Line. Back to Pekin. Where Angel lived.

I’m not in southern Indiana anymore, but 11 years later it’s still in me.

It’s hard to find my hometown, online or in real life. You don’t see Pekin—or Borden or Palmyra or Henryville (or even southern Indiana) in the news much. There’s not too much to report in a town of 1,400 people. But Angel—and a monster—changed that.

On Friday, an EF-3 tornado slashed through Pekin, Indiana, and part of me. It hit at 175 mph, snapping trees, throwing over trucks, exploding pole barns and turning homes and lives—and memories—into shredded trails of multicolored debris and pick-up-sticks. Looking at it from an aerial perspective just makes you feel so small. Everything we have and are looks like nothing more than what can be put in a shoebox, and shaken hard.

Joe Babcock and Moriah Brough were there. They lived on Old Pekin Road, near a sawmill I used to see every day from my house up the hill about 400 yards. Joe was 21 and Moriah was 20. The Lanhams, who own the mill, provided them with a mobile home as they tried to get on their feet with a young family of three children. They say Joe didn’t like to talk bad about anyone, Moriah went to church every week, and they absolutely loved their kids: a 2-year-old boy, a 14-month-old girl, and a 2-month-old infant.

When the storm hit, the Babcocks only had time to take their little family and run to their neighbor, Jason Miller, who also lived in a trailer home, but a larger one. They all huddled in the safest place they could find, grabbed hands and began to pray.

Then the tornado hit. It blasted the trailer, picked up Jason, Joe, Moriah, Jayden, Angel and Kendall, and threw them down the road. Jason somehow survived what must’ve been a 50-foot fall with a broken back, shoulder, elbow and ribs.

But the Babcocks didn’t. They found Joe and Moriah near the destroyed mill. They found Jayden under the rubble in a muddy field, not too far from tiny Kendall, buckled in her upside-down car seat. They found the 14-month-old in the mud too—but she was still alive.

Her surviving extended family called her Angel. And Angel’s story is in the Associated Press, the Washington Post,abc, Fox, and even being reported way over in places like England, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, Norway and Australia. It seemed like this newly orphaned baby from Pekin would give us a bittersweet hopeful note. But as her extended family watched, mourning the deaths of her parents, her brother and her sister, she began to succumb to her injuries. Her grandmother had her arm around her as she took her last breath. “I sang to her ‘Itsy-Bitsy Spider,’” she said. And Angel died.

It isn’t supposed to end like this. Andy Lanham found all five family members strewn in the aftermath. Imagine being him. Seeing that. “They [were] good people,” he said. “Nobody deserves it. I hate it.”

We all do. And we’re left all the more empty because there’s no one to hate. Just a mass of air and changes in temperature and pressure. But that’s just the way it goes. We just need to go through the “grieving process”: cry for a while, take comfort in the survivors, praise those who are pitching in to help, rebuild, move on. Without answers.

I don’t accept that. Because this happened to 34 other precious lives on Friday. And more earlier in the week. And more since. And it’s going to happen again. I couldn’t stand it if I didn’t square why something like this happens—and if there’s any hope.

Either we evolved, and that’s it. Or there is a God, and He doesn’t care about us. Or He hates us. Or He’s not powerful enough to stop meaningless death. Or, as a lot of us are compelled to assume, He just lets people die like this constantly for a mysterious reason we can never know, then He takes them to heaven, instead of just creating them up there in the first place.

Or there is another answer.

Maybe God is all-kind and all-powerful—but this isn’t His world. That sure makes sense to me; just look at us. We all want to be our own gods and decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. We don’t want Him to interfere. Maybe He is actually giving us what we want.

But even though we can take control of our lives away from God, we can’t control the weather. God makes it a point to say in the Bible that only He can handle the sun and the rain and the wind. And He says that He uses it, not only to bless us—for obedience—but also to curse us for disobedience so we’ll repent. Could it be that it’s not Pekin or Henryville or Joplin or Christchurch or Qinghai that’s especially evil, but that there is something very wrong with all of us?

God wants—and we need—a much deeper repentance and obedience than we think we are giving Him. That’s why He doesn’t infinitely protect us. And just like His expectations are deeper than we assume, so is His plan for Angel and her family. He is letting their tragedy force us to face unavoidable facts. But the Bible says God will resurrect Joe and Moriah and their family to have that same chance, in a better, more meaningful life. There is hope! And if you believe the specifics in the Bible, it’s certain.

They will live again. We are left to ask—and answer—the life-changing questions they left behind.

The Battle for Canada’s Oil Sands

The Battle for Canada’s Oil Sands

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Are the oil sands an economic boom, an environmental bust, or both?

The Battle of Verdun was one of the most devastating battles in World War i and world history. An astounding 40 million artillery shells pulverized the French and German lines. Almost 700,000 soldiers were killed. Untold numbers of war horses and other animals perished in the 10-month-long meat grinder.

French trench in the Battle of Verdun

Pictures of the landscape resembled a crater-strewn moonscape of barren desolation. Blasted and shredded trees littered the ground. The earth looked as if it had been churned by an enormous mincing machine. Looking down from above, it would have seemed as if a giant machine gun with armor-piercing explosive rounds had opened up from the heavens and blasted potholes all over the countryside, which then filled with water, slime and blood.

Ninety-five years later, millions of overlapping shell craters are still visible. For the Verdun residents, the landscape was changed forever.

Today, some people wonder if a similar sort of destruction is taking place, not across French-German lines, but across U.S.-Canadian lines.

There is an intense battle going on for Canada’s oil. The world’s third-largest oil reserves are up for grabs. But will there really be any winners, or is this another example of a meat grinder whose cost will be measured in both the lives of people and the environment that is destroyed?

One hundred and seventy billion: That is the number of economically recoverable barrels of oil the Canadian oil sands are estimated to hold. It is a big prize. At $100 per barrel, it is a $17.3 trillion prize, enough to pay the official U.S. federal debt with trillions to spare. In a world of global population growth and “peak oil” constraints, it is an economy-changing, potentially country-changing prize that could skyrocket in value even higher in the years ahead.

But who will benefit from this supposed money-gushing cornucopia?

The Canadian oil sands are so expansive that America’s northern neighbors are practically begging for investors to develop them. “Our oil sands are the largest energy project in the entire world,” said Canadian Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver on a recent trip to China. “We simply don’t have enough capital in Canada.”

View of an oil sands mine in Alberta. Since 2000, skyrocketing crude oil prices have lured many foreign companies to make large investments. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

It was a shocking statement—not because of what he said, but because of where he said it. Traditionally, Canada has looked to the United States for oil infrastructure development. But those days may be ending. When President Obama refused to permit the proposed Keystone pipeline that would have brought oil from Alberta to Texas refineries, he may have unwittingly changed the special relationship.

For now, Canada’s oil is landlocked, with no way to market. Existing pipelines to America are filled to capacity. But hundreds of thousands of extra barrels of oil per day are set to come onto the market over the next half decade as the oil sands operations are built. Trillions of dollars’ of oil will flow somewhere; that much you can be sure of. If America doesn’t want it for political reasons, the oil companies will find another customer.

China is already pointing the way. In January, Reuters reported that Canada’s oil industry is experiencing an “Asian invasion.” Most recently, Chinese government-owned Petro China purchased the Athabasca Oil Sands MacKay River project. It also owns an option agreement to purchase Athabasca’s Dover project. Last July, cnooc, another Chinese state-owned company, paid more than a billion dollars for Opti Canada’s 35 percent stake in its Long Lake project. That project will extract over 70,000 barrels of oil per day when up and running. In 2010, Chinese state-owned Sinopec spent $4.65 billion for a chunk of Syncrude Canada Ltd—one of the world’s largest oil sands mining operations. Sinopec also owns 50 percent of Canada’s Northern Lights project. Not long before, China Investment Corp., a giant state-owned sovereign wealth fund, offered $1.25 billion to help Penn West Energy develop oil sands leases. Canada’s Husky Energy has been owned by interests in Hong Kong for decades.

And now that China has shown the way, other Asian countries are snapping up chunks of Canada’s oil sands too. Even Thailand’s only oil company has made a multibillion-dollar purchase.

But perhaps more dangerously for America, the Keystone rejection has given a huge boost to its rival: the Northern Gateway pipeline project. It will pump Canadian oil to the Pacific coast for sale to Asia.

With more than $17 trillion at stake, massive battle lines are being drawn. In one set of trenches, Petro China, Sinopec, cnooc and the other Chinese state-owned companies want the Northern Gateway pipeline. Digging in on the other side are oil industry heavyweights Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Conoco Philips, which want Canadian oil sent to their refineries in Texas.

But those are only two belligerents in this high-stakes battle of oil politics. Bringing up the heavy artillery against both the Chinese and U.S. oil interests are big, well-funded, politically connected and powerful environmental lobbying groups. To them, the question isn’t who will get the oil—it’s how to stop everyone from getting the oil.

When President Obama vetoed the Keystone pipeline because of concerns that an oil spill could contaminate the important Ogallala aquifer, the environmental lobby cheered. But as one environmentalist spokesperson pledged, they would be back. Why? Because they are not interested in safer oil, or less-polluting oil—they want no oil, period. To them, a shrunken economy and vastly reduced standard of living is an acceptable price to pay to save the forests and reduce carbon.

And as obnoxious as some far-left activists are, anyone who has taken a flight over the Fort McMurry oil sands region can’t help but be left wondering if all the destruction is worth it. Do the environmentalists have a point after all?

Do they? Stop and think about the cost of our oil-based economy: the price paid in terms of cities covered in haze, in terms of acid rain, and in terms of lost forests and soils. Consider the costs in unnecessary respiratory diseases. And all the related health issues.

Consider the lost lives.

Aerial view of the Suncor oil sands extraction facility near Fort McMurray in Alberta. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

From thousands of feet above, the massive scars gouged into the landscape by monster shovels that fill three-story dump trucks with one scoop really do resemble trenches. No trees. No grass. No birds. No animals. Just churned earth. The exposed, sticky tar sands are black, not red. But at sunset it wouldn’t take much for the bubbly, oil-coated settling ponds—all 170 square kilometers of the man-made putrefying lagoons gouged out so far—to take on a bloodish hue. The shovels continue to dig. Smoke stacks, too numerous to easily count, rise like the barrels of artillery pieces or missile silos, belching and flaming their continuous plumes of sulfur and other harmful pollutants. Then there are row after row of massive round storage tanks, each with earthen berms. These are the supply depots, containers holding gazillions of gigajoules of useful, and painfully won energy.

And from these behemoth cisterns run the pipelines: the snake-like tubes radiating out like tank barrels, pointing the direction of attack. Through them shoots the dirty, toxic, polluting, but totally necessary and essential fuel of modern society—oil.

It’s a little more than just reminiscent of a battlefield. And in one way or another, we are all paying a price.

For a positive, hope-filled picture of the future, and how we will get there, read The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like.

Putin Claims Victory in Russian Presidential Election

Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Russia’s presidential election Sunday. Putin defeated four challengers and easily won the vote. However, his imminent return to the Kremlin was marred by protests at the capital today. Protesters took to the streets to demonstrate their frustration over what opposition leaders and independent observers said was widespread vote fraud.

The chief election monitor for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said there were “serious problems” with the election.

The organization cited abuse of government resources and unfair access to media as factors that made sure Putin’s win was never in doubt.

Opposition candidate Mikhail Prokhorov told reporters today that he never believed the election would be fair.

Putin’s victory sets up the possibility that he will rule Russia until 2024 if he wins another six-year term in 2018. This would put Putin’s rule in the league of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

With Putin back in power, watch for Russia to reassert itself more aggressively on the world stage.

As prime minister, Putin already has called for the creation of a “Eurasian Union” modeled on the European Union. This union would allow Russia to dominate most of the territory previously controlled by the ussr.

Watch for Putin to pull out all the stops and attempt to reclaim Russia’s former glory. His actions will contribute to a great and terrible clash between his powerful Eurasian bloc and the superpower now rising in Europe.

39 Killed by Midwest Tornadoes

A huge outbreak of tornadoes has devastated Midwest states and claimed the lives of 39 people.

Starting on Friday, massive thunderstorms spawned dozens of tornadoes that tore through the country from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. The twisters turned homes into piles of sticks and businesses into twisted tangles of metal. Schools were decimated and vehicles turned over or picked up and thrown into buildings. About 8,000 premises lost electricity; 2,800 were still without power yesterday.

The National Weather Service currently estimates that there were 127 tornadoes in 11 states. According to eqecat, a catastrophe risk modeling firm, this year’s tornado count to date is 30 percent higher than the average of recent years.

These storms follow another outbreak of severe weather that killed 13 people in the Midwest in late February.

As their belongings and much of their lives lay in ruins around them, many Americans right now are asking, Why did this happen? Tornadoes are caused by natural weather phenomena, but is that the only answer? And if there is a God, and He can control the weather, why do tragedies like this happen? There are answers, and there is hope. To understand the reason behind this seemingly senseless disaster, read “Why Did God Let It Happen?

Why Gerald Flurry Founded Armstrong International Cultural Foundation

Why Gerald Flurry Founded Armstrong International Cultural Foundation

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Reviving the humanitarian organization established by Herbert W. Armstrong promoting world peace.

In 1968, King Leopold of Belgium requested to meet Herbert Armstrong. That meeting began a history of Mr. Armstrong building bridges of friendship with world leaders and supporting cooperative projects with the aim of “helping people help themselves.” One of the first such projects was an archaeological excavation at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount in association with the Hebrew University and Israel Exploration Society.

Additionally, around this time mobile schools were established to educate Thailand’s mountain people, and worldwide expeditions were conducted by the King Leopold iii Foundation. These initiatives led to the establishment of a new and necessary dimension of the worldwide work Herbert Armstrong led.

Writing to Church members on June 5, 1975, Mr. Armstrong announced, “Some weeks ago I authorized the formation of a new foundation—named the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation [aicf]. It is non-profit, dedicated to serving humanity worldwide. It has become a necessary adjunct to this new worldwide dimension of getting Christ’s true gospel to the nations through heads of government.”

Established in March that year, the foundation received “added prestige, credibility and favor” as the non-religious organization was “met with great and favorable response,” he wrote. aicf was nonsectarian and legally independent of both Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God.

As a tool of the aicf, Mr. Armstrong engineered and authorized production of a new bi-monthly magazine titled Human Potential. This limited-circulation publication was intended for royalty, presidents, prime ministers, government officials and dignitaries with whom the aicf had established strong ties. These ties extended to all corners of the globe, from Britain and Europe to the Mideast, Africa, Asia, and North and South America.

Human Potential’s content was altogether different from the Church’s mass-circulation international newsmagazine, the Plain Truth, and its Christian-living-focused Good News magazine. Its content addressed the purpose for man, his incredible potential, and how peace will come to Earth. “It will reveal what science cannot, what religion has not, what education doesn’t teach. It will have a larger size page, fully-illustrated, in full-color,” Mr. Armstrong added.

Human Potential was financed in a similar fashion as the famed and notable National Geographic. It was not funded by the tithes and offerings of Church members sent to support ministerial services, pastoral operations, the World Tomorrow television program and the Plain Truth and Good News, but rather by tax-deductible paid memberships of aicf supporters.

By Oct. 29, 1976, Mr. Armstrong announced to co-workers a name change for aicf’s periodical for world leaders: Quest Magazine. The publisher of Sports Illustrated and the Smithsonian, along with the editor of Time, Life and Harper’s Magazine, were hired to increase the quality and circulation of the foundation’s flagship publication.

In addition to Mr. Armstrong’s goodwill visits with world leaders, aicf supported “activities ranging from benefits for handicapped children to major cultural events; from agricultural research to hospitals; from archaeological excavations to parks for children” (Plain Truth, February 1979). These broad horizons of humanitarianism included the use of Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California, hosting cultural programs, international exhibitions, nationally televised music specials and archaeological exhibits.

aicf was so beloved and internationally respected by the world’s leaders that upon the death of Mr. Armstrong in January 1986 their messages of condolence called with a collective voice from all corners of the globe for the legacy and work of this honored ambassador for world peace to be continued.

Tragically, those appointed by Mr. Armstrong to perpetuate his humanitarian efforts to extend goodwill and promote world peace among all nations ignored the request of emperors, kings, presidents, prime ministers, sundry ambassadors, diplomats and high government officials to continue Mr. Armstrong’s legacy. After closing the Ambassador College campus and seeking to profit from the sale of the college’s assets, Herbert Armstrong’s successors even threatened to bulldoze the campus jewel, the “Carnegie Hall of the West,” renowned Ambassador Auditorium. The early ’90s saw the aicf crumble to defunct status and with it the plea of world leaders to see it continue.

However, there was one man who dreamed of reviving the foundation’s legacy and honoring the collective call of leaders of world governments and other influential leaders to continue the good works of aicf. In December 1989, Gerald Flurry founded the Philadelphia Church of God in Edmond, Oklahoma, serving the spiritual needs of those who sought to hold fast to the truth. He restored all the basic Church doctrines as proven and taught by Mr. Armstrong. In 2001 he founded what has since become known as Herbert W. Armstrong College in Edmond, Oklahoma. That same year he additionally founded the Philadelphia Foundation as the successor to the former foundation established by Mr. Armstrong.

In 1996, those who should have, yet who refused, to perpetuate aicf along with all aspects of Mr. Armstrong’s labor, sued Mr. Flurry and this publication’s sponsor, taking them to court in an effort to stop the publication and free distribution of Herbert Armstrong’s master work, Mystery of the Ages. As recounted in Stephen Flurry’s exposé of that court case, Raising the Ruins, those who should have continued the work of aicf following Herbert Armstrong’s death actually worked in a concerted effort as their avowed “Christian duty” to silence and bury all memory and honor of the legacy and work of Mr. Armstrong. In 1998, during the midst of this battle, Gerald Flurry revived the aicf’s performing arts concert series as established by Mr. Armstrong, then housed in Ambassador Auditorium, in 1974. In 2008, Mr. Flurry broke ground for Armstrong Auditorium, the successor to Ambassador Auditorium, to become the home of the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation concert series.

In 2003, the Worldwide Church of God, ironically founded by Mr. Armstrong but now controlled by his critics, ceded copyright of 18 essential works of his to Mr. Flurry and the Philadelphia Church of God. Request your free copy of Raising the Ruins to learn more of this epic victory.

The following year, in 2004, the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation obtained the crown jewels of Ambassador Auditorium—a 9-foot Hamburg Steinway concert-grand piano and two Baccarat crystal candelabra commissioned by the shah of Iran to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire—all to be housed in Armstrong Auditorium upon its grand opening in September 2010.

Today, the $25 million Armstrong Auditorium hosts one of the finest performing arts concert series in the world. aicf has been revived, acknowledging the heartfelt pleas of this world’s leaders to continue the humanitarian work of Mr. Armstrong.

“Greetings, friends! What is the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation?” writes Mr. Flurry in the foundation’s prospectus, received by its thousands of global supporters. “We are an international humanitarian organization dedicated to serving the cultural and educational needs of people everywhere. The concept behind all of the foundation’s goals and activities is twofold: 1) that man is a unique being, possessing vast mental, physical and spiritual potentials—the development of which should be aided and encouraged, and 2) that it is the responsibility of all men to attend to and care for the needs of their fellow men, a precept professed by the vast majority of religions of the world—appropriately summed up in three biblical words: ‘Love thy neighbor.’ Out of this understanding we seek to aid and support projects around the world without respect to race or religion.”

Following its humble beginning back in 1996, the revived, reborn and refreshed aicf under Mr. Flurry’s direction first set about to serve the Mideast kingdom of Jordan by collaborating with the Al-Hussein Society (ahs), perpetuating the support Mr. Armstrong gave it.

Initially established in 1971 to assist King Hussein’s government in running orphanages, eight years later the ahs became focused on specific contribution of services for rehabilitation and education to citizens facing physical challenges.

The Armstrong International Cultural Foundation then lent support to the Petra National Trust, with its vision and mission of conserving, preserving and sustaining the historic city and joined in supporting its “projects and programs to safeguard and maintain site significance and integrity for Jordan and the world.”

Currently, the foundation supports various activities in Israel such as maintaining the Liberty Bell Park in the center of Jerusalem, which was a special project originally undertaken by famed Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek and Mr. Armstrong. Additionally, the foundation has strengthened bonds with the city’s mayor, officials of government, education, media, archaeology and those engaged in humanitarian efforts. For more about this historic collaboration, request a free copy of A Warm Friend of Israel, which chronicles the long and storied friendship between the leaders and citizens of Israel and Mr. Armstrong.

The revival of this partnership through the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation has most notably been evidenced by the exclusive premier exhibit at Armstrong Auditorium of historic finds from the palace of King David, discovered by acclaimed Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar, granddaughter of Dr. Benjamin Mazar. Evidence of the legacy of Dr. Mazar’s long friendship and cooperation with Mr. Armstrong and aicf is now being perpetuated via the connection between Dr. Eilat Mazar and the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation. The unique world premiere display of the seals of the ancient Prophet Jeremiah’s captors, as recounted in Jeremiah 38, at Armstrong Auditorium attests to this. Some of the most significant artifacts ever discovered in Jerusalem remain on display through October 16 this year in Armstrong Auditorium, America’s newest and finest performing arts facility.

Armstrong International Cultural Foundation founder and chairman Gerald Flurry’s dedicated efforts across the past two decades involving various countries and cultures are proof that he is honoring the request of emperors, kings, queens, princes, presidents and prime ministers, along with a myriad of dignitaries from around the globe who met and worked with Herbert Armstrong and the foundation during his life. Through these efforts, the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation continues its contribution toward bringing about understanding between all peoples in the march forward to soon-coming world peace.

Request your free copy of the prospectus of Armstrong International Cultural Foundation to learn more about its humanitarian work and how you can lend your support to its ongoing works and activities.

To read more articles by this author, click here.

Russian Patriarch Calls Putin Era a ‘Miracle From God’

Russian Patriarch Calls Putin Era a ‘Miracle From God’

Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

In many ways, Putin has taken Russia back to a time before the rise of the USSR—back to when the country was an imperial autocracy ruled by the czar and dominated by Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Thanks to kgb friends, the Russian Orthodox Church and a few bands of bus-riding zealots who voted at more than one polling station, strongman Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Sunday’s presidential election.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has made no secret of his support for Putin, whom he regards as the guarantor of the country’s stability. “You have played an enormous personal role to set the course of history in our country,” Kirill told Putin last month during a meeting with other religious leaders. “I would like to thank you.”

The arch patriarch of Moscow and All Russia then went on to say that Russia managed to overcome the chaos following the breakup of the ussr “thanks to a divine miracle and with the active assistance of the leaders of our country.”

In many ways, Putin has taken Russia back to a time before the rise of the ussr—back to when the country was an imperial autocracy ruled by the czar and dominated by Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Recently, Putin’s United Russia political party introduced a bill to the Duma that proposes a tenfold increase in fines slapped on those who are caught insulting religious beliefs. This piece of legislation was proposed in response to an incident where five masked members of a feminist group performed a “punk prayer” attacking the Orthodox Church for its close ties to the Kremlin.

In return for such religious protection, the Patriarch Kirill and his Orthodox hierarchy have done all they can to grant Putin spiritual legitimacy in the eyes of the Russian people. Indeed, Kirill has gone even further than this in his efforts to consolidate Russian control over the people of Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia.

The Texas-based think tank Stratfor has indicated that Putin is explicitly using the evangelization efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church to get the people of former Soviet states to look to Moscow for leadership.

Interfax reports that the Moscow Patriarchate has been particularly inspired with Prime Minister Putin’s idea to set up his own “Eurasian Union,” modeled on the European Union. “I hope the Eurasian Union will enter the history as one of the strongest international associations,” said the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, in an interview filmed last year.

Some political commentators are starting to draw parallels between the Eurasian Union and the Soviet Union, just as other commentators are drawing parallels between the European Union and the Nazi empire. As disturbing as these parallels are, however, one may have to look even further back in history to see what is truly transpiring on the world scene.

As Herbert W. Armstrong long predicted, the European Union is morphing into a final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire (a German-dominated dictatorship bound together by the Roman Catholic religion). Likewise, Putin’s Eurasian Union represents an attempt to morph the vast stretch of land from the Carpathian Mountains to the Pacific coast back into a final incarnation of Imperial Russia (a Kremlin-dominated empire bound together by the Russian Orthodox religion).

Expect a great clash in the near future as these empires compete for global dominance. For biblical proof of this coming clash, read our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.