Germany, China Pledge Closer Economic Ties

German and Chinese leaders promised to enhance bilateral business ties at an industrial fair on April 21. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao both spoke at the economic forum, which was held in Hanover, Germany.

In 2011, trade between China and Germany totaled $190 billion. Wen said that the two nations want to increase that figure to $280 billion by 2015. China and Germany are the world’s two biggest exporters.

Although China chalked up a €14.5 billion trade surplus last year over its largest European trade partner, German exporters are finding more success in China than their European peers. In one such example, Wen was on hand at Volkswagen headquarters on April 23 as the German automaker signed a deal to build a new plant in the Xinjiang region.

The Trumpet forecasts that a “mart of nations” will work in confederacy to dominate global trade for a short period of time at America’s expense. This conglomerate will be led by the German-led European Union and China. These pledges of closer cooperation in Hanover point to the fulfillment of this forecast based on Bible prophecy. To learn more about the future of the global economy, read “The Silk Superhighway.”

Egypt Cancels Gas Deal With Israel

The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company is terminating its contract to ship natural gas to Israel. The company announced the termination on April 22, saying that Israel had violated contractual obligations.

This is the latest setback for Israel’s energy sector, which imports 40 percent of its natural gas from Egypt. Over the past year, saboteurs have repeatedly blown up the pipeline, disrupting the supply.

Israel and Egypt signed the natural gas deal in 2005, and Israeli Energy Minister Uzi Landau said it was a cornerstone of the two nations’ peace treaty. However, it has become a symbol of tension between Israel and Egypt since the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last year.

On April 23, a Hamas spokesman called the cancellation of the gas deal “a step in the right direction.”

The termination foreshadows the future of Egypt and Israel’s tenuous peace agreement.

The Trumpet predicted as far back as 1993 that a radical shift would come, and Egyptian politics would lurch into the Islamist camp. That Islamist takeover is now underway in Cairo, and the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement cannot last. Continue to watch for relations between these two nations to grow more and more strained. This will have unbelievable ramifications for the region and the world. For more information, read “Prophecy Comes Alive in Egypt!

George Bush Greets Herbert W. Armstrong at Kennedy Center

George Bush Greets Herbert W. Armstrong at Kennedy Center

Jerome Delay/AFP/Getty Images

Both enjoy special Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performance.

“There is perhaps no other musical ensemble more consistently and closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music than the Vienna Philharmonic,” boasts the orchestra’s website.

For over a century and a half the Vienna Philharmonic has been regaled by plaudits of notable admirers from Wagner to Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler and Strauss. Audiences from around the world have enjoyed inspiring performances, whether in their native Austria, or at world capitals visited by the famed ensemble.

Twenty-eight years ago in Pasadena, California, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performed live on the stage of Ambassador Auditorium from February 18 to 19, 1984.

The following week, Herbert W. Armstrong flew to Washington, D.C., to watch their performance for the nation’s political elite in the national capital.

On March 12, 1984, the Worldwide News reported, “The Ambassador Foundation was instrumental in making the orchestra’s U.S. tour possible. Before the Washington concert, the foundation sponsored a reception at the Kennedy Center under the patronage of the Austrian Embassy.”

Upon arrival in D.C., on the occasion of the 1984 concert, Mr. Armstrong was ushered into the Israeli Room for a half-hour reception with about 20 guests including the chairman of the Kennedy Center, a U.S. senator, Washington Performing Arts representatives and embassy staff.

Some years earlier, Mr. Armstrong had hired an influential employee of the Kennedy Center to fill the post of director of performing arts for the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, which ensured strong links between both parties.

As the performance of the orchestra drew near, Mr. Armstrong was ushered to his seat in the Austrian box, which was next to the U.S. presidential box reserved for President Ronald Reagan. However, on this occasion, it was occupied by Vice President George Bush, Secretary of State George Schultz, Austrian President Kirchschlaeger and Ambassador Thomas Klestil.

During the intermission, Mr. Armstrong “talked with Vice President Bush, Secretary Schultz, President Kirchschlaeger and Ambassador Klestil” (ibid).

One topic of conversation was Mr. Armstrong’s world travels, and it was during this discussion that Mr. Kirchschlaeger extended a personal invitation to Mr. Armstrong to visit him at the Presidential Palace in Vienna.

As the conversation closed and the ensemble reconvened for the second half of the performance, Mr. Armstrong noted that “he was impressed with the vice president’s abilities” (ibid). Mr. Bush had originally challenged Mr. Reagan for the Republican nomination, and upon defeat was selected as vice president for two terms. He would later succeed Mr. Reagan and become the 41st president, in office from 1989 to 1993.

As the orchestra resumed their performance, the group was able to compare it to the one the week previous at Ambassador. The consensus was that the acoustics of the Kennedy Center were exceptional and that the “quality and intimacy” of Ambassador Auditorium was without comparison.

After a wonderful performance, gracious applause and the drawing of the curtain, Mr. Armstrong was ushered to the top floor of the center for a special reception for around 300 guests.

“Mr. Armstrong was introduced to prominent individuals in the nation’s capital who thanked him for his involvement in the performing arts. Many commented on his World Tomorrow programs and about his Wall Street Journal advertisements” (ibid).

As the clock struck midnight, Mr. Armstrong departed to his hotel for some needed rest in advance of a meeting the following day at the Chinese Embassy.

Today, Mr. Bush is part of the great American audience witnessing the prevailing symphony of national division in the country he once led as president. A political dirge today encompasses a country facing imminent bankruptcy with its collective moral character in deep crisis.

As presidential election preparations swing into high gear, the U.S. searches for a way out of its deepening malaise amid accelerating cultural, ethical, military, moral and spiritual decline.

Perhaps in the quieter moments of retirement, whether at home in Texas, or maybe at the presidential library in College Station, Mr. Bush occasionally recalls that special evening in 1984 at the nation’s capital during which he was honored to meet the “internationally recognized ambassador for world peace,” Herbert W. Armstrong.

Just hours from the 41st president’s home is the successor to Ambassador Auditorium. Located north of Oklahoma City in Edmond, Armstrong Auditorium is the country’s newest hall for performing arts.

Should President Bush visit, he will find Armstrong International Cultural Foundation founder and chairman Gerald Flurry has followed in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps, having taken the time to review the exterior, interior and acoustical blueprints of Ambassador Auditorium to use that design as a model for construction of its $25 million successor, Armstrong Auditorium.

Increasingly, performers from around the globe are gracing its stage and enjoying the peaceful environs and one-of-a-kind hospitality. This “polished jewel lifting the human spirit” is adorned with Swarovski-trimmed crystal chandeliers, Baccarat crystal candelabra, American cherry wood veneers, Spanish marble and Azerbaijani onyx. The hall’s superb internal acoustics and the soaring Swans in Flight sculpture, designed by Sir David Wynn, combine to set Armstrong Auditorium apart in a class all of its own.

Whether concert goer, cultural buff, or admirer of humanitarianism, we encourage you to visit this performing arts jewel at the heart of the United States.

China-Philippines Standoff Intensifies

China-Philippines Standoff Intensifies

Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

China’s belligerency is on display on the world stage once again.

Beijing intensified a 10-day standoff between the Philippines and China on Friday by sending a third ship to a shoal in the South China Sea where both sides claim sovereignty.

The confrontation at the Scarborough Shoal began on April 10 when a Philippine warship accused eight Chinese fishermen of illegal entry and poaching in Philippine waters, and attempted to arrest them. Philippine officials said the vessels held endangered marine resources such as giant clams and live sharks, which it is illegal to catch. The Philippine officials attempted to arrest the fishermen, but were stopped by the arrival of two Chinese government vessels, which ordered the Philippine warship to leave Scarborough, saying it was Chinese territory. The Philippine ship refused to back down, saying that the territory lies well within Philippine waters. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea designates a country’s exclusive economic zone as 230 miles from its coastline, and the shoal in question is only 140 miles from the Philippine coast. China’s closest territory to the shoal, Hainan province, is 542 miles away from the Scarborough Shoal.

On Tuesday, the Philippines asked China to bring the simmering dispute to a United Nations-linked international court. “[W]e fully intend to humbly invite our Chinese friends to join us in the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea,” said Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. “The whole world knows that China has myriad more ships and aircraft than the Philippines. At day’s end, however, we hope to demonstrate that international law would be the great equalizer.”

But, in a move revealing how little regard China has for international law, Beijing ignored the proposal and reiterated its demand for the Philippines to withdraw its ships from the shoal in order to “restore peace and stability there.” Instead of taking the simmering dispute to court, China dispatched another patrol vessel to the shoal. Beijing said the third vessel was deployed because the Philippines had dishonored China’s jurisdiction.

The standoff is being closely monitored by regional players to see how far Beijing will go in its increasingly belligerent stance on territorial claims there. “We understand that the world is watching, and the issue at hand has a wider implication on how China is asserting its territorial claims, which have no basis in international law,” said Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims in the South China Sea, with China claiming almost the entire sea. The area is disputed largely because it straddles some of the world’s busiest sea lanes, has rich fishing waters, and is believed to contain vast oil and natural gas reserves.

China has long said the disputes should be resolved bilaterally, but the Philippines and other nations have been quick to call upon the United States and international community for assistance. China has consistently expressed displeasure over external involvement, and over the waters of the South China Sea being a site for military drills for the U.S. and other powers. But last Monday, as the standoff between Chinese and Philippine vessels continued, thousands of U.S. and Philippine soldiers undertook joint military drills in those very waters. The military exercises, involving 4,500 U.S. troops and 2,300 Filipino soldiers, were planned before the standoff came to a head, though Manila called the display of U.S.-Philippine solidarity “timely,” in light of the conflict.

“Given the international situation we are in, I say that this exercise, in connection with all those that we have had in the past, is a timely and mutually beneficial event for us and our U.S. counterparts,” said Philippine Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Jesse Dellosa.

However, the U.S. has said before that it may not always be willing to support its longtime ally the Philippines, and a time approaches when American backing will not be available for any of the nations China threatens. As China’s might continues to grow and American will fades, watch for Beijing’s belligerent behavior to simultaneously increase. The Philippines and other Asian nations will be compelled to abandon the sinking U.S. ship, and to set aside their intercontinental disputes. This shift will lead to the establishment of a colossal Asian power bloc and—ultimately—to the most hope-filled event in history! To understand more, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

Ten EU Nations and a New ‘Super-President’

Ten EU Nations and a New ‘Super-President’

iStockphoto

In a move that will strike many followers of this website as dramatic, 10 European Union nations are considering creating a powerful new office to lead that European combine.

Ten European nations propose a new EU super-president. These two entities—10 nations and a singular all-powerful leader—seem to match perfectly with Bible prophecy for these times.

Yet do they really?

Let’s take a closer look.

Last week a meeting attended by representatives of 10 European nations convened in a palatial mansion in Brussels to consider creating a powerful new presidential post to lead the greatest trading bloc in the world, the European Union.

EUobserver.com reported that “Ideas kicking around in a reflection group of select EU foreign ministers include merging the roles of the EU Council and European Commission presidents.

“A senior EU source told this website following a meeting of the club in the Val Duchesse stately home in Brussels on Thursday (April 19) that the new supremo would have more power than either Herman Van Rompuy or Jose Manuel Barroso do today …” (April 20).

The representative group of 10—convened by Germany—comprise Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain. Though the number 10 is significant to Bible prophecy relating to a Europe of the immediate future (Revelation 13 and17), it is highly doubtful that this particular group of 10 will be the final 10 nations that will take the lead under German hegemony in the prophesied future restructured European Union.

One reason we cast doubt on this is because a parallel prophecy to that of Revelation 13 and 17 contained in Daniel 2 indicates that the final 10 will be divided between east and west Europe. The only two nations that may presently be considered as part of east Europe in today’s club of 10 that convened in Brussels last week are Austria and Poland.

Nevertheless, the prophetically most potent consideration to which this group of 10 devoted its time was the prospect of merging its present three-tier top-level leadership into one all-powerful presidential office. Such a proposal has a most significant prophetic ring to it.

The problem that the EU leadership presently experiences is a problem of redundancy. The three top offices that presently lead the unwieldy union of 27 nations tend to trip over each other in the decision-making process.

As EUobserver.com puts it, “The EU Council president post was created by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. But the Lisbon architecture is messy, with Van Rompuy, for instance, overseeing recent debate on EU fiscal reform, while Barroso’s commission puts forward its own ideas and implements final decisions.

“Van Rompuy and Barroso also represent the Union at international summits. But Van Rompuy is top dog in terms of protocol, while another post-Lisbon creature, the EU high representative—a job currently filled by Catherine Ashton—does day-to-day foreign relations” (ibid).

In the revelation of prophecy for our time relative to world conditions that will prevail immediately prior to Christ’s return, it is clear that a single powerful political leader in tandem with a single great religious leader will dominate a great prophesied northern power that shall hold sway globally for a brief moment in time (Revelation 13).

As our editor in chief has pointed out, that religious leader may already be in office.

In respect of the prophesied future political supremo of Europe, the fact that all three senior EU officials—Herman van Rompuy, José Manuel Barroso and Katherine Ashton—are prepared to consider a merger of their powers into a singular super-presidency of the EU is vitally significant!

Keep watching for this proposal to become a reality.

However, in our watching, one aspect of this powerful super-president’s appointment to office should not be overlooked. Contrary to the observation quoted by EUobserver.com’s source—who stated that the appointment of a singular EU super-president would give the EU more “‘democratic legitimacy’ because he or she would be elected by meps”—Bible prophecy indicates that the future political leader of the final 10 will not be elected to that office. In fact, that leader will rather be drawn to that all-powerful office by flatteries (Daniel 11:21).

The questions that remain are, which political personality has the charisma, the general political appeal, and perhaps the dynastic profile, to be drawn into that office by flatteries?

Believe it or not, he is already waiting in the wings for his moment. Indications are that he even tested the water last year and found that his moment had not yet come.

Watch this website for regular updates on the inevitable rise to prominence of a charismatic political personality to the point of his eventual appointment as the super-president of a powerful European combine—a great northern superpower (Daniel 11)—ruled over by 10 kings, all yielding their own individual power to his overarching leadership (Revelation 17:12-13).

Then, “when these things begin to come to pass,” as Jesus Christ declared, “look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh”! (Luke 21:28).

EU to Create New ‘Super-President’?

EU to Create New ‘Super-President’?

Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

Another idea from the ‘Berlin Club’

A group of EU foreign ministers discussed the idea of merging the European Union’s top jobs into one on April 19, the EU Observer reports, coining the term “super-president” to describe the new top job.

The jobs of European Council president, currently held by Herman Van Rompuy, and European Commission president, currently held by José Manuel Barroso, may be merged. “The new super-president would also chair General Affairs Councils (gacs)—monthly meetings of foreign ministers which discuss internal Union affairs,” writes the EU Observer. Its source reports that experts believe this can be done without a treaty change.

The idea emerged from a meeting of 10 EU foreign ministers organized by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to discuss closer European integration. Sometimes called the “Berlin Club,” the group usually has 11 members: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain. The French foreign minister, however, was not able to attend this last meeting.

These ministers see that for Europe to become better integrated it needs a strong central leader. As the euro crisis pushes those nations that are committed to remaining in the euro closer together, watch for this idea to become more popular. Europe knows it needs a strong central leader to respond to the dangers of today’s world.

For information on what the Bible prophesies about this soon-coming leader, see the chapter “Is a World Dictator About to Appear?” in our free booklet He Was Right.