Jerusalem: The Bells of War Are Ringing

Jerusalem: The Bells of War Are Ringing

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Radical Islamists are watching Jerusalem. Are you?

War is always imminent in Israel. The challenge is not in forecasting the conflict, but in anticipating when exactly it will happen, and more importantly, making sure we never grow deaf to the bells of war.

Last Friday, Charles Krauthammer recalled the conditions that preceded the 1967 Six-Day War. “May ‘67 was Israel’s most fearful, desperate month,” he wrote. “The country was surrounded and alone. Previous great-power guarantees proved worthless. … Time was running out. Forced into mass mobilization in order to protect against invasion—and with a military consisting overwhelmingly of civilian reservists—life ground to a halt. The country was dying.”

Sound familiar?

But while everyone remembers the Six-Day War, Krauthammer wrote, “less remembered is that [on June 1, 1967] the nationalist opposition … was for the first time ever brought into the government, creating an emergency national unity coalition” (emphasis added throughout). Four days later, the reason for Israel’s hasty political consolidation became evident when a united and stable government ordered a deadly preemptive strike on Egypt’s army.

The formation of a national unity coalition was a precursor to war.

On May 7, 2012, almost 45 years later to the day—with Israel once again “desperate and alone,” in a “fearful, desperate” state—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged from midnight talks to suddenly and unexpectedly announce that he had formed the largest national unity government ever in Israel’s short history. With the addition of Kadima, Bibi Netanyahu now controls 94 out of the 120 seats in the Knesset.

As in June 1967, Israel’s government is today more united and stable than ever.

Why now? Is it possible, as Krauthammer suggests, that war might soon erupt? “War is not four days away, but it looms,” he wrote. “Israelis today face the greatest threat to their existence—nuclear weapons in the hands of apocalyptic mullahs publicly pledged to Israel’s annihilation—since May ‘67.”

But it’s not just Iran’s nuclear weapons program that alarms Israel and makes war possible.

You wouldn’t know it, listening to all his tough talk and warmongering, but the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is weaker and more vulnerable than most realize. Ahmadinejad faces a growing list of potentially debilitating problems—domestically, within the region and from far abroad. And for Iran’s Holocaust-denying, Jew-hating, apocalypse-inducing president, the window of opportunity to act on his deadly ambitions is closing.

Over the past 18 months, Ahmadinejad has been increasingly at odds with Iran’s mullahs, and especially Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the ultimate spiritual and political authority in Iran. In addition, Ahmadinejad’s grip on parliament has also slipped substantially. In the May 4 run-off parliamentary election, the president’s opponents won 41 of the 65 seats up for grabs. His opponents now have more seats in parliament. With his popularity slipping, his political power waning, and presidential elections slated for June 2013, Ahmadinejad is running out of time to act with force and decisiveness. Put differently, he has little to lose, which makes him more dangerous than ever.

Ahmadinejad is also facing enormous pressure throughout the region. Saudi Arabia, Iran’s primary counterweight in the region, is ramping up its opposition to Tehran’s regional hegemony. It is shoring up relations with “moderate” allies and developing closer relations with Europe, especially Germany. On Monday, an agreement by Gulf states to explore a Saudi-led plan to develop a political union (akin to the EU) sparked a furious response from Iran.

Meanwhile, evidence suggests Iran’s relations with Hamas and Hezbollah, its surrogates in Gaza and southern Lebanon, aren’t as rosy as many assume. In a public speech last February, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah announced, “Iran does not command us.” In Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh stated in a recent Reuters interview that “Hamas is a Palestinian movement that acts within the Palestinian arena and it carries out its political and field actions in a way that suits the interests of the Palestinian people. Iran did not ask anything from us and we think Iran is not in need of us.”

Reuters reported Hamas as saying that “it will not go to war for Iran.”

Then there’s Syria, where the violent revolution against strongman and Ahmadinejad-confidant Bashar al-Assad continues. Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters are being persecuted; thousands have been arrested, tortured or killed. But the anti-government movement refuses to capitulate. Despite the silence and inaction of the West, the consensus is that Assad will eventually be toppled and the regime replaced. The loss of Syria as a pro-Iran, terrorist-sponsoring, anti-Israel ally would be catastrophic for Ahmadinejad.

The more these pressures build and converge, the more likely it is that Ahmadinejad will have to choose. Will he abandon his dream of an Islamic caliphate headquartered in Jerusalem and slip into the night quietly? Or will he go down fighting?

Incidentally, think about what an opportunity this is for President Obama. America’s archenemy, the head of the terrorist snake, is facing a multitude of severe, potentially devastating problems, including political isolation at home, social unrest, and the potential loss of vital proxies throughout the region. Moreover, Iran’s regional enemies would likely support any strategy to undermine Iranian hegemony. Sure, Ahmadinejad is wounded, hence dangerous. But he’s also distracted, weakened and vulnerable. This is potentially a historic opportunity.

America will undoubtedly squander it.

But Bibi Netanyahu may not.

The bells of war aren’t just ringing in Tehran. They’re also clanging in Cairo, where later this month millions of Egyptians will elect a new president. No one knows who Egypt’s next leader will be. But he is certain to be hostile to Israel. It appears Mohammud Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, could be elected. What would Mursi mean for Israel?

Last week, the Middle East Media Research Institute (memri) posted chilling footage from a recent rally at which Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi encouraged voters to elect Mursi. With Mursi smiling supportively beside him, Sheikh Higazai declared that Mursi would help establish the dream of an Islamic caliphate. Within a few seconds, Higazai had gotten to the essence of why Egyptians, especially Muslim Brotherhood supporters, needed to get behind Mursi. “The capital of the Islamic caliphate—the capital of the United States of the Arabs—will be Jerusalem, Allah willing,” he yelled. “Our capital shall not be Cairo, Mecca or Medina. It shall be Jerusalem, Allah willing!”

He then led the throng in an ominous chant, “Millions of martyrs to march toward Jerusalem, millions of martyrs to march toward Jerusalem,millions of martyrs to march toward Jerusalem!” This was followed by a rousing invocation for war with Israel: “Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews. Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas. Forget about the whole world, forget about all the conferences. Brandish your weapons … say your prayers ….”

For those still unclear about what a Mursi presidency would mean for Israel, Higazi spelled it out in his conclusion: “I say this from the podium … from the heart of Egypt, so that the whole world may hear. We say it loud and clear: Yes, Jerusalem is our goal! We shall pray in Jerusalem, or we shall die as martyrs on its threshold.”

Sadly, when it comes to Egypt’s transformation into a radical Islamist state, the world will go on ignoring reality. In fact, Muhammad Mursi is considered a moderate among the presidential candidates. And he was embraced by U.S. Sen. John Kerry, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee, during his visit to Cairo earlier this month.

Even if Mursi isn’t elected, the other, more liberal candidates are no less worrying. In a marathon four-hour television debate last Thursday, the two leading presidential candidates, former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa and former MB member Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, spent the evening lobbing stinging insults at the other, distancing themselves from the Mubarak regime and cozying up to the Islamist vote. At one point, Fotouh said he would implement sharia law. These “moderate” candidates agreed on one issue, however: Both labeled Israel an enemy state. Both pledged support of Hamas in Gaza, and the Palestinian cause in general. And both promised, if elected, to revisit and rewrite the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

The common ground between Egypt’s three presidential candidates is a hatred for Israel.

You watch. The moment any of these candidates is elected, politics in Egypt will quickly catch up with the reality on the ground. The Sinai Peninsula is already lawless territory increasingly riddled with weapons smugglers and Islamist terrorist groups, including al Qaeda. Egypt is already increasing its support of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. In other words, the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty is already dead. No matter which candidate is elected, preventing Egypt’s Islamists from marching on Jerusalem is impossible.

No matter how you look at it, war is coming to Israel. Not because Israel is motivating Islamists by treating the Palestinians unfairly, as many like to believe. And not because Israel is starving Gazans, which it’s not. And not because Israel recently formed a national unity government, which could mean that it is preparing for conflict.

The reason war is inevitable, perhaps soon, is because millions of radical Islamists—in Iran and Egypt, in Gaza, in the Palestinian territories, and across the planet—live and breathe to conquer Israel and capture Jerusalem!

The bells of war are ringing in Jerusalem. Sadly, too few hear them.

Germany Worries About Its Gold Reserves

Germany Worries About Its Gold Reserves

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German politicians and accounting bodies want more guarantees concerning the security of Germany’s gold reserves, with Germany’s federal audit office due to report to the finance committee of the German Parliament on the matter.

Germany has the world’s second-largest gold reserves, but keeps most of them overseas, mainly at the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the Banque de France. The federal audit office, or Bundesrechnungshof, is disappointed that while the gold stored in Germany is regularly checked by the Bundesbank, the gold overseas is not. The foreign banks merely give the Bundesbank an annual statement detailing the amount of gold.

The security of the gold is becoming a popular concern, with the Bild tabloid claiming the Bundesbank has not checked its gold reserves for five years. Spiegel Online writes, “In times of uncertainty about the future of Europe’s common currency, gold is a hot topic, and some Germans take a dim view of the fact that much of the country’s gold—which theoretically belongs to the people—is held abroad.”

A campaign called “Gold Action,” which calls for Germany’s gold to be brought home, is supported by several economists and journalists. A member of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (cdu), Philipp Missfelder, visited the Federal Reserve in New York to see the gold, but “staff were either unable or unwilling to show him exactly which bars belonged to Germany,” as Spiegel Online put it. A member of parliament from the cdu’s sister party, the Christian Social Union, regularly tables parliamentary questions on the subject.

But the Bundesbank insists no additional checks on the gold are needed. “The scope of the checks that the Bundesrechnungshof wants does not correspond to the usual practices among central banks,” read a bank statement, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “There are no doubts about the integrity and the reputation of these foreign depositories.”

It also pointed to the cost of bringing the gold home, and the effect it would have on already skittish financial markets.

It’s no coincidence that this is an issue right now. The euro and banking crises are threatening the stability of paper money everywhere. In earlier times of monetary collapse, central banks have simply seized other people’s gold.

Germany’s gold could be a key part of its recovery from the euro crisis. For more information on why you should watch Germany’s gold reserves, see our article “Germany’s Gold Hoard.”

EU Anti-Piracy Mission Grows More Teeth

EU Anti-Piracy Mission Grows More Teeth

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Europe launches its first attack against pirates’ land base.

EU anti-piracy forces launched their first attack on pirates on mainland Somali on May 15 as helicopter gunships destroyed boats, weapons and fuel. Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reports that five small attack boats were “rendered inoperable” and that a weapons store and several drums of diesel were also hit.

The European Union authorized its forces to attack pirates on land in March, but this is the first time it has happened. EU forces do not set foot on land, rather they are “merely an extension of the disruption actions carried out against pirate ships at sea,” according to the operation commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Adm. Duncan Potts.

A spokesman for the EU Naval Force said that “this morning’s mission is a clear demonstration that we intend to make life as difficult as we can for them on land as well as at sea.”

The Telegraph quotes an anonymous Navy source implying that these kind of attacks will increase. “The time is now right to step up the attacks on the infrastructure to put the pirates considerably on the back foot,” it quotes him as saying. “However, the Somalis will certainly be better prepared next time round and are likely to defend their bases with significant anti-aircraft assets now they know that the ante has been upped. This will inevitably lead to bloodshed and escalation.”

It will indeed escalate. The EU is showing it has the will to at least begin to go after the cause of the problem, on land, rather than just chasing ships at sea. Historically, the EU has been relatively hesitant to use military power. Expect that to change. Watch for the European Union to grow more teeth in fighting piracy and radical Islam in the area.

JPMorgan’s Shocking Loss Proves Regulatory Failure

JPMorgan surprised markets last Friday by announcing that one of its trading groups lost $2 billion. This massive loss comes three years after America’s financial industry almost collapsed due to corruption and lack of oversight. But JPMorgan appears to be proving that the reforms implemented in the aftermath are failing.

JPMorgan Chase ceo Jamie Dimon offered a mea culpa to his company’s shareholders: “We ended up with a strategy that is flawed, complex, poorly conceived, poorly vetted and poorly executed. This should never have happened. I can’t justify it.”

JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the United States. It was the only bank to remain profitable during the 2008 financial crisis. This had given Dimon some credibility at the time, when he opposed stricter government regulations. But losing $2 billion has now shredded that credibility.

Regulators already implemented a law in 2010 that was aimed at policing Wall Street better. But it is becoming obvious now that the new law isn’t much of a safeguard. The Justice Department is investigating the loss, and government officials are pointing to JPMorgan as a poster child for more banking reform. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said on Tuesday that it “helps make the case” for more government banking regulations.

While many say the solution to fixing the financial system is additional regulations, the truth is that our greed-based and corruption-riddled system will not and cannot be fixed. Additional banking rules will not cure our sick, debt-based financial system. To see the bigger picture, and to learn how to avoid such maladies in your own finances, read our article “Storm-Proof Your Financial House.”

Spain, Italy, Portugal—First of the Ten?

Spain, Italy, Portugal—First of the Ten?

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An interesting scenario is building in Europe involving Spain, Italy and Portugal. It could accelerate the rise of the prophesied 10-nation combine.

Students of Bible prophecy have watched for the fulfillment of a particular prophecy forecasting the separation of 10 “kings” in Europe all yielding up their power to one overarching authority.

The current euro crisis is providing a possible answer as to how this situation may occur.

Greece may well provide the test case for demonstrating the point.

This Greek Orthodox nation’s economy is virtually up for grabs for all takers. Yet the nation in the box seat for “winner take all” is Germany.

Consider the following.

Since the onset of the euro crisis, the European Union and the international community has pumped approximately $312 billion into the Grecian economy. At the same time, Berlin has imposed onerous austerity measures on Greece. Yet, given that Greece was in dire financial straits, Germany and France still held its feet to the fire and forced the nation to pay for military hardware that Greece had contracted to buy from them. The only way that Greece could fulfill this demand was to channel back to Germany and France an amount of the bailout funds that it had received, for debt relief, in full payment for those contracts. This was all done to the net gain of the German and French economies, and a net loss to the Greeks.

Germany followed this up with a demand that Greece begin selling off its state assets to offset its unpayable debt. In the wake of that demand, a team of German investors descended on Greece to look over the spoils and consider appropriate fire-sale prices to purchase that nation’s key infrastructural and industrial assets.

The washup to this nasty deal will be that Germany emerges virtually owning Greece lock, stock and barrel. This all flies in the face of a refusal by Germany to pay for multibillion euros’ worth of damage it wreaked during its World War ii occupation of that Balkan state.

It’s a murky business. Yet it’s one way to take over a most strategically placed Mediterranean nation without having to shed much Grecian blood, as Nazi Germany did when it plundered Greece 70 years ago. This time, by taking over the nation’s assets and preserving its population, Germany gains a very cheap labor force to continue to operate its newest Balkan acquisition.

Now, consider Spain, Italy and Portugal, three traditional Roman Catholic nations, and three of the most significant economies within the European Union.

Each of these nations, it is said, is in significant economic difficulty.

In all probability, given the nature of their respective histories, their culture, economies and religion, they stand to be integral to the prophesied 10-nation combine depicted in Revelation 17:12.

Of those 10, notice that the very next verse states: “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”

Germany is recognized as the current paymaster of Europe. It is said that “he who pays the piper calls the tune.” The prophecy indicates that 10 kings are destined to dance to the tune of one power which is simply termed “the beast”—they “shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”

Why would not Germany, under appropriately assertive leadership, agree to “bail out” those slated as the next EU nations in line to fail economically—Spain, Italy and Portugal—in exchange for a takeover of national assets similar to that which they have imposed on Greece?

The 10 are destined to “give their power and strength unto the beast.” A nation’s power and strength is vested in its national assets—its raw materials, its industry, its military capability and its population. These all need to be sustained, their ongoing operation paid for.

Germany is Europe’s paymaster. While EU nations’ economies languish in crisis, Germany’s economy grows, even beyond expectations: “The German economy grew five times faster than expected in the first quarter of the year, jumping 0.5 percent. … The year-on-year increase was 1.7 percent, beating expectations of a 0.8 percent jump” (Financial Times, May 15).

Add to Germany’s continuing superb economic performance the tremendous bullion backing the nation possesses and you have the most powerful growth economy in the world, its imperialist elites salivating over the opportunity to commence doing deals to enable steady possession of whole national economies on the European continent.

As we have continually said, one major factor delaying this process is the dearth of strong leadership in German politics. It’s not so much that the personalities to successfully bring off such a scenario are non-existent. They definitely are there, but remain largely behind the scenes. It’s just that they have not yet taken the opportunity to arise. It’s all about very careful timing.

But, their time will come—and, according to all present indications, it is likely to come sooner rather than later. Conditions economically and socially are ripening in Europe for the rise of that particular demagogue who will enable final fulfillment of the major prophecies in your Bible leading to the grand-smash climax at the close of this morally torpid age, and the entry of the world into that thousand-year millennial reign of peace and plenty that the prophets of old forecast as inevitable.

Watch the fallout of the Greek crisis. Watch the domino effect in Spain, Portugal and Italy, plus the ongoing ripple effect all across Europe. The outcome is foreordained. Knowing this outcome beyond all doubt is why we at the Trumpet face the future with supreme confidence as to the end result, despite the intense global trauma that is prophesied to precede it.

If you really want to dig into this subject and learn more in preparation for that future, read and study our booklet Daniel Unlocks Revelation.

Stimuli Addiction

Stimuli Addiction

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The cost of keeping pace in a caffeinated culture

Modern life moves at mighty speed. Our food is fast, our Internet connections faster. We tweet, we e-mail, we upgrade. We work overtime to stay ahead of the competition. We are on the go. Even when we watch television, we watch CSI and Grey’s Anatomy—shows with people who are quick-witted, fast moving and stressed out.

The rat race has never been so brisk. But we adapt. We multitask, we power nap. We spend quality time with each other, in lieu of quantity. We take in loads of information in stride. We grow accustomed to motion blur.

That’s the way it has to be, isn’t it? Or—is it possible we’re making life too hard for ourselves?

Perhaps we live like we drive: Always pushing it 5 miles over the speed limit—when it’s 55 we go 60; if it was 95 we’d make it an even 100. Perhaps we’re simply becoming addicted to stimulation.

Consider life before television, radio, telephone, even telegraph (it wasn’t that long ago). News generally traveled by foot, or hoof. Intercontinental travel took days or weeks. The pace was slow and the world was huge.

Today, journalists are positioned in every nook of the planet, reporting continually. The nightly news promises the world in 22 minutes. For people who can’t wait for that, cable provides “headline news,” with multiple bits of information flashing and scrolling simultaneously; the Internet allows us to scan only the headlines. Twitter gives us everything we need in 140 characters. There is so much going on, we want only the essential, only the cream, only the surface. Speed is of the essence.

Are we able to take it all in? Can we make meaningful sense of it? Can we feel deeply about all of it? Perhaps. But only for a moment, and then we must move on—we have other important things to see.

With satellite tv, the Internet, mobile devices, tablets, laptops, dvds, iPods, radio, video games, there is always something to keep us stimulated. Television, our third-most time-consuming activity after work and sleep, gives us a hyper world of fast cuts, zooms and pans, noise and suddenness. Soon we crave the hyperstimulation. We can only take so much of plain old life, with its slow-paced continuity and conspicuous lack of special effects.

Is it any wonder we are rearing a hyper, adhd generation?

There may be a problem here, but we are moving too fast to pin it down.

Let’s slow down for a moment.

Think about it.

What price are we paying for our short attention spans, our compulsive hyperness?

Don’t answer too quickly—stop reading and think a while.

Let me interrupt you with one answer (you didn’t really stop reading, did you?). The price we pay is depth.

We give up depth in our relationships. Depth in our emotions, depth in our thoughts. We think we have wisdom when we merely have information. We think that living under the same roof is the same as being a family.

Consider the study on father-child interaction cited by Dr. James Dobson in What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women. Researchers first asked a group of middle-class fathers to estimate how much time they spent each day with their 1-year-old children. The average reply was 15 to 20 minutes. When the researchers used methods to determine the actual amount, they discovered that the average time was really 37 seconds—2.7 encounters each day, 10 to 15 seconds each.

Perhaps we shake our heads and wonder, how can they do that to those kids? But I know that if the fathers in the study read that statistic in the paper, they’d think the same thing: Yeah I should spend more time with my kids, but at least I’m getting in a good 15 to 20 minutes a day. That’s a whole lot better than those 37-second dads.

Then, after a moment’s musing on the matter, they would turn the page and move on. Just like we all do.

There is a vicious cycle at work: Stimuli addiction is both a cause of our shallowness and a symptom of it. It is hard to break free of something so enthralling, so easy, so everywhere. Depth is too hard. Depth is discovering one great book and sitting down with it, getting to know it, really studying it, letting it soak into your life. Instead we load up the bookshelf with books we only skim.

Is this really a problem? Consider.

Stimulation overdose eventually creates numbness. That is, nothing stands out in the cacophony for longer than a moment. Too much noise becomes white noise, like static on an empty television channel.

How then can God—the epitome of depth, of substance, of balance, of quiet meditation, of timelessness, of moral perfection, of everything opposite our shallowness—reach our minds in a lasting way? Even tragedies on the scale of 9/11 and the Japanese tsunami can shrink to insignificance amid the bustle. Our minds quickly absorb events and we’ve moved on. After the devastation of September 11, church attendance spiked, but was back to pre-9/11 levels within three weeks.

Read Matthew 13:1-23, a parable showing what happens when God sows His Word. Some of it is snatched up by the devil; some, people are too shallow to receive; some, people are too addicted to the world to hold on to. The parable has special poignancy in a world jacked up on caffeinated culture.

God is a voice “crying in the wilderness” today (i.e. Luke 3:4). Is your life quiet enough for you to hear Him?

Don’t answer too quickly—stop reading and think a while.