Will Faith in Christ Save You?

Will Faith in Christ Save You?

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The Philadelphia Trumpet, in conjunction with the Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course, presents this brief excursion into the fascinating study of the Bible. Simply turn to and read in your Bible each verse given in answer to the questions. You will be amazed at the new understanding gained from this short study!
From the July 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

You live in a materialistic world—a world that has lost the knowledge of the true God. Consequently, the whole world is now shaking with convulsions, leading up to a tremendous event. This present world breakdown, with world economic collapse, social unrest and religious confusion, is merely the warning signal that the end of the present civilization is here.

The Second Coming of Christ to establish a new order of world peace on Earth is near—much nearer than people think!

Speaking of His second appearance on Earth, Jesus Himself asked prophetically, “[W]hen the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). When He uttered those words, He was looking into the future—into our very present generation. He clearly foresaw the almost total absence of faith in our time!

Certainly the world has almost lost sight of real faith. No wonder so few have any faith—no wonder so many say, “My faith isn’t very strong”—or, “I just can’t seem to work up the faith.” People today do not know what faith is or why they do not possess it.

Without faith, one cannot enter into the coming Kingdom of God! However, is faith the sole requirement for salvation? And by whose faith is salvation even possible?

Overcoming Sin

Most professing Christians believe in a dead faith of mere belief in the facts of Christ’s existence and His sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Consequently, they think Christ did everything for them and there is nothing more for them to do. That is not what the Bible teaches.

1. Did the Apostle Paul actually say that Christians must “work out” their own salvation? Philippians 2:12. Also notice 2 Peter 1:10.

Comment: Immediately upon initial conversion, Christians have something they must begin to do, not only then, but for the rest of their natural lives. The Christian life involves “works”—it involves doing something! Christians must put forth the effort to overcome. Christ said: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). God’s way of life is one of productivity, growth and exciting challenge.

2. Then can we earn our salvation by our own works after all? Romans 6:23; Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:8-9.

Comment: Eternal life is a gift of God. However, the free, unmerited gift of God does not come without obligations. The Christian still has his part to do! While it is impossible to earn salvation by works, a lack of works can certainly cause one to lose his salvation (Luke 19:11-27).

3. What, or who, is the key to Christian overcoming? Philippians 4:13; John 15:5; 1 John 4:4; Romans 8:37.

Comment: Jesus Christ, who has already defeated Satan (Matthew 4) and qualified to become “King of kings and Lord of lords,” will help Christians defeat Satan and this world’s influences through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the faith it imparts (Galatians 5:22).

What It Means to Live by Faith

1. Are Christians to live by faith? Hebrews 10:38; Romans 1:17.

2. Does faith then void the law—render it unnecessary to keep? Romans 3:31. Is faith without obedience to God a dead faith? James 2:20-22.

Comment: The Bible plainly shows that each individual Christian has a part in the salvation process. Nevertheless, many professing Christians have been taught that Jesus lived a good life for us—that He obeyed God’s law in our stead. Christians are not excused from overcoming, growing in spiritual character, and enduring—in spite of all opposition or temptation to quit. These scriptures make it crystal clear that having faith does not excuse us from obeying God and having spiritual works.

This is a great mystery to those who don’t understand. Since we must do these things to be saved, yet are utterly unable to do so of ourselves, it is natural either to conclude that God sent Jesus to do it for us and thereby excuse us from obeying God, or to become discouraged and be tempted to quit trying!

The true answer is the key to salvation. It is faith. Faith in God’s power—the same living faith Jesus had!

3. By whose faith is a Christian’s “righteousness”—his obedience to God’s spiritual law—made possible? Romans 3:22; Revelation 14:12.

Comment: Spirit-begotten Christians have the very “faith of Jesus.” It’s not just our faith in Him, but His faith—the very faith through which He kept God’s law—placed in us and acting in us.

4. Does the Bible call Jesus the author and finisher of our faith? Hebrews 12:2.

Comment: A more accurate translation of the phrase “author and finisher” is “pioneer and perfecter.” Jesus led the way, as our pioneer, setting us the supreme example of living faith; but, He also perfects His faith in us. Here’s how:

5. Did the Apostle Paul plainly state that Christ lived in him? Galatians 2:20. How did Christ live in him? Philippians 2:5; Romans 8:9-10. Then did Paul live his life by Christ’s faith dwelling in him? Galatians 2:20 once again.

Comment: Paul didn’t live by his own faith. The mind of Jesus Christ dwelt in Paul through the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit of God implanted in Paul’s mind the same faith that can be in your mind. This faith—the very faith of Jesus Christ—will enable you to live a life of overcoming as did the Apostle Paul.

6. Is the very faith of Jesus Christ, by which we receive eternal salvation, a gift of God? Ephesians 2:8. Does this faith come from having the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22.

Comment: The faith that saves is Christ’s faith. And Christ can impart His strong faith to us as He lives in us by God’s Spirit.

7. What must you do to receive the Holy Spirit and the very faith of Jesus Christ? Acts 2:38. Must you be willing to obey God? Acts 5:32. And must you first show faith toward Christ before He will give you His faith? Acts 20:21.

Comment: God will give His Holy Spirit and the resulting faith of Christ only to those who meet the prior conditions of repentance and baptism.

Faith and the Law

Many professing Christians believe the Apostle Paul taught that the law was done away with and replaced by faith. Nothing could be further from the truth!

1. How did Paul express the relationship of faith and the law to the Christians at Rome? Romans 3:31. Does faith do away with God’s law? Same verse.

Comment: The New King James Version renders this verse as: “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” The word establish means “to cause or make to stand,” “to make firm, fix” or “to be kept intact” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). In other words, rather than doing away with the law, faith upholds God’s law, as other translations show.

As we have already seen, it requires the faith of Christ to be able to properly keep the spiritual law of God. The true commandment-keeper must trust God to make obedience possible.

2. But didn’t Paul say that we are justified by faith, apart from the deeds of the law? Romans 3:28; 20, first part. Yet at the same time, didn’t he also say that the doers of the law are justified? Romans 2:13. Do these scriptures contradict each other?

Comment: Rather than contradict, these scriptures complement each other. It is not by the deeds of the law—the actions themselves apart from faith—that we are justified (made righteous before God); that’s only possible through the faith of Christ in us. Yet all who have His faith and exercise it to make obedience possible—the doers of the law acting in faith—which makes it a living faith—are the ones who are justified by that faith!

3. Why can’t we be justified by the deeds of the law? Romans 3:20, last part.

Comment: The purpose of the law is not to justify. The purpose of the law is to tell us what sin is—to define it, to reveal it—so we can quit it. Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).

4. What is it that empowers one to fulfill, or obey, God’s law? Romans 13:10. What kind of love? Romans 5:5.

Comment: The law is spiritual (Romans 7:14), and only the “love of God” can fulfill God’s spiritual law! Our own personal human love cannot do so. We cannot keep the commandments by our own power and strength. It takes a spiritual love—through the Holy Spirit placed within us—to fulfill a spiritual law. Since God alone can supply the love that makes us righteous, it becomes God’s righteousness, not ours.

Would Jesus Flip-Flop on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’?

Would Jesus Flip-Flop on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’?

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‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.’
From the July 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

When campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama credited religion and faith for dictating his position against same-sex “marriage.” “I’m a Christian,” he said. “I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman” (emphasis added throughout). He reiterated this position when campaigning for president in 2008, calling marriage a “sacred union” between a man and a woman.

In May, however, President Obama changed his mind and decided to endorse homosexual “marriage.” He then defended his flip-flop by invoking the same Jesus—and the very same inspired text—that he once used to defend the traditional marriage union. He also credited staff members, neighbors, friends and family members—even his two daughters—for influencing his “evolving” position over the years. But in the end, what mattered most was the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you would want to be treated,” the president said, paraphrasing Luke 6:31.

Of course, Mr. Obama’s “evolving” position on same-sex “marriage” is really about political expediency—certainly not the inspired teachings of Jesus. But it still comes as quite a shock when Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible are dragged through the mud in order to defend behavior that God emphatically condemns.

Last year, in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron upset many traditional Christians when he announced plans to legalize homosexual “marriage” before the next election. This April, to defend his controversial plan and to bridge the gap between his government and the Christian community, Mr. Cameron once again turned to—you guessed it—Jesus Christ.

“The New Testament tells us so much about the character of Jesus; a man of incomparable compassion, generosity, grace, humility and love,” Mr. Cameron said. He then referred to the same passage in Luke that President Obama paraphrased.

Never mind what it says in Genesis 19, Leviticus 20:13, Luke 17:28-30, Romans 1:26-27, 2 Peter 2:6 or Jude 7. Those are now obsolete verses, often cited by homophobes and bigots, we’re told. Jesus, don’t you know, would have wanted homosexuals to get married—so say the “enlightened.”

The Church of England, meanwhile, was quick to criticize the prime minister’s same-sex “marriage” crusade. Marriage is between one man and one woman, the church said in response to the government’s attempt to redefine the union. In the same statement, however, the Church of England endorsed homosexuality and same-sex unions—but drew a very distinct line between that and homosexual “marriage.”

What a pathetic and weak defense of an institution ordained by Almighty God! The supposed moral authority in Britain summarized its official position on homosexuality and marriage and didn’t even include one biblical passage or scriptural reference. Not even one verse!

And we wonder why our leaders are so quick to disparage the Bible and the reputation of Jesus Christ to disingenuously defend their lawless agendas. Today’s “enlightened” clergy is far too busy figuring out how much of the Bible can be categorized as myth or hyperbole to be bothered with actually preaching the plain truth of God’s inspired Word!

What an ominous sign of the times in which we are living.

“I charge thee therefore before God,” the Apostle Paul wrote to his young assistant, his faithful minister—the evangelist Timothy. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

God has charged His true ministers with the sobering and momentous responsibility of preaching the truth of the Bible. It doesn’t say preach what men want to hear or to modify doctrinal positions as societal behavior evolves over time.

“I am the Lord, I change not,” God thunders in Malachi 3:6. And His ministers must uphold and defend the sanctity and permanency of His revealed truth. Be instant with God’s truth, Paul said. That means we must stand up and fight for the truth of God!

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). That is the time we live in right now. Most people today have turned away from what the Bible actually says and have accepted lies in place of truth.

What about you, dear reader? Will you accept the simplicity and purity of God’s revealed truth? You can know the truth if you are honest in your study of God’s Word and willing to submit to the Bible’s authority.

In his book The Incredible Human Potential, Herbert W. Armstrong said that God has made His revealed knowledge and truth available to anyone willing to believe what He says in His inspired book, the Holy Bible. It’s the world’s best seller, Mr. Armstrong said, “But this precious book has been interpreted and misinterpreted, distorted, twisted, misrepresented, misunderstood and maligned as no other book ever has.”

Indeed it has, which is why you must put aside what men say about the Bible and investigate the source for yourself. It doesn’t need any “private interpretation,” as the Apostle Peter wrote. God’s Word interprets itself for those who are humble and honest—and who are willing to dig in and study. The Bible says what it means—and with authority! And it means exactly what it says. Just take it as the timeless masterpiece that it is, and it will begin to make sense.

“Look into it for yourself,” Mr. Armstrong urged Plain Truth readers in February 1982. “It’s full of surprises—it’s full of truth—it’s full of the way to a positive peace of mind, to happiness, to prosperity, abundant living here and now and to salvation in joyous eternal life—forever!”

Why British Teens Struggle With Online Pornography

Why British Teens Struggle With Online Pornography

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Hint: It’s not because of irresponsible ‘Internet providers.’
From the July 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Four out of five British 16-year-olds view porn online regularly. One in three 10-year-olds have viewed similar content. Those are the shocking revelations exposed by a parliamentary inquiry report released in April. And the images these youths are viewing go way beyond mere nudity. The study’s authors noted that, with mere clicks of their fingers, British children are accessing the “whole history of human sexual perversion.”

In their report, the M.P.s expressed concern that porn-viewing among teens is corrupting an entire generation. They’re alarmed that children and teens will pervert their minds, saddling millions with selfish, twisted, vile viewpoints regarding sex, the roles of men and women, and marriage and family.

In one tragic heart-to-heart, the mother of an 11-year-old boy recited her son’s enslavement to online pornography. Much like a drug addict, “Charlie’s” affair with online porn transformed him from a wholesome, energetic and friendly “sunny sort of chap” into a withdrawn, moody, hollow-eyed, self-loathing recluse who could neither eat nor sleep normally. Porn didn’t simply alter his behavior, his mother lamented, “but his entire character.”

These revelations have set off a national debate on the need to protect children from smut. But as is so often the case in today’s intellectually and morally muddled world, the conversation quickly slid into a side issue. The Daily Mail, for example, explained that the solution to keeping porn from children and teens lay with Britain’s “Internet providers.” This was the focus of the parliamentary inquiry too.

If only the four companies that beam the Internet into British homes were more responsible, many argue, the problem would be solved. The best solution is for these companies to install more filters to make it tougher for children and teens to access online porn.

There’s no denying such features would have a positive effect. However, that debate is a major distraction from the real cause of this problem.

Parents.

After all, who’s paying for the computers, televisions, game consoles, mobiles and broadband? Who’s allowing children to slink into the seclusion of their screen-lit bedrooms and other private places where they can surf, text and “sext” to their hearts’ delight? (More than half of children ages 7 to 16 have Internet access in their own room; among 11-to-16-year-olds, the figure is 61 percent.) Who is letting Internet perversion raise their children?

Forget Internet providers. This inquiry reveals a crisis in British parenting.

Speaking practically, the solution to teens viewing porn is fairly straightforward: simple rules implemented by loving parents. Relocate computers and tvs to the living room; download free, easy-to-install Internet filters, and most of all take the time to regularly monitor what your child views online. Make children put smartphones away after a certain hour, monitor texts, conduct spur-of-the-moment checks. Know what your teen is doing! With such an involved parent, a teen finds lustful activity much more difficult and much less enticing. What if the child goes to a friend’s home to engage in this behavior? That’s simple too: Sever the relationship.

These measures might sound harsh. But isn’t the moral, emotional and psychological damage inflicted by pornography, the hollow-eyed enslavement, the sabotage of future relationships, ten thousand times worse?

Why does this seem so outlandish? Why will most parents never implement these measures? Because they’ve abdicated authority over their children. The 21st-century parent does not care enough and does not love enough to control his child’s behavior and attitude.

As children grow, their disregard and disrespect for authority affects their other relationships. At school they lack respect for teachers, principals and administrators. In society, there’s little respect for police, government leaders and others in authority. The results of this upbringing surround us. Too many of our teachers work in fear of verbal and physical abuse. Malls and shopping centers, overrun by aimless youths, lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year to theft and property damage. Our streets are filled with gang violence.

It’s time we faced reality. More than anything, the problem of porn addiction among teens, as well as most of the other social crises Britain faces—the plague of public drunkenness, the thuggery and gang violence, youth unemployment, single motherhood—is a direct result of family breakdown!

Traced to its origins, every social problem facing Britain (and America) is the result of some form of family dysfunction. Gang violence and general street crime; sexual perversion and promiscuity; unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease; rape and sexual abuse; fatherlessness/single motherhood and the resultant exploitation of the welfare system; divorce and its many costly byproducts—each stems from the dissolution of the traditional family!

We are decades deep into a cultural war on traditional marriage, on the roles of the mother and especially the father, and on the role of children within a family. We have tossed aside traditional laws and virtues regarding marriage and family, many of which were gleaned from the Bible, and replaced them with perverted, anti-family “values.” The results are obvious. As Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in The Missing Dimension in Sex, “Since it is a basic truism that a solid family structure is the foundational bulwark of any stable and permanent society, this fact means only one thing—civilization as we know it is on the way down—and out ….”

Is there a better way to describe a nation in which millions of teens are allowed to go online and in the privacy of their own bedrooms explore the “whole history of human sexual perversion”? We have a bigger problem on our hands than the content policies of irresponsible Internet providers. We have to fix our broken families.

The Old Rome-Berlin Axis Is Back

The Old Rome-Berlin Axis Is Back

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Chancellor Merkel’s replacement of her old political partner Nicolas Sarkozy with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti hastens the resurrection of Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire.
From the July 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

European elites have been working for 60 years to bring about two events that are key to European unification. Both events are now in motion.

The first comes from the “Berlin Group,” an assembly formed out of a German idea to gather the foreign ministers of the European Union’s leading economies—excluding Britain. In April, it recommended that a powerful new presidency be created within the EU—a super-president—a veritable “Charlemagne”!

Under the headline “Ministers Ponder Creation of EU Super-President,” EUobserver.com reported, “A senior EU source told this website following a meeting of the club in the Val Duchesse stately home in Brussels on [April 19] that the new supremo would have more power than either Herman Van Rompuy or José Manuel Barroso” (April 20). Van Rompuy is current president of the European Council; Barroso is president of the European Commission. The two presidencies tend to clash over EU policy. A “super-president” given charge over all EU institutions would have the power to dictate policy direction.

Shortly after the “Berlin Group” came out with that startling recommendation, the second major event took place. German Chancellor Angela Merkel realized that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in trouble. Sarkozy was Merkel’s partner in pushing for European unification, and was the candidate she endorsed in France’s national elections. But Sarkozy, it was clear, was about to lose. So what did she do? She turned to Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti to forge a new alliance to lead the EU.

These latest moves are real game changers, the effects of which will soon be felt worldwide. The balance of power is changing in Europe, and the fallout is prophesied to have global effects of massive proportions!

The Crisis and the Solution

The catalyst for both this super-presidency and this new alliance is Europe’s worsening economic crisis, which is also destabilizing Europe’s political order. To date, 11 leaders of EU member nations have fallen in the wake of this crisis.

Anticipating the increasing clamor for EU leaders to promote growth in the face of austerity, Mario Monti and Angela Merkel are colluding with European Central Bank (ecb) President Mario Draghi to establish the future of EU economic policy. Merkel’s and Monti’s staffs have planned several joint German-Italian economic stimulus initiatives that will be brought to the European Council in June. In the process, Socialist Francois Hollande’s France is being marginalized.

Chancellor Merkel did more than just verbally affirm her solidarity with Rome. She also did a U-turn on her economic policy, readily agreeing to Rome’s line. Draghi has criticized Merkel’s fiscal discipline policy, saying that the crisis can’t be solved through budget cuts and tax increases alone. Draghi says the circumstances call for “structural measures to favor economic growth.” Merkel accepted the critique and formally acknowledged, “We need growth, to be sustained through structural reforms.” That was a very real, very public policy reversal from Merkel’s previously declared stance.

As the Trumpet has said before, watch Monti and Draghi—and watch closely for Merkel to be increasingly influenced by Rome in her political and economic outlook.

Prime Minister Monti and ecb head Draghi have the same Jesuit mind in their approach to the crisis. Merkel joining forces with them places the EU’s purse strings—and the German levers of power—much closer to Rome’s grasp.

Expect Berlin and Rome to dominate EU policy decisions from here on.

The End of Franco-German Leadership

Since the European Community’s inception, joint Franco-German leadership has been a given. France wanted to keep a close eye on Germany to ensure that nation would never repeat its incursions across France’s borders such as had occurred in 1871, 1914 and 1939. The postwar French view was that Germany would become the economic engine of Europe, while having limited political influence. France would take the lead European political role. It seemed an ideal arrangement to the Western allies.

Things continued in that preordained manner until two major disruptions began to fracture the arrangement.

The first was the implosion of the Soviet Union, which had two effects: the reunification of Germany in 1990, and the resurgence of Roman Catholicism in post-communism Eastern Europe.

The second disruption occurred when economic crisis struck Europe in 2008. All of a sudden, Germany, by far the most powerful economy in Europe, found a political voice to match its economic weight.

Using the economic crisis as the catalyst, Berlin began to call the tune for the economic response. The resulting decrees from Germany’s political power base in Berlin and its financial base at the ecb in Frankfurt have left EU nations subject to Germany.

A third catalyst now works to change the whole balance of power in Europe: Nicolas Sarkozy’s failure to gain reelection as president of France. This will prove to be a watershed event not only in Franco-German relations, but also in Berlin’s political relationship with the EU.

Gone is the lynchpin partnership that had held the EU together since the Treaty of Rome established the European Community in 1957. Before Sarkozy had officially been ousted from the French presidency in the May elections, Chancellor Merkel had already quickly moved to align Germany with Rome. Even before France’s new leader took office, Italian Prime Minister Monti had already replaced Berlin’s traditional EU political partner.

In place of the Franco-German alliance is a new partnership: a resurrection of the old Rome-Berlin Axis of 1939!

To think of that old Axis being resurrected—given the destruction it wreaked just 70 years ago—is a fearful thing indeed! Yet this is the reality.

And it was all prophesied to be so, in your Bible, millennia ago!

Rome-Berlin Axis Prophesied

Back in 1954, Herbert Armstrong declared, “Nothing can prevent Germany from completely dominating Europe. Soon there will be the prophesied United Europe—the resurrected Roman Empire—with Germans in complete domination. It’s prophesied! It is hurling on toward the destruction of America and Britain” (Sept. 18, 1954).

Three years later, he wrote: “No one else is telling what prophecy says Germany and fascism in Europe are starting under cover. You’ll soon see it—theUnited States of Europe—the resurrected Roman Empire!” (Nov. 20, 1957).

No one else was! Herbert Armstrong was the lone voice crying out in a wilderness of confusion and declaring to the world the sure prophecies of God, declaring decades ago that a final resurrection of the old Holy Roman Empire would arise to powerfully disrupt the world again!

In 1978, Mr. Armstrong specifically declared, “Undoubtedly Germany will head the new resurrected ‘Holy Roman Empire’” (Aug. 14, 1978).

Months later, he published an article in the January 1979 Plain Truth magazine declaring emphatically: “I have been proclaiming and writing, ever since 1935, that the final one of the seven eras of the Holy Roman Empire is coming in our generation—a ‘United States of Europe,’ combining 10 nations or groups of nations in Europe—with a union of church and state!

“The nations of Europe have been striving to become reunited. They desire a common currency, a single combined military force, a single united government. They have made a start in the Common Market. They are now working toward a common currency. Yet, on a purely political basis, they have been totally unable to unite.

“In only one way can this resurrected Holy Roman Empire be brought to fruition—by the ‘good offices’ of the Vatican, uniting church and state once again, with the Vatican astride and ruling (Revelation 17:1-5).”

That prophesied union of church and state could not effectively emerge till the Franco-German bloc was broken and a new balance of power established in Europe: a Rome-Berlin axis! Just such an axis has emerged with Chancellor Merkel’s surrendering, at Rome’s behest, on her policy for handling Europe’s economic crisis.

Blind to the Reality

Few see the historic omens in a revival of the old Rome-Berlin Axis. That was recently made apparent by Britain’s defense secretary, Philip Hammond, who encouraged Germany to “put aside the legacy of World War ii and be more willing to ‘deliver firepower’ for nato and the West” (Telegraph, May 9).

Hammond pushed for Germany to forget the past and assert itself again as a military power. He encouraged Germany to demonstrate “a willingness to pick up the burdens that go with having a globally important economy … recognizing that it can’t continue to be the dominant economy in Europe without also significantly increasing its military capability” (emphasis added throughout).

Such a view demonstrates both a woeful blindness to history and a profound ignorance as to the nature of the Germanic peoples. It certainly shows the paucity of true, visionary leadership in Britain today (Isaiah 3:1-4).

Those with a better grasp of the facts should surely fear any tendency for a revival of that old Rome-Berlin Axis. Let those facts speak for themselves:

“On Nov. 1, 1936, Germany and Italy, reflecting their common interest in destabilizing the European order, announced a Rome-Berlin Axis one week after signing a treaty of friendship. … On May 22, 1939, Germany and Italy signed the so-called Pact of Steel, formalizing the Axis alliance with military provisions. … [T]he German invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, unleashed the European war” (Holocaust Encyclopedia).

That summarizes the more recent history of the Rome-Berlin axis. The effects of that Rome-Berlin Axis are summed up in the devastating statistics of the carnage it unleashed in World War ii. Of the estimated 60 million slaughtered in that greatest war in history, 29 million are estimated to have been killed in Europe alone. The massive number of injured plus the untold damage to property and the countryside of the Continent must all be included to give a true picture of the cataclysmic result of the most recent Rome-Berlin Axis of just seven decades past.

Yet, even more ancient histories should warn us of what is bound to occur when Rome and Berlin connect with the common goal of destabilizing the European order!

Awful History of Rome-Berlin Alliances

The first-century historian Tacitus put it this way: “The Germans have no taste for peace; renown is easier won among perils. … [T]hey are so strangely inconsistent. … The liberty of the Germans is a deadlier foe than the tyranny of the kings of Parthia” (Germania).

As the German author Adolph Schalk observed, “Thus as long ago as a.d. 98, the Roman historian Tacitus … already regarded the German people as a force to be reckoned with in Europe” (The Germans).

What was the role that Tacitus assigned to Rome in its relationship to the Germans? “Tacitus regarded [the Germans] as overgrown children who needed the strong arm of Roman discipline to keep them in line.” Thus arose, with the crowning of Charlemagne in a.d. 800, the Holy Roman Empire.

Rome acted as both spiritual guide and unifying force of those “strangely inconsistent” people for what later became, under Emperor Maxmilian i, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The official German record says this about that title: “The term used for the empire, which emerged from the East-Franconian Empire of 962 with the coronation of Otto i as emperor, as of 1512 was officially called the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation—expressing, on the one hand, a claim to power as the successor to the ‘Imperium Romanum’ of antiquity, and on the other, highlighting the religious role of the emperor. The ‘Reich’ survived for more than 800 years until … 1806 …” (Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, London).

In its wake, it left a trail of blood.

Watch and Pray!

Now, the old Rome-Berlin Axis is resurrected. A Bavarian pope at the helm in the Vatican is engaged in a great crusade of “new evangelization.” Rome’s men lead both the European Central Bank and the Vatican’s home base nation, Italy. All that remains to complete the prophetic picture in Europe is for the new “Charlemagne” to arise and pull together the final prophesied 10-nation combine under a “super-president” office such as proposed by the Berlin Group.

These are all key pieces in a formula that will catalyze the ultimate fulfillment of some of the most powerful Bible prophecies for our time! These prophecies foretell of great devastation to be brought upon the Anglo-Saxon nations in the wake of this seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire!

These most recent dynamic events in Europe indicate that, even as Jesus Christ declared of these times we are living through, more than ever it is time to “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).

Too Many People?

Too Many People?

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Is a population explosion an evil—or a blessing? The answer is not what you think!
From the July 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

On Oct. 31, 2011, photographers and United Nations officials crowded into a hospital in Manila, awaiting the arrival of a very special visitor. She came just before midnight, instantly greeted by oohs and ahs and popping flashbulbs.

Danica May Camacho was no supermodel or starlet. She was a newborn. The UN had selected her to symbolically represent the planet’s 7 billionth person.

The hype surrounding Danica’s birth was manufactured to draw our attention to the burgeoning global populace—and the challenge of sustaining it. Earth now supports more people than at any time in its history. And serious questions about just how much higher that number can realistically go are weighing on thinking people the world over.

Futurists have predicted for decades that the population explosion would threaten civilization. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb predicted that hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s, including 65 million Americans, in “a great die-off.” To this point, though, advancements in producing and managing our food, water, energy, pollution, waste and wealth have outpaced the difficulties. And people just keep multiplying. In fact, every single day, births outpace deaths by more than 200,000 people.

Does our world suffer from having just “too many people”? It’s an important—and fascinating—question.

The book of Genesis records God’s command to the first man and woman, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” God wanted the human population to grow, and He provided ample material blessings in order to sustain it.

However, a lot of impoverished people haven’t enjoyed those blessings, and there are more poor than ever. Meanwhile, others’ complex modern lifestyles are devouring resources far faster than ever in human history—not just oil, coal and natural gas, but also metals, minerals and other elements we use every day. If industrialized nations actually started running out of some of these things, the result would be massive disruptions.

The truth is, ominous evidence is already emerging that we are beginning to run out of easily accessible supplies of these resources. Not just a few of them. Practically all of them.

Mankind is nearing a crossroads. The population and standards of living cannot keep rising indefinitely. At some point soon, the human race is going to hit “peak people.”

But again, is the problem simply that there are too many of us? There is a deeper cause we must face.

How Many Is Too Many?

How many people can comfortably live on Earth at one time? Ecologists and other scientists have pondered this “carrying capacity” for years. Now the question is getting more urgent.

How can we keep everyone fed, watered, clean and healthy? How can we dispose of their waste and trash? How can we house everyone and provide them with energy? How many can have electricity, cars, appliances? What happens when demand for oil, coal and natural gas exceeds supply?

These questions are destined to become more urgent as the populace keeps expanding, particularly as expectations about standards of living rise.

In the world’s most populous nation, a burgeoning middle class is suddenly demanding luxuries that have long been restricted to the Western world: more meat on the table, more cars in the garage. China is now actually the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, making more cars last year than the United States and Japan put together.

Right now, America has less than 5 percent of the world’s people and consumes 20 percent of its resources. What happens when 10 or 20 percent of the world wants to live like Americans?

In the early 1990s, William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel conceived of the Global Footprint Network (gfn), a model for estimating the ecological demands that various standards of living put on the planet. They calculated that the average person on Earth needs 4.4 acres of land and sea to support him. To maintain current living standards, the average person in China needs 5.4 acres, and the typical American needs nearly 20 acres.

Ehrlich, who still lectures as a professor in population studies at Stanford, estimates that for the average human to live like the average American, we would need four or five more Earths.

Estimates of Earth’s carrying capacity vary wildly. But most serious estimates fall between 10 and 20 billion people.

That size population, though, would require revolutionary changes from our world as it is today, which is already facing supply problems with only 7 billion. Clearly, to bring this planet to the point where it would comfortably support a population two to three times what it is now would require far better stewardship of its resources than we exercise, and far greater cooperation within that population.

Realistically, could that ever happen?

We are beginning to approach the answer to our question.

Insatiable Demand

Those who claim the world is producing too many people have some compelling evidence.

Humanity is clearly on an unsustainable course. We simply cannot continue to mismanage, consume and pollute the way we are right now. Current demand is rapidly depleting current supplies of finite resources like oil, coal, natural gas, metals, minerals and even water. New discoveries of easily accessed sources are getting more rare, and older sources are declining in output.

Meanwhile, demand continues to rise. Last year oil use reached a record high of 87.4 million barrels a day. Based on the gfn model and present rates of growth in demand, Rees and Wackernagel calculate that mankind will need two Earths’ worth of resources—before we even hit 2040. They also estimate that it takes the planet 18 months to regenerate what humanity consumes in 12 months. “Humanity is living off its ecological credit card,” Wackernagel said in 2006.

Peaking supply and rising demand point to an inevitable crunch that, at the very least, will drive prices up to levels that could ruin already fragile economies.

One obvious sign of the approach of this crisis point is the means by which more and more resources are being collected today. Easily accessible reservoirs of crucial resources are disappearing, so governments and corporations have begun to exploit more difficult-to-reach, expensive, environmentally risky and even dangerous sources. Oil is being coaxed out of the inhospitable Arctic and from the ocean depths, where it creates disasters like the massive Gulf of Mexico spill in the summer of 2010. It is coming from tar sands, a costly process that takes an enormous amount of energy to harvest and convert into a usable form. Natural gas is being mined through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which can produce 80 million gallons of toxic wastewater per well and may have other environmental drawbacks. Rare earth minerals, used in a variety of modern technologies, are in short supply. Because of the environmental dangers of mining them, America shut down its rare earth production years ago. Meanwhile, China bought up a virtual monopoly on these commodities, and now is able to practically hold to ransom the rest of the world that seeks to use them.

One of the most basic human needs is food, but modern food production now faces rising oil and gas prices, which increase food production costs at every level of the process, including for the pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Phosphorus, crucial for fertilizer, cannot keep up with rising demand. Arable land is becoming scarcer as we degrade and erode our soil with ruinous farming practices. Most of the world’s big fisheries are experiencing dramatic declines in supply. Adverse weather events like droughts and floods are increasing, which reduce crop yields or even wipe out harvests.

Look at these concerns in the big picture: Already, more than a billion of the world’s people are undernourished, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (fao) says. Meanwhile, food production is rising at only about half the rate of global population and food demand.

More People, More Suffering

For those of us who take basic needs like decent food and clean water for granted, it is easy to overlook the vast swaths of fellow Earth-dwellers who have little of either. For so many, the problem of resource scarcity is as real as the gnawing pain in their empty, distended bellies.

Every day almost 4,000 children die from waterborne diseases. Nearly a billion people lack access to safe water. The fao says that number will rise to 1.8 billion by 2025. Over 2.5 billion don’t have adequate sanitation.

Drought and food shortages in the Sahel region of West Africa are putting 23 million lives at risk, the UN says. Several African countries have suffered from these problems consistently for the past few decades, but they are growing worse. The UN Children’s Fund estimated earlier this year that a million young children in the Sahel region risk death or permanent disability from severe acute malnutrition. Malnutrition contributes to about a third of the deaths of children under age 5.

How much of these crises are attributable to the raw pressure of overpopulation? We cannot ignore the plain fact that most of the world’s population growth is happening in less developed areas. While birthrates in much of the First World aren’t even at replacement levels, Africa and Asia are reproducing like mad. Based on current trends, Africa’s population would double to 2.1 billion by 2050; Asia would add another 1.3 billion. By 2050, the world’s less-developed regions would hold 85 percent of the world’s 9.2 billion people. The great majority would grow up in conditions of moderate to extreme want—like the 2 billion people who already survive on less than $2 per day.

Of the 80 million babies born in developing countries each year, 20 million are in the world’s poorest nations. In these cases, growth in human population directly correlates to growth in human suffering.The more people, the more suffering!

However, in most of these cases, blaming the crisis on “too many people” is simplistic and misguided. The truth is more complicated.

Many analysts say there is still plenty of food and water to go around. It just isn’t getting to where it is needed. Why? Economic trouble, poverty, rising unemployment, dropping incomes, rising food prices, bad leadership, corruption, violence, war.

This truth lies at the crux of our fundamental question! The problem isn’t that the Earth lacks good resources, it’s that people lack good resource management. It isn’t too many humans—it’s too much human nature.

This dangerous reality is about to explode in our faces!

Resource Wars

With many population- and resource-related issues, one can easily foresee mankind soon starting to hit some immovable walls. There is no “central planning” to address most of these questions.

What is beginning to emerge, then, is an increasingly combative environment in which each country angles to secure its own future by staking its claims at whatever cost it deems necessary. Author Michael Klare says the world is plunging into “a crisis of resource depletion.” The title of his book is as chilling as it is fitting: A Race for What’s Left.

Africa and Latin America are becoming battlegrounds, particularly between China and Europe, over who will control the commodities locked away there. Several countries, especially in Asia, anticipate trouble on the horizon and have been snapping up huge tracts of African farmland—not to feed Africans, but to feed their own people. More and more, major powers are treating each other based on competition over energy resources, with energy exporters virtually weaponizing the political leverage they wield against their dependent importers.

History vividly illustrates the consequences of such rivalries: broken economies, societal upheaval, famine, war.

But it is not just history that should raise our concerns. These are exactly the sorts of perilous conditions that biblical prophecy reveals will besiege our world in its final days, a time we have now entered. Epic clashes over resources, within and among populations, are coming!

The Bible describes these events alongside the sudden emergence of a global economic superpower. This force will strike out in aggressive imperialistic fashion, gobbling up resources and even enslaving whole peoples to satiate its covetousness and stoke its engines! Scripture also describes the exact size of a combined Asiatic army—a multitude that would never have been possible before the population on that continent grew to the size it is today! (Revelation 9:16).

This is how “this present evil world,” as the Bible describes it, will come to its violent end! Scripture says the warfare will become so slaughterous that not a single human being would be left alive—unless God Himself intervenes to stop it! (Matthew 24:21-22).

Thankfully, that is exactly what He will do. These monumental world wars are not the end of the story on the human population. Biblical prophecy also reveals what lies beyond the ferocious end of this age.

The Coming Population Explosion!

The human race has produced four times as many people in the last 100 years as we did in the previous 5,900 years! And consider what happened in the brutal 20th century: two massive world wars and countless smaller wars, several famines, disease epidemics, pestilence. Yet the global population still boomed from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 7 billion people today!

The rocketing population rate isn’t a result of people having more children—in fact, birth rates are lower now than during previous periods in history. The difference is that people are living longer and having children who survive infancy.

What would happen if world conditions suddenly changed even more drastically for the better?

What would happen if there were no war, no famine, no disease epidemics, no infant death or other blights that shorten life spans and wipe out whole groups of people? How would this affect quality of life, fertility, life spans—and population growth?

Whether or not you believe it, the sure word of biblical prophecy promises that this is exactly what will happen!

Present world conditions reveal the imminence of the greatest event in history: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. When He returns, Christ will establish a far better world than the one our children are being born into.

The prophecies in Scripture describe conditions of peace, prosperity, abundance, good health and strong families that will prevail for century after century after century—10 of them, in fact (e.g. Revelation 20:4). They promise that people will obey God’s health laws and spiritual laws on a broad scale. As a result, there will be no sickness, no pain, no suffering. There will be, as Herbert Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages, “vigorous, vibrant good health, filled with dynamic interest in life, enthusiastic interest in constructive activities bringing happiness and joy.”

Clearly, these are conditions extremely conducive to population growth even more explosive than this planet has already seen over the past century.

Now, as the current strains over resources well illustrate, indiscriminate population growth is not desirable. Our planet contains a finite amount of God-given resources over which He has made us stewards.

Earth cannot sustain several billion people who all consume and waste resources like Americans do today. It cannot indefinitely provide for multiplying people who pollute its waters and skies, turn its forests into deserts, strip its soils and depopulate its animal species.

However, biblical prophecy offers practical insight into how these destructive practices will come to an end. It provides exhilarating details about how the questions of population expansion and resource management will be handled. It vividly describes a world where people treat this planet with respect—where they properly steward its resources—where they strive to maximize Earth’s productive potential, not just for themselves but also for their children and grandchildren—and where, as a result, they enjoy God’s richest blessings!

Be Fruitful and Multiply

Just as He told Adam and Eve, God wants human beings to fill the Earth! (e.g. Psalm 128). And He promises that, after He prevents them from annihilating themselves, they will do so again. In Isaiah 27:6, for example, He prophesies, “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”

That future population boom takes on an inspiring dimension when viewed in the context of God’s great purpose for the human race.

God made man in His own image and likeness; He gave him dominion over the animals; He told him to subdue the Earth—to govern it; He commissioned him to dress and keep the world around him—to work it and watch over it (Genesis 1:26-29; 2:15; Psalm 8:4-8). Do you know why?

The Bible makes clear that these responsibilities are intended to prepare human beings for much greater opportunities in the future!

Once you grasp the incredible potential of humanity, then the awesome answer to how many people Earth can support begins to emerge: Ultimately, from God’s perspective, the more human beings, the better.

How to Accommodate a Population Boom

Today, 29 percent of Earth’s surface is land, and only 10 percent of that is cultivatable. Not even 3 percent of the Earth’s surface is suitable for food production.

The Bible prophesies that these restrictive conditions are about to change radically.

Jesus Christ is about to be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. His government will rule the whole Earth. Thus, with guidance from the Creator, mankind will learn to successfully “dress and keep” the material creation as the first humans were instructed but failed to do. The curse that God placed on the land because of Adam’s sin, which makes farming and food production far more laborious, will be lifted (Genesis 3:17-19; Isaiah 55:13).

Better land management practices, amplified by God’s blessings, will reclaim mile upon mile of wilderness and desert, making them habitable and productive (Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-7). By following God’s agricultural laws, mankind will produce food without depleting the soil. Encumbrances like pests, blights, diseases, droughts, floods and other disasters will be all but eliminated; favorable weather will be the rule (e.g. Deuteronomy 28:4-5, 10, 12; Ezekiel 34:26-27). Fields, crops, orchards and vines will be so productive and yields will be so great that farmers will be unable to keep up; they will still be harvesting when planting season comes (Amos 9:13-14). This and other prophecies describe food production—gardens and animal husbandry—taking place even within cities (e.g. Jeremiah 33:12).

Increased agricultural prosperity and higher crop yields will substantially increase the land’s ability to sustain a burgeoning human population. More people will be able to live off the resources of fewer acres.

In addition, God promises to increase the acreage of habitable land, actually reshaping the planet’s topography in order to make room for more and still more people! Read the description in Isaiah 41:15-16 of a huge threshing instrument leveling mountains. This prophecy provides marvelous proof that the Bible was divinely inspired, not merely the imaginings of uneducated camel herders: The need for such a machine wouldn’t even enter the mind of a man living in a world with only 200 million people! God, however, knew there would come a time when these continents would reach maximum capacity, and humankind would simply need more land!

In the World Tomorrow, under God’s direction, with human beings practicing good stewardship and enjoying phenomenal health and wealth, the world population will grow well beyond 7 billion! It will far surpass 10 billion, even 20 billion!

The deeper into the Millennium we go, and the more populated Earth becomes, the more critical good stewardship will become. Mankind will need to be increasingly cognizant of reducing trash, of employing innovative ways of dealing with human waste, of drawing upon clean, sustainable energy sources. And you can be sure that God won’t simply give mankind all the answers. He will supply laws and guidelines, provide wise counsel, and then challenge us to find our own solutions.

How many people can our planet support? Perhaps the best answer is this: The better stewards we are, the larger the human population can be.

Still More People!

The fact is, God doesn’t tell us how many people Earth can host. It seems likely He had a number in mind when He created the planet at a certain size, with specific amounts of resources, and humans with certain land, soil, water and mineral requirements to sustain a life. But He may continue to let the human race grow in responsibility and wisdom as we approach that answer through analysis and experience.

However it unfolds, we can be sure that the civilization that God governs—even with an enormous human population—will be clean, efficient, organized, harmonious and fabulously beautiful.

Even that, however, is not the end of the story. The Bible also reveals that at the end of a thousand years, there will be a sudden, massive population explosion, when all human beings who have lived and died throughout history without knowing God will be resurrected to physical life (see Revelation 20:11-12; Ezekiel 37:1-14). Historical population estimates suggest that this will be somewhere around 100 billion people!

What a contrast it will be for those people, who only experienced life as it has existed under flawed human mismanagement, suddenly awakening within a world that perfectly provides all the needs of a population several times larger than the one they left! They will receive a powerful, living illustration of the importance of good stewardship!

By the end of that period of judgment, during which those people will build houses and plant vineyards, continuing to tend to the Earth (Isaiah 65:17-25), surely this planet will have been used to its maximum! It will be humming with life, filled with people who have been educated in proper stewardship, caring well for whatever gifts and resources God blesses them with.

At that point, the Bible shows that this remarkable human race will be able to apply those lessons on a much larger scale.

When one understands the unfathomable vastness of God’s plan for man, and our Creator’s awesome purpose for human beings, and the incredible potential bound up within every last child created in His likeness, then one can appreciate the true beauty of this glorious population explosion!

Sidebar: Chilling ‘Solutions’ to Population Growth

Many brilliant people have contemplated our resource reality in great depth. They have recognized the problem, applied their sharpest reasoning, and come up with exactly the opposite of God’s remedy—a “final solution,” if you will: Get rid of the people.

The way they see it, the more people, the worse off we are. They are bigoted against their own human race. Radical environmentalists, for example, freely admit that they think humans are basically viruses. They want to take civilization back to hunter-gatherer days. Their answer is not better resource stewardship. Not less human nature. Fewer humans.

Some of these influential individuals have promoted very draconian and quite chilling ways to accomplish this goal. These people share much in common with some of history’s most oppressive governments. Both use the facts on population and resource use to justify outlawing large families, forced sterilization, aborting babies, female infanticide and other dreadful “solutions.”

In China, over a third of married couples are restricted to having one child. Beijing credits the policy with preventing 400 million births since 1979. The head of the British government’s Sustainable Development Commission, Sir Jonathon Porritt, considers that a smashing success, calling it “the biggest carbon dioxide abatement since Kyoto came into force.” His organization, the Optimum Population Trust, seeks to combat greenhouse gas emissions by cutting Britain’s population in half—through means it doesn’t specify.

Germany Is Growing Resentful and Angry

Germany Is Growing Resentful and Angry

delight/iStock

It’s all over the news that Europeans are fed up with Germany, particularly its consistent demand for making cutbacks in order to correct the Continent’s economic problems.
From the July 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

But what about the Germans? What do they think of all the anti-German sentiment? And more significantly, how will they respond?

Think about this crisis from the perspective of the average German. Since 2008, his nation has been saddled with the unpopular, high-risk, hugely expensive task of rescuing Europe. The Germans didn’t ask for this. And they certainly aren’t responsible for the chaos: Neither the government nor the people have taken on suffocating debt or spent profligately on frivolous comforts; the Germans don’t take long siestas, work six-hour days or pay themselves annual bonuses for simply showing up to work. To the contrary, the Germans have worked hard, saved their money and wisely lived within their means. Yet, Germany is expected to endure tremendous risk and make major sacrifices to rescue its neighbors. It has already forked out tens of billions in bailouts, and is on the hook for tens of billions more.

For what? Germany’s European counterparts are thankless, unrepentant—and in many cases, openly hostile.

Viewed from this perspective, one can understand why the Germans are frustrated and resentful. The troubling question is, where will the anger and resentment lead?

The German public’s disdain for Greece is no secret. “Germans are now predominantly of the opinion that they would be better off if Greece left the eurozone,” said Carsten Hefeker, a professor of economics and an expert on the euro at the University of Siegen. “Nothing is in writing,” said Guntram B. Wolff, deputy director at Brussels research group Bruegel, “but people really are clearly and openly talking about” Greece leaving. As German daily Die Welt put it, “The German citizens are certainly not prepared to finance Greece’s vacation from reality.” To the contrary, many of them want to give Greece and the other profligate eurozone countries a lesson in reality.

In May, Victor Davis Hanson, a historian and Stanford professor, put Germany’s welling resentment in historic context. “There is one general rule about the history of the modern state of Germany since its inception in 1871,” he explained. “Anytime Germany has been both unified and isolated, armed conflict has followed” (emphasis added).

Hanson noted the parallels between events leading up to World Wars i and ii and events unfolding today. “In other words, serially hurt pride and a loss of deterrence seem to have been keys to the outbreak of the three German wars,” he warned. Today, Europe’s debt crisis and the growing backlash against Berlin’s leadership is once again wounding Germany’s pride and arousing resentment and animosity.

As Hanson wrote: “Let’s wait and see what happens when Europeans not only default on lots of German-backed loans, but also defiantly announce that they should not have been given them in the first place—and thus should not have to give them back at all. Injury for Germany is one thing; insult on top of it might be quite another.”

Again, one can easily identify with Germans’ frustration over their reckless, thankless neighbors. Nevertheless, their welling resentment is an alarming trend. You’re human; you know where such emotion can lead. And when it comes to Germany, history reveals a unique tendency for deep-seated national resentment to end in intense conflict.

Victor Davis Hanson concluded with a chilling and important warning. “History is quietly whispering to us in our age of amnesia: ‘I would not keep poking the Germans unless you are able to deal with them when they wake up.’”