Watch Jerusalem!

Watch Jerusalem!

Fred Froese/iStockphoto

If you follow just one major news trend, make sure it is what is unfolding in this pivotal city.
From the August 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

World events from today to the end of this age are going to revolve around Jerusalem. This city is going to be the very epicenter of all major events in the future.

We are living in the very end times. The Bible refers to this period hundreds of times. It also reveals that we are nearing the end of this age, which will culminate in the worst times of violence and suffering ever on Earth.

Everywhere you look, you see violence and war. Governments are toppling every month, it seems. And yet massive violence continues—even in nature and the weather. Why so much violence?

Jeremiah 33:5 says God has hid His face from Jerusalem. But God also says in Zechariah 1:17 that He “shall yet choose Jerusalem.” When He does, He is going to make this city the capital of the world and ultimately the capital of the entire universe!

To God, Jerusalem is the most important city in the world—by far. If it’s so important to God, shouldn’t it be important to those of us who follow and obey the Bible—whether the Torah or the New Testament?

Today, God has yet to choose Jerusalem. And I want to show you why you need to watch Jerusalem right now.

The Hard Lesson From 1967

Outside of its current peril, May 1967 was Israel’s most desperate month. Egypt, Syria and Jordan were preparing to attack and telling the world they were going to destroy Israel. Other Arab nations were allying with them. Finally, on June 5, Israel launched a preemptive strike against the Arab nations and destroyed Egypt’s whole air force.

On June 5, 1967, many people thought Jerusalem was about to die. It miraculously survived.

Now, though, Israel faces an even greater problem than that.

Notice what Charles Krauthammer wrote in the Washington Post: “Forty-five years later in the middle of the night of May 7 and 8, 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shocked his country by bringing the main opposition party, Kadima, into a national unity government. Shocking because just hours earlier the Knesset was expediting a bill to call early elections in September. Why did the high-flying Netanyahu call off elections he was sure to win? Because for Israelis today, it is May 1967” (May 10).

The Jews know their nation is again in danger of annihilation! Krauthammer went on to say, “The dread is not quite as acute. The mood is not despair, just foreboding. Time is running out, but not quite as fast. War is not four days away, but it looms.”

That might be too optimistic. But his summary assessment is dead-on: “Israelis today face the greatest threat to their existence ….” Today, Israel faces the greatest threat to its existence as a nation! Greaterthan June 1967! The Israelis are again in fear of being wiped off the face of the Earth, as their enemies have again explicitly stated that they will do!

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. The world is again telling Israelis to do nothing as it looks for a way out. But if such a way is not found as in ‘67, Israelis know that they will once again have to defend themselves, by themselves. Such a fateful decision demands a national consensus” (ibid).

This is why Mr. Netanyahu was so urgent to form a unified government. Israel has now drawn together and has most of its political power backing its leader, so if he decides to try to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, he will have a united nation behind him—just as when it launched the attack in 1967. You need as much unity as you can get to be able to do something so bold, or you risk having your government toppled from within your own country. Such a strong move can’t be dismissed as “just a right-wing effort,” because there is a unity government.

In the last few years, the Jews have given away Gaza, Jericho, Bethlehem and other West Bank areas like Hebron. Hebron is where David ruled for the first seven years of his reign. Jericho is the land where God performed miracles through Joshua. Bethlehem is where Jesus Christ was born.

Gaza is in the vicinity of where Jonah fled from God’s commission and was swallowed by a great fish. In 2005, Israel evacuated 9,000 people from Gaza and withdrew its military. Almost immediately, terrorists came flooding into Gaza from Egypt, and they pose an increasingly deadly threat to Israel.

Mount Sinai, in the Sinai Peninsula, is where God Himself communed with Moses and ancient Israel. It is a place of unparalleled history. Israel won control of that region in 1967, but relinquished it 15 years later. Now that the Egyptians have deposed Hosni Mubarak, they are menacing Israel once again.

When the Jews talk about these areas, they talk about them as merely “territories.” They don’t talk about Mount Sinai and these other places that resonate with their rich history with God. But their prophets talked about those precious lands differently. They taught about them as places of mighty miracles and divine promises—places thatconnected them to God!

If you think about how the Jews are approaching this crisis today, you will realize that it is different. In the past, they thought about the Bible and about God, and looked to Him to a certain degree. Today they still talk about God and the Bible some, but the Bible doesn’t actually guide their lives as it used to. (The same attitude is in the United States and Britain.)

We can fantasize about being righteous and being a good nation ad nauseam, but we are not obeying what the Bible says. As a result, the miracles of the past have ceased!

Giving land that God gave you, in exchange for peace with anyone, is a grand delusion. The United States and Britain have helped pressure the Jews to give away that land for “peace.” It has never worked. The results have been more war and more violence. Israel’s enemies see that Israel is giving up land because it is weak, and they have contempt for that. They continue to threaten terrorism and war if Israel does not give up more land. Since the Jews won’t turn to the God who gave them miraculous victories in the past, they seem to have no other option.

What Is About to Happen to Jerusalem

Zechariah 12:3 says, “[A]ll that burden themselves with [Jerusalem] shall be cut in pieces.” God says anyone who takes on the responsibility to control His city that He will yet choose is going to be “cut in pieces”!

That is what happens to every government that tries to burden itself with Jerusalem: the United Kingdom, the United States, even the United Nations. God has a particular interest in Jerusalem. He is going to rule the Earth and the entire universe from there. And He warns everyone else not to interfere with His prerogative.

Notice another amazing prophecy about Jerusalem that you need to be aware of. It is in the context of the Day of the Lord, when the Messiah is going to return.

“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity” (Zechariah 14:1-2).

That’s the same half that the Arabs had until 1967, when the Jews conquered it. It is still inhabited mostly by Arabs. The Bible prophesied not only that the Jews would take East Jerusalem, but also that the Arabs are about to take it back.

In that prophecy, God says He will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle! Why is this all happening in Jerusalem? After half of Jerusalem falls to the Arabs, it will be like dominoes falling one after the other: one biblically prophesied event after another. This is all going to happen very fast and very violently, so you need to watch Jerusalem.

What Is About to Happen to the World

Notice what happens after half of Jerusalem falls: “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:3-4).

Do you really believe God? These are monumental prophecies in your Bible.

Look at what is happening in Jerusalem! It is the focal point of world events! God prophesied millennia ago that this would happen. And going forward, Jerusalem is going to become even more important. It is about to explode—and catch the world on fire! Then maybe more people will believe what God says.

Matthew 24:15-16 also prophesy about Jerusalem’s immediate future: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place [Jerusalem], (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.” The Bible defines that “abomination of desolation” as armies surrounding Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-22).

These will not be Arab armies. The Bible prophesies that they will be European armies. Daniel 11:40 gives more detail about these armies, which will be led by Germany. It refers to this power as the “king of the north” and prophesies that it will clash with the “king of the south,” which is Iran, the real power in the Middle East. The king of the north is going to win this war.

Notice that verse 41 says, “He shall enter also into the glorious land.” This northern power is going to enter Jerusalem. This is a strong indication that this clash is over control of the Holy City.

The Hebrew shows that when these armies enter the area, it won’t be by force. It appears they will be invited into that glorious land that has been so troubled in the past. The Jews are probably going to invite the Germans and Europe to come into the Holy Land to protect them. They looked to the U.S. and Britain. They looked to land-for-peace deals. Then they look to Germany. They never look to God!

Prophecy reveals the terrifying consequence of their faithlessness: The king of the north is going to commit a tremendous double cross! Once this European power enters that precious Holy Land, it will fill it with a river of blood. That will mark the beginning of World War iii.

Verse 45 is a prophecy that this European power will not only fight a war for Jerusalem, but it will move its headquarters there! Why would a European superpower set up a new headquarters in Jerusalem? Because this union is based not only on political power, but also on religious power! It is dominated by one of the three religions that have fought over Jerusalem for centuries.

Verse 44 speaks of ominous “tidings out of the east.” Jerusalem has exploded. Iran and its allies have pushed against the European superpower, and that king of the north has smashed Iran. It has entered into Jerusalem and committed a horrific double cross. World War iii is raging. But Russia and China will not be sitting on the sidelines the whole time. They are going to enter into this bloodbath. And they too are going to head for Jerusalem!

Revelation 9:16 prophesies of an army of 200 million soldiers! Who could assemble such a huge army? Only the combined strength of Russia and China, along with their allies. This Asiatic superpower is already beginning to form—and the Bible says it will march against Europe and against Jerusalem!

The Bible specifies that the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers will dry up and these nations will march right into the Middle East. These massive armies will gather to battle at Megiddo—Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). But they’re not going to fight there!

Joel 3:1-2 show that these armies will come to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, right at the edge of Jerusalem. All these end-time events continue to revolve aroundJerusalem!

The battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat will be so gory that the blood will be as deep as horses’ bridles for a distance of about 200 miles! (Revelation 14:19-20). God Himself will fight these armies, and He will have to do it that way because it’s the only way He can get their attention! It’s the only way He can make these carnal, bloodthirsty men believe Him!

Like so many other crucial events, this great and terrible, final war of the ages will happen right there in Jerusalem.

What Lies Beyond the War

But in spite of all the war, in spite of all the death and horrific suffering, Jerusalem is also a symbol of good news. I will yet choose Jerusalem, God says!

In 1 Kings 11:13, God says He has chosen Jerusalem to be the world capital. He will still make Jerusalem the capital of the world—then the capital of the universe!

God wants you to realize that much of the Bible revolves around Jerusalem. He says if you take heed to this, then He will reward you, and you will be able to rule with Jesus Christ on His throne in Jerusalem—forever!

God promises to put a stop to all the bloodshed in Jerusalem and around the world. He prophesies of a Millennium in which Jesus Christ and His saints will rule the Earth! Then, throughout all eternity, Jerusalem will rule the whole universe! The “very elect” will reside at that headquarters city with Christ forever (Revelation 3:12).

Abraham looked for a city whose foundations were built by God. He saw beyond the Millennium to a time when God the Father will bring new Jerusalem down to this Earth and rule the God Family Himself. The Son and His bride will rule under the Father, all right there in Jerusalem.

At that point, everyone will have become spirit beings, and what starts on this Earth, at Jerusalem, will go out to rule and bring life to the universe!

Bath Salts Do Not Turn People Into Flesh-Eating Zombies

Bath Salts Do Not Turn People Into Flesh-Eating Zombies

©iStock.com/inhauscreative

Do you recognize demon possession when you see it?
From the August 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

What possesses a human being to do something so ghoulish, so barbaric—so inhuman? The recent spate of bizarre cannibalistic crimes sounds like a script from a shock B-grade horror film—but it’s actually happening.

A homosexual pornographic actor in Canada apparently taped himself hacking his partner to death and eating him, then mailed his victim’s dismembered feet and hands to the nation’s main political parties. A naked Miami man ate almost the entire face off a homeless person. A Louisiana man was working in his yard when a stranger came and bit off a chunk of his face. A college student in Maryland carved up his roommate with a knife and devoured his heart and part of his brain.

The mind reels. And all this happened within a couple weeks at the end of spring.

Much media coverage centered on a potent drug known as “bath salts” that a couple of these attackers might have taken. Its ingredients are now banned. Okay, but are we really going to pretend that this combination of chemicals is the real cause of these horror stories? No drug turns people into crazed, violent beasts.

These are clearly crimes influenced—or perhaps even committed—by demons.

That’s right. Most people laugh or scoff or ignore it. But there is a spiritual dimension to these macabre events. Demons are very real, and they are very active in the world today.

Be honest: A drug does not make a man—whose girlfriend says was happy and with whom she “felt safe”—get out of his car in broad daylight, strip off his clothes, find a napping homeless man, savagely attack him and gnaw away at his face in full view of passing motorists and cyclists for nearly 20 minutes, then respond to multiple threats by police to shoot him by snarling at them incoherently.

However, a drug could weaken a mind enough to open the door to a demon. Subsequent inquiry found that this man hadn’t even used “bath salts.” The only drug in his system was “harmless” marijuana.

This kind of behavior is unmistakable evidence of the power of the spirit world, which has a very evil side.

The Canadian cannibal knew all about it. “There is such things as Monsters, Demons and Ghosts,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”

In this man—who, it was later discovered, appears to have committed other unspeakably grotesque murders in the past—they clearly did win. The macabre and violent nature of these acts is a measure of the demons’ extreme hatred for human beings—a hatred that has a remarkable explanation.

How much do you understand about evil spirits? Being ignorant means being vulnerable to these powerful beings.

Matthew 12:43-45 and many other passages reveal that demons crave to possess someone or some living thing. However, not all demonic activity is so obvious. Our world suffers from far more satanic influence than most people realize.

Read Revelation 12. It describes a stunning spiritual reality. It names the supreme evil spirit being as “the great dragon … that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.” The whole world is cloaked in deception about this being. He often obscures his identity—even, at times, disguising himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Do you recognize evil spirit influence in the world around you? Popular culture today is saturated in it. Fascinated by and addicted to increasingly overt forms of evil and perversion, millions are soaking their minds in books, television, movies, music, video games and websites that are explicitly demonic. Demons are influencing and even possessing many of those who produce that entertainment. Yet we naively believe we can handle it.

Add to these influences mind-altering drugs; mental imbalances; loss of emotional control; accepted perversions; and open blasphemy and hostility to God. Our society is opening door after door to sinister spiritual influences, creating a playground for evil spirits to have their way.

You need to protect yourself from demons, which the Apostle Paul called “the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12). He instructed believers to “have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11). Compromising with that world of darkness is far more dangerous than people realize.

That passage in Revelation 12 reveals the lightning-bolt truth: The violent ruler of the evil spirits, who at one time actually inhabited heaven, has been cast down: “he was cast out into the earth, and his angels [the demons] were cast out with him.” The devil and his countless demons are now roving the Earth, spreading their evil. “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!” the scripture warns: “for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

This scripture prophesies of a period when bizarre, violent demonic activity will intensify because the devil’s resentment is growing worse. Resentment over what? That’s the inspiring hope in all of this. Demons are in a frenzy because time is so short before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! At that time, He will lock up those evil spirits (see Revelation 19:11 through 20:10).

You are living in this intense time right now. Watch. Expect more of these horrifying headlines in the time ahead!

In Praise of the Slow Read

In Praise of the Slow Read

Dreamstime

In an age of tweets, texts and shortened attention spans, here’s how to bring focus and depth back into your reading.
From the August 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

A friend recently lent me a book, and three pages in, I realized that the author tackled momentous topics with concrete analysis and brilliant language. So I closed the book and returned it.

I didn’t abandon the book because I didn’t want to read it, but because I wanted to slow read it. I wanted to pore over it for months, scribbling questions and mini-essays into its margins, dog-earing its pages, and letting tears crinkle the paper under its most insightful paragraphs.

I knew my friend wouldn’t want his book returned to him sometime next winter looking like the Dead Sea Scrolls, so I returned his copy and bought my own.

Recent studies show that the desire and ability to undertake a slow, thorough reading are rapidly going the way of the dodo. Rather than reading books at length and thinking deeply, we erratically sample our knowledge morsels from a vast array of fast-food factoid buffets. For the sake of connectivity, we sacrifice our capacities to reflect and synthesize these facts into a coherent bigger picture.

But, even in the throes of this information revolution, you can learn the necessary and rewarding craft of slow reading.

Slow Reading = Writing

Reading is a complex activity consisting of “a large number of separate acts, all of which must be performed in a good reading,” Mortimer Adler says in the critically acclaimed How to Read a Book.

Adler says slow reading is “a more active kind of reading than you have done before, entailing not only more varied activity but also much more skill in the performance of the various acts required. … It is a major exertion.”

Great focus and effort is required to ingest a book in such a way that will allow your gray matter to absorb its subject matter. This exertion takes more than reading. It takes writing.

A person cannot truly own a book—intellectually or spiritually—until he has marked it up. This means underlining impressive sentences, writing important page numbers inside of front covers, and jotting notes into margins. The practice of marking up books ensures that the reader is not just passively reading, but instead swimming around in the text, collaborating with it and interacting with its author.

Seasoned slow readers will develop personalized systems of circles, asterisks, lines and so on to mark intra- and extratextual references. Some of the margins of their favorite books may be filled with full-blown essays—sideways, diagonal and upside-down. Several of my books are essentially destroyed by the sheer logorrheic power of my enthusiasm for (or disagreement with) their content.

But where the pages are battered, the memories are sturdy.

New York Times magazine critic Sam Anderson is an avid practitioner of “marginalia,” marking up a text. “Today I rarely read anything—book, magazine, newspaper—without a writing instrument in hand,” he said. “Books have become my journals, my critical notebooks, my creative outlets. … [M]arginalia is—no exaggeration—possibly the most pleasurable thing I do on a daily basis.”

This slow, focused reading is pleasurable because it is effective.

The Nuts and Bolts of a Slow Read

Slow reading is not just feverishly spraying graffiti on a book’s pages. The process varies, but there are some tried and true methods that every serious reader should use.

Adler says the first of these is discovering and stating the unity, theme or main point of the whole book in a single sentence—or a few sentences, if necessary. A reader cannot settle for a mere feeling of this unity. He must nail it down, definitively and concisely. There is only one sure way to know if you’ve succeeded in this: Write it down.

In some cases, the author may have already completed this first step in the book’s title. For example, a fairly complete self-description lies in the title of F. Kaid Benfield’s Once There Were Greenfields: How Urban Sprawl Is Undermining America’s Environment, Economy, and Social Fabric. In non-fiction books, the theme may also be spelled out in a preface or introduction. A wise reader is neither too proud to consider the author’s help if he offers it, nor so naive as to blindly accept every book as being exactly what the author claims it is.

In most cases—especially with fiction—the reader will have to construct the unity sentence from scratch by reading the text itself. After my second reading of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, I wrote this in my copy: “The story of three generations of the Trask and Hamilton families, exploring the theme of good versus evil, and relying heavily on the biblical story of Cain and Abel. Steinbeck ascribes great significance to his translation of the Hebrew word timshel (‘thou mayest’) in the Cain/Abel account, arguing that it proves that human beings have free will, and can choose to do good or evil.”

For most books, this unity sentence will be quite difficult to create, and may be possible only after wading deep into the text, or even finishing it completely (unless outside sources are consulted). The inside of a book’s front cover is a suitable place to write it, but realize you may need room to expand or otherwise modify it as you become better acquainted with the book.

The Skeleton Beneath the Skin and Muscle

The next rule of slow reading is to draw up an outline of the text. Creating an outline is tedious business, but it provides the slow reader with a quick reference and helps to ensure that he has followed the author’s thread from beginning to end.

I find the inside of a book’s back cover to be a suitable place to sketch the outline. Some readers prefer to use a separate notebook or sheet of paper.

An effective reader, according to Adler, will take the time to define and write out the problem(s) the author is addressing. After completing the book, the reader must determine which of these he solved and which he didn’t. Then the reader should note which of the unsolved problems the author knew he failed to solve.

Adler spends several chapters encouraging readers to avoid contentiousness, and to be informed and fair in criticism of books. “You must be able to say, with reasonable certainty ‘I understand,’ before you can say any one of the following things: ‘I agree,’ ‘I disagree,’ or ‘I suspend judgment,’” he says. “You can be just as wrong in agreeing as in disagreeing. To agree without understanding is inane. To disagree without understanding is impudent.”

Slow reading means devoting yourself earnestly to books, stopping to look up any word or reference you don’t understand. It means consulting helps and commentaries, and writing down your questions, thoughts and reactions.

A slow reader’s goal is not to finish a text as quickly as possible, but to understand it as fully as possible. A book or article that a reader tackles following these slow-reading guidelines has the potential to influence that reader deeply.

Life Is Too Short to Read Good Books

But we are finite beings with serious constraints on our schedules, and the slow-read process requires time and effort. So you must cautiously determine which texts are worth your precious slow-reading time.

In this information age, a staggering amount of reading material is available. In fact, even before Twitter, the Internet or even the printing press came along, King Solomon wrote, “Of making many books, there is no end, and much study is a weariness to the flesh.”

In The Art of Thinking, Ernest Dimnet offers this sage advice: “Don’t read good books—life is too short for that—only read the best. … If you want to be vitalized into the power of thinking real thoughts resolutely leave out whatever is not of the best …. Those 20 or 30 volumes will be your library, that is to say, your fountain of thought, your delight.”

Dimnet understood that human beings possess limited learning capacities. He knew that to read through a meaty book only once, especially quickly, does little for our long-term education. So he said we should slow read only the very best books, and that we should not be afraid to read these gems over and over again.

That’s not to say that other materials should be avoided, but only that we must differentiate between texts we read for our information, and those we read for our formation. As English statesman Francis Bacon said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

Try it. Shut out the distractions, settle in, pick up a great book—and do some chewing and digesting. Savor the slow read.

The Glory of Empire

The Glory of Empire

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Britain is ashamed of its imperial past. It shouldn’t be. The right kind of empire has a noble and powerful impact on this world!
From the August 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Imagine if Winston Churchill visited London today—perhaps to watch the Olympics, or to speak before Parliament. What would he think?

Churchill was the greatest figure of the 20th century, and perhaps the most towering personality to come out of Britain in the last few centuries. Though Churchill had and still has some critics and detractors, few ever questioned his love for his country.

Churchill is still widely considered a great man. He was a fearless warrior and masterful military tactician and leader. He was a brilliant statesman and a quick-witted politician. He was also an exceptional historian, an eloquent orator, a gifted painter, and one of history’s most underrated philosophers. Excelling in any one of these fields is enough to qualify a man as great, yet Churchill excelled in each of these areas.

But what motivated Winston Churchill? What motivated him to devote virtually every minute of his life to fighting for his nation? What motivated him to master military tactics and strategy? What motivated him to work so hard to become a great public speaker? What motivated him to endure the hard slog of politics? What motivated him, even in the twilight years of his life, to churn out articles, columns and books?

What was it that motivated Winston Churchill to become a great man?

Child of the Empire

Winston Churchill was born in November 1874. Queen Victoria was on England’s royal throne at the time, and the British Empire was near the apex of its global might and majesty.

During the reign of Victoria, the British Empire’s holdings around the globe expanded until it had become the largest empire in history. Though Great Britain was a small island nation, by the end of the 19th century it was said that the sun never set on its territory. With its colonies, protectorates and territories, the empire included over 14 million square miles of land and 450 million people—more than a quarter of the global population. With supremacy at sea, Britain took on the role of global policeman, and came to dominate world politics.

The vast tracts of lands it possessed to harvest natural resources brought great wealth into the empire. Owning such a large amount of the planet gave Britain unparalleled power in world trade, and granted it significant influence over the economies of countries like China, Siam (Thailand) and Argentina. In Britain’s ports, ships arrived from all over the globe carrying goods and raw materials that fueled the local economy. The wealth supported an age of scientific, industrial, cultural and military advancement within the United Kingdom.

It was within this environment of imperial greatness that Winston Churchill grew up. In his book Churchill and His Generals, Raymond Callahan explains the impact the British Empire had on Churchill’s mental, intellectual and moral maturation: “Churchill’s hostility toward Bolshevism abroad and socialism at home had its parallel in his reaction to nationalism in the empire. He had grown up with the late Victorian surge of empire building. He was 8 when Britain occupied Egypt, 11 when Gordon fell at Khartoum, and present when Gordon was avenged at Omdurman in 1898. The empire he had known as a young man always would seem to him part of the natural order of things …” (emphasis mine throughout).

Churchill passionately loved the British Empire, more than anything else in his life. He wanted the empire to be part of the natural order of things. Callahan continues: It was “beneficent and an indispensable prop of British power and greatness. Yet his entire political career would be played out in an era of challenge and dissolution for imperial rule.” Every minute of Churchill’s life, every decision and tactic, every new bill, every column and book, stemmed from his devotion to the British Empire!

It is easy to oversimplify Winston Churchill’s love of the empire. He didn’t love it simply because it was English, or powerful and wealthy, or because it ruled over tens of millions of people. Churchill’s writings show that his love for empire went much, much deeper. There was a selfless, altruistic, noble dimension to his devotion.

Winston Churchill wanted to share the British Empire with the rest of mankind.

Empire With a Purpose

Churchill believed the British Empire had a larger purpose. During World War ii, he once stated, “Whatever may happen on the Continent, we cannot doubt our duty, and we shall certainly use all our power to defend the island, the empire and our cause.” Perhaps most of his countrymen were fighting only for England, or for the British Commonwealth. But Winston Churchill was fighting for humanity!

Historians have noted how Churchill would speak of England’s special destiny. Merriam-Webster defines destiny as “something to which a person or thing is destined; a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.” Churchill was never an overly religious man. But he did, especially as he got older, believe in the presence of a Higher Power, and that there was a grand strategy being worked out on Earth.

On one occasion Churchill announced, “I have not become the king’s first minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” Here’s what Lord Moran, Churchill’s doctor and close confidante from 1940 till 1965, said about that statement: “It was not just bravado. He was affirming a faith for which he was prepared to give his life, and he proved it throughout his life.”

Dr. Moran then stated, “If Winston has believed in anything at all in the course of his long life, it has been in the British Empire and all that it stands for.’”

Churchill’s ambitions were larger and nobler because he filled his mind with empire thinking. This expanded his ability to give selflessly and tirelessly, to sacrifice and do whatever was necessary to grow and preserve that empire.

Author and historian Kirk Emmert explored Churchill’s devotion in his excellent book Winston S. Churchill on Empire. He wrote, “The word ‘empire’ in the title is to be taken on many levels. The glory of the British Empire was its service to a cause that transcended Britain, that transcended history, that transcended time itself.”

Of course, the British Empire wasn’t even close to being perfect; there were plenty of mistakes and injustices. But it emphatically was not the cruel, evil and inhumane force that many today think it was.

Emmert wrote that in Churchill’s view, the British Empire acted to “lift human life away from barbarism and savagery towards civilization and human excellence.” In many instances, that is exactly what it did. It was, as Churchill believed, a powerful civilizing force that benefited all of humanity!

Empire the World Needs

Historian and Harvard professor Niall Ferguson explains in detail the good work of the British Empire in his book Empire. Despite the wide criticism leveled at the British Empire today, he writes, “the fact remains that no organization in history has done more to promote the free movement of goods, capital and labor than the British Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And no organization has done more to impose Western norms of law, order and governance around the world.”

Ferguson does a very good job making the case that “the world we know today is in large measure the product of Britain’s age of empire.” He documents Britain’s towering contributions to the lands it colonized, and to humanity in general—contributions that included the English language and literature; English forms of land ownership; Scottish and English banking; Common Law; team sports; representative assemblies; and modern notions of freedom and liberty.

All these things were rooted in Judeo-Christian values, which the British shared with mankind during their global rule.

Isn’t an empire that leads the world away from savagery toward human excellence a good thing? This worldneedsthat kind of empire!

Even America’s forefathers, despite their hostility to many facets of British rule, recognized Britain’s enormous contributions to the moral view of man. In June 1783, George Washington wrote, “The foundation of our empire was not laid in the gloomy age of ignorance and superstition, but at an [epoch] when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period ….”

On July 10, 1833, Lord Macaulay stated in a speech before British Parliament, “There is an empire exempt from all natural causes of decay. That empire is the imperishable empire of our arts and our morals and our literature and our laws.” When Churchill entered the scene a few decades later, his view was essentially the same. These men believed Britain had a unique and special system of law, values and morals, and wanted to share those with the rest of mankind.

Contrast that ideal with what you see today, when Britain’s greatest export is lawless, amoral, drunken thuggery! Just laws and upright morals should be exported around the world. But Britain instead spreads deep corruption and a plague of evil, as does America. That is a terrible shame.

Emmert explained that Churchill believed that the “fostering of civilization [is] the highest purpose of empire.” It was Churchill’s hope and belief that the British Empire, grounded on a strong system of law and morality, would improve the character of both Britain’s leaders and its subjects. It never did this perfectly, but it did so more than any other people or empire!

True imperialism … develops manhood,” Churchill said. That is politically incorrect today—but it is still very accurate! True imperialism—the expansion of an empire rooted in law and morality—does create quality men—and women. Churchill was a masculine man, a courageous, selfless individual. It was largely the British Empire that made him a real leader, one of the greatest in our time.

‘Little Englanders’

Churchill always had his detractors. He often called them “little Englanders.” These people wanted to do away with the empire—to renounce it and live an inward life. Churchill believed that such a retreat from the world would have terrible consequences.

“In his opposition to both little Englanders and to unbridled imperialists, he defended what he viewed as a modern, essentially political understanding of empire,” wrote Emmert. “Contrary to current critics of imperialism, Churchill argued that a properly constituted, imperial rule was civilizing in that it improved both rulers and ruled, preparing the ruled for self-government.”

Churchill warned “little Englanders” that their desire to retreat and live in seclusion was a dream—and that such thinking would inevitably bring conflict!

Read these words from Churchill during the battle of Dunkirk: “We shall fight in France, and we shall fight on the seas and the oceans. … Then our empire beyond the oceans, armed and guarded by the British fleet, will carry on the struggle until, in God’s good time, the new world with all its power and might sets forth to the rescue and liberation of the old.”

Churchill didn’t view the British Empire as a conquering force. He viewed it as a force for freedom, justice and civilization—and it was!

That strong belief in empire did great things for mankind!

Where do you find that spirit today in Great Britain? If Churchill visited Britain today, I think he would be horrified, and deeply saddened and ashamed, at the state of the nation he dedicated his life to serving.

In fact, he would barely recognize it!

God’s View of Empire

Human history has certainly produced some very evil empires. Rather than civilizing the world, some empires have made it more barbaric and violent. According to biblical prophecy, the most savage empire of all is going to rise just before Jesus Christ’s Second Coming—and we can see it emerging before our eyes in Europe today! At present, it is disguised with sophistication, but soon it will revert to its historical brutality.

That ugly history has contributed to the evil view that many people today have of empire in general, especially among intellectuals and scholars in the West. However, the existence of these barbarizing empires doesn’t change the good that a civilizing empire can do. And the scholars’ cynical portrayal of the British Empire is very deceptive and dishonest.

At its core, is it immoral to have an empire? No. There isn’t anything wrong with an empire if it brings good. Truly, the right kind of imperialism can accomplish great things!

In fact, if you understand the gospel that Jesus Christ brought to this Earth—advance news from God the Father of the soon-coming Kingdom of God—it was at its heart an imperialistic message!

The Kingdom of God could very accurately be called the God Family Empire!

God has a plan to lift human life away from barbarism and savagery toward civilization and excellence. He has a strategy to spread just laws and right morals. He intends to fulfill the noble purpose of fostering the right kind of civilization for the benefit of the whole world!

God is laying the foundation of that future empire today. He is preparing a people—His Church—that will be ready when the time comes that Jesus Christ is crowned King of kings and Lord of lords.

Are you one whom God could use for that noble purpose? Would you devote your life to this greatest of all causes?

Think on this statement from James Anthony Froude, which he wrote in his book Oceana: “A man … who is more than himself, who is part of an institution, who has devoted himself to a cause—or is a citizen of an imperial power—expands to the scope and fullness of the larger organism; and the grander the organization, the larger and more important the unit that knows that he belongs to it. His thoughts are wider, his interests less selfish, his ambitions ampler and nobler. … A great nation makes great men, a small nation makes little men.”

Froude was talking about the British Empire. Churchill and many others were living proof of that statement. That great empire ennobled them and set their imaginations on fire.

But Froude’s observation is infinitely truer of the empire that God Himself is establishing! This empire improves both rulers and ruled. The more we understand it and commit our passions to it, the less selfish our interests, the wider our thoughts, the ampler and nobler our ambitions become!

After all, this is God’s empire! It is the greatest, most wonderful and inspiring endeavor that will ever be. No nation or kingdom on Earth will ever produce greater men and women than God’s Kingdom—and you can join forces with it even today!

In Drones We Trust

In Drones We Trust

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Waging war from 50,000 feet by remote control is cleaner—but does it make us safer?
From the August 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

One of the American military’s biggest weapons is its drone program. And one of the biggest threats to its drone program is America itself.

At the Pentagon on January 5, United States President Barack Obama announced major changes to America’s military strategy. Wired magazine summed up the new direction: “Humans Lose, Robots Win in New Defense Budget.”

The president’s new plan calls for trimming about 100,000 soldiers from the ranks of the Army and the Marines. The president and his advisers are advocating a kind of sterile war-making directed out of air-conditioned cubicles of joystick warriors, who fight a war halfway around the world brought to them on computer screens. This new breed of soldier kills bad guys and then heads home for dinner.

This robotic trend has been overtaking the military for the last decade. Unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones, have become indispensable war fighters because they are relatively cheap, and, ironically, they are dispensable. Including peripheral systems, an mq-9 Reaper drone costs a little more than $30 million, while the manned Joint Strike Fighter will cost about $140 million.

Drones are changing how America engages in war. For politicians and military staff, the advantages are especially alluring. It is war with less nuisance: less blood, less money. When a robot is blasted into shards of metal and oozing fluid, there is no sad funeral, no letter to bereaved parents and no national angst at the untimely death of yet another young man in the prime of life. Drones offer freedom from some of the human constraints and risks that come with conventional and counterinsurgency warfare. So far, drones have not become a hot-button issue among the mainstream media, so the military enjoys a certain amount of impunity. This makes it more likely to take risks it would not otherwise take, and more likely to use deadly force.

It is hard to argue with the success these drones have had. In conventional war, counterterrorism and covert cia operations, they have proven highly effective. They have given America advantages that the enemy just doesn’t have.

More Drones, Please

7,494 of the military’s total aircraft are now drones, according to congressional research published in January. That’s about 31 percent—up from 5 percent just seven years ago. While manned planes continue to receive the lion’s share of procurement dollars (92 percent), the United States has still spent nearly $26 billion on drones since 2001. And costs for robots are way below those of manned aircraft. For $1 billion, you can buy about seven F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, or you can get about 33 Reaper drones. For a government and military complex facing budget pressures, the bang for the drone buck is quite compelling.

Of the 7,494 drones in use today, about 5,300 are Raven drones. Built for conventional and counterinsurgency warfare, the $35,000 hand-launched remote-controlled uav has a ceiling of 500 feet and a range of about six miles, and it can return to its launch point with the press of a button. During the Second Gulf War, the Raven was used for advanced reconnaissance and surveillance.

But it’s the Predator drone and Reaper drone that garner the most media attention. Used for conventional, counterinsurgency and counterterrorism work by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency, the drones can be outfitted with Hellfire missiles, take high-quality photos and listen to cell phone conversations—and all from 5 to 10 miles above the ground. Deployed in groups of four, they can be kept in almost continuous night-and-day operation, what the Air Force calls “deadly persistence.” As of January 2012, the U.S. has 161 Predators and Reapers. Pilots—including some who have never flown a real plane—sit in cubicles halfway around the world and scour video feeds for targets. Iterations of these two drones have been operational in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and along the U.S.-Mexican border.

The highlight of the drones’ tour of duty so far has been the alleged dismantling of al Qaeda. In 2009, counterterrorism officials credited drones with having killed over a dozen senior al Qaeda leaders and their allies in the previous year—comprising more than half of the cia’s 20 most wanted “high value” targets. As recently as this past June, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta reported that a U.S. drone strike had killed al Qaeda’s number two, Abu Yahya al-Libi, in Pakistan’s lawless North Waziristan tribal area.

In addition to these two models, other unmanned combat aerial vehicles are in the works. Nearly a trillion dollars has been invested in the Northrop Grumman x-47b, which is designed to take off from an aircraft carrier, bomb its target, and return to the mother ship all while being flown entirely by computer. Boeing is developing the Phantom Ray ucav for surveillance and ground attack. A dizzying number of other drones are being researched, developed, tested and delivered—including drones that can carry nuclear warheads. This is the future of American warfare.

Hackmageddon

But the advantages and early success of unmanned aerial vehicles comes at a cost, including a bad case of overconfidence. The U.S. military is overestimating the strength of this new technology while simultaneously underestimating threats to it. This has led military planners and politicians to overreach, turning their present tactical monopoly into a full-blown military strategy for the future.

This overconfidence is leading to mistakes that America’s enemies have exploited and will continue to exploit. America may wield a vast technology edge over the Taliban and other tribal terrorists, but more technically advanced enemies are lurking in the shadows, working to take advantage of weaknesses in America’s new robotic army.

Primitive terrorists with machine guns and grenade launchers may be vulnerable to American drones. But American drones are vulnerable to cyberwarfare. Drone failures and captures have already been made public, underlining the risks Washington is taking by gambling the nation’s future on robots.

Emerging systems simply have errors. Both the technology itself and the systems designed to prevent problems will always contain flaws—flaws that can be exploited. There are flaws designers are aware of, flaws they are not aware of, and flaws cyberattackers can build into the system—potential backdoors for sabotage, data mining or worse. And it’s happening already.

An egregious example of American complacency occurred in 2009. An Iraqi insurgent was detained, and his computer confiscated. On its hard drive, authorities found hours of supposedly proprietary and secret drone video feeds. How in the world did a low-level Iraqi insurgent get his hands on American drone video feeds? Someone bought a satellite video capturing program for $26 off the Internet and loaded it on the computer. With these video feeds, he might have been able to inform other insurgents of impending drone attacks, perhaps allowing them to live and kill another day. This mind-boggling breach must have caught U.S. commanders off guard, right? Not so. Wired online reported, “[H]ere’s the real scandal: Military officials have known about this potential vulnerability since the Bosnia campaign. That was over 10 years ago” (Dec. 17, 2009).

Wired online also reported on Oct. 7, 2011, that a major virus was plaguing the onboard computers of the Predator and Reaper drones. The virus was traced back to a staff member who inadvertently uploaded it from a thumb drive. The virus has resisted all attempts to wipe it from infected drones. It also allegedly monitored keystrokes and could have mined sensitive data from classified systems. But most alarming of all is that the military personnel responsible for removing the virus and protecting the wider military network found out about the problem by reading Wired’s breaking news report.

Lower-level technicians did not follow the chain of command and report the infection in a timely manner. In fact, more than two weeks passed before appropriate military personnel were mobilized to take any serious action. One military security source said, “Nothing was reported anywhere. They just didn’t think it was important enough. The incentive to share weaknesses is just not there” (Wired, Oct. 11, 2011). In subsequent reports, the military reported that the problem was benign after all, and no serious damage occurred. But what else is it going to say?

Then there is the curious case of Iran capturing a fully intact version of the stealthy Sentinel spy drone last December. Iranian officials claimed they had hacked into its navigation controls, spoofing gps signals and tricking the drone’s onboard computer to land in Iran. While the U.S. military denies the drone was hijacked, some Western analysts say that, though remote, navigational spoofing is possible and has been possible for the last 20 to 30 years. No other reasonable explanation has been given as to how Iran got its hands on one of America’s most advanced spy drones in pristine condition. Iran has been reportedly offering up the drone’s secrets to the highest bidders, including China and Russia, who will try to reverse-engineer the drone.

Finally, two Cambridge experts have found that some made-in-America-but-assembled-in-China computer chips aboard some military drones have a backdoor built into them.

“In a paper that has been published in draft form online and seen by the Guardian, researchers Sergei Skorobogatov of Cambridge University and Chris Woods of Quo Vadis Labs say that they have discovered a method that a hacker can use to connect to the internals of a chip made by Actel, a U.S. manufacturer. ‘An attacker can disable all the security on the chip, reprogram cryptographic and access keys … or permanently damage the device,’ they noted” (Guardian, May 29). These chips are in American dronesright now.

None Goes to Battle

Unmanned aerial vehicles have offered the United States tactical advantages and have achieved several successes. And they are just part of the most advanced military the world has ever seen.

However, these tools are necessarily and unfathomably complex, requiring a network of complicated systems to not only function together properly, but also remain free of interference and attack. They have unique limitations and vulnerabilities that are already being exploited.

Will the benefits outweigh the risks? For clues as to the answer, we can turn to biblical prophecy.

Many Bible prophecies make the surprising prediction that America—which is descended from ancient Israel—is about to be defeated militarily. If you compare its technology and its arsenal to any other nation or group of nations, this seems almost impossible. But if you respect the prophecy more than the conventional wisdom, your perspective on America’s increasingly drone-reliant military strategy changes—and possibilities emerge of just how such a defeat might happen.

Ezekiel 7:14, written over 2,500 years ago, makes a startlingly relevant prediction: “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle ….” An attack will happen, and America will need a military response. The call will go out to defend, yet none will answer the call. It is entirely feasible that scenario is attributable to a communication breakdown caused by technology failure—a hacking or other form of sabotage.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has repeatedly targeted America’s heavy reliance on technology as its fatal weakness. Its powerful-yet-vulnerable drone program is a prime example.

America’s trust in technology will lead to a breach of its defenses and its eventual defeat at the hands of a powerful and sophisticated enemy.

Why will America meet this terrible fate? “[N]one goeth to the battle; for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof,” Ezekiel continued. America will face a horrific—and avoidable—demise. God will punish this nation for its rampant sins and faithlessness, and the highest technology imaginable cannot stop that.

But God has also promised that He will raise it up from the ashes of horrific defeat once this nation repents of its sins. In the process, it will learn a hard but beautiful and eternal lesson. As Jeremiah wrote when his nation faced its own national security disaster: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man”—or his robots.

What It Means to Be ‘Born Again’

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 August 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Most professing Christians think they were born again when they said they accepted Christ. But does the Bible say that’s what it really means to be “born again”? This second birth is far more than most traditional Christians assume. When Jesus spoke of being “born again,” He did not mean what most people think. It is vital that we understand this subject.

Who and What Is ‘God’?

To understand what it really means to be born again, we must first understand who and what God is, and the very purpose for our existence.

The first words of the Bible are: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The original Hebrew word for God, throughout this account, is Elohim. That is the plural form of the Hebrew Eloah (“Mighty One”). So Elohim means “Mighty Ones”—more than one divine Personage. Also notice the plural pronouns “us” and “our” in referring to “God” in Genesis 1:26.

Elohim is a plural noun. That word stands for a single class composed of more than one individual, just like the words church, family or kingdom. Just as there is the animal kingdom and the human family, or kingdom, Elohim in Genesis 1 shows that there is also a God Kingdom, or Family.

Who is in the God Family? Let’s notice what the Bible reveals.

1. Who was with “God” when God created the universe? John 1:1. Is the “Word” also God? Verses 1-2. Was it the Word who actually created all things? Verse 3.

The Greek word translated into English as “Word” in John 1:1 is Logos. It means “spokesman,” or “one who speaks.”

2. By whom was all the material universe created—including this Earth and mankind? Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16-17. Who, then, is the “Word” of John 1:1? John 1:14; Ephesians 3:9 (last part). And who is the other divine member of the God Family? 1 Corinthians 8:6.

John 1:3 and Genesis 1:1 are two accounts of the same event—the original creation of the universe. Along with John 1:1-2, these scriptures reveal that the two supreme Beings of the God Family created all things. Together they planned the creation, and the Word did the actual creating. Everything was created and made by the divine Being who later became the human Jesus Christ to die for the sins of mankind!

Man Created in God’s Image

Man is not just another “animal,” as evolutionists claim. God’s purpose for creating man surpasses anything ever imagined by the human mind. Let’s continue reading the first chapter of Genesis and begin to understand the most astounding revelation of your Bible!

1. After what “kind” were the animals created? Genesis 1:20-25.

These verses specify that God created fish to reproduce after their own particular kind, birds after their particular kind, and cattle after their particular kind. Each kind has varieties within it, but all creatures reproduce only after their own “kind.” Dogs reproduce dogs, monkeys reproduce monkeys, sheep reproduce sheep, etc.

2. After what “kind” was man created? The man kind? Genesis 1:26.

Have you ever noticed that before? Man was not created after the “man kind.” He was created after the God kind! This is huge!

3. Even though man is made in the likeness of God, are both composed of the same type of “material”? John 4:24; Genesis 2:7.

There is a vast difference between spirit and dust. Although man was created in the very shape and likeness of God, he was not created out of spirit. He was made of matter, the dust of the earth, subject to death and decay. But God’s purpose is to eventually create him out of eternal spirit!

Our Awesome Destiny!

Astonishing as it may sound, God is now in the process of creating His greatest creation of all—His supreme masterpiece!

Only a very few have really understood God’s awesome purpose for human beings. The Bible reveals that awesome purpose: God is REPRODUCING HIMSELF—through mankind! Our destiny is to become the literal children of God, members of His own divine Family! Let’s understand this amazing truth.

1. God is forming and molding man; what does Isaiah liken God to? Isaiah 64:8.

God’s creation of Adam and Eve was complete only in the physical sense. They were created perfect physically—but not perfect spiritually. They were created of the dust—not of divine spirit. They were created corruptible and subject to death—not incorruptible and immortal, like God.

But the Master Potter did not intend that mankind should remain that way!

2. Are true Christians being fashioned by God for a specific purpose? Isaiah 43:7; Ephesians 2:10.

“We” in the New Testament usually refers to Spirit-begotten Christians, as Paul intended in Ephesians 2:10. We, then—if we are true Christians—are God’s “workmanship.” We are in the process of being “created”—why?—“unto good works.” God, with the Holy Spirit He has put within us, is forming in us His perfect spiritual character! With our consent and cooperation, God is creating us after His own character! We are to become the supreme masterpiece of all His works of creation—individuals who will be capable of righteously exercising the awesome powers of God! Individuals who are literally children of God—who act just like their Father!

The material creation of man is only the first phase. Now the clay model has to be fashioned and molded, with our cooperation and the aid of God’s Holy Spirit, into the finished spiritual masterpiece.

What It Means to Be ‘Born Again’

Incredible as it may sound, Jesus taught that humans can be “born” into the Family, or Kingdom, of God!

1. How many individuals does God want to have in His Family? 2 Corinthians 6:18; Hebrews 2:9-11; Revelation 21:7. What relationship does Jesus Christ have to the other sons of God? Romans 8:29.

God plainly shows that His purpose is to increase His divine Family by bringing many sons into it! Not just one firstborn Elder Brother, Jesus Christ. To be “conformed to the image” of Christ means to become like Him—to be glorified as He is now glorified—to be a member of the divine Family of God even as Christ now is.

2. What must happen to flesh-and-blood Christians before they can enter God’s Family? 1 Corinthians 15:49-52; John 3:3-8.

Jesus said we must be “born again”—CHANGED INTO SPIRIT! Yes, born again—this time born of the Spirit of God as divine sons in the Family of God!

Begotten Sons Now—Not Yet Born Again

1. If we are true Christians, are we already—in this life—the children of God? 1 John 3:1-2. Are we already inheritors of the Kingdom of God? Romans 8:14-17.

Notice that although we are now the “sons” and “children of God,” we are only heirs—ones who shall, in the future, inherit what God has promised. Why? Because we are now only begotten. It is only when we are born of God that we become inheritors of God’s Kingdom—divine members of the Family of God.

Before the second phase of man’s creation—our spiritual creation—can begin, God the Father must first beget each of us by placing His Holy Spirit within our minds to join with the spirit in man. We are then impregnated, so to speak, by the “seed,” or germ, of eternal life. It is the begettal of the spiritual life of God within our minds. Much as a newly begotten physical embryo begins to grow in his or her mother’s womb, we are to grow in spiritual character after we are begotten by God’s Spirit. This growth results from Bible study, prayer, and walking with God every day of our lives.

2. Do we actually receive of the divine nature of God when we are begotten by His Holy Spirit? 2 Peter 1:3-4. What are some of the divine characteristics, or “fruits,” of God’s nature that obedient Christians manifest in their lives after they are begotten by God’s Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23.

Born Again at the Resurrection

1. Can we humans inherit God’s Kingdom? 1 Corinthians 15:50. What must happen to us to be born as divine sons in God’s Family? Verses 51-53.

“That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” said Jesus (John 3:6). But we have not yet been born of the Spirit. We are still flesh and blood—capable of pain and bleeding. But when born into the God Family, we will be free of human pain and suffering (Revelation 21:4). And with our new spirit bodies, we will be unfettered by the physical limitations of time and space. When Christ was resurrected—“born again”—He was able to pass through solid walls (John 20:19, 26). Any human beings who claim to already be born again are completely mistaken; after all, they are still flesh and blood.

Jesus said we must be born “of the Spirit”—we must become composed of spirit—to ever see or enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5). And so the second birth is something yet to occur at the resurrection to immortality!

2. Speaking of the resurrection—when the second birth will occur—what did Paul say regarding the new body Christians will receive? 1 Corinthians 15:42-44. Will they resemble what Jesus Christ already is like? Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2; Matthew 17:1-2; Revelation 1:13-16; Matthew 13:43; Daniel 12:3.

Because God is spirit, when one is born of his heavenly Father, he will also be spirit—he will be composed of the same substance of which God is composed. He will be given a spirit body like Christ’s and will be glorified and given tremendous spiritual power. The power and glory that Spirit-begotten Christians shall receive at the resurrection will be so great that it will make their faces shine as the sun! And all who are thus born again of God will be able to see God because they will be in the Kingdom—the divine Family—of God!