Israeli Pullback Continues

From the May 1998 Trumpet Print Edition

True to the Trumpet’s prediction, the Mideast peace process is in shambles. Several sources predict a possible Mideast war in 1998.

The November 1993 Trumpet revealed, via Gerald Flurry’s feature article, Yasser Arafat’s public speeches as being replete with references to the ultimate goal of “an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital.” Arafat went on to say, as we reported, “We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a Palestinian state.”

Our feature article in the January 1996 Trumpet blared, “Here is what to watch for in the months ahead: Look for Israel to continue in their complete retreat from territories gained in past wars. This will make them more vulnerable to attack…. Tensions between Israel and her neighbors will increase. There will not be peace—regardless of how many treaties are signed. As the threat of war looms for Israel, look for them to turn to the European Union for help and support instead of America.”

Two years later, the peace process is all but over, violence in the region has not stopped, and Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territories continues.

Though unwilling to pull back from more than 10 percent of the West Bank, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to halt all military action in Lebanon and withdraw Israeli troops from the 340-square-mile buffer zone to the international border.

Lebanese President Elias Hraw, however, rejected the Israeli cabinet’s decision as a “trial balloon,” while Damascus continues in rhetorical mode its demand for the return of the Golan Heights—an area located in northern Israel, secured during the 1967 war and crucial to Israeli security.

Sources within both the U.S. and Israeli administrations claim that America is intent on seeing Netanyahu removed from office so that he might be the scapegoat for the failed peace process. Meanwhile, the man whom Arafat has called his friend, Shimon Peres, waits in the wings, biding his time.

Israel Keeps Courting EU

From the May 1998 Trumpet Print Edition

“Seldom has an Israeli prime minister made such a concerted effort to bring so many of the European Union’s key members into the Middle East peacemaking picture as did Netanyahu” on his European tour in March, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Each of Netanyahu’s stops proved symbolic: Madrid hosted the Middle East peace conference in 1991; Bonn has been more responsive to and supportive of Israeli policies than any other EU nation; Oslo was where the Palestinian accords were drawn up; and London is where the current EU president resides.

This trip, along with Netanyahu’s visit to Bonn on December 4 last year, sends a strong message to all observing the political landscape of the world: Israel wants the EU more involved in Middle East peace efforts.

Considering the recent inertness of U.S. diplomacy in Middle East peace negotiations, it’s easy to see why Israel is looking for help elsewhere. American envoy Dennis Ross’ unsuccessful stint in the region in late March was viewed by some as America’s last chance to revitalize talks. After Netanyahu flat-out rejected Ross’ proposal for an Israeli withdrawal from 13 percent of the West Bank, Ross lost patience. He said the matter of arranging further talks rested solely in the hands of President Clinton. The New York Times said Ross’ failure left Clinton with two options: “Either try to exert greater pressure on Netanyahu by making their proposals public, or abandon the role of mediator” (March 31, 1998).

For some time now, we have been saying that America’s days are numbered as the primary broker for Middle East peace. At the same time, we have been advising our readers for years to watch for strengthening ties between Israel and Europe (see p. 28 of Jan. and p. 29 of Sept./Oct. 1997 issues). Recent events confirm our biblical prediction for Israel: When the going gets tough for Israel in the Middle East, they will turn to the German-led EU for help, not the United States.

Sony Chairman Predicts Financial Collapse

From the May 1998 Trumpet Print Edition

“The Japanese economy is on the verge of collapsing,” said Norio Ohga, chairman of electronics giant Sony Corporation, on April 2. He said, “If the economic situation continues to decline, we [Japan] will face a long spiral of deflation. This will no doubt have a damaging effect on the world economy.” This deflationary downward spiral in Japan and its worldwide implications is exactly what the Trumpet has been warning about in many articles in our 1997 and 1998 issues. The nations of the world are facing tremendous financial trouble and Japan is at the very heart of that trouble!

The April 3 Wall Street Journal states, “Japanese [stock market] shares have plunged 5% in the past two days, and 7.5% in the past week …. A weakening Japanese economy and falling Tokyo stocks would trigger round two of the Asian crisis.”

The March 4 International Herald Tribune said economists “warn that Japan, the world’s second-largest economy, is about to enter the worst deflationary period in decades unless the Japanese government takes urgent action. … Deflation is downward momentum in prices, profit and wages. This [Japanese economic condition] is deflation, and it’s something we have not seen in a long time. No major economy has suffered this kind of thing—where you have all three factors dropping at the same time—since the mid 1930s.”

On April 3 a spokeswoman for Mitsubishi Research Institute was quoted on Australian TV news as saying, “Japan is the largest supplier of funds to the rest of the world and most notably to America. The American economy is very much surviving on the strength of funds flowing in from Japan and if that is not forthcoming, obviously, the wonderful new paradigm of the American economy is going to collapse as well.”

Rescuing the Rich

In Southeast Asia, currency devaluations and other austerity measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund are devastationg common workers while wealthy investors and bankers are being bailed out. Fair? No. Typical? Very!
From the May 1998 Trumpet Print Edition

U.S. Representative Bernie Sanders is quoted in the February 16, 1998 Insight magazine as saying, “I think the record is pretty clear that the impact of IMF austerity programs has been tragic for lower-income families. Very often unemployment goes up, wages go down and government programs in terms of subsidizing food and health care are cut…. I don’t think the U.S. should be part of a process that makes life worse for those living in abject poverty. I don’t think it’s any secret that the major cause of this problem is huge global institutions [primarily banks] who lent substantial sums of money to [other] banks and businesses in Asia who were unable to pay them back. The banks made a mistake, but I don’t think I should go running to [U.S.] taxpayers nor should I be punishing workers in Indonesia. We should look at restructuring the problem to ask those who caused the problem to pay for what should be done.”

The Insight article continues, “In Indonesia, for example, [President] Suharto has acted as a major distorting influence on the country’s economy. His six children have amassed [financial] holdings in virtually every sector—airlines, banks, hotels, mining, petrochemicals. As in other Asian countries, the banking system is riddled with corruption and nepotism. The Suharto clan and their friends have enjoyed sweetheart deals and tax breaks that haven’t helped the Indonesian economy and did much to bring it down. Estimates of the family’s wealth run to $40 billion—exactly the amount of the IMF’s rescue package for the country.” This favoritism towards family and friends in financial dealings is what has become known as “Asia’s crony capitalism”: leaders enriching themselves and their favorites while impoverishing the people of their country.

Indonesia’s Plight

MSNBC News Service in Jakarta, Indonesia, reported the following on January 9, 1998: “Fearing a worsening economic crisis, thousands of panicked Indonesians rushed to supermarkets where they snapped up everything in sight…. Ignoring an army appeal for calm in the world’s fourth most-populous nation, Indonesians lined up more than 20-deep at checkout counters to buy sugar, rice, cooking oil and whatever else they could grab before yet another price rise. [Local] markets have been ravaged as the IMF sends its team to Indonesia. Calls for [President] Suharto to step down, unthinkable a week ago, were published Friday on the front page of the Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s influential English-language newspaper.”

In spite of riots, violent protests and social unrest, President Suharto was re-elected by his puppet parliament on March 10 to his seventh five-year term of office. And as The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) of March 4, 1998, stated, “[Mr. Suharto] has accumulated a fortune during his three decades in power…and has no intention of stepping down—crisis or no crisis.” Yet, the article continues, “The situation is dire. Indonesia’s poor worry more and more about putting food on the table…. Take tempeh, a product made from milled soy beans that is a key source of protein for Indonesians who can’t afford more expensive foods like meat or eggs. A block of tempeh that cost 1,000 rupiah several weeks ago now costs 4,000 rupiah.”

Indonesia’s currency, the rupiah, has lost over 75 percent of its buying power since July 1997 when the rupiah’s exchange rate was 2,430 rupiah to US$1. As of March 6, 1998, the rupiah traded at an incredible 10,250 to US$1, down from an astronomical high of 14,750 rupiah to US$1 in January 1998. Only the rich have the means to avoid such a devastating currency devaluation by quickly converting their savings into a reserve currency like the U.S. dollar. However, the poor have no options, and must watch helplessly as the value in their money is literally devoured before their eyes by hyperinflation, leaving them virtually penniless.

In the March 13, 1998, CSM, Helena Cobban writes, “Indonesia…is not the only Asian nation suffering from the current downturn. The problems started in Thailand and have swept through other East Asian nations. But nowhere else except in Indonesia has the political will to solve problems been so totally stymied by the country’s internal political rot. And Indonesia is big: Asian statesmen are rightly fearful of the consequences if this 200-million person nation implodes. With its location astride key shipping lanes…and its status as the world’s largest Muslim nation, an Indonesian collapse could spark political and military unrest throughout the [Asian] continent.”

Witnessing Poverty Up Close

In Matthew 26:11, Jesus Christ said, “You have the poor always with you,” and that is certainly true. The vast majority of mankind is wretchedly poor and it will continue that way for now. Proverbs 10:15 (RSV) tells us, “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.”

On March 16, my wife and I returned to America from a business trip to Guyana, South America, where we witnessed the effects of shameful government corruption and currency devaluation. We saw real poverty up close and on a personal level as we visited several small villages about 70 miles outside of the Georgetown capital. This was my second trip to Guyana and the first for my wife. Though I had told my wife about the crushing poverty in Guyana, she was unprepared for the emotional impact of what we would encounter: an impoverished society which, for most Westerners, is almost unimaginable.

In spite of an abundance of natural resources like bauxite, gold, diamonds and manganese, as well as major export crops like sugar cane, rice and coconuts, the political corruption and failed economic policies of this English-speaking country’s leaders have led Guyana into an ever-deepening pit of devastating poverty.

One of my Guyanese friends said that in 1966, when the British relinquished control of what was then known as British Guyana, the currency exchange rate for the Guyanese dollar was US$1 to Guy$1.80. Today, that exchange rate is US$1 to Guy$146.00, a grievous 99% loss of value against the U.S. dollar!

Last year, an IMF loan of $2.1 billion was arranged for Guyana. My friend says the average citizen does not know how it was spent and no improvements can be seen because of the loan. But now the poor citizens of Guyana, who are already in grinding and disheartening poverty, must repay it. Who profited from the loan? It certainly wasn’t the impoverished citizenry.

As we journeyed, we saw many people wearing clothes which were heavily worn, often repeatedly mended, and more often still in need of mending. Cleanliness is only relative in many areas because household cleaning water must be drawn by buckets from roadside ditches filled with mosquito-infested, foul-smelling, muddy, stagnant water contaminated by human waste and garbage, and in which cattle, sheep, donkeys and pigs wade and drink.

Piles of garbage line the roads because no sanitation system exists. Litter is everywhere—some new, some years or even decades old. Rusting hulks of abandoned cars lay alongside the roads, stripped bare of any usable parts and simply left where they quit running ten, twenty or thirty years ago. No one bothers to clean up the mess.

Near the pothole-filled roads one occasionally sees the rotting corpse of an animal being swarmed by vultures or packs of scavenging dogs. On the landing approach to Timehri Airport outside Georgetown, we all gagged as the plane filled with the repugnant odor of putrefying garbage and smoke from burning sugar cane fields. To say the environment is polluted would be a gross understatement.

Refrigeration of food and running water are only a sometimes thing because the electricity is on and off continually, frequently overnight. In grocery stores and homes alike, frozen food goes through repeated cycles of thawing and refreezing due to prolonged power outages.

Guyana is not a healthy place to visit, let alone live.

Over the last 30 years, incompetent, greedy and self-serving government officials and business leaders have ravaged the Guyanese economy and devalued the currency into nothingness! The same thing is occurring in Southeast Asia today, and is even being worsened by the IMF which is supposed to be “saving” the Asian people from the 1997 Asian financial meltdown. But it is only the rich and powerful who profit as they drive the poor into deeper poverty through the IMF loans. As Job 24:3-11 shows, the poor are victimized and left helpless by those in power.

Deceitful Dealings

Nationally syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan wrote in the February 16, 1998 Insight, “Like the savings and loan debacle [in the U.S. during the 1980s], Asia’s financial crisis is not some natural disaster. It is man-made and made not only in Asia but also in the United States at the Treasury Department and the International Monetary Fund, or IMF…..

“When the [Asian] crisis exploded, the IMF rushed in to bail out the banks and impose its patented medicine on the stumbling Asian regimes: austerity and [currency] devaluation…. Thus, like some quack [doctor] prescribing a regime of rigorous exercise for a patient with two fractured legs, the IMF rescue squad arrived in Indonesia and nearly killed the patient.”

Mr. Buchanan summarizes his article by saying the American people should “send a message to big money: Next time, you boys eat your losses.” He then calls for the abolition of the IMF “to ensure that in future defaults, it is the big banks and foolish investors who made the blunders, not American taxpayers and workers, who take the hit.” In closing he wrote, “Asia’s crisis has revealed the inherent risks in [the] drive for ‘global integration,’ and [the] new world order stands exposed as a rich man’s racket.”

Nothing New Under the Sun

King Solomon of ancient Israel, the wisest man to ever live, other than Jesus Christ, is quoted in Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV) as saying, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Truly, the impoverishment of the poor has continued for thousands of years and will continue until the system is changed by the return of Christ when He will “make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

Almost 2,000 years ago, when Christ was in human form on this earth, He told mankind how human government works and about this present evil world (Gal. 1:4) and its Golden Rule which says, “He who has the gold rules.” Christ’s words are recorded in Luke 22:25 where He says, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them [the people]; and they that exercise authority upon them [the kings and rulers] are called benefactors.”

According to various commentaries, those “benefactors” are “royal tyrants” who were “more often a curse and a scourge” as they ruled politicians and royalty with their money and their power, driving down the poor in the process of enriching themselves. The real power in today’s world, just as in ancient societies, is Big Money—the benefactors—who rule from behind the scenes by pulling the strings of the puppets they have put into office and whom they control with their wealth.

What Are the Fruits?

The Holy Bible says, to understand a matter we must judge “by the fruits” (Matt. 7:16-20). And what are the fruits of IMF bailouts?

The Washington Times of February 15, 1998, says in an article by Lorraine Woellert that “The International Monetary Fund is the world’s richest uncle, a generous free-spender…. But after more than half a century of fiscal nurturing, the great benefactor is going broke. In a matter of months, the economic free-fall in Asia claimed nearly all of the IMF’s $200 billion in reserves.”

As this article goes to press, the United States Congress is debating whether to replenish the IMF’s coffers with $18 billion of taxpayer’s money for future activities. The Wall Street Journal of March 13, 1998, carried an article entitled “The IMF’s Big Wealth Transfer,” in which it discussed how American taxpayers are “losing money because the [interest] rates at which [the IMF is] lending dollars are lower than the rates at which they are borrowing dollars….

“These so-called IMF ‘loans,’ then, actually offered extraordinarily generous rebates of about 10 percent below market rates. On the $117 billion lent to East Asia under IMF auspices thus far, the region is saving about $12 billion a year in interest payments. Over three years, South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia will have received a direct wealth transfer of at least $35 billion, mostly from U.S. and Western European taxpayers….

“More specifically, much of this $35 billion will amount to a wealth transfer from middle-class Westerners to East Asian governments, banks and their rich equity owners, and from there to wealthy Western and Japanese investors who risked capital in foolish ways (or perhaps not so foolish, since there was a good chance they would be bailed out in the end)….

“The IMF, despite its efforts to push economic reforms, rewards bad regulatory regimes in the same way East Asia’s crony capitalism rewarded bad investments. There is good reason to be wary of a cure whose side effects include generating more of the same disease.”

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Africa, is quoted in the March 21, 1998 World magazine as saying that “three decades of Western aid [IMF and World Bank hand-outs] have led to ‘slavery’ rather than economic improvement for Africa.”

Jesus Christ brings the matter clearly into focus when He states in Luke 6:43-45 (NKJV), “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

The “fruits” of this “great benefactor” known as the IMF speak loud and clear. The Wall Street Journal of February 3, 1998, sums it up well in an editorial entitled “Who Needs the IMF?” which states, “As is typical when the IMF intervenes, the governments and lenders were rescued, but not the people.”

El Niño: Science vs. Nature

Scientific predictions offer little protection from a storm bent on breaking everything. Before El Niño’s tantrums ceased, its havoc reached all corners of the earth.
From the May 1998 Trumpet Print Edition

The striking impact of this year’s El Niño is the worst in recorded history. Thanks to the brilliant efforts of teams of scientists, the bottom line on this costly winter has been lessened. But still, the human and environmental toll has never been surpassed. As we witness a worsening of these global weather events, shouldn’t we be focused on the cause of the disasters? Is there a more reliable source of prediction than the climatologists’ warnings based on their vast array of technology? The answer is yes, but the experts will probably use this source as their last option!

What is El Niño?

Weather patterns equalize the energy on earth. Without circulation and distribution of heat energy caused by terrestrial and solar radiation, the global environment would not support the diversity of life that it does. The distribution of energy around the globe is the engine behind weather patterns.

Ocean currents alter the weather more than any other physical force, except changing seasons. The oceans distribute heat at a slower pace compared to the atmosphere, but the two work in tandem to distribute energy.

El Niño is a major disruption of this energy balance. During an El Niño event, trade winds diminish, so the warmer waters which are typically blown west now stagnate in the eastern Pacific off the Americas. As the warm pool broadens, trade winds head east and build towering thunderstorms in the eastern Pacific instead of the western Pacific. These storms add more moisture and energy to the upper atmosphere, which is then expelled through more violent continental storm systems. The altered balance also drives the jet stream from its usual pattern, bringing moisture-laden, energy-rich storm systems to the southern United States.

The earth’s dynamic energy balance generally brings El Niño (or its sister, La Niña—see page 11) around every two to seven years. A typical El Niño raises sea surface temperatures of the equatorial Pacific about two degrees Fahrenheit. The 1997-98 event has recorded increases over nine degrees! By October 1997, the warm pool encompassed a greater area than the continental United States, stretching over 25 percent of the circumference of the earth.

To measure the strength of this year’s El Niño, climatologists compare it to the 1982-83 system—up to now the worst on record. During the winter of 1982 through the spring of 1983, El Niño was responsible for over 2,000 deaths and a staggering $13 billion worth of damage worldwide.

According to experts we can expect the final tally on the 1997-98 El Niño to shatter previous records. “The numbers are essentially off the charts, compared to all of the historical records that are available,” said James Kinter, executive director of the Maryland-based Institute of Global Environment. “If it persists, as it is likely to do into the winter, then it is the biggest climate event of the century” (Daily News Sept. 7, 1997). Dr. Kinter’s comments have proven to be correct.

By late February 1998, the U.S. government was prepared to declare this year’s El Niño the worst ever recorded. “On a 1-to-5 scale, ‘this El Niño is at least a 5, if not completely off the scale,’ said Joe Friday, director of research for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). ‘By the time we finish, this will indeed be the most significant El Niño event of the century,’ as measured by the number and intensity of storms and damage inflicted” (USA Today, Feb. 26, 1998).

Impact of El Niño

Have we become calloused to “natural” disasters? It seems the media is reporting almost daily on a new disaster. Let’s consider some of the disasters where El Niño has been a contributing factor.

“El Niño means more than strange weather: It can put rare species at peril, unleash epidemics, and alter ecosystems. These biological effects—and their repercussions for society—are even harder to predict but can account for a huge share of the economic costs that El Niño imposes” (U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 6, 1997).

El Niño devastates fisheries on the west coast because the typically nutrient-rich waters have moved east. Marine life either dies or migrates with the waters. Damage to coral reefs may take up to a century to rebuild, as was estimated after the 1982-83 event in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. “Floods, droughts, out-of-control fires. The devastating effects of the El Niño weather pattern on both sides of the Pacific Ocean are troubling enough. But when scientist Richard Fairbanks reached the Pacific atoll of Christmas Island, he found something more quietly chilling: stretches of dead coral, no sign of fish in the water and few birds in the sky…. ‘It’s an example of a complete ecosystem collapse that’s directly linked to El Niño’…. Forty percent of the island’s coral was dead, the warmer water had killed or driven away fish and the atoll’s plentiful bird population was almost completely gone” (Herald Statesman, Dec. 8, 1997).

Not only does El Niño destroy diverse biological reserves, but it magnifies the vengeful power of nature! A normal year rarely brings a hurricane to the California coast; water temperature is not temperate enough. Yet in October 1997, Hurricane Nora blew ashore. The fingers of rain from this storm reached all the way into Arizona where 1000 people were forced to evacuate their homes. The brunt of the storm centered over southern California, leaving three dead. For the first time in 219 days, rain poured from the skies over Los Angeles, breaking a prolonged drought.

During that same fateful month, the tourist city of Acapulco, Mexico, suffered a crippling blow when Hurricane Pauline roared ashore. Torrents of rain and flooding washed mud, cars and even people into the stormy Pacific ocean. Before the storm finally dissipated, over 200 people had been killed by this weather anomaly.

Hundreds died and thousands were left homeless through Central and South America from flooding and mud-slides. It is difficult to comprehend the economic dimension in this beleaguered region of the world. Crops and livestock have washed away, leaving the people in great despair as they look to the spring and summer months.

One of the most devastating blows of El Niño is the havoc it wreaks on the agricultural industry. More than just tampering with business, the after-effects leave thousands to starve and fight off pestilence. Long after El Niño dissipates, farmers must face flooded fields and vineyards that may take months or years to recuperate.

Diversity of Disaster

Many associate hurricanes, rain and flooding with El Niño, but drought and fire are also a scorching threat of this natural oscillation. Tropical regions such as northern Brazil and much of southeast Asia are dried out during an El Niño event. These once lush, humid gardens, the oxygen factories of the earth, are prime sources of fuel for the formidable infernos.

“Raging fires fanned by dry winds have burned an area the size of Lebanon in the northern state of Roraima [northern Brazil] over the past two months, and officials said they were virtually powerless to stop it” (Washington Post, March 18, 1998). In some instances, fire fighters battling the multiple blazes in the Amazon resorted to using sticks and blankets to combat the flames for lack of equipment. These fires raged out of control for over two months before a long overdue shower squelched them in early April.

Fires in Indonesia and Malaysia are deliberately ignited annually to clear rain forest land for farming. But with El Niño’s drying affect, the seasonal monsoon rainstorms never came. As a result, nothing prevented the expansion of the tinder-box conditions which allowed fires to rage out of control, eventually charring more than one million acres.

Transportation inspectors blamed poor visibility (caused by smoke) for the crash of an Indonesian airliner in Sumatra in September 1997.

Last year, forest fires created a dense blanket of smog, which extended throughout Southeast Asia, causing widespread health problems. The haze of forest fires and drought fueled by El Niño has had a far-reaching impact on the people of Indonesia. Once the rice stores are diminished, the effects of El Niño will be felt by all the people. Considering the crumbling economies throughout southeast Asia, the El Niño spawned, 50-year drought could not have come at a worse time!

In sharp contrast, a deep freeze engulfed the northeastern United States and Canada. Over three and a half inches of rain and freezing rain coated the landscape, isolating over a half million residents in their homes. Close to four million people lost power during the January ice storm in Canada—one of the worst on record.

But the disasters capturing the widest publicity hit Florida and California. For years, California struggled through a record-breaking drought. Then the rains began to fall. No one anticipated the magnitude of the torrential downpours which flooded the state during January and early February. The wettest February on record came to a close in northern California amidst forecasts for additional rain. Since July 1997, Los Angeles has received nearly twice its normal amount of rainfall.

California has racked up over $1 billion of damage from earth-slides—none of which is covered by insurance. Even with promises of disaster relief on local, state and federal levels, many will not be able to recoup losses caused by this year’s El Niño.

Moving east, storm damage and unusual weather made their way to the southeastern seaboard of the U.S. The Carolinas and Georgia endured flooding in early 1998, but it was the intense tornadic activity which captivated our attention. Tornadoes ripped through Florida, killing 42 people and injuring hundreds more. Skipping through several counties in three hours, 260 mph swirling vortices brought horror to the central regions of Florida. Over 900 homes and businesses were left uninhabitable!

Perhaps one of the most unusual winter weather disasters happened in northern Georgia on March 20. Even with the watchful eye of National Weather Service’s satellites and meteorologists on duty, this killer tornado did not even register on their warning systems! With winds over 200 mph, the twister killed 12 people and injured over 100 others.

Impact of Predictions

As we consider El Niño’s devastation around the world, reflecting on the long-term consequences of these disasters, it is hard to be comforted when told it all could have been worse had we not received warnings last summer. Lives have been lost, property has been decimated; thousands of people have had their futures turned upside-down.

The early detection of rising temperatures in the Pacific led to many preventative measures. “Because the public has spent so much time preparing for these storms, we feel the resulting damage overall has been slight so far,” says Steve Valenzuela of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “By being armed with sandbags, plastic, and plywood to help divert water, many communities have largely escaped devastating consequences” (Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 20, 1998). Hardly reassuring words for the thousands who have suffered from El Niño.

After 1982-83, many international climate research teams began to study El Niño more in depth. If scientists could accurately predict the emergence and movement of an El Niño, they reasoned, billions of dollars could be saved, not to mention the lives of thousands of people.

The Tropical Oceans and Global Atmosphere program deployed an armada of 70 buoys throughout the equatorial Pacific to measure oceanographic and surface meteorological variables. This project was hailed as an international financial savior, thanks to the preparations for this century’s worst El Niño event made possible by their forecasts.

But experts such as Ants Leetmaa (director of the Climate Prediction Center) warned, “Even with the advances in El Niño forecasting, people shouldn’t expect too much” (USA Today, Aug. 1, 1997). The complexities of global climate prediction outsmart even the most sophisticated computer models running on the world’s fastest computers. There are simply too many factors to consider.

Scientists have learned well how to predict the onset of an El Niño. Acting on those predictions undoubtedly reduces the potential for loss, but they only dampen the magnitude of devastation. Predictions don’t stop El Niñofrom developing. Being prepared is one thing, but stopping or preventing the destruction is beyond our control—or is it?

The Cause of El Niño?

In the wake of El Niño, one thing has become crystal clear. We are better than ever at recording and analyzing the various effects of El Niño, but we we keep drifting further and further away from understanding the cause. Advances in technology develop and aid our understanding of the vast matrix of influences which result in an El Niño, but we still don’t know why it happens. “The more scientists learn about the earth’s climate system, the more complex and interconnected it seems, and the harder it is to unravel” (Time, Feb. 16, 1998).

The March 9, 1998, issue of Newsweek adds, “There is little agreement on what weather pattern will replace El Niño. Meteorologists are intent on figuring it out—their winter forecasts allowed Californians to patch their roofs, shore up hillsides, clear flood channels, bolster levees and train swift-water rescue crews. But predictions can do only so much. The devastation in Florida and California shows that the power of science is nothing compared with the power of El Niño’s storms.”

What comes next? Some are predicting La Niña. Whatever happens, this much we know: weather is becoming more unusual and less predictable! “El Niños come every three to seven years on average, and most are relatively mild. But something funny may be going on. Between 1991 and 1996, the sea surface was almost continuously warm, and there have been two record-breaking El Niños in the latter part of this century” (U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 6, 1997).

The early 1990s have brought a succession of El Niño events. Some wonder if this is caused by global warming. Others believe it to be a random fluctuation in the natural cycle. According to Time, “There are as yet no good answers to these questions. Observes Michael Glantz of the National Center for Atmospheric Research: ‘The discrepancy between what we think we know about El Niño and what there is to know may still be quite large’” (Time, Aug. 16, 1997).

In Leviticus 26:20-21 God says, “And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.” When God says He will bring seven times more plagues, the expression more accurately is translated that the plagues will get seven times worse. We are now witnessing the impact of El Niño magnified in succession. The past fifty years demonstrate a strengthening of the entire phenomena. With each oscillation bearing more devastation, it is clearly obvious that God’s prediction is true.

These “disasters,” which are scarcely understood, could be brought to an end if we would only obey God. He uses these events to bring us back to obedience to His law—a law which will yield prosperity if obeyed. Please read through Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 to discover the relationship between physical blessings for obedience and the horrible “natural” consequences of disobedience. An honest evaluation of God’s warnings, compared to what is observed today in our delicate climatic balance, can yield only one conclusion—God does exist and He controls the weather!

It’s time we took notice of what God says. The most accurate method of prediction and preparation lies in the pages of your Bible. Sadly, that is often the last place we look. How long before we truly understand the simple connection between our prosperity and our relationship with Creator God?

Unholy Union

Unholy Union

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The history and prophecy of Europe’s unique mixture of politics and religion
From the June 1998 Trumpet Print Edition

“The church of Rome is in fact founded upon a political dogma. It claims that the Pope is a ruler, or more precisely, the supreme ruler of the world. Cardinal Bellarmine put it quite starkly: ‘The pontifical supremacy is the fundamental article of the Christian religion.’

In other words, the Christian religion is founded upon this, that the Pope is the first authority, ruler and monarch on earth. Nothing of this has been revoked or rescinded. Both the spiritual and the temporal supremacy of the Pope are still fundamental dogmas of Roman Catholic teaching” (David N. Samuel, European Union and the Roman Catholic Influence in Britain).

This “world’s longest surviving international organization,” in addition to her ecclesiastical influence, is, at heart, an extremely political enterprise. “Wherever Rome is at work she seeks not only spiritual but also political power” (ibid.).

In the twentieth century, the strongest evidence of this political influence of the Roman Catholic Church is its drive to support and lead the nations of Europe into a European Union, dominated by its own spiritual influence. Yet this dogged commitment of the papacy to unite Europe has roots which go way back beyond this present century of man’s history.

“A project is being mooted, which, if carried into effect, will have far-reaching consequences indeed…. It is nothing less than to erect a European Council with the Pope as president. This will be found a great stride towards grasping anew that temporal supremacy of Christendom which the pontiff wielded in the Middle Ages…. This proposal is a very specious one. It has come from the Roman side; it has been ventilated in the London newspapers by way, doubtless, of feeling the pulse of Europe. The object put in the foreground is confessedly a philanthropic one—the saving of Europe from ruinous wars. We are likely to hear more of this proposal in time to come” (Dr. J. A. Wylie, Which Sovereign—Queen Victoria or the Pope?, circa 1880).

Ancient Idea

In fact, the idea to unite Europe under the Pope’s rule goes clear back to Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire. “The papacy ever since the days of Charlemagne has not ceased to lean upon the Germans in order to impose its authority and extend its influence throughout Europe” (Edmond Paris, The Vatican Against Europe).

“In the year 782, Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, became the military champion of the papacy, stepping into the vacuum created by the separation of Constantinople and Rome, and defending the papacy from the Lombards who kept threatening it. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor in Notre Dame Cathedral in 800. The future of Europe was bound up in that event, and the alliance between the papacy and Germany has been of great significance ever since” (David N. Samuel, op. cit.).

The Protestant Reformation was a great setback to Rome’s drive to rule Europe. However, Rome is tenacious in its aim and calls upon vast experience in terms of its history of intelligence-gathering and diplomacy. As a senior CIA representative was informed when asking a Jesuit priest, “How come the Vatican’s intelligence on Poland was well ahead of the CIA’s during the Solidarity years?” “Ah!” replied the priest, “But we have 2,000 years practice behind us!”

Following World War I, the progressive liberalization of education in the West did much to lay open to question the concept of absolute law ruling an absolute universe. Einstein’s theory of relativity was seized upon by philosophers, theologians and social scientists who misused and misapplied it to the realm of moral authority. Traditional values in society were laid open to question and their authority attacked. Traditional religion, the world’s principal bastion of moral authority, collapsed into decline. The influence on society of both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches waned. Rome proved the more resilient of the two main strands of Western religion.

“Step by step, in more recent times, with infinite patience, the Roman curia [papal government], gradually and without pause, regained the influence lost, at the same time placing at the service of Germany the spiritual ascendancy enjoyed by the Vatican among the Roman Catholics in Germany and the rest of Europe. Thus Germany the Great, like the Habsburg Empire, was to serve as the secular arm in order to annihilate the influence of Orthodox Russia in the Balkans and to restore the Holy See’s authority in secular France. That game was lost in 1918 but was resumed in 1939 with the Vatican pursuing the very same end that it is still pursuing today through the European Union” (ibid.).

As a Roman Catholic French patriot of World War II experience commented, “The church seeks not virtue but herself…. Her true concern is the constant swelling of her ranks, the strengthening of her power. Are you then surprised at her predilection for Germany…. Both love themselves alone and are hypnotized by their own powers” (Edmond Paris, op. cit.). The deeper we dig into history, the clearer it becomes that there exists a traditional alliance between the Roman Catholic Church in the spiritual sphere and Germany in the civil sphere.

Teuton and Papal Politics

During World War II, as it became apparent to Germany’s top Nazis that the possibility of defeat by the Allies was in prospect, the Nazis formulated a strategy to take the movement underground in the event of an allied victory. “When, in 1943, certain top Nazis realized that there must be at least a 50:50 chance that they would lose the war, Berlin established the Nazi International Organization at the German Geopolitical Centre which was located in Madrid, with satellite branches in Johannesburg, Rome, Lisbon and Buenos Aires. The strategies developed there are known to historians…. The Nazi International developed a ‘gradualist’ (quasi-Fabian) strategy to achieve Hitler’s aims by stealth…. The time frame was governed by a 40-year framework for German occupation…. This became the accepted time frame for the development of both German and Soviet control strategies. Forty years from 1948 takes us to 1988; the Berlin Wall was removed in 1990” (Economic Intelligence Review, March 1998).

The full integration of Europe was not possible prior to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. It has only emerged since the unification of East and West Germany, combined with the progressive Vatican-instigated separation of the Balkan states of Europe from Russian control. Since that emotion-soaked night, when the first fractures appeared in the concrete slabs of the dividing wall that separated East from West in Germany, the European Union has taken on a new momentum. It’s now driven by a German-led bureaucratic blitzkrieg aggressively applying pressure to member states to conform to a single monetary policy and currency and leading to the lifting of border controls between member states.

“To say that the European Community was based on the Nazi version of Europe or that there are parallels would be an understatement. The entire ‘European’ enterprise since the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 (and given an enormous boost by the Maastricht Treaty on European Union) is an exact replica of the Nazis’ ideas for Europe. If there is a major difference it is that unlike Monsieur Delors, Hitler was at least elected by universal franchise, and by 1942 Hitler spoke for far more (albeit conquered) countries than does the EU today” (Treason at Maastricht, p. 133).

In their startling little book, Treason at Maastricht, Rodney Atkinson and Norris McWhirter reveal the proximity of goals that exists between Hitler’s Nazi regime and those of the European Union: “But the most significant common thread running through both the Nazi and modern versions of the European State is the contempt for ‘the English system’—i.e. a belief in democratic government based on the individual, the nation state and free international trade. The defeat of Hitler and Mussolini was far more significant for its social and economic implications than for its military triumph. The ideas of collectivism, statism, trade protectionism and corporatism are not so physically apparent as the blitz and marching armies, which is why they have so successfully re-established themselves in Europe, under the guise of the ‘European’ Union” (pp. 124-125).

Atkinson and McWhirter reveal very clearly in their book that the European Union presents a great threat to British and American sovereignty! Clearly, Germany is emerging as an increasingly powerful, bullying civil powerhouse dominating Europe, allied with a politically active spiritual power, the Vatican of Rome. Each is intent on pursuing the common goal of a united Europe. That this European combine will work to the detriment of Britain, America and their traditional allies is now readily seen by an increasingly concerned, clear-thinking and growing band of commentators, particularly in Britain. (Read the comments, at left, of Lord Tebbit, previous minister serving in Lady Thatcher’s cabinet, after Chancellor Kohl threatened war if Germany did not get her way in the European Union.)

So much for Chancellor Kohl’s aggressive brand of Euro-politics. Concerning the Vatican’s political role, though it be more subliminal in approach, it is, nonetheless, just as effective as Mr. Kohl’s politics in practice.

The influence of the Vatican on swaying the national vote to get its way has been evident in this current decade: “There is a natural affinity between the powerful state and the Roman Catholic theocratic ideal. The Church of Rome makes no bones about calling on its members to vote in a particular way, as it did in the Italian elections of 1992” (David N. Samuel, op. cit.).

Such papal influence is part of a well-considered and progressive plan for the Vatican’s dominance of Europe. A Sunday Telegraph article in 1991 had the title “Hatching a New Popish Plot” and spoke of the Pope’s plans for the “evangelization” not only of Great Britain but the whole European continent. “Karol Wojtyla [the Pope],” the article goes on, “is calmly preparing to assume the mantle which he solemnly believes to be his Divine Right—that of new Holy Roman Emperor, reigning from the Urals to the Atlantic” (Sunday Telegraph, July 21, 1991).

David Samuel goes to the heart and core of the issue: “What is on offer is not federalism at all, though it masquerades under that name, but an unelected politico-bureaucracy or Euro-Fascism. The government of Europe will be an unelected body, with the European Parliament simply to give it an air of democratic legitimacy…. Present indications are that the future of the European Union is more likely to resemble the Habsburg or Ottoman Empires than a democratic federal state” (David N. Samuel, op. cit.).

Spiritual Influence

On January 16, 1604, at the Hampton Court Conference in England, John Rainolds presented to King James I the motion that the Bible be translated into the English language and thus made accessible to the common man. The very next day the king gave his assent to the motion, which led to the publication of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.

In their Epistle dedicatory, to be found printed in every edition of the AKJV since, the translators point to the Vatican’s resistance to making the Bible generally accessible to the populace. Anticipating Roman Catholic resistance to their published efforts, the translators state: “…So that if, on the one side, we shall be traduced [slandered] by Popish Persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God’s holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness.”

The Vatican fathers were not successful in their resistance to having the word of God made available to the public. However, their efforts to use episcopal power for political control have continued to this day.

To understand the Roman Catholic Church, one needs to realize that historically it has, from its earliest beginnings, been both a religious and a political body. “Wherever Rome is at work she seeks not only spiritual but also political power and influence. One experienced commentator has written, ‘No political event or circumstance can be evaluated without the knowledge of the Vatican’s part in it. And no significant world political situation exists in which the Vatican does not play an important implicit or explicit part.’ If this be true of world politics, how much more must it be true of the politics of Europe which is in the Vatican’s own backyard, so to speak” (David N. Samuel, op. cit.).

Bearing this in mind, it should not be surprising to hear voices of concern being raised in relation to the politico-spiritual specter on the rise in Europe. “The predominant religion of the confederation will be Roman Catholicism, and its spiritual head will be the Pope, to whom all who profess the Catholic faith owe allegiance—it is possible that the papacy and the Vatican could re-acquire political power at the same time…. The European Community, from its inception, was an idea in the mind of the Vatican to re-Catholicize Europe…” (The Monarchy in Peril—Ecumenism and the Throne, Spirit of 88, pp. 4-5).

The rule of the papacy, the cardinals, bishops and local priests, is extended down through the laity. The Vatican imposes upon its laity the duty to enlarge “the orbit of the apostolic light of the hierarchy. Thus wherever a Roman Catholic layman is placed, at any level in society, he must see it as his duty to extend the influence and authority of the Roman Catholic priests and bishops and ultimately, of course, the Pope, for this, it is claimed, is the same as extending the Kingdom of God” (David N. Samuel, op. cit.).

Having this in mind, it is interesting to note the high-flying Roman Catholics who have been influential in the evolution of the European Union. The generally recognized instigator of the Franco-German coal and steel production plan, launched in the 1950s, upon which the European Community was founded, was Robert Schumann. Born in Luxembourg, Schumann was a devout Catholic, now being considered by the Vatican for elevation to sainthood.

Jacques Delors, principal architect of the Maastricht Treaty and past president of the European Commission, had, at the roots of his Euro-federalist agenda, an ardent commitment to the furtherance of Roman Catholicism.

Here is what Boris Johnson wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “Few…imagined there could be any connection between the Commission president’s enthusiasm for religion and his Euro-federalism. Few, that is, apart from a handful of his closest advisers, including a Belgian ex-priest, who believe there is now a spiritual void in Britain and other EEC countries; and that Mr. Delors should fill that void by subtly turning European federalism into a semi-religious crusade.

“Religion—or at least some kind of peculiar new Euro-spirituality inspired by Brussels—is the answer to the Community’s spiritual crisis” (Feb. 28, 1993).

Delors is Jesuit educated, as is former Netherlands Prime Minister Rudd Lubbers, another dedicated champion of the Maastricht agenda. Together with Germany’s Chancellor Kohl and Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales, these leaders, all devout Catholics, hail from the Roman Catholic social movement which believes that the most noble of tasks is the unifying of the European continent.

Konrad Adenauer, a contemporary of Robert Schumann and zealot for European unity, in addition to his office as a post-war chancellor of Germany, was privy chamberlain [personal aide] to the Pope. Mr. Adenauer declared in 1953 that “Germany has a divine mission to save Western Europe.” From its inception, the European Community has been a vehicle to unite Europe under a common religion—Roman Catholicism, the glue that has traditionally bound together the Holy Roman Empire in its various resurrections.

Just as Britain is the thorn in the flesh of the European Union today, so it was in the past. Never conquered by empirical Rome, Britain was historically resistant to the Vatican’s influence till “relativism…[and] tolerance stretched the bounds of morality beyond the limits of Scripture” (ibid.).

Until the time of George V, when the concepts of moral relativism and German rationalism began to raise their heads (both concepts having their genesis in German intellectual thought), the coronation oath of British monarchs specifically prohibited adherence to Roman Catholic mysticism. The old coronation oath stated: “I do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify and declare that I do believe that in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper there is not any Transubstantiation of the Elements of Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever; and that the Invocation or Adoration of the Virgin Mary or any other Saint, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous” (The Monarchy in Peril—Ecumenism and the Throne, p. 6).

Yet within Britain, the idea of Europe becoming a spiritual entity under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church, leading to a revival of its temporal power, is being subtly developed. The British Cardinal Basil Hume, in his book entitled Remaking Europe, points out that there exists a spiritual vacuum at the heart of Europe. He then expounds on Roman Catholic social and political theory, warmly advocating the idea of a European (non-sovereign) citizenship, as proposed in the Maastricht Treaty. This is in direct line with the Pope’s public assertion, while visiting Austria in 1983, that Europeans should work for the tearing down of all “national and artificial borders all over Europe…. Europeans should overcome the menacing international confrontations of states and alliances and create a new United Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.”

Pagan Origins—Pagan Mark

This is the church that has historically overseen and commanded the slaughter of those who would not bend the knee to its will. The church that silenced Galileo and which ordered the assassination of Elizabeth Tudor. It is a church that has its roots in the pagan mother-son relationship of Nimrod and Semiramis of ancient Babylon—rooted in superstition, mysticism and anti-God paganism.

“Superstition, the granting of supernatural powers and agencies to natural things, is the most striking feature of Roman Catholicism, quite absent from the Protestant world view. The veneration granted to images, holy water, holy oil, buildings, vestments, and the Host; the place given to dead saints for intercession and help; the absurd regard for such pointless miracles as weeping statues—these are as animistic, and as savage, as the beliefs of any illiterate Polynesian” (The Herald [Glasgow], August 26, 1995).

This is the church that has raised, educated and molded the spiritual focus of the most influential political leaders and bureaucrats in the European Union. It is this Catholic mind that dominates Brussels! Writing for the Glasgow-based newspaper, The Herald, John Macleod bemoans the loss of a purer religion that “has supernatural elements: belief in an unseen God, who has revealed Himself through inerrant Scripture, and who gave His Son for sinners of mankind, identified by His miraculous birth, death, and resurrection. But it is free of superstition, and founded on Scripture alone; a church of which Christ was head and not the Pope, a church in which… the function of ordained ministers was to preach in the common tongue, not to conduct bizarre rituals in a dead language.”

Macleod fears that the loss of scriptural knowledge that once underwrote a system of law, jurisprudence, education and economy, that generally produced a more decent society, is being destroyed by an unwelcome alternative being subtly forced upon Britain.

Already the mark of this church is bound in European law, awaiting its enforcement. It was upon a German-Catholic initiative that Sunday was legislated as a “day of rest” by the Brussels bureaucrats, and received the approval of the EU states.

“It was for obeying God’s FOURTH Commandment—keeping the Sabbath—that millions were put to death. The local Council of Laodicea, in A.D. 363, passed this decree: ‘Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, resting rather on Sunday. But, if any be found to be Judaizing, let them be declared anathema from Christ.’

“The church caused them to be killed. When the church branded one ‘anathema’ [a heretic], the state police of the Empire began torturing him. Unless he recanted, he was tortured until he died!

“Laws became so strict no man could hold a job, or engage in business, unless he worked on Saturday and rested on Sunday.

“This is the ONLY COMMANDMENT which was altered by the Roman Empire! In Daniel 7:25 we read the prophecy of this ‘BEAST’ and the little horn (papacy) rising up, which was to think to CHANGE ‘times and laws.’ That is, change God’s LAW in respect to TIME—the time for the Sabbath!” (Herbert W. Armstrong, The Mark of the Beast, p. 13).

Could such a state of affairs resurrect and establish itself in a Europe, dominated increasingly by the Vatican and its old ally Germany, in these “enlightened” times? Your Bible guarantees it.

The relocation of Germany’s seat of government from Bonn to historic Berlin will have deeply symbolic meaning to the German populace. Berlin, traditional seat of the Kaisers. Berlin, city of celebration of Germany’s past glory. Berlin and Rome, ancient cities each possessing a historic past which has had profound impact on world history.

“By the year 2000, a huge new government complex, including the Chancellery and the remodeled Reichstag, will occupy the eastern edge of the city’s Central park, the Tier Garten” (Condé Nast Traveler, February 1998, p.102).

The countdown to the year 2,000 ticks away, a year in which the Vatican will lead global celebration of its almost 2000-year history, a year in which Europe’s largest construction site, the city of Berlin, will light up as the reborn capital of a reborn Germany. Stay attuned to the spirit of prophecy behind today’s world news (Rev. 19:10). Grasp the vision of the meaning of the climactic events which will usher in a genuine new age; an age of global peace, harmony and unity under the supreme authority of the one true God, which He will bestow upon the shoulder of His only begotten Son (Isa. 9:6-7).