The Trumpet: The Death and Rebirth of America’s Cities

A looter carrying boxes of shoes runs past National Guard soldiers and bystanders in Hollywood on June 1. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images Our celebrated cities are succumbing to decay and violence. But an inspiring resurrection awaits.

From The Trumpet, The Death and Rebirth of America’s Cities

t has been a rough year for America’s cities. Their residents have been locked in their apartments for fear of coronavirus. Their attractions, offices, restaurants and stores have been evacuated. Their wealth has bled out because of ailing economic life, lost jobs and dwindling tax revenue.

Worse, their streets have choked with violent mobs vandalizing monuments, smashing storefronts, looting businesses, burning public buildings. Their law enforcement has been bridled by politicians more sympathetic to criminals than to law-keepers. Their protectors are being disrespected, disparaged and defunded, giving their enemies more license, more space to destroy. Their people are suffering rising rates of violent crime, including murder.

Yet these troubling recent events only aggravated a trend that has been wounding the nation’s crowning cities for years, even decades.

Legacy cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis and Buffalo have fallen from glittering heights of America’s industrial power. Shifts in the nation’s economy have cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and a loss of wealth. This has been exacerbated by race problems, “white flight,” cutbacks in law enforcement, and escalating crime. These factors have hollowed out many an American metropolis, leaving impoverished slums, empty buildings and decaying infrastructure.

In more recent years, failed welfare policies and lax law enforcement have turned cities into sanctuaries for homelessness, makeshift tent cities, drugs on the streets, garbage and filth, illegal immigration and criminality. Investigative reports have detailed how these problems are afflicting San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and other celebrated cities. Citizens are disgusted with their beloved cities being overtaken by trash, overpopulated by wastrels living off government largess, and overwhelmed by problems caused by bad governance.

All these crises have intensified this year. Animated by the twin specters of pandemic and race revolution, they are overtaking more and more of the nation’s urban landscape.

The effects of these trends will be far-reaching and disturbing, affecting not just city-dwellers, but every American.

Changing City Demography

covid-19 has made population density a bad word. In areas where protests have turned destructive, a cascade of aftereffects are pummeling city-dwellers: jobs lost; stores destroyed and shut down; business costs skyrocketing as insurance premiums soar. And in far too many places, mayors and governors are encouraging these curses. They are shuttering companies in the name of public safety. They are permitting, even applauding, marches and mayhem. And in the vacuum left by their failed leadership, revolutionaries are growing more bold, brazen, aggressive and ambitious.

“Urban dwellers are resilient, but these simultaneous events have forced people to face a hard reality,” wrote Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal. “In just three months it has become clear that modern urban progressivism is politically incompetent and intellectually incoherent. … The message being sent is that progressive governance is, at best, ambivalent about maintaining civil order. The net result the past three months has been a sense in many cities of irresolvable chaos, stress and threat.”

At the same time that city life is becoming more unpleasant, virus restrictions are forcing much of life online. Schools nationwide are shifting to distance learning, and businesses are asking people to work from home. Social distancing restrictions and reduced foot traffic mean that costly big-city office space or storefront makes less and less economic sense. Consumers were already buying more and more online; this accelerates the trend. And many analysts are convinced some decentralization in the workforce is likely permanent.

The cost-benefit analysis is convincing many city folk to make a move. If you’re working remotely anyway, why pay big-city rent? And social distancing is far easier in suburbia, or in the country.

In San Francisco and Manhattan, when covid hit, many people left. Vacancies rose; home prices and rental rates dropped. Home sales in the suburbs around New York City soared, with many well-off city residents buying properties sight unseen based off Internet ads. The New York Times reported a 44 percent increase in home sales in nearby suburban counties in July compared to the previous year; 73 percent in a county just over the state line into Connecticut; 112 percent in Westchester, just north of the city. Meanwhile, the number of properties sold in Manhattan plunged 56 percent.

Nationwide, home mortgage applications are up 33 percent compared to last year, and are still rising. FoxBusiness.com credits this to more Americans working remotely, and more families doing school from home and thus needing more space.

The people escaping the cities are people of means. Thus the concentration of impoverished people with no other options is growing. This at the same time that jobs are drying up, businesses are vacating, properties are being destroyed, law enforcement is pulling back, and crime is rising.

This is casting a pall over the future of America’s cities. And illuminating some of the most chilling end-time prophecies of the Bible.

The Bible foretells scenarios about America’s cities so nightmarish, some are difficult to conceive. But these recent destructive trends definitely make these prophecies far easier to imagine.

The Prophesied Fate of Cities

Many of the prophecies in the book of Isaiah are for our day, this period concluding man’s rule on Earth. Of the modern nations descended from ancient Israel—most prominently America—Isaiah foretells this: “[Y]e will revolt more and more …. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores …. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers” (Isaiah 1:5-7).

America has witnessed the ghastly fulfillment of this prophecy, scenes of cities burning terribly at the hand of lawless people who seek to dismantle the American system. Crowds of protesters have chanted “Death to America”—echoing Islamists on the streets of Iran!

But this is only the outer edges of the destruction to come. Several prophecies describe a coming time of “great tribulation” worse than any in history (Matthew 24:21). This is God’s terrible punishment for modern-day Israel’s rebellion.

Like Isaiah 1:7, these prophecies describing the coming tribulation place unusual emphasis on what happens in the cities. They show that cities will be hit first—and in some ways hit hardest. And a great many of the problems will be curses we bring on ourselves. This lamentable reality is foreshadowed in the way we are behaving and treating each other in our cities even today…(continues)

The Trumpet: Where Will All the Hate End?

From Brad MacDonald at The Trumpet, Where Will All the Hate End? about how hate feeds upon itself.

When you look at this world, you see so much hate. This ought to terrify more people and make us think much more seriously about the next few months and years.

Exhibit one, of course, is Black Lives Matter (blm) and Antifa, and the radical left in general. These people openly confess to harboring a deep hatred for America and Britain, and especially for Donald Trump and his supporters. Led by fanatic politicians, academics and celebrities, and backed by the mainstream media, these people vehemently hate traditional, Judeo-Christian America.

But the surging hate isn’t confined to blm and Antifa. All across the world, hate and all its offspring—harassment, intolerance, abuse, protests and riots, persecution, violence and murder, even genocide—flourish. In his Trumpet Brief yesterday, Joel Hilliker revealed the shocking hate Buddhists in Myanmar have for the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group. Anti-Semitism is rising. Racial and ethnic conflicts are universal. Citizens increasingly despise their leaders and governments. We learned this week that Russian President Vladimir Putin despised his political opponent so much, and no doubt hated the thought of being toppled by him, he had him poisoned. Everywhere you look, hate grows.

Here’s why this is utterly terrifying: It is the nature of hate to stimulate more hate. Hate manifested—whether in heated arguments, the perversion of justice, dishonest journalism, destructive riots, beatings and murders—always encourages more hate. Even when the victim does not initially hate the aggressor, the persistent mistreatment and abuse compel him to frustration, anger and, eventually, hate. Hate is reciprocal.

This cycle of hate was on display last weekend in downtown Portland, Oregon, which continues to be held hostage by Antifa and blm. For three consecutive months these people have hurled vile attacks on America and on President Trump and his supporters. They have violently attacked people and smashed and burned homes, businesses and government buildings, inflicting millions of dollars’ worth of damage. On Saturday, the object of blm’s and Antifa’s hate responded. Hundreds of trucks loaded with Trump supporters traveled in a caravan through downtown Portland; they were expressing their disgust with the rioters.

We saw what happened. There was tension, conflict and violence. Scuffles and fights broke out. Trump supporters shot the rioters with paint balls. A Trump supporter was publicly executed, after which the rioters were heard singing in celebration.

This was inevitable. This is how hate works. It will happen again.

What happened in Portland last Saturday did nothing to soothe the hate of either side. To the contrary, for blm, Antifa and the left, the Trump supporters’ resistance only confirmed their view that they are racists and deserving of hate. Meanwhile, the Trump followers—including the millions who watched it unfold on a screen—undoubtedly came away with a stronger grasp of how much they are hated. It’s impossible that after witnessing this, many Trump supporters will not despise blm, Antifa and those who support these groups even more.

This is how hate works. It rarely fizzles; it only intensifies. This is where America is right now, and there is no turning back. When it reaches a certain point, there’s no way to stop the cycle of hate. It appears America has passed this point.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry recently pointed to a quote by Abraham Lincoln, delivered in Springfield, Illinois, in January 1838. Lincoln was only 28 years old. There was a lot of hatred between the abolitionists and pro-slavery advocates at the time. America was sliding into “mob law” and social disorder, and the government’s response was apathetic and slow-footed.

Facing these conditions, Lincoln said, “[G]ood men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country; seeing their property destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured; and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better; become tired of, and disgusted with, a government that offers them no protection; and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose” (emphasis added).

Lincoln’s observation is a warning: Even law-abiding, peaceful people will become filled with anger and hatred when “their property [is] destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured.” This is the way human emotions work. Without divine intervention (more on this later), hate reciprocates.

When people are attacked, viciously and personally, when they see their nation and livelihood under threat, their cities burning, and when they see that those in authority are unwilling to defend them, they are compelled to respond. It is human nature to protect one’s self, including your family, your home and livelihood, your community and friends. And your nation. In America, law-abiding citizens who love their country are being forced to choose: Surrender to the radical left and lose everything, or grow angry and fight.

People are being driven to hatred and retaliation because the only alternative is death. But their resistance, which is entirely rational, only entrenches the irrational views and hatred of the attacker. To the aggressor, the victim’s resistance only confirms his belief that he is right, and that the victim must be punished.

This is where we are today. Any person accused of being a racist who denies being a racist, must be despised as a racist. Any person unwilling to support blm must hate blm and what it stands for and is, therefore, the enemy. The more Antifa, blm and the radical left are filled with hate, the more the anger and hate of their victims grow.

How does this cycle of hate end?

Have you ever seen footage of a pile of tires on fire? A tire fire is often impossible to extinguish. It stops only after the tires have burned out. It’s the same with the cycle of hate. It will stop only after the hate has burned itself out. It will stop only when those with the hate are gone.

Sadly, the cycle of hate in America now appears far past simply simmering down. The destructive hate coursing through America’s cities is only growing.

And it’s not just America. Look at its brothers—the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada. While we have yet to witness scenes of hate as dramatic as those in Portland or Kenosha, the same fault lines and emotions are welling in these nations. The radical left thrives in these countries too. And it’s deep, deep hatred of these nations’ traditional Christian heritage is deepening the anger, resentment and hatred of those it seeks to destroy.

Just like the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and all the other Commonwealth nations are trapped in a devastating cycle of hate!

Bible prophecy tells us how this will end. In Matthew 24:22, Jesus is talking about the end of the age of man and warns, and He says: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved ….” Humanity will be so filled with hatred, which will be demonstrated through mass violence and worldwide war, man will bring himself to the cusp of extinction. The “great tribulation,” as Jesus Christ calls it in verse 21, is one colossal explosion of hate.

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another,” verse 10 says.

Man does not fully comprehend the destructive power of hate. This is because he doesn’t understand the ultimate source of this powerful emotion. The Bible reveals this source. It is revealed in passages such as 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2 and Revelation 12. These passages reveal the presence of Satan the devil, a spirit being who embodies hate, whose every thought and action is inspired by hatred toward God, His truth and His plan.

Revelation 12 gives insight into just how much hatred the devil has for God and His plan. In verses 3-4, he’s referred to as a “great red dragon” who tries to “devour” God’s people. Verses 7-8 describe how the devil actually waged a colossal war on God. During this battle, the devil was cast down to Earth, where he is now confined (verse 9). Verse 12 addresses those on Earth today, warning that “the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

All the hatred on the streets of America’s cities and tumbling from the lips of politicians and media pundits on cnn and the like—it all originates from the devil’s bottomless well of “great wrath.”

The Apostle Paul calls Satan the “god of this world” who “blinded the minds” of men, and the “prince of the power of the air.” In Chapter 2 of Mystery of the Ages, the late Herbert W. Armstrong explained these verses in detail and revealed how the devil broadcasts to human beings through our emotions, attitudes and impulses. And when it comes to emotion, Satan’s favorite language is anger and hatred. He is the grandmaster of hatred, and one of his favorite pastimes is teaching humans how to hate.

This is why the Bible cautions us to be careful with our emotions and attitudes, especially with feelings of anger and hatred. Consider Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:25-27: “Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Revised Standard Version).

In this passage, Paul recognizes that there is a time for righteous indignation, or godly anger. Righteous indignation is an aspect of God’s love. It gets angry at sin. It hates sin, but not the sinner. Sadly, we see very little of this sort of righteous indignation today. The angriest people on Earth are usually the greatest sinners.

But then Paul specifically cautions the people to be careful with their emotions, especially anger and frustration. Never let the “sun go down on your anger,” he warns. We must be extremely careful not to allow anger and hatred to fester and get out of control. And we should never deliberately stir up anger and hatred. Yet this is exactly what blm, Antifa and the radical left does. Their leaders are trained to arouse hate. These groups thrive on hatred!

This is a dangerous game. When people well with hate, Paul says, they “give … opportunity to the devil.” Unbridled anger, hatred, resentment, bitterness—these emotions are invitations to the devil, welcoming him into our minds and lives. Many of those people torching cars and tearing down buildings are under the influence of the devil.

When you look at America (and humanity) collectively, there is no evidence of any movement toward repentance that would reverse the trend toward destruction it is taking—though, if the nation did genuinely repent, God would certainly respond with mercy. Individually, though, the path to repentance is open to you. You can escape the cycle of hate, which will soon end in a massive climax called the Great Tribulation. How?

Ultimately, we escape this future by conquering our human emotions and impulses, our attitudes and human will, the powerful pulls of the carnal mind and flesh, and by surrendering our lives and minds completely to God, His law and His government. This is not an easy task; it cannot be done on human power or talent. It can only be done using the power of God’s Spirit, which we receive upon repentance and faith.

The Trumpet: Escape “the Biggest Civilizational Catastrophe”

From The Trumpet, Escape ‘the Biggest Civilizational Catastrophe’ on family collapse and resulting civilizational collapse.

America is collapsing. On our city streets, youths are terrorizing people, vandalizing buildings, burning police cars, looting stores and inflicting violence on those who oppose them. Even more shocking, many leaders permit, justify and encourage the destruction! This is what a nation on the verge of collapse looks like.

You may think this crisis erupted after the death of George Floyd. The reality is, it has been building for decades. But it didn’t originate in the halls of government, the university or even the classroom. The chaos on our streets started in our homes. It came from the decades-long breakdown in our families.

In a Fox News interview in July, commentator Heather MacDonald said, “I am going to break a massive feminist taboo here, and say that males matter. Fathers matter. Fathers bring a set of values and norms to child rearing whether it’s self-reliance or self-discipline, honor and courage. On average, it complements what mothers can bring.”

In today’s culture, this sort of language is considered inflammatory, sexist and violent. In this upside-down world, MacDonald is one of the few people still brave enough to state the obvious.

“The anarchy that we have lived through with the looting and the rioting of the last month,” she continued, “has been preceded by a more slow-motion anarchy and breakdown, which is the breakdown of the family because our prisons today are filled almost exclusively with fatherless men” (emphasis added).

MacDonald is exactly right: This has been slow-motion breakdown of the family! Children unloved, untaught and undisciplined in the home have become unhappy, unenlightened, unrestrained adults. Uncontrolled tantrums in the home have become Molotov cocktails hurled at police. Children never taught to be grateful have become rioters who loot what they can and burn what they can’t, even though they live in the wealthiest, freest, most blessed nation in world history.

Stability, discipline, happiness, gratitude, productivity, kindness: these qualities need to be learned. And they need to be taught in the home by loving, God-fearing parents.

MacDonald called the breakdown of the family the “biggest civilizational catastrophe that we’re facing today.” She said that breakdown is the “root of the spiraling crime, insane drive-by shootings that we see in the inner city, and the destruction of human potential.”

With an urgent tone, MacDonald said, “It’s a hard thing to turn this around, but we have to.” She’s absolutely right.

What she doesn’t know is that family breakdown, and the resultant societal breakdown, were prophesied. Isaiah 3:12 describes a society in which children “oppress” and women “rule.” Men, fathers and husbands, aren’t even mentioned in that verse! The family has been turned upside down and as a result, society has been turned upside down!

Thankfully, it does not have to be this way in your home. It should not be this way in your home! God gives instruction that will help you escape “the biggest civilizational catastrophe,” and build a strong, stable family.

That includes learning how to love your children God’s way, which takes unselfishness, patience, positivity, encouragement, vision and many other virtues. It includes teaching and training them in the way they should go. It includes guiding and correcting them as necessary. Above all it means getting your family structure right. The Bible provides marvelous detail about the God-ordained roles within the family (e.g. Colossians 3; Ephesians 5; 1 Timothy 3). The emphasis is on the husband and father ruling the household well. If the house is not ruled well, the results are catastrophic! A breakdown in the home leads to the breakdown of cities and society as a whole.

God sent a man in this end time in the spirit of Elijah to “restore all things” to the Church (Matthew 17:10-11). God said this man “shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” before Christ’s return (Malachi 4:6). This beautiful scripture is talking about protecting, maintaining and strengthening the family structure! It is about getting our families right in the context of Jesus Christ’s imminent return! Why? Because God’s Family is going to be leading in the World Tomorrow. God is working with people right now who will be able to help Him in building excellent families during the Millennium and beyond. That starts with teaching them how to do this in their own physical families today.

This prophesied role was fulfilled by Herbert W. Armstrong. He taught and wrote extensively on how to build strong families. Since his death in 1986 we have carried on that work. As a starter to help you get your family life in order, we would like to offer you a free book: Child Rearing With Vision. This book will show you how to raise a family God’s way. Teaching God’s law and administering God’s government in the home is key to a happy, fulfilled life—and it trains you to teach and administer God’s way of life in the World Tomorrow!

The Trumpet: Disunited States – A Lesson We Must Learn

The Balkanized States of America

Joel Hilliker at The Trumpet writes about divisions in the USA and whether they will lead to civil war in Disunited States: A Lesson We Must Learn

Is it unjust to prejudge people according to their race? Is it wrong for people in the street to exact vigilante-style “justice” against strangers? Is it wrong to prejudicially condemn people for the sins of their forefathers? Is it criminal to steal and destroy property? Should every citizen be able to live and work free from fear of arbitrary violence? Until rather recently, societal consensus was an unqualified yes to all these questions. But suddenly, they are all topics of fierce contention.

Here is a crucial question: How long can society function if we cannot agree on such basic points?

The fact is that, as alarmed as many people are by the lawlessness plaguing America’s streets today, it seems very few grasp the existential nature of the problem. America is facing civil war. Bible prophecy specifically says it will happen.

One major reason is that we are violating a specific biblical principle of living. This principle is controversial today. But it is a foundational truth. And it vividly illustrates the relevance of the Bible for our day.

In a cbs News interview, here is how Nikole Hannah-Jones, the architect of the “1619 Project” for the New York Times, responded when asked to “interpret” the arson, thievery, criminality and violence in America’s cities: “Yes, it is disturbing to see property being destroyed; it is disturbing to see people taking property from stores. But these are things. And violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leeched out of his body. Destroying property which can be replaced is not violence. And to use the exact same language to describe those two things, I think, really—it’s not moral to do that. I think any reasonable person would say we shouldn’t be destroying other people’s property—but these are not reasonable times.”

To have mainstream voices advocating destruction, lawlessness and insurrection as appropriate and legitimate is unprecedented—and deeply corrosive to society’s survival.

“If somebody decides to loot a Gucci, or a Macy’s, or a Nike, that makes sure that person eats. That makes sure that person has clothes,” Ariel Atkins, the leader of Black Lives Matter in Chicago, told reporters. “That is reparations. Anything they wanna take, take it, because these businesses have insurance. They’re going to get their money back. My people aren’t getting anything.”

A short time ago, such thinking was simply inconceivable. Everyone knew that indiscriminate destruction was evil. There was no controversy over the foundational understanding that arson, theft, looting, physical assault and violence were crimes. Everyone agreed that people should be safe, and their property should be safe. Someone who owns a business should be able to run that business, provide jobs, deliver goods and services to the community, contribute to the economic health of society, and earn a living—without fearing or actually suffering hatred, violence and destruction.

Stunningly, this is no longer something we all agree on. Rioters, journalists, commentators, professors, and even mayors, governors and members of Congress—influential, powerful people—do not believe it. They now insist that criminal destruction of property and assault on fellow citizens is understandable, even acceptable, even righteous, for the sake of “social change” in this “historic moment.”

This spirit is changing America. Prodded by such reasoning, cities are defunding police and allowing the predictable increases in crimes. And even more astoundingly, a growing number of people don’t even recognize these as problems—because they view them as mere symptoms of the real problems of racism and inequality.

Behold the consequences of adopting moral relativism as our society has been for decades—even generations. People have lost their elemental sense of right and wrong. They cannot recognize evil even when it is lighting their own city on fire.

Here is where the Bible is so supremely valuable. It gives us absolute standards—our Creator’s laws of right and wrong—that never change. It is a refreshing contrast to the moral standards of leftists, which change from year to year and sometimes from moment to moment. Yesterday’s heroes are today’s villains. And the most blatant evils are excused or even glorified.

Consider a few examples.

The Bible says God is no respecter of persons. He evaluates based on a person’s character. He judges the heart, not the outward appearance. He holds everyone to the same unchanging standard of right and wrong.

Accepting this truth is critical to a fair, just, stable society. All societies are flawed, but less so the ones that treat each person as a child of God, made in God’s image. This idea is articulated in America’s Declaration of Independence—that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with rights that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…(continues)

Click here to continue reading at The Trumpet.

The Trumpet: Hagia Sophia and a Clash of Civilizations

Hagia Sophia church being converted for opening as mosque

From The Trumpet, Hagia Sophia and a Clash of Civilizations:

Turkey has just taken Orthodox Christianity’s greatest cathedral and turned it into a mosque.

There’s a lot of history here. When Hagia Sophia was opened by Emperor Justinian in a.d. 537, it was the largest, and possibly the most impressive, building in the world.

This one building may have impacted the lives of billions. Early Russian history records the story of Vladimir the Great, ruler of the Rus in the 10th century. Vladimir wanted to choose a religion for the Rus, and sent out envoys to neighboring civilizations. Once the envoys saw Hagia Sophia, their minds were made up. “We no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on Earth,” the envoys reported, “nor such beauty, and we know not how to tell of it.” Vladimir converted to Orthodox Christianity, and that religion has shaped Russian and Slavic history ever since.

In 1453, Constantinople and Hagia Sophia fell to the Ottoman Turks. And so they turned one of Christendom’s greatest churches into a mosque.

Hagia Sophia went through a third revolution in 1934. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk transformed Turkey from an Islamic empire into a secular state—as a powerful symbol of this, he transformed Hagia Sophia from a mosque to a museum. It is now Turkey’s top tourist destination, drawing 3.7 million visitors a year.

Which is why Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision on July 10 to turn it back into a mosque is so significant. His political allies have hailed it as a second conquest of Istanbul. It is a deliberate statement. Turkey is no longer the secular state of Atatürk. It is an Islamic nation, aiming to become an empire.

Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk said the conversion of Hagia Sophia back to a mosque “is to say to the rest of the world, ‘Unfortunately we are not secular any more.’ There are millions of secular Turks like me who are crying against this, but their voices are not heard.”

This reversal away from secularism runs against the grain of Western thought. To many, history runs in one direction: Europe used to be religious, but is becoming very secular; this is the march of progress that all nations will eventually follow.

Erdoğan’s reversal is the latest proof that the world is not on a one-way track to secularism.

Look around the world and you can see evidence of this. In 1989, Central Asia had only 160 active mosques. Four years later, there were 10,000. Moscow had 50 churches in 1988. Four years later, it had 250. Around the same time, nearly a third of Russians under age 25 said they had switched from being atheistic to believing in God.

In the still officially atheistic state of China, the World Religion Database shows the total number of followers of all religions jumping from around 300 million in 1970 to around 700 million today. Despite government attempts to stop it, religion has spread much faster than Chinese population growth.

In South Korea in 1962, 2.6 percent of the population were Buddhist and 5 percent were Christian. Now 23 percent are Buddhist and more than 29 percent are Christian.

“In the modern world, religion is a central, perhaps the central, force that motivates and mobilizes people,” wrote Samuel Huntington in his book Clash of Civilizations. “It is sheer hubris to think that because Soviet communism has collapsed, the West has won the world for all time and that Muslims, Chinese, Indians and others are going to rush to embrace Western liberalism as the only alternative.”

Time has proved Huntington dramatically correct. He wrote his book before 9/11, when radical Islam made itself a major concern to everyone in the world. He wrote it before head coverings became one of the major political issues in Europe, the bastion of liberal multiculturalism.

The big question is, could Europe be swept along by such a trend?

At the other end of Europe is what could be Hagia Sophe’s mirror image. The Grand Mosque of Córdoba in Spain was built in the eighth century a.d. To the locals at the time, “the beauty of the mosque was so dazzling that it defied any description.”

But the Grand Mosque is now the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, after the Spanish conquered it in 1236.

My point is not to set up some kind of moral equivalency between the two. Hagia Sophia is the fifth church of that name to be converted into a mosque in Turkey in recent years. I know of no Western country running the process in reverse.

Instead, my point is to show that Europe and the Middle East, Christianity and Islam, are closely connected. What happens in one affects the other—and has for centuries.

Religion is already rising in Europe in reaction to Islam. When Russia voted on its new constitution at the start of the month, most attention was focused on President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to extend his time in office. But the vote also added God into the constitution.

In Poland this month, incumbent President Andrzej Duda was reelected. Duda’s Law and Justice party has close links with the Catholic Church. “In hardly any other EU country are the state and church as closely connected as in Poland,” noted deutschlandfunk.de.

Across Europe, religion is making a comeback—not in terms of religious observance, but instead with symbols and rhetoric.

Across Eastern and Central Europe, leaders have made clear that they view their countries as Christian and that Muslims are not welcome. In May 2015, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, “I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country.”

“Let us not forget, however, that those arriving have been raised in another religion and represent a radically different culture,” he wrote in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity” (Sept. 3, 2015).

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said in May 2016, “I do not want to see a Muslim community in Slovakia. … We do not want to change the traditions of this country, which are built on the Christian tradition.” The president of the Czech Republic warned in January 2016 that integrating Muslims into Europe “is practically impossible.”

The same trends are arriving in Western Europe. Since 2018 all government buildings in the German state of Bavaria have been obliged to display a cross.

In the West, upstart political parties like the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany and the National Rally (formerly the National Front) in France have taken up the mantle of politicized religion. National Rally leader Marine Le Pen pushes “a secularized Christianity as culture,” Rogers Brubaker, a sociologist at the University of California–Los Angeles, told Atlantic magazine. “It’s a matter of belonging rather than believing.” Brubaker described it as a Christianity that says, “We are Christians, precisely because they are Muslims. Otherwise, we are not Christian in any substantive sense” (May 6, 2017).

The AfD is the same way. Its election slogans, such as “Burkas? We’re into bikinis,” are hardly paragons of chastity and virtue. In the culture wars, they are on the side of the Christian right, and the Christian right is happy to accept them.

The AfD’s stunning election success—coming from nowhere to become the third-largest party in Germany’s parliament—shows the appetite in Germany for this kind of religion in politics.

In Europe it tends to be Islamist terrorist attacks or migration from Islamic countries that triggers this kind of religious fervor. Absent of that, it dies down…

Click here to continue reading at The Trumpet.

The Trumpet: Financial Reckoning – Here’s What You Can Do Right Now

Timothy Oostendarp of The Trumpet has an article up on the many people facing difficult financial times as a result of the pandemic and some basic things that you can do to regain your financial footing and stay sane – Financial Reckoning Now Confronts Millions

Whether you live in America or somewhere else, right now the biggest problem you’re likely facing is paying your monthly bills. The forced shutdown of the global economy has pulverized national and family budgets. In Canada, it is reported that federal unemployment insurance claims have rocketed to Great Depression levels.

Ding-dong, Dorothy, the economy is dead.

Last month, many Americans were living paycheck-to-paycheck. This month has seen that paycheck taken away.

There is no sense citing endless statistics. Tens of millions of Americans can’t even handle a $400 emergency. Banks and credit card companies are preparing for a tsunami of payment deferrals and loan defaults as consumers buckle.

Like boozy wastrels drunk on prosperity, millions have squandered precious time and money in the face of mounting evidence a crash was coming. Instead of having savings for a rainy day, Americans are now facing a financial reckoning that’s going to burn. The toll isn’t only financial; it’s physical, emotional and spiritual. And authorities are seeing a corresponding spike in suicides and substance and domestic abuse.

The fiscal grim reaper is here. In all fairness, he did send us many notices of his impending arrival, like the Great Recession in the late 2000s. That financial bloodbath was as long as Wall Street and up to the businessman’s belt.

Since that tender time, federal reserve banks have made themselves hoarse yelling into deaf ears. They have repeatedly warned about gross government and corporate debt, the perils of endless quantitive easing (printing money), and escalating household debt.

More than 10 long years have lapsed since the Great Recession. What did we learn? What is this latest economic jolt teaching us? We learned that we are thoroughly addicted to materialism. We learned that decadence defines our daily living. We learned we lack character. Even the poor among us live like feudal kings, yet millions are now beyond broke.

Prosperity is bankrupting us in more ways than we think. If you are suffering financially, the good news is that, if you are willing to correct your living, there is a little time left to set your financial house in order.

Here is what you can do right now.

The first step is to understand God has set basic financial laws into motion. When those laws are broken, penalties result. The penalty is a sign that laws are being broken—and signs are meant to be heeded! God has put penalties in place for broken law to help correct our thinking and our living. When God’s laws are obeyed, great material and spiritual blessings result—including freedom from anxiety, worry and fear.

When someone becomes physically sick with a cold or the flu, the body begins to immediately discharge poisons through mucus production, the eliminative system and by rest. That is the human body trying to bring itself back into alignment with God’s laws governing health. Likewise, financial poison comes in the form of debt, budget deficits (not enough money to cover your bills), and burdensome interest payments. These poisons must be ejected! This is the second step!

Without jeopardizing your health or that of your family, reduce your standard of living to pay off your debts and balance your budget as soon as possible! This means doing everything practically possible to avoid consumer and business debt. A well-considered loan will produce above its principle and interest—meaning it should profit! The wise earn interest while the foolish pay it.

Right now, many governments are offering no-strings-attached money to help small businesses and citizens. If you need to, you might have to take advantage of the assistance your taxes have already helped to pay for or will help to pay for later. God is not against accepting help in time of need. In certain well-advised circumstances, it is the prudent thing to do. There is no shame in taking a handout in a time of need—especially when we are determined to go on and use that help to correct the cause of the problem.

Consider seeking wise counsel before taking on long-term debt or loans for what could be a short-term employment problem. A bad loan will be a poison, which will seriously aggravate your financial problems! Get creative—use drive and initiative. These are some of the laws of personal and financial success. Talk to a rich uncle who might be willing to give you a hand (not handout) during these difficult times. Offer to work for the help. Take odd jobs doing handiwork. The point is, make your opportunities.

The next principle is to set a budget and track your spending. Herein we see another basic law of God: Don’t spend more than you make. Budget! Our financial problems don’t usually revolve around not having enough money but not managing it properly. Slipshod financial management is a reflection of a breakdown in character. We all have to learn to manage our prosperity—especially those who haven’t learned the first principle of working hard.

Examine your attitude toward materialism. God’s law forbids lust and coveting, but coveting drives the world economy. Is it driving your spending? God’s Word says a person trying to get the best of his employer or trying to get riches will not prosper in the end. It often leads to owning substandard possessions and always leads to substandard character.

We all must come to learn the first lesson of life: Seek God’s Kingdom and His character above riches. That is the only way to financial prosperity. Strive to better yourself in an effort to give to your employer, your family and to God—but also strive to learn to be content in your circumstances.

Get creative. Housing, transportation and food are major line items in personal budgets. Excessive car loans that stretch into five to seven years are financial folly. Maybe it’s time to evaluate cutting these areas without jeopardizing your ability to work, and without jeopardizing your health and your family’s well-being.

Another financial law of success is persistence. Don’t throw in the towel! If you’ve recently been laid off, realize many hundreds of thousands have been laid off too. Most of them will begin to waste time. Don’t waste time.

Sloth is stealing, even if it’s only stealing time that can’t be recovered. Put your time to profitable use. Stay productive. Read a good book; improve your skills; refinish some old furniture; play games with your children; go for a walk; breathe in fresh air.

“Chomp at the bit” to get back to work. A robust work ethic is at the heart of building righteous character. Begin calling prospective employers. Line up interviews. Make a job out of getting a job.

This can be a time to advance your career! Employers will start hiring again. Make sure your name is at the top of the list. God is a producer. He expects the same from us. He doesn’t waste a moment or an opportunity. Hiring may be at a momentary freeze, but you don’t have to be frozen in time or frozen in one spot. Be zealous and work hard!

Next, when you get back to a solid financial footing, start saving for a rainy day. There are two types of savings to aim for: operational savings and reserve savings. Operational savings are for emergency repairs and other out-of-the-blue expenses. Reserve savings should equal three times your monthly net income—or at least enough to cover your expenses for three months. If need be, put your budget on a diet, because austerity may be the order of the day to achieve the results you need. The old saying applies: Make hay while the sun shines. Time is fast running out.

When tragedy strikes this world, God is often accused of loafing on the job. Mankind shakes his collective fist at God. He is accused of being heartless, unwilling to lend humanity a helping hand. God gets blamed for nearly all tragedy, pain and suffering. But if He were to stop you from chasing your pleasures that lead to such destruction, you’d soon accuse Him of interfering in your life. When the tragedy strikes, who is to blame? We can’t have it both ways.

Related:

Motley Fool: What to Do If Coronavirus Cuts Your Income

CNBC: How to Build a Cash Reserve If Coronavirus Causes You to Miss Work

USA Today: How to pay the bills during the coronavirus pandemic

Fox: Coronavirus financial concerns: What to do if you can’t pay your bills

The Trumpet: The Spread of Coronavirus and Other Modern Plagues

This article from The Trumpet gives their biblical take on modern plagues.

Many of you are familiar with the pale horse of the apocalypse of Revelation 6:7-8: “[B]ehold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” This shows that diseases like this virus are about to get worse, spreading like medieval pandemics and killing millions of people! Whether or not this specific outbreak will cause such ruin, this prophecy is sure.

You can find a related image in Zechariah 6. It is important to note the time frame. This chapter describes a dual crown being given to a man just before Jesus Christ returns—a prophecy that was recently fulfilled (request my free book The New Throne of David for an explanation). Before that takes place, though, four chariots emerge from between two mountains, symbolizing God the Father and Jesus Christ (verse 1). God sends these chariots. He gives specific commands about what these chariots are to do. This is explained in Chapter 7 of that book.

The black horses here symbolize violence, famine and pestilence. We are already in the preliminary stages of their ride. The coronavirus is only a small part of the overall picture. Other plagues are already spreading in our cities.

Many cities are facing a crisis of homelessness. In downtown Los Angeles, for example, is a little city of homeless people. The area is awash in drugs—and human feces, rats and every imaginable kind of filth. And even now, people are contracting tuberculosis and typhoid fever! Some of the policemen have contracted these Third World diseases! Rats carry disease and spread it everywhere. Some experts warn of the onset of bubonic plague—a disease that wiped out much of Europe in the 14th century! We are ignoring that history, and officials are permitting these conditions to ripen within some of our mightiest cities!

The same circumstances are true in Seattle and San Francisco. Some travel guides tell visitors to avoid portions of San Francisco and other big cities to avoid catching bubonic plague.

It is a most awful scene; we can hardly even stand to hear the news about it! Yet it is just a small foretaste of the plagues coming to America and Britain and Judah if people don’t repent before God!

…Where is this leading? We are already experiencing the preliminary stages of what the Bible terms “great tribulation,” in which one third of the populations in America and other Israelitish nations will die—before being directly attacked by foreign enemies!

These black horses—violence, famine, pestilence—are going to overtake the Earth! God is beginning to send a number of globe-rattling events our way! He is going to let the world see where their evil ways lead them.

God has a lot to accomplish with His people in the midst of an explosion of satanic chaos! He sends these angels out with specific jobs, all in preparation for the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! He is already preparing for that crisis of crises!

The Trumpet: America Has Been ‘Fundamentally Transformed’

The following article from The Trumpet and pastor Gerald Flurry of the Philadelphia Church of God makes the claim that there is deliberate effort being made to move the US away from being a constitutional republic toward being only a mob-rule democracy. The opening of the article is below, but it is quite a bit longer through the link.

America’s government has been embroiled in a shameful impeachment charade for months now. The Democrats are demonstrating that there is virtually no limit to what they are willing to do to attack the president and undermine the last election—and the next one. Meanwhile, revelations continue to emerge about their abuse of the intelligence agencies to spy on Americans, even the president himself.

People need to understand what a dangerous threat this is to the very foundation of this nation!

What is happening in the Democratic Party is an extension of and intensification of a process started by the previous president.

When Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally change America” during his 2008 presidential run, few people knew what he really meant. Now that he is out of office, it is becoming clearer all the time that the change he was talking about was something far more dangerous than many people assumed.

He meant changing America from a constitutional republic. And what we are witnessing in the country today shows that, to an alarming degree, he succeeded!

In an address to Democratic donors this past November, Mr. Obama said that if Democrats want to be elected, they need to conceal their radical views. “This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement,” he said. “Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality. The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it” (emphasis mine throughout).

The average American doesn’t think that, but he does, and these donors do! And he wasn’t telling them to abandon that goal—only to be more underhanded about it!

Mr. Obama is contemptuously and openly discussing what he meant by fundamentally transforming America. Now that he is out of office, he tells us what his real goal was and still is—“to completely tear down the system and remake it”!

In the past, such revolutions usually caused millions of people to spill their blood.

If you think my view is unreal, consider this: Never have we seen a more bitterly divided America, and this man who fundamentally transformed America caused much of this division. He almost destroyed America’s constitutional republic. Never have we seen such hatred between American people.

All this ought to terrify every American. Many revolutions end in a civil war filled with suffering and death.

In America’s civil war, neither side will win. Bible prophecy thunders a deadly message that an enemy nation will conquer us. We must wake up and repent for God to save us this time…

Click here to read the entire article at The Trumpet.

The Trumpet: How Close Is the US to Civil War?

Continuing with the increasing number of voices clamoring about the possibilities of civil war in the USA, here is an article from the January 2020 Trumpet edition – How Close Is the US to Civil War? Being The Trumpet, this article takes a Biblical approach to the answer.

Prominent observers are discussing the possibility of civil war in America. In November, the Democratic Party began an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. At least 228 Democrats in the House of Representatives support this inquiry, and it only takes 218 to impeach the president. Some polls, if they can be trusted, indicate popular support for impeachment (though others do not); one betting website puts the odds of the president being impeached at 78 percent.

Article i, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to impeach officers of the federal government, including the president. An “impeachment” is a formal charge of misconduct. If the president is impeached, he is tried in the Senate. If two thirds of senators vote to convict him of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” he is removed from office.

With Democrats controlling the House of Representatives (and likely to impeach), and Republicans controlling the Senate (and likely to acquit), President Trump may become the first impeached president in U.S. history to run for reelection. Whatever happens, the 2020 U.S. presidential election is set to be the most contentious since the American Civil War.

Democrats are accusing Republicans of obstructing justice to protect a corrupt president. Republicans are accusing Democrats of attempting a coup d’état. The impeachment process, whatever its outcome, will exacerbate this division. A Georgetown University poll showed that two thirds of Americans believe the U.S. is “on the edge of civil war” (emphasis added).

Think about that for a moment. The American Civil War took 620,000 American lives—more deaths than all other American wars combined. Could America really be on the edge of another such catastrophe?

Click here to read the entire article at The Trumpet.

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