Twenty-First Century Watch 

Vol. 4, No. 1  Published by the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association

Germany Moves To Become
Biggest Power In Europe

by Garner Ted Armstrong

For more than four decades, I have warned that a "United States of Europe" would eventually emerge in the "heartland" of Europe, and that such an organization of states would loom as the most dangerous enemy of the United States and Britain. I have said that such a power would eventually move into the Middle East as a "peace-keeping" occupying power, and that a great world religious leader would intervene in the protracted struggle between Israelis and Arabs over Jerusalem.

All during the Cold War, I was preaching on radio, television, and before tens of thousands in live audiences that the eventual fulfillment of Revelation 17:12-14 would NOT necessarily occur as a result of the current move toward a united Europe of more than fifteen states; that it would NOT arise from the NATO alliance. Instead, it would arise from the shattered remains of the present attempt at European union, just as Germany, like the fabled Phoenix, arose from the ashes of World War II.

Also, I have said for decades that Britain would NOT be a member of the final ten!

Today, as the "EU" (European Union) slowly forms, all is not well. Various flagging economies and vast disparities in population and gross national product make the entire system appear as a shaky structure without solid footing.

Recently, Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder demanded that Germany be given a larger say in things. He said, "I cannot agree (to) a system that gives Spain or Poland — just think of the relative gross domestic product—just as many votes as Germany, which has double the population."

Consistent Predictions For Decades

When I first visited Germany, the signs of the destruction of World War II were everywhere. But, for all the many shattered and shell-pocked buildings I saw, I also noticed the incredible beehive of activity. I have read extensively about Germany; not only its fascinating history, but dozens of books about the rise of Hitler, Nazism, the Second World War, and the aftermath, when Marshal Plan dollars were pouring into Germany to rebuild.

During one trip to all the nations of Central America, I spoke with the regional sales manager for the Ford Motor Company. He told me "The Germans are coming in the windows down here," and referred to the hardy little Volkswagens, which are air-cooled, and which held up much better than the Fords. There was a saying there, and in Mexico that "Ford" was an acronym in Spanish which stood for Fabricacion Ordinaria, Reparacion Diaria, or, Ordinary Manufacture, Daily Repair.

It was in Columbia where I first heard the slogan, "Other people work to live; Germans live to work." When I learned that workers in Wolfsburg, the site of the only working Volkswagen plant shortly after the war, had literally broken up their furniture to get the furnaces going so they could produce cars for export; when I heard lusty singing in the streets out my hotel window in Dusseldorf at 5:00 a.m., and looked out to see dozens of German workers, singing as they carried their lunch pails to work, it made an impression.

In my many visits since, I continually marveled at the incredible progress being made.

Within the past few decades, Germany has risen from the ashes of defeat into a glittering, modern, powerful nation—the most vibrant, successful, powerful nation in Europe!

Back in the mid-1950s, I knew this would be so. I knew then, and said so many times, that the eventual United States of Europe would include such nations as Poland, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia (now divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and the Balkans.

I knew this because of the history of the old "Holy Roman Empire" and the fact that the "Beast" power in central Europe had in most cases been a Germanic empire.

I had read about the Hapsburgs; about Otto the Great, and Bismarck. I knew the aspirations of famous German leaders down through the centuries; that they, as did Hitler, believed there was a kind of "Divine Destiny" for Germany to fulfill; that the Germans were destined to "save the world from Bolshevism," as well as lead the world in "Christian culture."

As shocking as it may sound, there were those among the German High Command in the closing moments of World War II who actually thought they could convince the Western Allies to sign an armistice in return for the Germans helping the Western powers to defeat Russia!

Among them was Herman Goering! The US and Britain refused all such overtures.

Some of the significant books which were published shortly after World War II included Fire in the Ashes by Theodore White; Fragebogen, by Ernst von Solomon, and Watcher Along the Rhine by Brian Connells, who was a 20 year veteran writer for Reuters.

Even during the depths of the Cold War, when well-known American televangelists were telling their audiences that RUSSIA (the Soviet Union) would attack Palestine; that RUSSIA was the "beast" of Bible prophecy, I was saying that the nations of Eastern Europe (and I named them all) would come out from behind the "Iron Curtain," unite, and become part of a U.S. of Europe.

For decades, I said repeatedly that Germany would be reunited!

Now, all that has HAPPENED!

Watch, now, as more and more controversy erupts between leaders in NATO and those who want an all new German dominated "European Army." Watch as Britain becomes more and more disenchanted with the EU. Watch as Germany begins to swing its weight around—using its economic and military strength to play a much larger political role_not only in Europe, but in the Mideast, and in the world.

As recently as December of 2000, Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair was quoted as being very concerned about the "political impact of Germany emerging as the country with the biggest clout in the community [the EU] in the future." Many Britons have a long memory. So do the French. When Schroeder spoke out about Germany having a larger role, the French Prime Minister, M. Chirac, said, "It's not possible to overturn the founding principle of the Franco-German pact, which was one of inviolable equality...the postwar leaders of France and Germany—De Gaulle and Adenauer — sealed a reconciliation agreement after a tragedy of wars, killings, atrocities and reckless conduct, and we cannot go back on that."

Was he merely being hopeful; even plaintive?

Schroeder was adamant. He said, "We can't have a situation in an enlarged union where Germany, with more than 80 million people, has only 10 votes, while 19 small states with fewer than 80 million between them, have 57 votes."

All is not well in the present shaky EU. Eventually, you will see a global economic collapse; the rise of virulent nationalism; despots, dictators, and then the forging together of the final ten nations.

Speaking of the nature of the modern German people, Isaiah prophesied, "I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

"Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few" (Isaiah 10:6, 7).

Democracy is still an "experiment" in Germany. Their natural tendency is to look for a powerful, magnetic, inspiring LEADER; a "Fuhrer," who will rise up like a Bismarck or a Hitler, and lead them to their perceived rightful place—the pinnacle of power over all Europe, and eventually the world.

Millions of Americans are utterly ignorant of Europe; ignorant of European history, and of the prophecies of your Bible which detail a step-by-step series of events which will soon SHOCK this nation, and the world! For decades, I have said, Watch Germany! The warning is even more poignant today! q

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Will Jewish Mobs Destroy
The DOME OF THE ROCK?

Shocking news from Israel insists there is a PLOT afoot for ultra-right wing Jewish mobs to march against the gilt-domed "Dome of the Rock" and the Al Aksa Mosques, called the "third holiest sites" in Islam. What would happen if the mosques were brought down?

by Garner Ted Armstrong

For decades, I have warned, "Watch Jerusalem!" Why? Because Jerusalem is the focal point of all Bible prophecy! It is the place from which Jesus Christ gave His famous "Olivet prophecy"; the place where He taught in the temple as a boy of 12 years; the place where He died, was resurrected, and from which He ascended to the Father.

Christ Himself said Jerusalem would be the most important place to WATCH! And why watch? Christ said we should watch and PRAY ALWAYS [without omitting prayer from our lives] that we might be accounted worthy to ESCAPE all the horrors of the coming tribulation.

Those who disdain to watch world conditions are described as the "sleepy virgins" in Matthew 25, who will be shocked when they are suddenly plunged into the tribulation; those whose spiritual lives have grown cool, and who are unaware, uninterested, and uninvolved.

Paul warned the Thessalonians: "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

"For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

"Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6). Recently, I received news of a plot to DESTROY THE MOSQUES atop the Temple Mount. Could such a plot succeed? Will attacks against the mosques bring about a major war in the Mideast; one in which massive loss of life occurs due to chemical, biological or even nuclear attacks?

The Bible Is A
Mideastern Book

The footprints of mankind lead away from the Mideast, not the Olduvai Gorge in Africa. The environs of Jerusalem were most likely occupied from the earliest days of human expansion; perhaps were a part of the fabled "Garden of Eden." One must not assume the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers flow today where they flowed prior to the Flood of Noah's time.

Practically all of Bible prophecy focuses on the Mideast — specifically on Jerusalem!

Notice Jesus Christ's warning about the "Antichrist;" the "man of sin" who will be ensconced in a temple, blasphemously claiming himself to be god incarnate!

Christ said, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

"Then let them which be in Judaea [the ancient Roman province around Jerusalem] flee into the mountains:

"Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

"Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

"And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

"But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:15-22). What a remarkable prophecy! Christ clearly described a war which would be even more destructive than World War II!

Your Savior plainly said that the placing of the hated "abomination" in God's sight IN THE HOLY PLACE would lead to DESOLATION! That means horrible destruction — the laying waste of buildings and homes; the massive loss of human life!

As shocking as it seems, Christ's Olivet prophecy predicts yet another holocaust to befall the Jewish people in Israel!

As a typical fulfillment that precise scenario HAPPENED in 71 AD when the armies of the pagan emperor of Rome, under Titus, besieged and ultimately DESTROYED Jerusalem!

The pagan Romans set up their standards at the Temple. Long before, Antiochus Ephiphanes had set up a statue of "Jupiter Olympus" in the temple, which was another earlier typical fulfillment of the end-time prophecy. Such were typical fulfillment of the "abomination [which causes] desolation."

Remember, the Temple still stood when Jesus Christ gave His Olivet prophecy. The disciples had only to turn their heads, and there, across the plunging valley where the Brook Kidron then flowed, was the famous skyline of Jerusalem, with the second Temple, the "Herodian" Temple, dominating. There was no misunderstanding His words. The entire prophecy began with the disciples, awed by the huge columns and majesty of the Temple, remarking about its magnificence. "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.

"And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

"And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:1-3). The word for "world" in the Greek language is aion which is the same as eon, and means "age." It did NOT imply the end of the planet, or the end of all mankind, but the "end of the age."

Christ then answered, "Take heed that no man deceive you.

"For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

"All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:4-8).

You and I have been living in a period of time characterized by "wars and rumors of wars" for a long time! Every day, "rumors" of possible wars, or news of guerrilla wars, and the threat of war in places like the Balkans, Korea, Taiwan, Pakistan and India, and the Mideast bombards us from the news media.

But the SPECIFIC events which Christ said would trigger the tribulation were (1) the "abomination of desolation" [or, the "abomination which CAUSES destruction], and, (2) armies surrounding Jerusalem. He said, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh" (Luke 21:20).

What will be the end-time literal fulfilment of the placing of the "abomination of desolation?"

The Antichrist In
The Temple?

Paul was quite familiar with Christ's prophecies, for he had SEEN Christ in person, perhaps daily for up to three or more years! His famous prophecy about the man of sin is well known. He warned the Thessalonians: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

"That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). There can be no doubt that Paul meant the Temple which stood in his day. Those who attempt to make his words into metaphor for the church are in error. He wrote "the Temple of God" and he meant the "Temple of God."

For decades, God's church has understood that, if this prophecy is to be taken literally, a new "third temple" must be built! Not wishing to insist on a literal interpretation, we have said that perhaps the laying of a symbolic corner stone, and the erection of a "caravan" or temporary structure could suffice. But this is merely cautious human reasoning, and not to be taken as dogma.

Obviously, Paul could not have remotely understood that the "man of sin" would imply a "pope of Rome!" The Catholic Church was not even embryonic at the time Paul wrote. It would not begin to emerge until centuries later, after a gradual period of apostasy.

To Paul, those such as Simon Magus, who "said they are Jews and are not" (Revelation 3:9) might have been implied. For the temple was JEWISH, after all.

In order for the "man of sin," or the "Antichrist" to "sit in the temple of God" proclaiming that he IS God, there must be a temple built!

Why The Jews Want To
Build A Temple

Remember, the Orthodox Jews, and many other Jewish sects, totally reject Christ as the "Messiah." To them, they are still living in the days of the prophecies of the Old Testament relating to Christ's FIRST coming! They hope continually for the arrival of their Messiach Ben David, or the "anointed One."

Therefore, when they study the prophecy of Haggai 1:4, it is a rebuke to them, now! " Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?"

When they read, "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:

"And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

"Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years" (Malachi 3:1-4), it is to them a prophecy that the Messiah will soon come — but that He CANNOT COME UNTIL A TEMPLE IS BUILT!

In "The Temple Institute" in Jerusalem is a breathtaking collection of vessels and artifacts, among them a replica of the "Ark of the Covenant" which is said to be the most accurate representation ever. The Temple Institute has published a full-color, table-top book entitled The Odyssey of the Third Temple, which is elaborately illustrated, and which tells the story of the temple from the most ancient sources, as well as details the plans underway for the construction of the third Temple.

The overleaf of the jacket says, "In this captivating and detailed work, the scholars of the Temple Institute reveal the beauty, majesty and holiness of the Holy Temple in an unprecedented manner.

"The Odyssey of the Third Temple emphasizes the central role which the Holy Temple occupies in the life of the Jewish people and all mankind. It also clearly demonstrates how the commandment of God to build the Temple is the central theme of Judaism.

"More than any other previously published work, Odyssey proves that the eternal commandment to build the Holy Temple is alive and well in Jerusalem... waiting to be fulfilled by the Jewish people.

"The twelve chapters are accompanied by hundreds of breathtaking illustrations, and many of these are the work of talented Jewish immigrant artists who have joined forces exclusively for this project."

Let there be no doubt that several Jewish organizations are fervently planning to build a third temple! This is not pseudo-theological, would-be prophetic hysteria. It is an established fact. In the 1980s, Yehuda Etzion served a five-year sentence for having plotted to blow up the mosques on the Temple Mount. Recently, following the assassinations of the Kahane family, and in the wake of massive demonstrations in Jerusalem, he said he would attempt to do so (blow up the mosques) again! Recently, a small group of about 30 fanatic Jews suddenly stormed the Temple Mount, catching the police by surprise.

There were several fights, and a number of the group were arrested. Yehuda Etzion was the leader of the group. He said, "It [attempting to blow up the mosques] was right and it is still right...it will happen. It must happen. The mosques will not stay on the Temple Mount and the third temple will stand here..."

When my son interviewed Gershon Solomon of the "Temple Mount Faithful" he said much the same thing; that the mosques must be completely destroyed to make way for the temple. Each year for several years, Solomon and his group have attempted to lay a symbolic corner stone. Prevented from doing so, they have instead placed the stone on a flatbed truck, then paraded around the old city, blowing shofars.

Why Some Christians
Believe A Temple Will Be Built

As has been discussed above, some Christians believe a third Temple will be built (and I am among that number, with certain reservations, such as the possibility that a completed temple may not be necessary) before Christ's prophecies will be fulfilled.

Here is a likely series of possible scenarios:

(1) A small group of fanatics, or even a single person, succeeds in blowing up, or setting fire to the mosques. This would bring about a violent reaction right across Islam, from Indonesia to Pakistan, and from Iran to Egypt. A massive war could break out. Saddam Hussein has said he will be involved. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt all possess missiles which can hit targets in Israel. Such missiles could contain chemical and/or biological agents.

(2) If massive loss of life occurs (and the specter of gassing Jews is too hideous for Israel and many in Europe to contemplate), the big powers would be instantly involved. Israel would retaliate by using nuclear weapons against Arab population centers.

(3) If the US is either too weak, too overextended elsewhere, or too reluctant to become involved, the now-building all-European rapid-response force might invade the Mideast to bring the war to a halt. In the fighting, the European army and air force may well have to force Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other countries to capitulate. Would Russia stand silently by? Or would the Russians become involved in a nuclear exchange against the US?

(4) The pope (will John Paul soon retire?) will reveal that secret plans have long been formed for a kind of "second Vatican" to be established in old Jerusalem; that the military forces in Israel at that time (either UN, or all-European army in the wake of UN collapse) would guarantee Israel's security, and the pope's safety.

(5) The pope moves to Jerusalem, occupying the Temple Mount, either in a temple, or a temporary structure, thus fulfilling 2 Thessalonians 2.

(6) Could a huge statue be erected, which is one of the facets of the creation of the "image of the beast"? Which great religion believes in speaking, bleeding, weeping statues? Could such an image appear to "speak"?

(7) Would a man who "brought peace at last" to the Mideast be hailed as a kind of incarnation of God? Would he masquerade as the "prince of peace" or the "messiah"?

(8) What if the next pope were a Jew?

(9) What if he claimed the title "Sixtus the sixth"?

In such a war, literally millions would die. The death toll could climb quickly far beyond the number of deaths in World War II! Whole cities would be laid waste; hundreds of thousands or a million and more killed in an instantaneous nuclear blast.

There are many scenarios one can imagine in connection with Daniel 11:40-44, and 2 Thessalo-nians the second chapter. Some, or most, may be purely fanciful. Nevertheless, when one hears that a new hit film in Israel called Hahesder, or "Time of Favor," features a plot by ultra-religious Jews to blow up the mosques on the Temple Mount, and when one hears that two former heads of the security service in Israel, Shin Bet, have warned Prime Minister Ehud Barak about just such an eventuality, one does, indeed, sit up and take notice!

As Christ said, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36). q

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Is GLOBAL WARMING real?
...Is it a threat to mankind?

"Global warming" has become a political football. Environmentalists loudly decry the despoiling of the natural environment by logging, mining, and oil exploration; cry out against the rape of the Brazilian Rain Forest; and sometimes attack the owners of SUVs for driving "big gas guzzling" vehicles. Others say there is no way puny man can make that much difference; that the earth is easily able to absorb just about all the punishment man can dish out, and still recover with little difficulty. Is our earth in danger, or are the environmentalists merely "tree-hugging wackos" who don't know what they are talking about?

by Garner Ted Armstrong

Everyone knows the earth has gradually warmed up since the ice ages. The plunging valleys of Switzerland and sheets of bare rock in Canada and Minnesota, as well as many other places on earth present mute testimony to mighty glaciers that once scoured the earth.

In North America, the vast inland basins in the Rockies; the Great Lakes region, and many other topographical features prove that huge inland seas and lakes once contained millions of cubic feet of water which is now gone. For example, The "Great Salt Lake" is now but a tiny saline puddle in the bottom of the ancient "Lake Bonneville" which had a shoreline many thousands of miles long.

But is the gradual drying and warming of the earth so subtle that mankind cannot observe its effects? Does it take place so slowly that it requires many thousands, or even millions of years to be detected? Is modern technology causing global warming?

What The Scientists Are Saying

All during the 1960s and into the early 1970s, I attended many of the conferences of the National Association for the Advancement of Science which were conducted in major cities like Boston, Dallas, Washington D.C., and New York. I conducted interviews for my television programs with many of the most prominent scientists who spoke of air, solid, and water pollution. During the 1960s I was in the forefront of those decrying industrial pollution, toxic waste dumping, and the destruction of arable land by urban sprawl.

Thankfully, many of the most obnoxious and shameful examples of pollution which existed then, such as the time when the Cuyahoga River caught fire (that's right! A river became so choked with petroleum and petrochemical wastes that it caught fire, and the flames wrecked a steel bridge across it), and the salmon and sea-run rainbows quit migrating up the Willamette River in Oregon, were eventually cleaned up.

Little by little, public outcry over toxic waste dumps, accidental spillages, or deliberate dumping of chemicals into rivers brought many outrageous polluters into the light of day, and steps were taken to enforce antipollution laws.

However, the problems of massive pollution have not been solved. To this day, there are hundreds of toxic waste sites, some of them beneath the soil of neighborhoods where children live and play, which present dangerous health hazards.

But solid and water pollution aside for the moment, is there any truth to the scientist's claim that the emission of CO2 and dozens of other chemical compounds into the air is damaging the globe?

Up front, one should realize that the scientists who have attended the many international conferences on global warming do not represent any particular political bloc. While it is true many such conferences have been under the auspices of the United Nations, and while it is also true that the United States has come in for a seemingly unfair share of the blame (mostly because of its size and advanced technology), one must remember that those who participate in such conferences are not politicians. They have no political axe to grind — they are not running for any office, and are not asking for votes.

As recently as the third week in January, 2001, a group of such scientists reported that the continued burning of fossil fuels in the new century will be the "dominant influence" on our climate. There are methods of measurement. Samples of air taken from Antarctica to Los Angeles, and from Tokyo to Trondheim prove that the rate of CO2 concentration has been rising by 4% each decade. What are the governments of the world doing about it? Almost nothing. For example, when representatives of most of the world's governments met in the Hague in November, 2000, they eventually signed an agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 5.5% over the next century! But scientific studies strongly indicated that, to protect the earth's ozone layer, at least a 60% reduction is needed.

Can man in fact have such an impact on our earth that he can alter weather patterns?

Deserts, Oceans And Forests

There are many fanciful theories about lost civilizations. Some say there are lost cities beneath the sands of the Sahara Desert. Others say Atlantis is "out there somewhere" beneath the waters which bear its name. But fables aside, it is true that deforestation does in fact alter climatic patterns. The famous "Yellow River" in China is yellow because it carries massive tonnages of silt from the vast Asian continent due to the thousands of years of deforestation.

Ancient petrified logs in the Sahara prove it was once forested. The amount of deposition of silt onto river deltas can be measured. The major rivers of the earth continue to scour topsoil from the continents as they have for thousands of years. The "dust bowl" of the 1930s was due to massive deforestation and ploughing up the topsoil of the American Midwest. Had agriculturists not learned better methods of soil conservation, the entire region would be a desert today.

When Thor Heyerdhal and his crew drifted from the Mediterranean to South America in their papyrus raft over three decades ago, they reported that they were never out of sight of at least some pollutants; cans, bottles, plastic, garbage, trash from the rivers, bays and estuaries; from the thousands of ships plying the seas — oil spills; their journey across the vast Atlantic showed them that the billions of humans on the earth can indeed have an impact.

Consider the vast Amazonian rain forest, the famed Matto Grosso of Brazil.

For decades, the Brazilian government has been "developing" the Amazon. Mining, logging, clearing of land for grazing have already deforested vast tracts of pristine rain forest. But what's the problem? Believe it or not, the vast Brazilian Amazon plays a vital role not only in the southern hemisphere, but in the world as a whole. Hydrology, climate, biodiversity (thousands of the earth's rarest species live there) and the mid-Atlantic ocean are all affected. The mighty Amazon river dumps billions of gallons of fresh water into the Atlantic which can be detected for hundreds of miles out to sea. Scouring the basin, denuding it of trees, forming massive tailings from mining, and the leeching out of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides into the creeks and rivers means additional pollutants dumped into the river each year.

A current Brazilian government program, called "Advance Brazil," will result in only 28% of the world's largest forest remaining untouched. Scientists point out that the soil beneath the double-canopy rain forest is extremely poor, having been scoured by uncounted centuries of heavy rains. Agriculture which replaces sawn down and uprooted forest is nowhere near so productive as grasslands, such as in the American high plains and Midwest.

At the present rate, about 8,000 square miles of forest is disappearing each year!

Our Earth Is Finite

You and I live on a beautiful, blue-green space ship. We are on a journey through space on our ship, which is only a tiny little speck of bright light when seen from space. Each year, our space ship spins around on its axis approximately 365 times, while each lunar month, our moon orbits around the earth. The two of them journey around the sun in one year.

The three spheres of the earth are the atmosphere, the lithosphere, and the bathysphere.

All three are very greatly impacted by man. There is no new air being created. Air is made up of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, helium, and many other gases. Every cubic inch of air contains particulate matter—much of it pollutants. The most common pollutant is dust.

While it seems a small matter to think that a housewife using hair spray in Burbank can affect the atmosphere in any way, one has only to consider that there are tens of millions of such spray cans being used at the same time. Does "smog" exist in Los Angeles and other major cities? Having lived in the Los Angeles basin for over thirty years, I can tell you that I well remember the very beginnings of detectable smog back in the middle and late 1940s. I also well remember being able to see and smell it at 35,000 feet the moment I would cross the Colorado River on the border between Arizona and California! Ahead of us would be what appeared to be an ocean of white, with many islands protruding above it. In reality, the "islands" were the tops of the Sierra Madre mountains, and the "ocean" was a thick, impenetrable layer of smog.

"Smog" is a derivative of smoke and fog. Actually, it is "photo-chemical" smog, which is produced when millions of tons of carbon monoxide and other gases are released into the air and are then cooked into different compounds by the sun. You can both smell and "taste" smog. It burns your eyes, stings your throat, and contributes heavily to various pulmonary diseases.

On some occasions, a severe "smog alert" can force factories to shut down.

I well remember on a few occasions when I was piloting a fan jet Falcon back to Burbank from points east, looking at that blanket of smog, and asking an Air Traffic Controller, not without a touch of sarcasm, "Is anyone still alive down there?"

A common weather report would be "Clear, visibility two miles." This is seemingly a contradiction in terms. However, on many a day in June, we would have to shoot ILS landings (flying entirely on instruments, unable to see the airport).

Smog is caused by people. When temperature inversions occur, as they often do (when a warmer layer of air is superposed over a cooler layer on the ground), all the gases from factories and millions of internal combustion engines being spewed into the air are trapped. The daily inflow of cooler sea air causes a west to east flow, which in turn traps the gases between the ocean and the mountains which form a kind of barrier to the north and east of Los Angeles.

Presto! Photo chemical smog. Reams could be written about the choking air pollution in the earth's major cities, like London and Tokyo. The point is made merely to illustrate that all gases which are emitted, whether from millions upon millions of spray cans or tens of millions of automobiles and air conditions, the gases have to go someplace.

I well remember producing many television programs in which I cited how smog actually contributed to the erosion of brick; how it affected the paint on homes and automobiles; how it contributed to asthma, emphysema, and other respiratory ailments.

It is simply not true that man makes no impact whatever on his environment.

Does Bible prophecy say anything about such things as air, water and solid pollution, or global warming? You be the judge.

When Jesus Christ was asked about the signs on earth which would signal that His second coming was near, He warned, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences [disease epidemics, which follow in the wake of famine], and earthquakes, in divers places.

"All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:6-8).

Great drought and famine are to be a part of the coming tribulation. This is not necessarily brought about by Divine fiat, although God has done so in the past, and can certainly do so in the future. For example, during the very time when the great false prophet is "sitting in the temple of God claiming to be God," the two witnesses will be prophesying in Jerusalem.

Notice what they will do: "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

"These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

"And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

"These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will" (Revelation 11:3-6).

A major feature of the coming tribulation will be drought and famine. God says, "And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

"And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.

"So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

"I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm [caterpillars] devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD" (Amos 4:6-9).

Major droughts have occurred all over the world from time immemorial. However, with ever-expanding populations coupled with political upheavals, not all famine is drought related.

When US troops were sent into Somalia, it was in an attempt to relieve massive privation and starvation because of regional wars between clashing warlords. Even though the US and several other nations were attempting massive airlifts of food to starving tens of thousands, the fighting precluded efficient distribution of the supplies to those starving thousands, who were isolated.

Famine can be caused by warfare, when large civilian populations are uprooted from their homes, and choke the roads as refugees.

Many of the horrifying plagues described in the book of Revelation are a combination of God's wrath upon rebellious, sinning mankind and man's own inventions.

Today, rogue nations such as Iraq are feverishly working on weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. The use of such weapons may well be described by several of the famous "trumpet plagues" of Revelation: Notice, "And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

"And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.

"And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

"And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

"For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy" (Revelation 16:2-6).

Notice another example: "And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

"And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

"And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads [neutron bombs emit deadly rays which horribly injure and kill, yet do not damage trees or structures].

"And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man [is this poison gas, or chemicals?].

"And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

"And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle [anciently, horses in battle array wore metal masks and skirts]; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

"And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

"And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle [John wrote what he saw. Did he see modern helicopters, with men wearing round helmets, rockets flaming from their wings, and hear the sound of roaring engines?].

"And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months [this sounds like the effects of poison gas, or biological weapons which cause disease].

"And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon [Satan]" (Revelation 9:2-11).

It is obvious from the prophecies of your Bible that many of the effects of the plagues detailed in Revelation are caused by man himself, waging war on his fellow man.

The "Catch 22" Of Development vs. Environment

By now, we all know about the rolling blackouts in California because of huge demand and not enough electricity; about serious power outages here and there around the country due to ice storms. For every effect, there is a cause.

The cause of power outages in California is the lack of sufficient energy-producing plants. One has only to study the history of environmentalists' successes (from their point of view) against mining, oil drilling, and the construction of nuclear and coal-burning electric energy plants to arrive at the obvious conclusions.

First, California's population has exploded in recent decades. Not only have millions of new Californians been born, grown up, married, and had children, but millions of others have swarmed into the state from all over the country, and from around the world. Vast numbers of Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, Cambodians, Laotians, Vietnamese, east Asian Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs, Central Americans and Mexicans have poured into the southland. Today, whole cities in the Los Angeles region are predominantly Asian. Many towns have virtually no English signs. Driving through Temple City, San Gabriel and West Los Angeles, among many others, is like a trip through Seoul, Korea. All these people demand the 90 some energy slaves available to the modern household.

When I attended the conferences in Los Angeles held by then Governor Reagan dealing with air, water, and solid pollution, I heard the President of the California Edison company state the catch 22 situation quite succinctly.

Speaking of the rapidly-growing need for additional electrical power supply, he said, "Be it ever so humble, there is no place...."

He then proceeded to detail how the environmentalists and tens of thousands of outraged citizens in various neighborhoods had gone to court to prevent his company from building the power plants needed to provide energy. "Go ahead and build your huge coal-burning, gas-emitting plant," they said, "because we need the electricity. But don't dare put it in OUR part of the State!"

One has only to study the incredible fight which ensued over the construction of the San Onofre Nuclear Plant to understand exactly what he was talking about.

So the environmentalists won. Today, the "tree huggers" can contemplate the fruits of their victory as they look about in dismay, watching all the food in their refrigerators and freezers rot, and the price of energy skyrocket.

California has not added a single electrical energy plant in decades! Now, consumers are looking at up to FOUR HUNDRED PER CENT hikes in their electric bills, and California has had to buy energy from other companies, meanwhile, deciding who gets what amount of electrical power. The dairy industry was hard hit; cows could not be milked; milk could not be refrigerated and processed. Milk dumping occurred, as well as a steep spike in prices.

Today, the US is approximately 50 percent dependent upon foreign oil; much of it from nations which are antagonistic toward America because of our support for Israel. We could be completely self-sufficient in oil, and even an oil exporter, except for the fact that purely political considerations have led American administrations to purchase oil from the Arab nations in an effort to placate them because of America's support for Israel.

We all know the Gulf War was "about oil."

It is very dangerous for the United States to be dependent upon real or potential enemies for its energy supplies! As you know, the new Bush administration seeks to overturn rules preventing further oil exploration off the continental shelves in the gulf of Mexico, offshore California, and in a vast wildlife preserve in Alaska.

Obviously, we cannot continue in the direction we have been going. America cannot become 80, 90, or 100 percent dependent upon real and potential enemies for our energy supplies.

Earth-worshiping environmentalists are at one extreme of the debate, while rapacious polluters who think only of profits are at the other extreme. The truth, and the solution, is somewhere in the middle. God has given this good, green earth into our hands. He has told us to "dress it and keep it." It IS possible to utilize the earth's resources and to protect and preserve the environment. There are many classic cases; old mines have been converted into pristine fishing lakes; clear-cut forests have been replanted, and millions of little Douglas Firs have become mature; the steelhead once again migrate up the Willamette River in Oregon, and the Cuyahoga River has been greatly cleaned up. The Caribou migrate along their ancient routes, finding that the Alaskan pipeline has been raised here and there to permit their passage.

The United States is the most blessed country in the world in terms of natural resources. If our citizens would turn to God with all our hearts, and observe HIS LAWS, not only His spiritual laws, but His laws for the preservation of our fields and forests (yes, he lays down laws concerning the environment, too!), we would continue to be the most blessed land on earth. q

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"Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Oestara,
Astarte;
by any other name, `Easter'"

On April 15th, as established long ago by the "Council of Nicaea" in 325 AD, millions in the Christian-professing world will be celebrating "Easter" at sunrise, amid fertility symbols. Why would anyone who believes in Jesus Christ be doing such a thing?

by Garner Ted Armstrong

On April 15th, 2001, the pope will no doubt be once again saying "Happy Easter" in more than a dozen languages to millions around the world. Millions will arise at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., awaken sleepy children, bundle into automobiles or on trams and buses, and make their way to huge outdoor arenas, or to hill and mountain top venues beneath huge crosses, there to await the first rays of the rising sun.

As they face to the East at sunrise, they will believe they are commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Ironically, at precisely this same time, witches and Satanists who practice "wicca" will be cavorting about, celebrating as such people have always done for thousands of years before Christ. To them, and ancient pagans like them, they celebrate the "goddess of fertility and sexual reproduction," called everything from Oestara to Ishtar, from Isis to Venus, and from Aphrodite to Diana. "Her" names are myriad, and they vary only according to the myths associated with the "deity" (who never existed except in the fertile imagination of stupid, ignorant pagans) of springtime.

Anciently, her real name was Semiramus, and she was at once the mother and the wife of Nimrod, the famous hunter who was the first to gather people together into cities.

Where did the world get the term "Easter"? Is it the opposite of "Wester"? Many may think it has something to do with the fact that sunrise services are conducted on that day, and, since the sun appears to rise in the East (it does not; the earth rolls toward it, and the sun remains stationary), they may think, since they are facing in an "easterly" direction that this is the origin of the word. Wrong. Hislop says, "What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country.

"That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments is Ishtar." (The Two Babylons, Hislop, p. 103).

Should millions of pagan Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Druids or Germans be brought back to life from the pre-Christian era, and observe the splendor of an Easter sunrise service, they would immediately be delighted to see that their ancient practices have been maintained down into a modern age of lunar landings and nuclear weapons!

Observing the eggs, rabbits, hot cross buns and bright springtime colors, they would be not only delighted, but would feel right at home alongside Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Congregationalists, members of the Church of Christ, and Catholics.

Ishtar, or Semiramus, the mother-wife of Nimrod, was the inventor of the ancient pagan "mystery" religion. She was the first "Madonna with child," as Satan paved the way long prior to Christ with any number of similar phenomena. Writing about the "virgin mother" or the "Madonna," Hislop says, "In the natural course of events, the mother came to be worshipped along with the child, yea, to be the favourite object of worship To justify this worship...that mother, of course, must be raised to divinity, and divine powers and prerogatives ascribed to her...He was called Belus, `the Lord;' she, Beltis, `My Lady'... he, as the sun-god, was called Beel-samen, `Lord of Heaven;' she, as the Moon-goddess, Melkat-ashemin, `Queen of Heaven.'" (ibid. P. 264).

God issued a blistering indictment against the Jews for their adoration of Isis, or Astarte, or Seminamus, the "Queen of Heaven." As did the pagans, the Jews were making little "cakes" perhaps shaped, as present-day French rolls, as a "croissant," (crescent), in honor of the moon goddess. They may have then, and many cultures certainly have later, placed a sugary "cross" on the little cake, calling it a "hot cross bun." The word "bun" was orginally bou, bous, or boun, and stood for "Horus," the bull, or Nimrod.

God said, "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

"Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

"The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough [it was a warm, cuddly `family' occasion, with everyone taking part!], to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

"Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

"Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched" (Jeremiah 7:16-20). If you are a housewife, contemplating your cookbook for "Easter specials" this year, thinking to make "hot cross buns" as a delicacy to go with your roast goose or other meal, you should study this scripture, and all else connected with "Easter" very carefully. Easter is pagan to the core. God HATES to see the name of His Son Jesus Christ superposed over rotten, pagan practices!

God commands us, "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them" (Jeremiah 10:2). Easter is another of the pagan sun worshiper's observances of the "signs of heaven," meaning the perceived movements of the sun and moon; in this case the Vernal Equinox, and the signs of spring.

Rabbits were used as symbols of fertility because of their very short gestation period; eggs have always been a pagan symbol of life and reproduction. For the full story, call or write immediately for my free booklet, Should Christians Observe EASTER, or the PASSOVER? q

_________________________________________

Just Sue Me

I don't know any newspaper people who think like this. Hats off to Mr. Gholson:

From the TIMES RECORD NEWS, Wichita Falls, Texas: By: NICK GHOLSON

Some people, it seems, get offended way too easily. I mean, isn't that what all this prayer hullabaloo is all about — people getting offended? Those of us in the majority are always tippy-toeing around, trying to make sure we don't step on the toes or hurt the feelings of the humorless. And you can bet there's a lawyer standing on every corner making sure we don't.

Take this prayer deal. It's absolutely ridiculous. Some atheist goes to a high school football game, hears a kid say a short prayer before the game and gets offended.

So he hires a lawyer and goes to court and asks somebody to pay him a whole bunch of money for all the damage done to him. You would have thought the kid kicked him in the crotch. Damaged for life by a 30-second prayer?

Am I missing something here?

I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his theory of evolution.

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire book of Acts.

They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.

"But it's a Christian prayer," some will argue. Yes, and this is the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles. And we are in the Bible Belt. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer. If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. If I went to a Ping-Pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha. And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit. When in Rome...

"But what about the atheists?" is another argument. What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand.... Call your lawyer.

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations. Nor do I believe that not praying will result in more serious injuries on the field or more fatal car crashes after the game. In fact, I'm not so sure God would even be at all these games if he didn't have to be.

That's just one of the downsides of omnipresence. If God really liked sports, the Russians would never have won a single gold medal, New York would never play in a World Series and Deion Sanders' toe would be healed by now.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us just to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.

God, help us.

And if that last sentence offends you-well......just sue me. q

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