Continental Europe and England
On Saturday, February 26, 2005, the Daily Mail published an insightful article about the future relationship between continental Europe and England. The rather cumbersome headline read: “Birth Certificate for the United States of Europe — Germany lets the cat out of the bag over what the EU constitution really means.”
The newspaper continued to state:
“The new EU constitution was heralded as the ‘birth certificate of the United States of Europe’ last night… Hans Martin Bury, Germany’s Europe minister, said the constitution was more than just a ‘milestone.’ ‘I think the EU constitution is… the framework for… an ever closer union.’ His remarks contradicted those of Jack Straw, who claimed earlier this month that the constitution would mark an end to the transfer of British sovereignty to Brussels… Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancran said: ‘Once again a European politician [Mr. Bury] has told the truth… The EU constitution would mean the beginning of the end for British independence…’ Neil O’Brian, director of the Vote No campaign, said: ‘…The reality is that the constitution would mean even more power for officials in Brussels who are not elected…'”
The article continued to point out:
“In 2003, German foreign minister Joschka Fischer said it [the EU constitution] was ‘the most important treaty since the formation of the European Economic Community.’ He has referred to a ‘single European state bound by one European constitution.’ Former European Commission president Romano Prodi has spoken of ‘a change of centuries of history.'”
As Bible prophecy reveals, there will arise on the world scene a mighty and powerful United States of Europe. We are seeing its beginning stages developing in front of our very eyes. The Bible also indicates that England will NOT be part of Europe’s final configuration. In this light, England’s resistance to the adoption of the EU constitution is highly remarkable.
Germany a New Leader?
As www.german-foreign-policy.com reported in early March, “the German government would like to break US resistance to Germany’s receiving a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and will offer military compromises in return… Berlin is prepared to make a ‘substantial’ military ‘increase’ and relieve US strain, if Washington is willing to pay the price. To underline this military preparedness, the German Minister of Defense announced (in the wings of the Munich Conference) supplementary overseas deployments of the German military. In repeated allusions to Berlin’s demand for a permanent seat on the Security Council, Schröder and Fischer hinted that NATO ‘is not the principal setting for transatlantic partners to consult and coordinate their strategic intentions.’ The international ‘challenges’ are more of a political nature. Because Germany sees itself as ‘co-responsible for international stability and order’, it must also insist upon having ‘its say’ in political matters. ‘Our aspiration for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council arises from this context of attaining legitimization’, Schröder said on February 22… Washington boycotted German attempts to gain big-power status in the UN Security Council and the attempt to politically enter the league with the USA, Russia and the Peoples Republic of China. Washington is also supported by Italy and Poland, who are suspicious of German endeavors aimed at hegemony.”
Even though the publication seems to be motivated, to an extent, by a desire to propagate anti-German propaganda, it is remarkable that the article correctly points at Germany’s future. As Bible prophecy reveals, Germany will become the most powerful and influential European country in a few years from now.
Europe — a New Military Superpower?
On March 2, 2005, www.timesonline.co.uk published another insightful article, titled, “High-tech weapons help Europe to close military gap with US.” In the article, the following was pointed out: “The European Union is to develop unmanned drones, new armoured vehicles and advanced communication systems in a strategy to become a military superpower and close the defence technology gap with the United States. The programme involves setting up a joint EU fighter-pilot training programme and co-ordinating the testing of military equipment on proving grounds and in wind tunnels. The initiatives from the newly-created European Defence Agency represent the EU’s first step in military research and development. They are aimed at transforming the EU from being solely a political power, in charge of policies such as agriculture and trade, to a military one, capable of sending troops around the world to enforce a foreign policy agreed by its member states.”
Again, we are seeing the beginning of a MILITARY European super power, as clearly prophesied to happen in Scripture.
Europe vs. the USA?
Another remarkable commentary was published on the webpage of www.washingtontimes.com, on March 1, 2005, titled, “Perfect Storm Warning.” The article stated:
“Imagine a world where Russia and the European Union of 25 nations, and Russia and China, and the EU and China, all find more in common with each other than with the United States. Unimaginable, you correctly say. But the seeds of such an anti-U.S. entente were planted in Europe last week.”
The article continued to point out that the USA wants France, Germany and the UK to continue negotiating with Iran, as the USA could not give legitimacy to the Iranian clerics to do so. The Bush administration also stated that it would leave it to Europe to deal with China, and that it would await the outcome of their action, according to the article. The article continued: “On the third front – Russia’s democracy deficit… Democracy, as understood in Washington, is not on Mr. Putin’s agenda. Nor could it be after 1,000 years of authoritarian rule, including 70 years of totalitarian communism.”
The upshot is, of course, that Russia will continue developing a totalitarian regime, as envisioned by Putin. The world will stand by and watch. As prophesied, Europe will at first have economic ties with Russia and China. But ultimately, a seemingly friendly relationship between Europe on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other hand, will become hostile. At the same time, world influence of the United States will steadily decrease.
Lebanon in Uproar
As WorldNetDaily reported on March 14, 2005, “An estimated 800,000 rallied this afternoon in central Beirut in the largest anti-Syrian protest in Lebanon since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and one of the largest protests in recent Middle East history. Crowds from across Lebanon gathered in Martyrs’ Square in central Beirut, a few miles from Hariri’s grave, to demand the immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops [from] the country, the firing of Syrian-backed intelligence forces, and an international inquiry into Hariri’s killing…
“Some were worried the protests could spill over into violence. There have been reports from the opposition that Syrian-backed forces have been shooting in civilian areas to provoke a conflict and precipitate a deteriorating security situation that would require Damascus to delay removal of its nearly 20,000 troops from Lebanon… Political sources told reporters Lebanese authorities were pondering a ban on future demonstrations to be enforced by the country’s army… Today’s rally follows protests yesterday and last week organized by Hezbollah forces in which hundreds of thousands packed into a central Beirut meeting square, chanting support for Syrian troops to maintain positions in Lebanon and denouncing America in what has been called a massive show of strength by pro-Syrian elements.”
In an additional article, The Associated Press stated, on March 14, 2005: “Hundreds of thousands of anti-Syrian demonstrators flooded the capital Monday in the biggest protest ever in Lebanon, surpassing the turnout for an earlier pro-Damascus rally organized by the Islamic militant Hezbollah. In a show of national unity, Sunnis, Druse and Christians packed Martyrs’ Square as brass bands played and balloons soared skyward. The rally, perhaps the biggest anti-government demonstration ever staged in the Arab world, was the opposition’s bid to regain momentum after two serious blows: the reinstatement of the pro-Syrian prime minister and a huge rally last week by the Shiite group Hezbollah…
“As Syria pulls its troops toward the border for an eventual withdrawal from the country it has controlled for decades, both the pro-Syrian government and the opposition have been whipping up crowds in a duel of people-power one-upmanship… The Shiite group has organized large rallies in the past, but its showing last week was a sign of its determination to make sure no future Lebanese government would consider peace with Israel or pressure Hezbollah to disarm… The large Sunni turnout also suggests many in the community were shaken by the size of the Hezbollah rally and wanted to show their own strength. Shiites make up about a third of Lebanon’s population, and Hezbollah is the country’s best armed and best organized faction. Sunnis form the country’s third biggest group after the Shiites and the Christians.”
As can be clearly seen from these reports, the situation in Lebanon is highly explosive. Will the situation be resolved peacefully, or will the powder keg explode, setting the whole region of the Middle East on fire?
Mass Murder in Wisconsin
As The Journal Sentinel and many other publications around the world reported on March 12, 2005, “A man neighbors described as quiet and devout opened fire on a group of men, women and children attending a weekly church service [of the Living Church of God] Saturday at a Brookfield hotel, killing eight people – including himself – and seriously wounding four others.” The shooter was later identified as Terry Ratzmann, 44, who lived with his mother and sister in New Berlin.
Speculations ran and are still running high, as to why Ratzmann committed these horrible crimes. Much has been written in the press. Some assumptions have been made as if they were statements of fact — which are not supported by the evidence, as officially released by governmental investigators. Sadly, some reports have suggested that Ratzmann’s horrific crimes were somehow related to the teachings and practices of his church. Again, there has not been shown any credible connection in this regard, and some of the allegations and rumors have been expressly denied by officials of the Living Church of God. As Edwin Pope points out in this week’s editorial, the real culprit of this terrible atrocity is none other than Satan the devil, the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), whom the Bible also identifies as the “destroyer” (compare Revelation 9:11, referring to Satan as “abaddon” in Hebrew, meaning “destruction,” and “Apollyon” in Greek, meaning “destroyer”), and as a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).
On March 13, 2005, the Living Church of God published a press release, stating: “‘We are also saddened by the loss of Pastor Randy Gregory, his youngest son James, and all those who died. Our thoughts go out to his wife Marjean, who is fighting for her life and is in critical condition at a local hospital, and to her family and all those who were injured; we are praying for their recovery,’ Crockett said.” Crocket is director of business operations and spokesman for the Living Church of God. The press release also pointed out that its “Members believe that they should ‘live peaceably with all men’ (Romans 12:18).”
We are also quoting the following excerpts from a report by Mike Hanisko, Pastor of the United Church of God congregation in Milwaukee, WI:
“As you can well imagine, the events that took place at the Living Church of God services this past Sabbath have shaken the entire community here. The emotional impact on both the LCG [Living Church of God] and UCG [United Church of God] congregations has been devastating… As in many metro areas, most of our UCG members know most of the LCG members and have maintained a good relationship with them. I personally knew all those who were killed except for the shooter. Randy Gregory and I have had several joint counseling sessions with member families where one mate was a UCG member and the other a LCG member… I have spent a good part of the last two days at the hospital where the victims were taken and where many LCG and UCG members have been gathering. Sheldon Monson, who pastors for LCG in the Twin Cities, has also been here, and he and I have been talking with the members and together anointed Matt Kaulbach last night. Church members from both LCG and UCG congregations have been providing food and other help to all the families directly affected by the tragedy… The local community has been very supportive, and as often happens in these kinds of tragedies, a makeshift memorial has sprung up near the hotel where the shootings took place. Many have left flowers, cards and other mementos at that location.”
We are also publishing excerpts from a moving report by Jon Gregory, of March 14, 2005. Jon’s dad, Pastor Randy Gregory, and Jon’s brother, James, were murdered during the shooting, and his mother, Marjean, is in the hospital, in critical condition. Jon writes: “Thank you for your prayers, love, and support. These are very trying times on us all. The most important thing you can do now is pray. Pray for all the victims’ families including mine. To give you an update on my mom, she is making a miraculous recovery…Today, Mr. [Charles] Bryce [Director of Church Administration of the Living Church of God] and Mr. Monson were there to help me tell my mom the news, which she was already somewhat aware that my little brother and Dad had been shot and killed… Keep praying that she has the faith and the strength to get through this. For me, pray that I have the faith and wisdom to get through tough decisions and seemingly insurmountable problems. God will never give us more than we can handle, and my friends and family have helped me through this so much along with the victims’ families who are also dealing with this tragedy.”
Let us keep the families of the deceased and the injured in our minds and prayers. We are listing their names below, as we have received them from various reports:
Randy Gregory, Pastor of the Milwaukee LCG congregation
James Gregory, Randy’s son, age 17
Bart Oliver, age 15
Gloria Critari’s 10 year old granddaughter, Lindsey, who was treated and released.
Marjean Gregory, Randy’s wife who is in critical condition
Angel Baricak, a 20 year old lady. She is in satisfactory condition.
Matthew Kaulbach, 21 years old. Matthew is in satisfactory condition and is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days.
Our prayers and hearts go out to these innocent victims of a Satanically-inspired act. As mentioned, some sensational newspapers and reporters have tried, and will continue to try, to somehow connect this horrendous crime with the teaching of God’s Church, especially in regard to end-time prophecies. Of course, a world cut off from God does not and cannot understand the signs of the times (compare Matthew 16:2-3). But those who do understand (compare Matthew 24:32-35), have a compelling duty to proclaim God’s Word, in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2), “as a witness,” and THEN the end WILL come (Matthew 24:14).