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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

January 2004

European Constitution Talks Collapse

Students of the Daniel 2 prophecy have watched with interest the growing unification of Europe. The prophecy indicated that the feet and toes of the symbolic image would not cleave together. Support for that interpretation was apparently given recently when some European disunity surfaced:

Talks over a new European constitution collapsed in acrimony Saturday, with the 25 current and future European Union members failing to find a formula to satisfy medium-sized countries worried that their voices and votes would be swamped by larger countries in an expanded union.

The failure -- one of the most critical crises in EU history -- could formalize a split in the grouping, and diplomats said some of the union's founding members, including France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, could soon make a statement saying they were prepared to proceed on their own "fast track," with deeper integration and shared policies. ("EU Talks on New Constitution Collapse" www.washingtonpost.com, Dec. 13, 2003)

Inspired Commentary

And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. (Daniel 2:42, 43)

Our kingdom is not of this world. We are waiting for our Lord from heaven to come to earth to put down all authority and power, and set up His everlasting kingdom. Earthly powers are shaken. We need not, and cannot, expect union among the nations of the earth. Our position in the image of Nebuchadnezzar is represented by the toes, in a divided state, and of a crumbling material, that will not hold together. Prophecy shows us that the great day of God is right upon us. It hasteth greatly. (Testimonies, v.1, p. 360, 361)

Saddam Captured

Former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, was captured on December 13, being found hiding in what military personnel called a "spider hole."

ADWAR, Iraq - The yard was a mess, the laundry wasn't done, the pantry was bare and the only art on the walls was a poster of Noah's Ark. Saddam Hussein's hideaway at a farmhouse in northern Iraq looked more like a derelict property abandoned by squatters than one of the lavish palaces he had lived in for years.

When the deposed Iraqi leader was pulled by U.S. troops from a dank hole adjacent to the farmhouse Saturday, he told them in English: "My name is Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate."

A U.S. Special Forces soldier replied: "Regards from President Bush." ("Hussein's Hovel Hideaway," www.washingtonpost.com, Dec. 15, 2003)

The capture of Hussein in a "spider hole" could be seen to make a statement to the world that the power of the superpower United States will eventually reduce those who defy it to having to hide in holes in the ground. The ire of the United States has in recent months also been directed at North Korea, Iran, and lately, Syria. As we have read in recent days about new evidences of the brutality of the former Iraqi regime, so there are persistent reports of religious and other persecution being perpetrated by the other nations mentioned (among others). So does that make the U.S. forces the "good guys" and those being battled the "bad guys?" In many respects (but not all), the answer is probably "yes."

Inspired Commentary

Prophecy points to a future time, however, when the military and political power of the superpower will be used inappropriately to restrict rather than to support freedom of conscience, especially in regard to a national weekly day of rest.

The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet's words: "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation 12:17. (The Great Controversy, p. 592)

Kindergarten Violence

A recent article in Time magazine reported on a growing trend of incidents of rage and violence by kindergarteners and first graders.

The final report is due out in January, but a preliminary version obtained by Time shows that 93% of the 39 schools that responded to the survey said kindergartners today have "more emotional and behavioral problems" than were seen five years ago. More than half the day-care centers said "incidents of rage and anger" had increased over the past three years. "We're talking about children, a 3-year-old in one instance, who will take a fork and stab another child in the forehead. We're talking about a wide range of explosive behaviors, and it's a growing problem," says John Ross, who oversaw the survey. . . .

Hinshaw and other experts on child behavior also point out that aggressive behavior in children has been irrefutably linked to exposure to violence on TV and in movies, video games and other media. "Dozens of studies have shown this link. Probably hundreds," says psychologist Jerome Singer, co-director of the Yale University Family Television Research and Consultation Center. ("Does Kindergarten Need Cops?" Time, Dec. 7, 2003)

Inspired Commentary

It seems some parents have allowed themselves to become victims of their culture. Besides sometimes having to attend weekend sessions with unruly children, it seems they and society as a whole must be heading toward increasing violence. The words of the Apostle Paul come to mind:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (2 Tim. 3:1-4)

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