Our nemeses over at The Trumpet are positively bubbling over with self-congratulatory excitement! Their schoolgirl hysterics come in response to the news of civil unrest currently taking the Arab world by storm. With all their usual propagandist tricks on display, they are riding their little ship of “prophecy” on the wave of worldly analysis and prognostication as far as they can take it. As Brad MacDonald put it,
Here at the Trumpet, the political revolution currently afoot in Egypt arouses a great deal of excitement. For 20 years, we have forecast that the moderate government in Cairo will be replaced by hardcore Islamists who will quickly align Egypt with the anti-Israel, radical Islamic administration in Tehran. We are currently watching this happen.
But did they really “forecast” these events 20 years ago, or is there something a bit deceptive going on here? Let’s take some time to examine the reasoning on offer: we’ll see just how uncanny their so-called forecasting actually is.
We’ll proceed by examining the contents of a couple of articles The Trumpet has recently produced on the subject.
One seemingly trivial attack on truth can be found in the relentless jingoist Ron Frazer’s article “Arc of Turmoil.” If you notice the caption for the accompanying photo of Tunisian protestors, you will see that the author has for some reason decided to use a photo taken on January 16. You can be sure he is utilizing some of the methods we have described for manufacturing significance to cajole his readers into assuming that this date was especially significant. This timeline of recent events in Tunisia should be sufficient to dispel that sneaky insinuation.
Another interesting trifle is Frazer’s choice of title, which evokes a piece of jargon from geopolitics: Arc of Crisis, referring to an area of the globe that is mostly comprised of the Middle East. This ever-chaotic region was discussed in a ’79 Plain Truth article that claimed the Soviets would be instrumental in bringing about the collapse of the West, through their allegedly disruptive meddling in the Arc of Crisis. Of course, that didn’t happen. In fact, the stability of the Arc of Crisis (such as it is) outlasted that of the Soviet Union, which eventually collapsed, leaving Communism to be popularly discredited as a social system that had utterly failed. And, of course (in case you haven’t been paying attention), the West has been humming merrily along ever since.
The Plain Truth was plain wrong. But in 1979, it was easy for sheep to imagine that these predictions might come to pass, especially if one could shoehorn them into “prophetic” biblical passages. But there was obviously no revelation involved then, and there isn’t today either.
Which brings us back to Frazer’s article.
First, the obligatory right-wing bias is on full display. He spins the Obama administration as being “weak on foreign policy and lacking demonstrable will to be up for the fight to protect the flow of oil through the Gulf.” Oil. That’s the thing, isn’t it? Let’s not talk about the promise of secular democracy (relevant in Tunisia) or the threat of theocratic regimes (relevant in Egypt). What’s important here is oil, which is running out and about to be replaced by better energy alternatives. But Frazer is a dinosaur who pines impotently for the halcyon days of a dust-ridden empire, so he wouldn’t know anything about that (or if he did he would certainly frame it as a sign of the “times of the Gentiles” or something equally inane).
At any rate, as with most of The Trumpet’s “prophetic” analysis, the geopolitical importance of oil is not exactly a secret known only to Yahweh and his earthly representatives. What we don’t know and what Frazer must tell us, though, is that the EU is not only concerned about oil in the Middle East, but will be strong-armed by Germany into swooping down into an Iranian-led Arab World and taking it by force. Roll your eyes with me if you appreciate the absurdity of this latter assertion, based as it is on nothing but a misguided interpretation of the ancient scribblings of ignorant and superstitious desert folk.
We could take apart this silly article by a delusional fool line by line. But most of it would be beyond the scope of this piece, and we have yet other nonsense to get to. So let’s cut to the chase with one final takedown of Frazer and his raving lunacy:
In the immediate term, the current unrest in North Africa and the Mideast is going to accelerate efforts by EU elites to form an alliance with certain Middle Eastern states of a nature that will surprise most observers. That alliance is prophesied in Psalm 83…Which nations will be in that alliance? They are all listed in verses 6 to 8 of Psalm 83. This is an alliance of Middle Eastern nations formed against what the Psalm refers to as God’s people. Verse 8 shows these nations in alliance with a powerful people named Assur. This is the ancient Assyria of biblical history, the actual prophetic identity of which is revealed—along with that of those referred to as “thy people” in verse 3—in our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
Laugh out loud. Assyria? What he means in this weak attempt at suspense-inducement (and he’s arguably the best writer on the staff–then again, consider the material), is that when the Bible says, “Assyria” it means “Germany.” Yes. That Germany. Why? Because this baseless assertion is convenient to the other pseudo-historical dogma they have to swallow in PCG, to put it simply. In actual fact, Assyria is alive and…uh, not exactly well today, but they are not (as you might expect) Germans. They’re called–strangely enough–Assyrians.
Take some time to get to know the real Assyrians and consider their plight. Next consider the true history of the German people. Then consider the implication of these true historical, linguistic and genetic facts for the whole of the Armstrongist eschatological scheme (noting particularly that “Assyrians have a distinct genetic profile that distinguishes their population from any other population”). You’ve heard of a house of cards? Well, this one just got flattened by the bowling ball of truth. So stop worrying about your impending doom.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand…
The Forecast for Someday is Lots of Bad Stuff or Something
So, what was it that Flurry supposedly “forecast” 20 years ago? What were his actual words? Let’s take it back to Brad at The Trumpet for the full report (from the same article):
In the November/December 1990 Trumpet, editor in chief Gerald Flurry discussed the assassination of Egypt’s speaker of parliament, and concluded: “Egypt’s President Mubarak could [also] be assassinated …. This could radically change Egyptian politics ….” By July 1993, Mr. Flurry’s prophecy for Egypt was crystal clear. “Islamic extremism is gaining power at a frightening pace in Egypt,” he wrote. The prophecy in Daniel 11:42 “indicates Egypt will be allied with the king of the south. … I believe this prophecy in Daniel 11:42 indicates you are about to see a radical change in Egyptian politics!”
Uh… That’s it? So, let’s get this straight. In ’90 Flurry “forecast” that Mubarak might be assassinated. Oh, that didn’t happen…well, not yet, anyway. So, that’s a miss so far.
What else have we got? In ’93, the “prophecy was crystal clear.” Oh, was it? How cute. Notice, though, that the “prophecy” is not about what will happen, but what was happening at the time: the rise of political Islamism in Egypt, which Flurry heard about at the same time and from the same earthly sources as everyone else who knew of it. Not much of a prophecy, that. So, strike two.
Then we get a bald assertion based on Flurry’s interpretation of a Bible verse, in which he declares that Egypt will, someday, make an alliance with some entity called “the king of the south.” Of course, Flurry thinks this “king” is Iran (in opposition to the interpretation of his apostolic father, Armstrong, who was quite sure “the king of the south” referred to Ethiopia, as he wrote on page 11 of The Middle East in Prophecy in 1972). This alliance also has not occurred. Strike three! (But we’ll give Flurry one more swing: he’s an apostle after all.)
So finally we are burdened with one of Flurry’s other beliefs, that his Bible verse “indicates” there would soon be a shakeup in Egyptian politics. Is that the “forecast”, Brad?
Leaving aside for now the surely too forceful question of what other “worldly” analysts were making the same predictions at the time, let’s just take a look at this from the perspective of common sense. What are the chances that a “radical change” might occur in the politics of a society in which “Islamic extremism is gaining power at a frightening pace?”
In other words, from whence comes this “forecast?” Does it not derive from a shrewd analysis of current events–or, as is more likely in Flurry’s case, from a utilization of such an analysis (without giving credit to the responsible parties, of course)? Or does it derive instead from the wishful thinking of a man whose delusions depend upon the nearly inevitable occurrence of political unrest in almost any place–but especially the Middle East? Or is it a combination of these factors that gave rise to this not-so-uncanny “forecast”? There certainly is no reason to ascribe to it any cosmic source, whether it was prescient or not!
Notice also that Flurry did not explicitly state what the nature of this “radical change” would be, much less who the prominent players would be or when it would happen, specifically. The intelligent reader will note that Flurry’s “forecast” did not include some facsimile of the phrase, “by the end of January 2011, Mubarak will be over a barrel, the Muslim Brotherhood spanking him with the paddle of ‘Islamic Democracy.'”
Looking back at vague, open-ended predictions hinting at events that all the world sees as likely or inevitable at some point, and then claiming, after the fact, that you had “forecast” something is not an indication of prophetic powers. It is in fact a good example of what we who are interested in truth call postdiction. So…
Strike four! You’re OUT, Bozo!
Judge By the Fruits
It is clear the editors of The Philadelphia Trumpet have continued in the tradition of their more illustrious forebears at The Plain Truth. The tradition is to 1) follow closely and piggy-back upon the analysis and prognostication to be found in external “worldly” media, while also 2) making wild predictions driven by eschatological fantasies. When the former succeed, they claim the success for themselves, as though the predictions had been original with them, whereas when the latter fail, they toss them straight into the memory hole, as though the predictions were never made.
If you do your homework, counting the misses as well as the hits, you will notice an important fact: the hits are not theirs to claim and, therefore, they have only misses. In other words, while other “worldly” sources cited in The Trumpet have gotten some things right, the prophecy pushers have only been wrong themselves, i.e., in those predictions that were original with them.
This scam was established as an institution under Armstrong, and Flurry et al. have only continued the practice, albeit in a less sophisticated manner. But they’re counting on you 1) to forget the misses and the significance of the “prophetic” source of those misses and 2) to fail to notice that the hits were not divinely revealed but were derived instead from the quite mundane source of “worldly” prescience among journalists, analysts, etc. Don’t give them the satisfaction of your ignoring these facts!
Predictions are made on the basis of the analysis of current events, and anybody with a brain can do that, theoretically. Just because a prediction is successful doesn’t mean it was revealed from the heavens. It may very well have been “revealed” from one of The Trumpet’s most cited sources–say, STRATFOR, since “strategic forecasting” is their business after all. Consider the irony of that for a moment: The Trumpet claims to have a prophet at its helm, with a direct line to the source of all information about present and future events–and yet it relies on the services of a “strategic forecasting” firm (along with all the other earth-bound analytic sources it constantly pumps for information–and references in its pages for all the world, including you, to see). But the irony fades as soon as you realize that prophets are as real as fairies. “That prophet” needs STRATFOR because he has no revelation.
Let’s look at this another way. If The Trumpet really offered the predictive genius it claims for itself, then what would be stopping its producers from taking it to market and giving STRATFOR a run for its money? Their divinely ensured competitive advantage (besides bringing in a considerable income for “The Work”) would also grant them the renown required to bring “the warning message” to the “widest possible audience,” and they could pass along all the glory to their lofty source.
The answer, of course, is the same reason self-proclaimed psychics don’t use their “skills” to make a killing in lottery winnings: their only real skill is collecting–and collecting from–a client base of credulous dupes.
Don’t be one of them.