JavaScript

This website requires the use of Javascript to function correctly. Performance and usage will suffer if it remains disabled.
A Record-breaking Decade

Article

A Record-breaking Decade

Over the past 10 years, The Real Truth has explained the why behind the news—and helped you put the pieces of events together to better understand the world.

Learn the why behind the headlines.

Subscribe to the Real Truth for FREE news and analysis.

Subscribe Now

White and yellow anti-aircraft tracers from Iraqi gunners lit up the sky in the early morning hours of March 19, 2003. Screaming air-raid sirens followed by explosive booms broke through the silence as bombs began falling over Baghdad—just one month and nine days after the first issue of The Real Truth was launched online.

“Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure,” United States President George W. Bush stated during a televised address to the nation.

The deadline for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to leave the country had been reached and it was clear he would not step down without a fight.

As thick balls of fire rained on the Iraqi capital and protesters worldwide took to the streets, the president continued, “The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now with our army, air force, navy, coastguard and marines so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.”

While watching the explosions back in 2003, you probably could not have imagined that the U.S. would still have a presence in the region 10 years later. Neither would you have conceived that America would be fighting in Afghanistan in 2013 or that al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden’s capture would turn into a decade-long manhunt.

AFP Photo/Tunisia Presidency
Revolution begins: Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (second from left) visits a fruit vendor who lit himself on fire to protest the government. This self-immolation begins the Arab Spring (Dec. 28, 2010).

Then again, you probably would not have believed that a volcano could paralyze Europe, massive hurricanes and tornado swarms would devastate multiple American cities, or that demonstrators would eventually spark a global protest movement that would overturn governments of four Arab countries—several of which had been in place for at least 20 years.

While you might have hoped oil prices could never reach $100 a barrel or that the “roadmap to peace” for Israel and Palestine would have led somewhere else other than simply another skirmish in 2012, after 10 years of watching conflict envelop countries and disasters compound in various places, you know better.

It has been a decade like no other.

Starting around the time the Iraq War had its beginnings, one magazine has been there to help you make sense of the madness of current events—The Real Truth. Like its forerunner The Plain Truth did for more than 50 years, this magazine examines world events from a unique, unbiased perspective and provides global news analysis.

As this one-of-a-kind source has developed, the plain language and common sense it has brought has distinguished it as a voice of clarity crying out in a world of confusion—a publication fit for its time.

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Euro crisis unfolds: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras speak during a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany (Aug. 24, 2012).

On its 10th anniversary, we look back on the highs and lows of the record-breaking decade during which this magazine was born.

New Era

If 1945 was the defining moment of America’s 20th-century prominence, by 2003, it was evident its once unmatched international stature had begun to wane.

Two years had passed since September 11, 2001, cracked the sense of security that most U.S. citizens felt and brought to light the very real danger radical Islam posed to America. Like never before, the term “suicide bomber” became part of everyday speech. The public began to accept more intense security measures as routine.

For the first time, it was apparent that the U.S. was not as immune to the problems in the rest of the world as it had once believed. As author Christoph Reuter stated in My Life Is a Weapon: A Modern History of Suicide Bombing, “By the summer of 2003, suicide bombers had changed the world. The ‘end of history,’ hailed by winners of the Cold War, now appears in reality to have been merely the end of the old rules.”

“On a personal level, Americans seemed to change after the attacks,” The Real Truth reported in 2003. “Of course, the immediate reaction was one of sadness, shock and fear. For many, this soon became anger and a desire to seek retribution.”

KRT

In a Personal titled “Appointment With Terror – A Day That Changed America and the World Forever,” Editor-in-Chief David C. Pack stated: “The fact that these enormous buildings could even be destroyed at all has struck a kind of fear in people never known before in this country. In the same way, Americans, like those who rode the Titanic saying, ‘God Himself couldn’t sink this ship,’ probably felt that the failed attempt on the Twin Towers, in 1993, meant that our great buildings were more secure than we now recognize them to be.”

Eventually, though, the renewed patriotism dwindled and the temporary sense of unity that resulted increasingly faded away. Citizens once again forgot the lessons they had learned and returned to focusing on themselves and materialistic pursuits. Making money became the number one goal and the ideals of sacrifice that had for a short time revitalized the nation dissipated.

This mindset was reflected in the country’s economic policies. Reckless banking practices permitted an overall splurge in high-risk home loans, which had drastic consequences.

As the Internet cemented a major role in society, it also became a tool of escape. Never before in history did people have to work so little to have so much available at their fingertips. Anyone could now see the good, the bad, and the ugly of the entire world without ever leaving the comfort of their own homes.

Soon enough, the last vestiges of “old” morals regarding sex and marriage were shed. A culture of tolerance—of doing anything you please as long as no one else is hurt—arose. The Real Truth called it “The Immorality Explosion!

An article series published in the first issue with the same title stated it this way: “No doubt you can see the depth to which sex permeates society. One can no longer turn on the television without finding a program that has sexual undertones. Magazines are filled with stories, photos and features that would shock those of past generations. There is now also the Internet, offering a veritable buffet of perversions.”

With the Internet, the moral floodgates could no longer hold. Homosexual characters were commonly highlighted on primetime television. Universities opened fields of study about “gay/bisexual/lesbian/transgender” issues. It was not long before such thinking made its way into elementary school textbooks.

When the state of Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, The Real Truth asked, “Are these shadows of things to come?

The question was soon answered: more states and countries followed suit throughout the coming years.

Changing Mindsets

In the Middle East, the War on Terror was souring: “Iraq is still a long way from a stable, semi-democratic government by the Iraqi people…Even this will be difficult and possibly even more so, if events dictate further hostilities between the three main ethnic groups—the Kurds, the Sunni-Arabs, and the Shia-Arabs,” The Real Truth warned in 2004.

Metropolitan Police Via Getty Images
Attacks on civilians: A London underground train damaged in a terrorist bombing rests on the tracks near Aldgate station (July 9, 2005).

Two months after the article was published, 170 were killed and more than 500 wounded during the Ashoura massacre by al-Qaida in Iraq, followed by bombings by the same group in the subways of Madrid, Spain.

But the war was far from the only problem the United States faced.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, killing more than 1,800 Americans and inundating 80 percent of the city. Thousands of surviving residents endured some of the worst episodes of rampant violence, and people began to wonder if such events truly were “acts of God.”

While America struggled to get back on its feet, it was apparent that as the superpower’s role began to diminish, others were trying to seize power. The following month, North Korea joined the “nuclear club” by successfully conducting a nuclear test.

In other areas of the world, socialism was in the air. In 2007, Venezuela’s re-elected president, Hugo Chavez, said he would support “socialism or death.” His movement was accompanied by constant rhetoric against el imperio (Spanish for “the empire”)—referring to the United States.

Perhaps surprising to those who lived through the Cold War and fought communist ideas in the 1950s, a socialist agenda spread through Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Anti-U.S. sentiment was exacerbated by the region’s stronger ties with one of America’s most outspoken rivals, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Slowly, the American Dream that many once desired turned into one that involved receiving government handouts instead of obtaining success by hard work.

In the meantime, the economic bubble that had grown too large between 2003 and 2007 came close to exploding. By 2008, when it finally burst, the fiscal mess spattered all over the world.

The Real Truth warned that the crisis demonstrated “the vulnerability of the global economic system.”

“The world is looking for an alternate, and America will be replaced as the financial engine of the world by a superpower soon to arise in Europe,” a 2008 article stated.

Three years later, the United States underwent a historic Standard and Poor’s credit downgrade. A statement by the credit agency was telling: “The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed.”

Violence in the Streets

Before the late 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary left the nation shattered and the world appalled, America had already suffered its deadliest school massacre in 2007 at Virginia Tech University, which resulted in 33 deaths.

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Senseless violence: Mourners hold candles during a vigil in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, after the Virginia Tech shooting rampage (April 18, 2007).

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, from 2005 to the present, rage-charged mass killings have been quite common in the nation. The list showed almost 160 incidents in 2009 alone.

Yet it was not only random violence that made the world tremble, as we reported in the article “Nowhere to Hide? – Terrorism’s Universal Threat”: “Enemies once kept outside a nation’s borders are now living among the populace. Citizens who sympathize with the cause of extremists can evolve into homegrown terrorists. Often, they train themselves via the Internet, but many sympathizers also train abroad with groups such as the Taliban or al-Qaida. It has become impossible to keep track of these groups as they form independent covert cells both in cities and rural areas.”

EUobserver stated that the number of arrests connected to terrorism in the European Union doubled in 2007. According to the paper, “Out of the total 1044 arrested…the vast majority was EU citizens suspected of membership in a militant organization. In cases of Islamic extremism, the would-be attackers appear to increasingly have been born in the union’s territory and having EU citizenship.”

10 Turbulent Years

2003

Darfur conflict begins, resulting in 300,000 deaths over 10 years; SARS outbreak occurs; U.S. invades Iraq; blackout in U.S., Britain and Canada shuts down cities; hottest summer in Europe since 1540 blamed for 40,000 deaths; Iran agrees to suspend uranium enrichment program; largest earthquake in 2,000 years strikes Iran—31,000 die; U.S. troops capture Saddam Hussein.

2004

Bird flu outbreak in Asia; fifth enlargement of European Union takes place; Tropical Storm Jeanne strikes Haiti—3,000 people perish; Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat dies; Israelis and Palestinians resume peace talks; al-Qaida terror attack in Spain kills 191 and injures 1,800; magnitude 9.0 earthquake strikes Indonesia, triggering a massive tsunami resulting in 230,000 deaths across Southeast Asia.

2005

Mahmoud Abbas becomes new Palestinian leader; North Korea admits to having nuclear weapons; Pope John Paul II dies; Joseph Ratzinger named Pope Benedict XVI; terrorist attacks occur in London—50 dead and 700 injured; Hurricane Katrina strikes New Orleans, killing 1,800 and causing $41.1 billion in damages; 7.6-magnitude earthquake strikes Pakistan’s Kashmir province—75,000 die; civil war between Muslims and Christians erupts in Chad.

2006

Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalates; landslide in Philippines kills 1,800; Israel-Hezbollah War ignites and lasts 34 days; North Korea carries out first nuclear weapons tests; Saddam Hussein sentenced and executed.

2007

Virginia Tech shooting spree leaves 33 dead; European Union members sign Treaty of Lisbon; Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations resume; Cyclone Sidr hits Bangladesh, killing 5,000; former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated.

2008

Cyclone Nargis ravages Myanmar, leaving 138,000 dead or missing; 7.9-magnitude earthquake strikes Sichuan, China, killing 70,000; Georgia launches offensive in South Ossetia, resulting in five days of fighting with Russian forces and 400 deaths; Lehman Brothers goes bankrupt; Western governments inject billions of funds into banks as economies sink into recession; stock market crashes; U.S. Senate passes $700 billion bailout bill; 164 people killed in Mumbai terrorist attacks by al-Qaida; Israel retaliates against Hamas rocket attacks.

2009

North Korea detonates a nuclear device; swine flu reaches pandemic proportions, with 18,000 dying worldwide by year’s end; Greece uncovers excessive borrowing by government; U.S. deploys an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan; the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates 1.02 billion people are undernourished because of economic crises.

2010

Magnitude 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti, killing over 200,000; 8.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Chile, resulting in 300 deaths; Iran declares itself a nuclear state; Greek credit downgraded to junk status; Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes, leaking 205 million gallons of oil into Gulf of Mexico; 6.9-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Qinghai, China—2,600 people die; record-breaking heatwave in Russia fuels numerous wildfires and kills over 55,000; cholera outbreak in Haiti leaves 6,000 dead by year’s end; Tunisian protester immolates himself, triggering Arab Spring across the Middle East.

2011

Tunisian president overthrown; protests spread to Egypt and Yemen; Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak steps down; European Stability Mechanism aids eurozone economies; global food prices reach highest in 20 years; protests escalate in Syria, where government retaliation results in 5,000 dead in nine months; 9.0 earthquake and 30-foot tsunami in Japan take lives of 20,000; al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden killed; UN declares Somalia “worst humanitarian disaster in the world”; Norway massacre claims 140 lives; Hurricane Irene wreaks havoc on U.S. East Coast; Portugal credit downgraded to junk status; Occupy Wall Street movement spreads to 80 countries; Tunisians elect Islamic party leader; North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dies; U.S. withdraws troops from Iraq, where approximately 162,000 people have died since the war’s beginning in 2003; the U.S. experiences a record 14 natural disasters costing more than $1 billion each in damages.

2012

Iran enriches uranium in underground nuclear plant—U.S. imposes more sanctions; America’s contraceptive healthcare mandate causes religious controversy nationwide; European Central Bank loans $1.3 trillion to private banks to help credit market; Spanish and Greek unemployment rates reach highs of more than 20 percent; North American heatwave breaks 7,000 temperature records, bringing drought on 80 percent of farmland; Spanish credit downgraded to junk status; Mohammed Morsi elected Egyptian president; U.S. ambassador killed in Libya; Hurricane Sandy strikes Caribbean region and U.S., killing 200 and causing $50 billion in damages; Palestine recognized as “observer state” by UN; typhoon strikes southern Philippines—1,000 dead; Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre claims 27 lives; North Korea launches long-range missile.

The thought of terrorist cells operating across the world in random places—known as microterrorism—brought a new feeling of insecurity. For the first time, attacks could occur anywhere, from a small town grocery store to the Capitol building in Washington.

At the same time, the ailing economy began to push some to their breaking point.

The 2010 article “Why the Age of Rage – Has the World Gone Mad?” explicitly answered why this kind of violence is skyrocketing.

“Manmade societies have attempted for millennia to solve the problems of violence—not realizing the ‘way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings…’ (Isa. 59:8). Man will continue fruitlessly trying to manufacture peace, only to bring even worse hatred and cruelty.”

It asked the question: “How can violence end?” and answered it by stating, “It starts with individuals realizing the extent that violence pervades their lives, and beginning to understand there is another way to live.”

Violence also hit an all-time high in Chicago. “By October 27, 2012, the Windy City had registered 436 murders, largely a result of gang violence—surpassing 2011’s homicide total…Today, over 100,000 ‘gangbangers’ roam Chicago’s streets in 625 different groups. Police report that currently around 223 ongoing gang conflicts exist,” The Real Truth stated in the article, “Gangs in America – A Deadly Game.”

Another battle was also occurring along the nation’s southern border: a drug war.

“Approximately 50,000 soldiers and policemen are involved in Mexico’s narcotics war, but even with arrests and huge seizures of drugs and weapons, there is no end in sight to the [violence] problem, which continues to paralyze tourism and business and compromise the safety of those living in the area” (The Real Truth).

Searching for Answers

As the sounds of a world breaking in pieces hit home, a voice spoke of hope. The Real Truth attended one of his rallies. At the time, we noted: “Mr. Obama is no miracle worker, to which he probably would be the first to agree. But his inspirational messages of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ are causing the eyes of the nation, Europe and the rest of the world to fall upon him. Can he—or any human being—live up to such towering expectations?”

Just a few months later, another leader also began to call for change, only in bolder, more global terms. In his third encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI wrote of an “urgent need of a true world political authority”—one with “real teeth”—in the wake of the global economic crisis.

In response, The Real Truth asked, “Why would the top religious leader of 1.2 billion professing Christians—whose position, vicar of Christ, meaning ‘in place of’ Christ on Earth—call for ‘a true world political authority’—one with ‘real teeth’? And what if a worldwide governing entity did become reality: Would it bring success—or disaster?”

The call was inevitable, as nature abhors a vacuum.

The magazine continued, “The United States used to be the shining knight all looked to for direction and assistance. But the domestic attacks of 9/11 revealed the face of a new nation: America the Vulnerable. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and news images of ‘American refugees,’ revealed America the Impotent. And the current global economic meltdown, its bankruptcies, rising unemployment rate and increasing debt, reveals America the Ailing Financial Giant.

“The Vatican and other members of the international community seek another to take its place: Someone must save the ‘Zimbabwes’ of the world—underdeveloped countries suffering runaway inflation, virtually nonexistent infrastructure, government-wide corruption and social injustice. Someone must disarm nations from caches of weapons of mass destruction. Someone must intervene in regions facing mass starvation, secure food and medicine, protect refugee camps against civil unrest, and break the chains of abject poverty. Someone must balance the scales of economic equity between the ‘haves’ (largely the West) and the ‘have nots’ (the Third World).”

The article showed that a “‘world political authority’ will arise and assume a leading role on the global stage of politics, international trade and military presence. Today’s largely secularized Europe will see a new and unexpected interest in religion, due to the sudden appearance of a religious leader, who will sway the masses and use his influence to endorse a political leader.”

Remember these words: such a man, and change, will come. This magazine has made that clear time and again.

Global Status

Today, America finds itself broken: struggling to cope with the aftermath of disaster upon disaster—while constantly fighting internal division, scrambling over unbalanced budgets, and mourning over unthinkable violence. In essence, the old global policeman is still able to speak softly, but it seems it cannot carry a big stick as it once did. Its brother nation, Britain, has fared similarly.

Both have experienced tremendous blows to their economies and seen an overall decline in world influence and respect. Given specific impending prophecies for them and other Western nations, a vast amount of The Real Truth analyses has been devoted to warning them about what lies ahead.

In a 2004 Personal, “The Greatest Nations in Prophecy,” Mr. David Pack stated: “It was only about 200 years ago that America and the British Commonwealth of nations suddenly shot to great prominence and power. Not so long ago, the combined wealth of these nations was over 70 percent of the total wealth and physical resources of the world. All the rest of the nations combined possessed less than 30 percent—considerably less than half of just these two nations…About one-third of the Bible is prophecy, and nearly 90 percent of this remains unfulfilled. Virtually all of it has to do with world events, trends and happenings for our time. How then could the mightiest nations of all time be left out?”

Most do not understand what factors caused America and Britain’s rise to greatness. To learn this fascinating truth, and how this knowledge unlocks many more Bible prophecies, read Mr. Pack’s free bookAmerica and Britain in Prophecy.

Uncharted Territory

Another form of record-breaking has been seen in natural disasters. “Three words were at the forefront of 2011’s weather reports: worst, largest and deadliest. Australia had the worst flooding in more than 100 years, incurring $30 billion in damages. Christchurch, New Zealand’s 6.3-magnitude earthquake was the city’s worst in decades, killing 181. This was topped by Japan’s 9.0-magnitude mega temblor—the largest in the nation’s history and fourth largest in the world, which prompted a tsunami, leaving [20,000] people dead,” we said in the article “2011 and Beyond – Putting the Pieces Together.”

A year later, the pattern continued. Conditions not seen since the Dust Bowl days gripped America: “Unable to control the temperature or precipitation levels, farmers are facing a crisis that is as basic as it gets: no water, no crops. No crops, no cattle—no food,” The Real Truth stated in “Drought Now…Famine Next?

Shocking headlines such as “2012 was UK’s second wettest year on record” and “Beijing chaos after record floods in Chinese capital” or “Earthquakes, The Fuse That Ignites Volcanoes, Have Increased Worldwide” became common.

When Hurricane Sandy raked the East Coast in October 2012, we asked: “Why Another ‘100-year’ Storm?” In the article, we explained the ultimate reason that these catastrophes are becoming so common: “Most do not realize that these conditions are designed to get people’s attention. They set the table for events outlined in the Bible that will come to pass in coming years and provide powerful proof of the Book’s validity.”

Challenges for Leaders

At the turn of 2013, world leaders were not oblivious to difficult times ahead. In a statement to the media after a late 2012 EU summit in Brussels, “German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected suggestions…that the worst was over for the euro zone, saying the currency bloc faced years of painful reforms, slow growth and high unemployment,” Reuters reported.

British Prime Minister David Cameron echoed similar feelings: “…you can’t cure problems that were decades in the making overnight,” the Guardian quoted from the leader’s New Year’s message. “There are no quick fixes and I wouldn’t claim otherwise. But we can be optimistic too because we are making tangible progress. We are doing what’s right for our country and what’s best for our children’s future. And nothing could be more important than that.”

Yet the newspaper added that “an Opinium/Observer poll shows that with the economy teetering on the brink of a ‘triple-dip’ recession, voters are going into the new year unconvinced that things will improve, expecting 2013 to deliver even more financial hardship.”

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan discussed ongoing challenges in a different light.

The Associated Press reported that while speaking at a church on December 30, 2012, he told the congregation “that the violence around the world made him wonder if this is a ‘way of telling us that the end times are so close.’”

Last Days?

Such a barrage of world-changing events has sparked an intense interest in religious theories, prophecy and the “last days.” Conspiracy books such as 2003’s The Da Vinci Code also spread hype among the general public. What were once fringe ideas born out of Evangelical Christianity also entered into the mainstream conversation. The long-running series of Left Behind novels came to an end in 2007. The fiction titles, which popularized terms such as “rapture” (a misconception of events tied to the Return of Jesus Christ), antichrist and Armageddon, drew little truth from the Bible, yet captured a huge audience.

In 2011, a pair of “Judgment Day” dates were selected by an elderly radio personality—May 21 and October 21. Both were met with a flurry of news reporting and Internet chatter.

Yet the prophecy-frenzy crescendoed to the most anticipated date: December 21, 2012, the “end of all things” supposedly revealed in an ancient calendar of the Maya. This one garnered responses from NASA and the Vatican.

It should come as no surprise that by the end of 2012, the word “apocalypse” was considered “the most popular English word on the planet, at least according to the Global Language Monitor, a Texas-based research group that uses computer tracking technology to follow the frequency of actual word and phrase usage across 275,000 print, online and social media sources on five continents,” The Washington Times reported.

Each time such oddball doomsday theories rolled in, The Real Truth deftly cut through the worry with succinct articles that brought simple logic and explained what the Bible actually says about the last days. (To learn more, read the free booklet Are These the Last Days?)

Real Truth Continues…

Notice the words written in the first issue of The Plain Truth (predecessor of this magazine), in 1934: “Everybody senses that something is wrong with the world…that some mighty event is about to occur.” The same words opened the cover story of their 50th-anniversary issue in 1984.

As we enter the second decade of publication of The Real Truth, expect us to continue on the same path—but with increasing scope, reach, clarity and authority.

The globe’s complex issues can cloud where nations are heading, yet historical examples, the Bible, and in-depth reporting reveal what this coming decade will bring.

In short: the next 10 years will see the same trends intensify. Expect the records of 2003-2013 to be surpassed—perhaps multiple times.

Wild weather will increase. For some, “last-days mania” will increase, while others will tire from so many failed predictions. Religion will take an increasing role in politics.

Stay focused on the Middle East as Egypt takes center stage in the Muslim world. Watch Russia, China and other Eastern nations grow into an increasingly powerful, tight-knit group. In Europe, witness Germany’s growing central position, with Latin America cozying up to the EU.

As confusion and uncertainty continue, expect The Real Truth to deliver spot-on analysis of complex world events.

One thing is certain: for the next 10 years, you can rely on what you read in this magazine and the other materials we produce.


FREE Email Subscription (sent bi-monthly)


Contact Information This information is required.

Comments or Questions? – Receive a Personal Response! Field below is optional.



Send

Your privacy is important to us. The email address above will be used for correspondence and free offers from The Restored Church of God. We will not sell, rent or give your personal information to any outside company or organization.