Current Events en The Belt and Road Initiative <span>The Belt and Road Initiative</span> <div class="field field--name-field-viewpoint-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">The Belt and Road Initiative</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">bduval</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/09/2022 - 20:05</span> <div class="field field--name-field-viewpoint-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item"><time datetime="2019-06-05T12:00:00Z">2019-06-05</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-viewpoint-presenter field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">Stuart Wachowicz</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The One Belt and One Road initiative is the most visionary and far-reaching international development since the 1940’s. This remarkable trade network, unprecedented in scale and potential, now promises to stimulate not only trade and commerce across Eurasia and Africa but also to contribute to cultural understanding and peaceful development.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-viewpoint-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Viewpoint Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/2022-08/Beltandroad.jpg?itok=NaHpfnur" alt="construction sites and crane" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-viewpoint-video-iframe field--type-iframe field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Viewpoint Video Iframe</div> <div class="field__item"><div class=""> <h3 class="iframe_title">The Belt and Road Initiative</h3> <style type="text/css">iframe#iframe-field_viewpoint_video_iframe-68 {/*frameborder*/ border-width:0;/*transparency*/ background-color:transparent;}</style> <iframe width="1168" height="657" name="iframe-field_viewpoint_video_iframe-68" id="iframe-field_viewpoint_video_iframe-68" title="The Belt and Road Initiative" allow="accelerometer;autoplay;camera;encrypted-media;geolocation;gyroscope;microphone;payment;picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src=";cc_load_policy=1"> Your browser does not support iframes, but you can visit <a href=";cc_load_policy=1">The Belt and Road Initiative</a> </iframe> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-viewpoint-tags field--type-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">#onebeltoneroad</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-viewpoint-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/12" hreflang="en">Current Events</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-viewpoint-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/video/viewpoint/belt-and-road-initiative">Watch</a></div> Tue, 09 Aug 2022 20:05:28 +0000 bduval 68 at The Middle East in Prophecy <span>The Middle East in Prophecy</span> <div class="field field--name-field-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">The Middle East in Prophecy</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">4uwzvo</span></span> <span>Tue, 03/01/2022 - 19:15</span> <div class="field field--name-field-booklet-author field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">Richard F. Ames</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-booklet-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Booklet Media</div> <div class="field__item"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden"><a href="">Image</a></div> <div class="field__item"> <a href=""><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/2022-03/me-3.0.1-cover.jpg?itok=XDvYSIxS" alt="View of the Temple Mount" loading="lazy" typeof="Image" /></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tag field--type-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">#Israel</div> <div class="field__item">#Middle East</div> <div class="field__item">#Prophecy</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-booklet-teaser field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Jerusalem is the most important city in the world. Scripture shows that the region surrounding it – the Middle East – will eventually explode into world war. Do you know what the Bible teaches about the end-time climax of world events in that region? You may be surprised!</div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p> </p> <p>The Middle East has been in turmoil for decades. Many who are following world news wonder what will happen next, and what the final outcome will be. Yet very few realize that Bible prophecy explains <em>in advance</em> the earthshaking events that will lead to greater disasters in the region—and ultimately to World War III!</p> <p>The Bible outlines end-time events leading up to Jesus Christ’s return. What happens in the Middle East, as His return draws near, will affect your life and the lives of everyone on earth. Understanding those events will help you to take action for your family’s welfare. You <em>can</em> escape the prophesied disasters and judgments (Luke 21:36) upon a warring and God-defying world.</p> <p>The Middle East seems to bring the world a constant stream of bad news. Bible prophecy shows that this bad news will continue until Jesus Christ’s return. But once the world survives “Armageddon” in the Middle East, a time of <em>good news</em> will follow. Jerusalem will then live up to its name: “City of Peace.” A Millennium of peace and prosperity is coming, under the rulership of the Messiah. As King of kings, Jesus Christ will rule the earth from Jerusalem with justice and righteousness, and all nations on earth will learn a new way of life—the way to peace.</p> <p>But first, the Middle East must pass through difficult times ahead.</p> <p>Throughout history, human nature has looked to war as the final arbiter of disputes. The Apostle Paul made a profound statement: “The way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:17–18). More than a million were killed in the Iran-Iraq War from 1980 to 1988. Thousands upon thousands more died in the Persian Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm in 1990–91. Scarcely more than a decade later, the United States entangled itself financially and militarily in another Iraq conflict, leading to questions about military and political motivations for U.S. action, and bringing about thousands more deaths and a grave loss of international prestige for the U.S.</p> <p>Will there be more wars in the Middle East? Sadly, the answer is “yes.” Your Bible reveals that there will be even more regional wars there, leading to what is commonly called “Armageddon.” Jerusalem will be a focal point of conflict.</p> <p>Arabs and Israelis have been at war since the modern state of Israel was established. Peace has often been proclaimed in the region, but has never been realized. More than 25 years after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat gave hope to the world, flying to Israel to offer a dramatic overture of peace, the process he hoped to encourage has stalled, if not stopped. At present, there is little human prospect for lasting peace among Middle East nations.</p> <p>The Bible reveals that this millennia-old conflict <em>will</em> come to a peaceful resolution in the not-too-distant future. But before this resolution is reached, much blood will be shed, and mankind will go through a time of war and suffering on a scale previously unknown in human history.</p> <p>Understanding Bible prophecy about the Middle East can bring us hope and comfort even as the current crisis escalates. The Bible is full of information that can help us see the current Middle East conflict in the light of God’s plan for end-time world events. It explains many details unknown to the world’s politicians and policymakers. As we will see, it reveals what the ancient rivalry between Abraham’s grandsons Jacob and Esau means for the Middle East conflict today. Scripture also debunks many popular but false teachings regarding Russia’s role in end-time prophecy. It gives an overview of the “key players” in end-time prophecy—including the “beast,” the false prophet and the King of the North—and the final phase of World War III, as we will see later in this booklet.</p> <p>Bible prophecy has revealed in advance many key facts and details that can help us prepare for the dangerous and challenging times ahead, as we strive to obey Jesus Christ’s command that we “watch and pray” as end-time events grow closer (Mark 13:33). And it reveals the vital role of Jerusalem—a city with a remarkable past and an even more remarkable future—at the center of many end-time events and prophecies.</p> <h2>Jerusalem—Holy City for Three Religions</h2> <p>Jerusalem (in Arabic called <em>al-Quds, </em>“the holy”) is sacred to the three major monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. As a result, it has been a focus of conflict for centuries.</p> <p>Conquered by the Romans before Christ’s birth, it was in the hands of Byzantine rulers when it fell to a Muslim army led by Caliph Umar in 638. In 1071, the Seljuk Turks took control of Jerusalem, and by cutting pilgrim routes from the West gave impetus to the First Crusade. This crusade brought Jerusalem under Western control in the “Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,” which held the city from 1099 to 1187, when Saladin reconquered Jerusalem for Islam. Later crusades brought Jerusalem briefly under Western control from 1229 to 1239, and from 1243 to 1244, when it was sacked by the Tatars. In 1247, the city fell to the Egyptian Mamluks, under whose control it remained until 1517, when Ottoman sultan Selim I conquered the city.</p> <p>Jerusalem remained under Ottoman control for almost exactly four centuries. In 1917, during World War I, General Allenby and the British army defeated the Ottoman Turks and entered the city. In November of that year, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, which declared Britain’s intent to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine, with the understanding that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”</p> <p>In 1947, the United Nations partitioned Jerusalem and the city was divided between Arab and Jewish control. In May 1948, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared Israel an independent state. Israel successfully defended itself against the attack of the Arab League. During the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured <em>all</em> of Jerusalem, putting it fully under Jewish rule for the first time since the Roman destruction in 70ad.</p> <p>The future of the world greatly depends on the future of this city. To Jews, Jerusalem was the city of the great prophets and the capital of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah under King David and his son King Solomon. The first and second temples were the center of worship until the destruction of the city by the Romans in 70ad. Jerusalem is also the third most holy city of Islam, after the cities of Mecca and Medina. Completed in 691ad, the Mosque of Omar—also called the “Dome of the Rock”—today dominates the Temple Mount. The Arabic term for the holy place is “al-Haram as-Sharif” which means “The Noble Sanctuary.” Muslims believe that it marks the location where Abraham offered his son Ishmael (not Isaac, as the Bible reports) in sacrifice, and where Muhammad ascended to heaven. Christians revere the city as the place where their Savior taught in the temple—and was later crucified. Christians believe that Jesus will return to establish His Kingdom with Jerusalem as world capital.</p> <p>The Temple Mount is a focus for Muslims and Jews, who have been at odds in the Middle East for more than 1,300 years, ever since an Arabian trader named Muhammad, 800 miles southeast of Jerusalem, established the religion of Islam. Islam’s Dome of the Rock now stands where tradition indicates Solomon’s temple once stood. Jews are not allowed to pray on the Mount itself, so they come to the Western Wall—or “Wailing Wall”—at the base of the Mount to pray. Many Jews yearn to have a religious presence on the Temple Mount itself.</p> <p>Hopes for peace were high on September 13, 1993, when Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed a “Declaration of Principles” in Washington, D.C. Observers were so encouraged by this development that the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize was jointly awarded to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Rabin.</p> <p>In May 1994, Israel and the Palestinians signed an interim agreement leading to increased Palestinian self-government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The peace process was shattered, though, in November 1995, when an Israeli extremist assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Just a week before his death, Rabin had told journalists that he intended to go forward with negotiations with Syria.</p> <img alt="Arab-Israeli Wars" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3f5711b2-549e-4781-9b6c-fa49b23c2f79" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/me01_2-2.gif" class="align-center" width="450" height="747" loading="lazy" /> <p>Rabin’s death cast a pall over the peace process. Still, Israelis and Palestinians hoped to negotiate peace. The Wye River Memorandum, signed in October 1998, sought to implement the 1995 interim agreement, looking to a May 1999 target date for a final resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But no resolution could be found. The July 2000 Camp David summit, called by U.S. President Bill Clinton, failed to formulate a final peace agreement—underscoring the bitter truth that <em>both</em>Israel and the Palestinians consider Jerusalem their exclusive capital, and do not want the other to have unfettered control of this historic city.</p> <p>In September 2000, when he was still opposition leader, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount, inciting Palestinian protests. As violence escalated, hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of Israelis were killed or wounded. It was the worst violence the region had seen in four years. U.S. efforts to reconcile Israel and the Palestinians proved unsuccessful. When Sharon, a key figure in many of Israel’s military operations over the years, became Prime Minister, many Arabs vowed to intensify their opposition to the state of Israel. The religious conflict that was sparked in Jerusalem reignited the <em>intifada</em> (Arabic for “uprising”), broadening the violence throughout the region.</p> <p>More than 200,000 Israelis live in about 150 settlements throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Also scattered throughout the region are Palestinian communities in Hebron, Jericho, Nablus and Bethlehem. Conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians are ongoing; <em>Agence–France Press</em> reported that as of November 2005, when a truce was implemented, the <em>intifada</em> had claimed the lives of more than 5,300 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis since September 2000. Since 2001, suicide bombers have often attacked Israelis, who have responded in turn with military force in the West Bank.</p> <p>The West’s perception of Middle East violence, and its relationship to world terrorism, was changed forever on September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four planes which they used as missiles, destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, and damaging the Pentagon in Washington, DC. On September 20, 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush, before a joint session of Congress, declared war on international terrorism. A U.S.-led coalition joined with Afghan militias in destroying and expelling al-Qaeda forces. Afghanistan’s Taliban government was overthrown, and the world’s attention quickly shifted to Iraq. Saddam Hussein, who had for years been accused of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, was defeated in a war that surprised many with its speed—but “winning the peace” has proved to be a far greater challenge, as the U.S. remains mired in a conflict that Defense Department analysts say could last for many years. Through it all, regional terrorism continues, and U.S. agencies are preparing for future attacks by al-Qaeda and other terror cells.</p> <p>Most Muslims do not consider themselves terrorists, nor do they support the terror carried out by al-Qaeda. There are more than 1.3 billion Muslims around the world, between one-quarter and one-third of whom live in the Middle East. Yet while the vast majority of Muslims consider themselves peace-loving people, their religion has been used as a rallying point by a small number of extremists who wish to destabilize nations in order to achieve their goals.</p> <p>Instability appears to be a fact of life in the 21st century. Even as it faces reduced international credibility in light of its Iraq involvement, the U.S. now seeks to lead an alliance to counter potential terror threats sponsored by what President George W. Bush has called an “axis of evil” that includes two Middle East nations—Iran and Iraq. Pakistan and India, like Israel, are known to have nuclear weapons. Other countries, such as North Korea, are widely suspected of nuclear capability. In today’s unstable environment, many of the world’s experts consider nuclear war a distinct possibility—even a probability. If total war breaks out in the Middle East, might future missiles deliver nuclear, biological and chemical destruction to Israel and surrounding nations? Will the Holy Land become the focal point for another world war?</p> <h2>What Lies Ahead?</h2> <p>Many observers think that it is foolish, or even impossible, to predict the future. In the Bible, however, God, has given us prophecies that can help us understand what will happen in and around Jerusalem in the end-times. What does the Bible say will eventually happen? “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather <strong><em>all the nations</em></strong> to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (Zechariah 14:1–2).</p> <p>“All the nations” will fight in this conflict, during that period of time known as the Day of the Lord—the year just before Jesus Christ’s prophesied return. But what major prophetic events will lead up to this battle in Jerusalem? “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21–22).</p> <p>The book of Revelation, or the Apocalypse, reveals the dramatic end-time events leading up to the glorious return of Jesus Christ. Revelation 6 describes the events leading up to the Day of the Lord. All of humanity will see dramatic and frightening activity in the heavens. Revelation 6:12–14 describes these “heavenly signs” as the “sixth seal.” Jesus said: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29). These heavenly signs precede the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:30–31), the year of God’s judgment on the nations. Then, after these events, the Messiah—Jesus Christ—will rule all nations on earth (Revelation 11:15).</p> <p>What role will Jerusalem play in that coming kingdom? Will it be the future capital of the world? Perhaps in your lifetime? Scripture gives us a wonderful and encouraging forecast: “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it” (Isaiah 2:1–2).</p> <p>Mountains are a biblical symbol for a kingdom or government (see Jeremiah 51:24–25). Isaiah stated plainly that the Lord’s Kingdom would be established in Jerusalem and that “all nations shall flow to it.” This will not be government in the hands of selfish human beings. Humanity does not know the way to lasting peace, because it has rejected the rulership and the sovereignty of God over the affairs of man.</p> <p>God’s government on earth will be administered from Jerusalem, the future capital of the world, as Zechariah confirms with a beautiful description of life there in the future. Notice in the book of Zechariah. “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the Lord of hosts, the Holy Mountain.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets'” (Zechariah 8:3–5).</p> <p>Today, however, the streets of Jerusalem are filled with bitter enemies, who share a rich heritage and history—but also share a history of conflict.</p> <h2>Bitter Family Rivalry</h2> <p>To understand the present Middle East conflict, we need to understand the history of those in conflict—the Jews and the Arabs. Historians often note the “family” relationship between these two peoples; some call them “cousins” because both trace their roots to the great patriarch Abraham.</p> <p>Judaism, Christianity and Islam all honor Abraham as a patriarch. Calling him “Religion’s Superstar,” <em>Time</em> magazine asked: “Abraham changed history by espousing just one God, and is sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians. Can this crossover biblical hero help heal the world?” (Sept. 30, 2002, p. 5).</p> <p>The answer is: not in this age! But in tomorrow’s world, as “heir of the world” (Romans 4:13) under Jesus Christ, and as one of the saints in God’s kingdom, Abraham <strong><em>will</em></strong> help teach the way to peace when all nations come to Jerusalem (see Isaiah 2:2–4).</p> <p>In the 19th century bc, the Creator God began to work with Abraham (then called “Abram”). God tested his faith many times, even promising him a son in his old age—a promise that seemed to be delayed. Abram’s wife Sarai, unable to bear children, encouraged Abram to have a child through her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar. Eighty-six years old when the child was born, Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son whom Hagar bore (Genesis 16:15–16). To this day, Muslims acknowledge Ishmael as the ancestor of the Arabs, as described in their scripture, the Quran.</p> <p>When Abram was 99 years old, God made a covenant with Abram that he would be “a father of many nations.” God then changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of a multitude.” God promised that Abraham and Sarai, whose name was changed to Sarah, would have a son named Isaac. God said to Abraham: “I will establish my covenant with him [Isaac] for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him” (Genesis 17:19). One of Isaac’s grandsons, Judah, would be the progenitor of the Jews, who now occupy the modern land called Israel.</p> <p>After Isaac was born, Sarah insisted that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away. Sarah said to Abraham: “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac” (Genesis 21:10). Abraham was very upset at this request, but God told Abraham: “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed” (Genesis 21:12–13).</p> <p>The envy and rivalry between these two peoples continues to this day. Another dimension that helps explain today’s ongoing conflict is the rivalry between Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac. Esau was the firstborn, and the heir of the family birthright. But in time of hunger, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup. Later, Jacob disguised himself as Esau and deceived his aging father Isaac into giving him the birthright blessing (see Genesis 25; 27). What was Esau’s reaction? “So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob'” (Genesis 27:41).</p> <p>This bitter rivalry would continue throughout history. Esau is also called Edom (see Genesis 36). The Edomites intermarried with the Ishmaelites, beginning with Esau himself (see Genesis 28:9). The descendents of these peoples continued to be in conflict with Israel. The leading tribe of Edom, the Amalekites, continually harassed Israel (see Exodus 17). God said that He would have “war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16).</p> <p>One of the Psalms also confirms both historically and prophetically that Edom, Ishmael and Amalek are joined in a confederacy against Israel. “They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’ For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You: the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot. Selah” (Psalm 83:4–8).</p> <p>What nations have continuously committed themselves to destroy the name of Israel?</p> <p>In July of 1968, Palestinian leaders signed the “Palestinian National Charter,” which called for the destruction of the State of Israel. In 1993, shortly before signing the “Declaration of Principles” with Israel, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat signed an agreement renouncing this demand and agreeing to change the charter, but it remains an item of hot dispute to this day. As Psalm 83 indicates, Assyria (identified as modern-day Germany) will be joined by an end-time “confederacy” of Arab nations. Look on your Bible map for the ancient location of Moab, Ammon and Edom, mentioned in Psalm 83—nations that are also prominently mentioned in Daniel’s end-time prophecy. These are the Muslim peoples of the Middle East!</p> <p>Understanding this bitter family rivalry, beginning with Jacob and Esau, gives us a better understanding of their descendants’ present-day wars and conflicts, particularly in the Middle East.</p> <h2>Daniel’s Famous Prophecy</h2> <p>Historically, the Roman Empire in Jesus’ day enforced a <em>Pax Romana</em>—”Roman Peace”—in the Holy Land. The prophet Daniel reveals that there will also be an end-time Roman Empire, which will play a crucial role in end-time conflicts in the Middle East. Daniel 2 records that King Nebuchadnezzar was going to execute all the wise men of Babylon if they did not tell him his dream, as well as its interpretation. The Creator God used the prophet Daniel to reveal the rise and fall of great empires, even down to our modern times. Here is what Daniel told the king: “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days” (Daniel 2:28). Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that God had made him a king of kings, and described the image envisioned by the king. A great statue had a head of gold. Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar: “You are this head of gold” (v. 38). The remaining elements of the great image symbolized the great empires to follow after the Babylonian empire.</p> <p>Who were these empires? All reputable Bible scholars agree on their identity and their prophetic fulfillment. Daniel continued to describe what would eventually happen to this great image. The head of gold represented the Babylonian Empire from 625 to 539bc. Next came the Medo-Persian Empire, from 558 to 330bc, represented by the chest and arms of silver. The belly and thighs of bronze represented the Greco-Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great from 333 to 31bc. The two legs of iron represent the Roman Empire from 31bc to 476ad. Finally, the ten toes on two feet of iron mixed with ceramic clay represent a future revival of the Roman Empire.</p> <p>How do we know that the feet of the image will continue into our modern times? Daniel describes a great stone that smashes the image on its feet. He also describes the stone’s meaning: “And in the days of these kings [symbolized by the ten toes] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). The Kingdom of God that will “consume all these kingdoms” is yet future!</p> <img alt="Daniel statue" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b0b48526-0afe-4af9-9d88-7be11471973e" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/me02.jpg" class="align-center" width="450" height="714" loading="lazy" /> <p>The end-time power that will eventually dominate the Middle East, will be a revived Roman Empire, also symbolized in the prophecies of Revelation and Daniel as a <strong><em>beast </em></strong>(cf. Daniel 7:17–18; Revelation 17:9–14; 13:1–18). This great power will be political, military, and economic. The current European Union is headed toward completing all three dimensions of that power. It could have the potential of being a force for good. But history teaches us that great empires and political alliances can also revert to dictatorial power for the purpose of global expansion and domination without regard for the welfare of conquered nation-states. The Creator God will use such an empire in the future, just as He has in the past. God used Assyria to punish the rebellious kingdom of Israel. In the opening verses of Isaiah 10, God indicts Israel for all her sins, then states: “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, to seize the spoil, to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and cut off not a few nations” (Isaiah 10:5–7).</p> <p>God will once again use the descendants of Assyria to punish the descendants of the ancient House of Israel. God will use modern-day Germany to conquer the American and British-descended peoples. Germany is presently the leading nation of the European Union, and will play a central role in end-time prophecy. To learn more, please write for our free reprint article, “A Fourth Reich?”Be sure to watch developments in Europe.</p> <p>In Daniel 11, we find two antagonists: the king of the North and the king of the South. In ancient times, Syria was considered to be the king of the North. But the Roman Empire conquered Syria, which became a province of Rome in 64bc. Bible prophecy shows that by the time of the end, the king of the North will be identified with the revived Roman Empire. Then: “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, [or the Holy Land] and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape” (Daniel 11:40–42).</p> <p>Notice that the king of the North enters into the “Glorious Land”—the location of the modern state of Israel. The fact that Ammon (which Bible scholars identify as modern-day Jordan) escapes out of his hand, along with Edom and Moab, leads many to believe that Jordan will be allied with the European power. Psalm 83 identifies those peoples who will be confederate with Assyria against Israel. That alliance includes Moab, Ammon and Edom.</p> <p>Daniel 11:43 gives us an indication of those nations allied with the king of the South. These are the peoples of north Africa. Verse 40 states that the king of the South attacks the king of the North. What will provoke this attack? Will it be the passion of Islamic fundamentalists? Will it be a sudden interruption of oil flow to Europe? You need to watch world events in Europe and the Middle East.</p> <p>Who will invade the Middle East? Look for a revived Roman Empire—a political entity now in its formative stages with the European Union as its nucleus. There will be a forced peace upon modern Israel in the Middle East. But, as we will see later, the “Beast power” that occupies the Middle East will be overthrown by the returning Commander of Heaven’s armies, Jesus Christ. The King of kings and Lord of lords, revealed in Revelation 19, will see that the beast and the false prophet are cast into a lake of fire. Jerusalem will be occupied by Earth’s new King, Jesus Christ. The name of the city will even be called “The Lord is There” (Ezekiel 48:35). Peace <em>will</em>finally come to the Middle East and to the City of Peace, Jerusalem.</p> <h2>Will Russia Control the Middle East?</h2> <p>Some teachers of biblical prophecy wrongly believe that Russia will take over the Middle East before Christ’s second coming. Where does that mistaken idea come from? It comes mainly from a misunderstanding of Ezekiel 38, which begins: “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (vv. 1–2). Most biblical scholars identify these peoples as those from northern Russia. Wilhelm Gesenius, a 19th century Hebrew scholar, noted that the city of Moscow is derived from the Hebrew name Meshech. Ezekiel continues: “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the <strong><em>far north</em></strong> and all its troops; many people are with you'” (vv. 3–6).</p> <p>Notice that the house of Togarmah is from the far north, that is, north of the Holy Land. When you look at a map, Russia is in the far north. Who will join Russia? Persia is mentioned. Most scholars agree that Persia is modern-day Iran. The Hebrew word for Ethiopia is <em>Cush</em>, the eastern branch of which has sometimes been identified with India. The Hebrew word for Libya is <em>Put </em>(Put was the third son of Ham, according to Genesis 10:6<em>)</em>, whose eastern branch, like Cush, is also identified with India. Magog is identified with the Mongols and Gomer with Indochina. Togarmah is most likely identified with Siberia.</p> <p>We can generally agree on the identity of these peoples mentioned in Ezekiel 38. And Bible prophecy shows that these armies certainly will <em>eventually</em> enter the Middle East. But the question is: <em>When</em>? After Jesus’ second coming, He will work to bring world peace and reeducate the nations (cf. Isaiah 2; Micah 4). But that will take time. All nations will <em>not</em> automatically accept the rule of Jesus Christ when He returns. Even Egypt will apparently refuse the Lord’s command to keep the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem (cf. Zechariah 14:18–19). The Russo-Chinese alliance, mentioned in Ezekiel 38, will attack <em>after</em> the Millennium begins—<em>after</em> the second coming of Christ, and after peace is established in the Holy Land. Notice what God says of the invading armies: “You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of <strong>unwalled</strong>villages; I will go to a <strong>peaceful</strong> people, who <strong>dwell safely</strong>, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’; to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezekiel 38:11–12).</p> <p>Does Israel today “dwell safely” in unwalled villages, that is, without military protection? Of course not! Ezekiel is speaking of a time yet future, when Christ establishes peace in the Holy Land. Notice: “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day when My people Israel <strong>dwell safely</strong>, will you not know it?”‘” (v. 14).</p> <p>God will destroy this eastern alliance and its armies when they attack restored Israel (cf. Ezekiel 39). There will be so many dead bodies that it will take months to bury them. “For <strong>seven months</strong> the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land” (Ezekiel 39:12). Almighty God has all the power in the universe to fulfill His will. It is folly for nations to fight against Him and His purpose. But the nations will learn who is in charge. As God states: “Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:23).</p> <h2>Who Will Control Jerusalem?</h2> <p>Since 1967, Israel has fought wars and negotiated peace treaties with several Arab states. But Israel has never been able to negotiate a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians. In July 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak did what no Israeli negotiator had done before—he proposed that Israel would grant administrative self-governance to Palestinians in East Jerusalem. But Barak wanted Israel to retain security control over East Jerusalem, and the Palestinians rejected his proposal. Negotiations broke down, leading to ongoing conflict. What caused the impasse in negotiations? The one issue that appears unsolvable: “Who will control Jerusalem?”</p> <p>In 1980, Israel declared Jerusalem as its “united and eternal capital.” The Palestinians also desire Jerusalem as their capital. Before his death in 2002, Faisal Husseini, a representative of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem, stated the Palestinian position that Israel “must withdraw from all of east Jerusalem to the pre-’67 borders… all settlements and Israeli neighborhoods in east Jerusalem must be dismantled… Israel must compensate the Palestinians for the damages it has inflicted including the changes in the character of the city and the lives of its citizens” (<em>The Jerusalem Post</em>, Nov. 19, 1999).</p> <p>Israel has maintained that Jerusalem must remain its undivided capital. As Israeli spokesman Gadi Baltiansky stated in 1999: “There will be no negotiations over Jerusalem, and if the Palestinians think otherwise—too bad. This is a red line that Prime Minister Barak will never cross” (<em>ibid</em>.). Even Barak’s proposal for “sharing sovereignty” did not concede that Jerusalem was not a united city under the control of Israeli security. In the years since, facing the <em>intifada,<strong> </strong></em>Barak’s successors have expressed no eagerness to revisit his proposal, which Israelis considered generous but which Palestinians considered unacceptable.</p> <p>The U.S. has backed Israel in this dispute, and has thus found itself the target of international anger. On September 30, 2002, President Bush signed congressional legislation that required his administration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. What was the reaction? Cairo’s leading newspaper reported: “The new US legislation requiring all official American documents to identify the occupied city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has triggered angry reactions throughout the Islamic world. Thousands of demonstrators marched through Gaza, threatening to intensify suicide bombings inside Israel, while popular and religious leaders called on Arab and Islamic parliaments to adopt a strong stance against this latest outrage, calling, among other things, for a boycott of American goods” (<em>Al-Ahram</em>, Oct. 16, 2002).</p> <p>The gap between the two sides’ views is wide and deep! What solutions has the international community proposed? In 1980, when Israel called Jerusalem its “united and eternal capital,” the Vatican strongly objected. In 1984, Pope John Paul II wrote an apostolic letter, <em>Redemptoris Anno</em>, calling for Jerusalem to have a “special internationally guaranteed status.” In 1975, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had made a similar proposal, that Jerusalem become an international city with the control of holy places and the religious administration being given to the pope.</p> <p>Pope John Paul II spoke to the new Jordanian ambassador to the Vatican on May 28, 1998. <em>Reuters</em> reported his comments: “The long history of the city of Jerusalem, filled with tribulations, will reach a new threshold in the year 2000, with the dawn of the third millennium of Christianity.… It is my fervent hope that this may lead to a formal recognition, with international guarantees, of the unique and sacred identity of the Holy City.”</p> <p>Will non-Israelis control Jerusalem? The Apostle John said that they will! “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to <em>the Gentiles</em>. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months'” (Revelation 11:1–2).</p> <p>Gentiles will control the “holy city”—Jerusalem—for 42 months. The book of Revelation describes a 42-month period leading up to the return of Christ. Two prophets of God will witness with great power during these three and one-half years, or 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3–15). These two witnesses will contend with the forces of a revived Roman Empire, which will dominate the Middle East at that time.</p> <h2>Temple Sacrifices Restored?</h2> <p>Many religious teachers understand <em>part</em> of Bible prophecy. They expect that the Jewish orthodox authority in Israel will once again establish temple sacrifices. Groups such as the Third Temple Institute in Jerusalem are making preparations today to train priests and assemble the items required for the reestablishment of sacrifices. Will the Jewish priesthood once again offer animal sacrifices? Some Jewish groups are going to great lengths trying to make this happen.</p> <p>A few religious groups and individuals have gone overboard in their desire to see prophecy fulfilled. The Israeli authorities placed their security on special alert during the months of December 1999 and January 2000 because several religious groups, referred to as “apocalyptic,” allegedly plotted to “help prophecy along” by their own efforts, and threatened to blow up the Dome of the Rock in order to make possible the construction of a third temple.</p> <p>But true Christians recognize that <em>God is in charge</em>. He does not need our help to bring these prophecies to pass! Besides, true Christians do not go around causing violence and blowing up buildings. Even some Jewish extremists have threatened violence around the Temple Mount to get their way. Any such violence on the Temple Mount could cause an Arab uprising, or even a <em>jihad</em> (holy war) that would have international repercussions.</p> <p>The Dome of the Rock, a mosque holy to Muslims, stands on the Temple Mount, where there is no Jewish temple. Yet many Jews, and some Christians, are expecting some kind of divine intervention that would make possible the building of a third temple on the Temple Mount.</p> <p>What will happen? Prophecy indicates that the sacrifices will be reinstituted. The Jews have not offered temple sacrifices since Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and the second temple in 70ad. This leads to another important question: is a temple necessary for the revival of sacrifices?</p> <p>The Babylonian Empire of the sixth century bc conquered the kingdom of Judah. The Babylonians transported thousands of captive Jews to Babylon. The armies of King Nebuchadnezzar also destroyed the first temple at Jerusalem in 586bc. Eventually, under the Persian Empire, King Cyrus sponsored a group of exiles to return to Jerusalem. When the returning Jews eventually laid the foundation of the second temple, there was both rejoicing and sadness. Joy because they now had a center of worship, and sadness because this second temple was very simple by comparison to the former glorious temple built by King Solomon. But notice the attitude of the Jews. They actually began sacrificing before the foundation of the temple was laid. “From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, although the <strong><em>foundation of the temple</em></strong> of the Lord <strong><em>had not been laid</em></strong>” (Ezra 3:6). The Jews had observed the Feast of Tabernacles in their unfinished temple, with daily sacrifices.</p> <p>Notice another important point. Where do the exiles return? Ezra refers to the location of the holy place as the house of God, when the temple had not yet been built: “Now in the second month of the second year of their coming to <strong><em>the</em></strong> <strong><em>house of God</em></strong> at Jerusalem” (v. 8). This took place around 536bc. But there was no building as yet. The third chapter of Ezra goes on to describe the laying of the foundation of the temple. Sacrifices must be presented in a holy place. But in this case, the sacrifices were made daily <strong><em>without</em></strong><em> a physical building called a temple</em>.</p> <p>The holiest place under the control of the Jewish religious authorities today, is the “Wailing Wall”—the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount. Jews are not currently allowed to publicly worship on the Temple Mount; only Muslims now have that privilege. So, it remains to be seen where the Jews will begin sacrificing. It will probably take a national crisis to precipitate that event.</p> <p>Jesus spoke of a time when enemy armies would invade the Holy Land and surround Jerusalem. “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near” (Luke 21:20). Remember this is in the context of Jesus’ Olivet Prophecy, also described in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. A powerful alliance of nations will invade the Middle East and dominate the region, as foretold by the prophet Daniel (cf. Daniel 11:41).</p> <p>There will be international guarantees, protecting Jerusalem, enforced by a superpower. But these guarantees will also enforce the pseudo-Christianity of a revived Roman Empire. There will be a revived <em>Pax Romana</em> (“Roman Peace”), imposed by what the Bible calls the end-time “beast” (see Revelation 13).</p> <img alt="View of the Temple Mount and old City of Jerusalem" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7c60942b-a0d7-4f25-8cef-b04c81236205" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/me03.jpg" class="align-center" width="450" height="714" loading="lazy" /> <p> </p> <p>When the “beast” superpower occupies Jerusalem, this will signal the time of the great “tribulation” and “the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22).</p> <p>Although the word “Jerusalem” means “city of peace,” Jerusalem has experienced bloody fighting and wars over the millennia. But soon, this great city will truly be the city of peace for all peoples. That is good news you can look forward to!</p> <p>It is important to note that the prophesied “great tribulation” is primarily a time of trouble for the U.S. and British-descended peoples, who are descended from the ancient patriarch Joseph. When he was near death, Jacob blessed two of his grandsons—Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh—and said: “The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name [Jacob, i.e. Israel] be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth” (Genesis 48:16).</p> <p>The end-time prophecies relating to Jacob, or Israel, generally refer to the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh who were given Jacob’s name. Scripture gives an end-time warning about a great “tribulation.” Upon whom does this tribulation fall? “Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7). To learn more about the “time of Jacob’s trouble” and what it means for the American and other British-descended nations, please write for your free copy of our booklet <em>The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.</em></p> <h2>Watch for the Abomination of Desolation</h2> <p>The prophesied “great tribulation” will be a time unique in all of history—a time such “that none is like it.” What does the Bible tell us to do? Jesus tells us: “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to <em>escape all these things</em> that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).</p> <p>What should you watch for in the Middle East? When Jesus was on the Mount of Olives, He gave an outline of end-time prophecy, with parallel accounts recorded in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13. Jesus’ disciples had asked him about the sign of His coming and the end of the world, or the end of the age. He spoke about religious deception, wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes. These trends reveal, in sequence, the meaning of the four horsemen of Revelation 6, who, toward the end of this age, intensify their dangerous ride. Jesus declares: “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8).</p> <p>Religious persecution and martyrdom will follow. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:9–11).</p> <p>But the Truth will still be preached! “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). As Jesus Christ opens doors for the gospel to expand in coverage and power, you will know that the end is drawing near. Do not be asleep to world conditions and the prophetic trends intensifying before your very eyes!</p> <p>Jesus gave us a key sign to watch for, which will signify the beginning of the great tribulation and trouble in the Holy Land. He warned: “‘Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand) ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains'” (Matthew 24:15–16).</p> <p>What is this abomination of desolation?</p> <p>Centuries before Christ, an angel gave the prophet Daniel a vision concerning end-time events. When Daniel asked the meaning of the message, the angel told him: “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9). More than 2,500 years later, we can now understand these prophecies. Notice another important detail. “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Daniel 12:11). At the time of the end, shortly before the return of Christ, God reveals that the daily sacrifice will be stopped or “taken away.” This obviously implies that the sacrifices must be started, before they can be stopped! But what exactly is this “abomination of desolation”?</p> <p>Historically, the Greek ruler Antiochus Epiphanes issued a decree in 167bc that prohibited further Jewish sacrifices in the temple at Jerusalem. “And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation” (Daniel 11:31).</p> <p>In addition to stopping the daily sacrifices in the temple, Antiochus erected a statue of Jupiter Olympus in the Holy of Holies, and sacrificed a pig upon the altar, desecrating it with the pig’s blood. This abomination, also described in Daniel 8, was also the prophetic forerunner (or “ante-type”) of an end-time event—the end-time sacrifices being cut off 1,290 days before Christ’s return. Jesus warns us to be alert to an <em>end-time</em> abomination of desolation. Just as Antiochus Epiphanes profaned the temple in 167bc and prohibited the sacrifices, so in the future another profane authority will prohibit sacrifices. In fact, the Apostle Paul warns of a great false prophet that will stand in the holy place: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).</p> <p>A great false prophet will work amazing miracles and deceive millions of people. He will cultivate worship toward himself, and claim that he is divine. Scripture describes a symbolic creature that appears like a lamb (the symbol for Christ) but speaks as a dragon (the symbol of Satan the Devil). This is the great religious power that will guide an end-time revival of the Roman Empire. “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived” (Revelation 13:11–14).</p> <p>This Antichrist will even call down fire from heaven! These deceiving miracles will excite millions—but will also lead many away from the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. You must not let yourself become deceived. The prophet Isaiah explained a test by which we can recognize God’s true servants: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). In other words, true servants of Christ will speak according to the word of God, the Bible! You need to know your Bible, and study your Bible. Prove and test all things, as it tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21!</p> <p>The end-time religio-political power dominating Jerusalem will cause the sacrifices to cease. Remember that the Jews have not offered animal sacrifices since 70ad, when the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. In order for the end-time sacrifices to be stopped eventually, they need to begin! When animal sacrifices begin once again in Jerusalem, you will know that the prophecies Jesus spoke about are heading for a climax!</p> <h2>Three Prophetic Milestones</h2> <p>When the abomination of desolation prophesied by Jesus is set up, three prophetic milestones will follow over a period of three and one-half years: the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord. This prophetic framework helps us understand end-time developments in the Middle East, and how they affect the world.</p> <p>Notice that Jesus Himself gives the sequence of events. He warns us about the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15, then explains the <strong><em>first</em></strong> prophetic milestone in verses 21 and 22: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” This is a time unique in all history. It is the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), the time of God’s punishment on the Western nations—including the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. (For more information about this informative topic, please write for our free booklet <em>The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. </em>The Great Tribulation is the time Daniel announces: “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time” (Daniel 12:1).</p> <p>This is a time of war, persecution, and martyrdom. It is the time when the four horsemen of Revelation 6 intensify their ride. They are given power over “a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:8). The fifth seal of Revelation describes the martyrdom of Christians (Revelation 6:9–11).</p> <p>We then see a <strong><em>second</em></strong> prophetic milestone. The sixth seal reveals frightening, dramatic activity in the sky, or what Scripture calls “the heavenly signs.” The Apostle John wrote: “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Revelation 6:12–14).</p> <p>Jesus also confirms this sequence of tribulation followed by great signs in the heavens: “Immediately <em>after</em> the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29).</p> <p>How will human beings react to these heavenly signs? “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'” (Revelation 6:15–17).</p> <p>The heavenly signs announce the time of God’s judgment on the nations, “the great day of His wrath.” This is the seventh seal, the period of time also called the Day of the Lord—a <strong><em>third</em></strong>prophetic milestone. In vision, the Apostle John refers to it in Revelation 1:10 as “the Lord’s Day.” John is referring <strong><em>not</em></strong> to a day of the week, but to the time period leading up to the return of Christ—as mentioned in more than 30 prophecies! The prophet Isaiah describes it this way, “For it is the <em>day</em> of the Lord’s vengeance, the <em>year</em> of recompense for the cause of Zion” (Isaiah 34:8).</p> <p>The prophet Joel also confirms that the heavenly signs <strong><em>precede</em></strong> the Day of the Lord. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, <strong><em>before</em></strong> the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2:30–31).</p> <p>The seventh seal, or the Day of the Lord, consists of seven trumpet plagues: “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1–2). The first six trumpets sound during the year preceding Christ’s second coming. The seventh trumpet announces the good news of Christ’s return to rule all nations on planet earth: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become <em>the kingdoms</em> of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'” (Revelation 11:15). While this is good news to genuine Christians, the nations will be angry (verse 18) and will actually gather their military force to fight against the returning King (Revelation 19:19). As we will see, that final battle will be fought in the Middle East, near Jerusalem.</p> <p>The good news is that the returning Jesus Christ will conquer all the rebellious armies and nations of planet Earth. The returning King of kings will set up His Kingdom in Jerusalem, conquer His enemies and enforce lasting world peace (cf. Zechariah 14:1–3). Jesus Christ will come back to Jerusalem. He will rule over all the kingdoms, nations, and governments of this earth. “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be; ‘The Lord is one,’ and His name one” (v. 9). The Messiah <em>will</em> be King over all the earth, and will govern from Jerusalem. He will establish <strong><em>true religion</em></strong> over all the earth, replacing the <strong><em>false</em></strong> religion that dominated the revived Roman Empire.</p> <h2>Who Rides the Beast?</h2> <p>We have seen that the Middle East will be the location of a modern-day fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy concerning the “abomination of desolation.” When that end-time abomination comes, what religious system will dominate it? The book of Revelation refers to the great false end-time religion as Mystery Babylon. In Revelation 17, the Apostle John sees in vision the judgment of a great harlot, which symbolizes a great false church or religious system. “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Revelation 17:1–2). This woman rides a “beast” that has seven heads and ten horns (v. 3). That “beast,” as we have seen earlier, is the political and military power that will invade the Middle East.</p> <p>John continues, describing this great harlot: “And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5). That system will dominate the great tribulation period. The leader of that system, the false prophet, will even call down fire from heaven as we read in Revelation 13:13. Do not let yourself be deceived by such “miraculous” displays. Revelation 13:11 tells us that this religious figure symbolically looks like a lamb (the symbol of Christ) but speaks as a dragon! He will stand in Jerusalem’s holy place and even claim that he is God!</p> <p>In Revelation 17, we saw that the harlot rides the “beast.” But who is this “beast”? The answer will tell us who will invade the Middle East. “The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:11–14).</p> <p>The Church of God has for years pointed out that the end-time “Beast power” of Revelation will be a final revival of the ancient Roman Empire. That empire continued from about 31bc to 476ad. There were six revivals, including the Imperial Restoration under Justinian in 544ad and another revival led by Charlemagne in 800ad. (For more information about this prophesied “Beast power,” please write for our free booklet <em>The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality?)</em></p> <p>Other commentators have also identified the beast of Revelation as the Roman Empire. We just read in Revelation 17:11 of the final end-time revival of “the beast that was, and is not”—the final beast that goes into “perdition” or destruction. The <em>New Catholic Edition</em> of the Holy Bible makes this comment concerning the beast of verse 11: “The beast spoken of here seems to be the Roman Empire, as in chapter 13.”</p> <p>The book of Revelation, Jesus’ Olivet prophecy and the book of Daniel, together reveal a coming revival of the Roman Empire influenced and ridden by a woman. The woman is symbolic of a church. The “beast power” eventually turns on the woman: “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:16–18). Again, the <em>Douay-Rheims</em> translation comments on the ultimate destruction of the woman by the beast: “ten other kingdoms are allies of the beast and battle against the Church. But their dominion is short, typified as an hour.” While the <em>Douay-Rheims</em> identifies the beast with the Roman Empire and the woman with the Church, it does not admit that the great city mentioned in verse 18 is Rome itself. However, many Bible commentaries plainly agree that the great city of Revelation 17:18 is, in fact, Rome!</p> <h2>The King of the North Invades the Middle East</h2> <p>The armies of Benito Mussolini—a 20th century “king of the North”—invaded North Africa during World War II. In contrast, the end-time king of the North will be <em>provoked</em> by the king of the South. We have already seen war in the Middle East over the issue of oil. Will there be another Arab oil embargo like that of 1974?</p> <img alt="woman ridding a beast with sevens heads and ten horns" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="54e3107e-3e2f-40dc-b57b-1c79fa5df2dd" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/me04.jpg" class="align-center" width="450" height="716" loading="lazy" /> <p>When fuel costs began to rise in the summer and fall of 2000, European protests of skyrocketing petroleum prices and shortages were even more vigorous than in the U.S. In 2000, imports accounted for 53 percent of U.S. oil consumed. Roughly 24 percent—almost half of all oil imported—came from the Middle East. Europe is even more dependent on Middle East oil, importing approximately 90 percent of its oil—well over half from the Middle East.</p> <p>When gasoline prices spiked in mid-2008, millions were reminded again of their dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Will Europe let Middle Eastern oil suppliers hold their economies hostage? Whatever the provocation, the king of the North will invade the Middle East.</p> <p>Luke’s account of the Olivet prophecy follows the same general sequence as the account in Matthew that we reviewed earlier. But he adds one important detail, Jesus’ warning sign concerning the end-time fate of Jerusalem: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near” (Luke 21:20). Whose armies are these? Who will eventually invade the Middle East and control Jerusalem—its most significant city?</p> <p>As we saw earlier, the king of the North—the “beast power” or revived end-time Roman Empire—will enter the Glorious Land (Daniel 11:41). Jesus said that when you see armies encompassing or surrounding Jerusalem, you will know that the city is about to be captured. In 70ad, Titus and the Roman armies destroyed the city and the temple. The Roman siege of the city caused famine and disease within it. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote that “no fewer than six hundred thousand were thrown out at the gates, though still the number of the rest could not be discovered” (<em>Wars of the Jews</em>, Bk. 5, chap. 13, sec. 7). Which army brought disaster upon Jerusalem? The army of Rome did. Will another Roman army repeat history in the 21st century? Bible prophecy says “yes”!</p> <p>The book of Luke also emphasizes that Jerusalem will be controlled by another superpower. Notice Jesus’ powerful statement: “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:21–22).</p> <p>This clearly is the end-time fulfillment of this prophecy. It continues: “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (vv. 23–24). Revelation 11 shows that Christ will intervene 42 months after Jerusalem is captured.</p> <p>Some Bible commentators mistakenly believe that Luke’s prophecy applies <em>only</em> to the first century ad, when the Roman commander Titus besieged Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. Jesus’ warning in Luke 21 certainly <em>did apply</em> to this first century desolation. But as Bible students recognize, prophecy is often dual. There is type and ante-type. There is a former fulfillment and a later fulfillment of the prophecy. Jesus told His disciples that, following the desolation of Jerusalem, many would see <em>His return to earth</em>. “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25–27).</p> <p>This prophecy was not fulfilled in 70ad by Titus’ destruction of the temple. Jesus was clearly outlining the events preceding His second coming. The context of Jerusalem’s final desolation, as presented here, is the end-time.</p> <h2>The Final Phases of World War III</h2> <p>The king of the North’s armies will occupy northern Africa and the holy land. But developments in the northeast so disturb this king that he takes military action. Daniel 11:44, “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”</p> <img alt="map of middle east showing Israel, Lebanon and Syria" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5a3b8e08-fb7f-4437-8d66-5042612bddd7" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/me05_2-2.jpg" class="align-center" width="450" height="704" loading="lazy" /> <p> </p> <p>This action appears to be described in Revelation 9 as the first woe or the fifth trumpet plague (cf. Revelation 8:13; 9:1). The Apostle John describes 21st century warfare in first century imagery: “The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months. And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon” (Revelation 9:7–11).</p> <p>Notice that this action takes up five months during the year-long Day of the Lord. What follows next? A massive 200 million-man army from the east crosses the Euphrates River. The Euphrates River runs from Turkey through Syria and Iraq to the Persian Gulf. Whether or not Iraq even continues to exist as a nation in its present form, the geographical area of Iraq <em>will</em> play a major geographical role in the final war to come: World War III! The second woe, or the sixth trumpet now sounds. “One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things. Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the <em>great river Euphrates</em>.’ So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen <em>was</em> two hundred million; I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses <em>were</em> like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. By these three plagues <strong><em>a third of mankind was killed</em></strong>—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails <em>are</em> like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm” (Revelation 9:12–19).</p> <p>This phase of World War III will kill one-third of all humanity, over two billion human beings! The “fire, smoke, and brimstone” evokes images of nuclear devastation. Unless Jesus Christ intervenes, “no flesh would be saved,” as He said in Matthew 24:22!</p> <p>The final and seventh trumpet announces the return of Jesus Christ to rule the earth (Revelation 11:15). The nations are angry, as we saw earlier (Revelation 11:18), and will combine their armies to fight a common foe, the Commander of Heaven’s armies (see Revelation 19:19)! The seventh trumpet or the third woe consists of “the seven last plagues” that complete “the wrath of God” on rebellious nations (see Revelation 15:1, 8; 16:1).</p> <p>At this point, eastern armies will move westward over the Euphrates River on their way to Megiddo—Armageddon. “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared” (Revelation 16:12). Satan and his demons influence warring nations to gather their forces against the invader from outer space, the King of kings, Jesus Christ. The Apostle John writes: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to <strong><em>the kings of the earth</em></strong> and of <strong><em>the whole world</em></strong>, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13–14).</p> <p>As the final phase of World War III begins, Satan will have influenced the kings and armies “of the whole world” to prepare for the great battle against Christ. Warring, rebellious nations will fight against the Savior of the world! Where will they gather? “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16). The name Armageddon comes from the Hebrew <em>har Magedon</em>, which means “the hill of Megiddo.” Megiddo is located in modern Israel about 55 miles north of Jerusalem. The hill or mount of Megiddo overlooks the largest valley in Israel, the Plain of Esdraelon, or the Valley of Jezreel.</p> <p>The developing European religio-political power will eventually exert controlling influence over the Holy Land. As we have seen, the leader of that union, the “king of the North,” will ultimately dominate Jerusalem and the Middle East. The book of Revelation also predicts a conflict between Asian forces and the European “Beast power,” the king of the North (Daniel 11:44). Shockingly, just before Christ’s return, these armies will combine as they are “gathered together to make war against Him” (Revelation 19:19). God Almighty says: “For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 14:2). Then “the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east” (Zechariah 14:3–4). Jesus Christ will intervene! He will stop World War III and will ultimately bring lasting peace to the world!</p> <p>Notice that the climactic end-time battle that is popularly referred to as Armageddon is actually called “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14). But <em>where</em> will that battle be fought? The prophet Joel tells us that this climactic battle will take place near Jerusalem: “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there” (Joel 3:1–2).</p> <p>The Valley of Jehoshaphat is also called the Kidron Valley (between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount). Here, God will judge the nations. The valley widens to the south, and through it the world’s armies will move southward from Megiddo to fight Jesus Christ at Jerusalem. At this great climactic battle of all ages, the Creator God will prevail, defeating puny humans in their attempt to conquer God.</p> <p>Foolish military leaders will quickly learn how powerless they are against the omnipotent, divine power of God! Notice the horrible punishment wrought on those rebellious, evil armies: “And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths” (Zechariah 14:12).</p> <img alt="View across the Kidron Valley toward the Mount of Olives" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="36f2e373-9ff4-4b05-a96f-cfd75d5d2b49" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/me06.jpg" class="align-center" width="450" height="715" loading="lazy" /> <p> </p> <p>Jesus will totally conquer the greatest military combine ever assembled. He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords to bring this war-torn planet a thousand years of peace. “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth” (v. 9).</p> <p>Christ will conquer all the armies opposing Him! He will usher in the Millennium of peace on earth, and teach all nations the way to peace. Then the Arabs and Israelis will be reconciled. “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria; a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance'” (Isaiah 19:23–25).</p> <p>After the world’s armies have been defeated, the Creator God will establish Jerusalem as the capital of the world. All nations will submit to the Kingdom of God on earth and finally learn the way to peace. “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:1–2).</p> <p>The King of kings, assisted by the saints, will reeducate the nations to live the way of love, peace and prosperity (see Daniel 7:18, 27). Under the rulership of Jesus Christ—the Messiah—the way of sin, suffering and war will pass away. “He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Micah 4:3).</p> <h2>Watch the Middle East</h2> <p>Jesus Christ warns us to be spiritually alert and watchful (Luke 21:36). But <em>for what should we be watching</em> in the turmoil and conflict of the Middle East?</p> <p><em>Watch for</em> increasing demand for international intervention and control, not only in Gaza and the West Bank, but in Jerusalem itself. Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has supported calls for a United Nations peacekeeping force in Gaza and the West Bank—a proposal the rival Hamas has heretofore rejected. As violence escalates in the region around Jerusalem, watch for more world leaders to join in demanding international control of this ancient city held dear by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.</p> <p><em>Watch for</em> continuing conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinians may be divided in their allegiance between the more militant Islamic Hamas organization and the more secular Fatah group, but they are united in their opposition to Israel’s exertion of power in a region they consider their own.</p> <p><em>Watch for</em> increasing unity among Arab nations in their stand against Israel. Psalm 83, which we read earlier, lists those peoples who comprise Arabic and Muslim nations in the Middle East. They are supported by European groups in their strong opposition to Israel. “They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’ For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You” (Psalm 83:4–5). Watch for an end-time Arab/Muslim union or confederacy forming against Israel.</p> <p><em>Watch for</em> the European Union’s growing economic, political and military unification. As we saw in Daniel’s prophecy, the king of the North will eventually occupy the Holy Land. Europe is moving to coordinate and unify its various military and security forces, seeking an alternative to its long-standing dependence on its NATO alliance which includes the U.S. as a dominant partner. In July 2005, EU foreign ministers agreed to establish a “European Security and Defense College” to organize and conduct multinational training that would bring Europeans from different countries under one consistent policy and procedure framework. In November 2004, after five years of planning, the EU officially established a Rapid Reaction Force that would allow the multinational entity to carry out military objectives. A small deployment has already occurred in Bosnia. Current plans allow for a maximum deployment of 60,000–80,000 EURRF troops. Will these forces eventually play a significant part in the Middle East conflict? Watch the development of Europe’s own military forces.</p> <p><em>Watch for</em> the preparation and eventual implementation of animal sacrifices by the Jews in Jerusalem. Many believe a physical temple will also be built, but history and the book of Ezra confirm that sacrifices can be conducted with just an altar at the holy place.</p> <p><em>Watch for</em> the increasing consolidation of religious power in Europe. Visiting Austria in 1983, Pope John Paul II appealed for European unity, stating: “Europeans should overcome the menacing international confrontations of states and alliances, and create a new united Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals” (<em>The Principality and Power of Europe</em>, Adrian Hilton, p. 36). Pope Benedict XVI has called for religious unity in Europe, and has reached out to the Eastern Orthodox churches to a degree that has surprised many observers.</p> <h2>Ultimate Peace</h2> <p>Jerusalem has a glorious prophesied future ahead! It will be the capital of planet earth under the rulership of the Prince of Peace and King of kings, Jesus Christ. That is good news for all the nations—for you, your children and your grandchildren. But we need to remember that true peace can only come about in the lives of men and women when their human nature gives way to God’s Spirit. In the Millennium and beyond, the vast majority of people will accept God’s gift of His Spirit. Then they shall learn how to find the way to peace.</p> <p>The whole world will learn God’s ways. “Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:3–4).</p> <p>Jerusalem will not only be the governmental capital of the world; it will also be the educational capital of the world. The great Educator and Teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ, will teach true knowledge based on the Word of God. All nations will learn the eternal principles, laws and values that guarantee peace and prosperity to all.</p> <p>This is the good news of your future, and the future of the world. At the heart of the Middle East—and of the entire world—Jerusalem will be the center of world government, education, and religion. The Creator God will guarantee future world peace (Micah 4:1–3), “for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken” (v. 4). We all look forward to the peace and reconciliation that only the Messiah, Jesus Christ, can bring to the Middle East—and to the whole world. In the meantime, Jesus tells us to watch and pray (Mark 13:33). He exhorts us in verse 37: “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-booklet-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Booklet Category</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/12" hreflang="en">Current Events</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/7" hreflang="en">Prophecy</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 01 Mar 2022 19:15:14 +0000 4uwzvo 37 at Prophecy Fulfilled: God’s Hand in World Affairs <span>Prophecy Fulfilled: God’s Hand in World Affairs</span> <div class="field field--name-field-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Prophecy Fulfilled: God’s Hand in World Affairs</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">4uwzvo</span></span> <span>Mon, 02/28/2022 - 21:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-booklet-author field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-booklet-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Booklet Media</div> <div class="field__item"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden"><a href="">Image</a></div> <div class="field__item"> <a href=""><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/2022-02/pf_cover_image.jpg?itok=yhO84Jt5" alt="planet earth" loading="lazy" typeof="Image" /></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tag field--type-string field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item">#Current Events</div> <div class="field__item">#Prophecy</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-booklet-teaser field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Humanity today is facing staggering crises of war, disease, pollution, drought and famine. Where will it all lead? Bible prophecy reveals that God is working through current events to bring about a future time when the whole world will be at peace. If you understand what God is doing now, and what He has planned for His creation, you can have hope—even in times of trouble!</div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>To the modern scientist or businessman, or even the theologian who does not take the Bible literally, the biggest stumbling block to understanding God’s prophecies is the failure to fully grasp the absolute <em>reality</em> of the true God—the Creator God revealed in the Holy Bible. Just how does God’s power work? How does God rearrange the destinies of nations? Can we see prophecy fulfilled in history—and even in world affairs today?</p> <p>Most importantly, we need to remember that the God revealed in your Bible has the ability to exercise <em>total</em> power and <em>total</em> control of nations and individuals. “Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the balance; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing…. It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless” (Isaiah 40:15, 22–23).</p> <p>Do you <em>believe</em> that? Or was Isaiah making this up—perhaps taking literary liberties—in this perspective on divine power?</p> <p>The fact of the matter is that from Genesis to Revelation, your Bible is filled with prophecies showing how God has intervened, is intervening and will continue to intervene in world affairs. Even Jesus’ own words are filled with prophetic significance, from the “Olivet Prophecy” of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, to the vision of the future He gave the Apostle John in the book of Revelation.</p> <p>How closely can God work to guide the leadership of a nation? The prophet Daniel described how Nebuchadnezzar, king of one of the most remarkable empires of antiquity, became insane and was driven out of office “in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men” (Daniel 4:17). God determines who will govern in the various nations, placing in office, sometimes, the basest of men.</p> <p>Can Americans take comfort in this scripture when thinking about recent leaders? Can the British look at the actions of their Prime Ministers and see God’s hand? Can unstable Italy, which has had more than 60 governments in the decades since World War II? Other European nations, too, are facing social and political turmoil. The French have seen the rise of ultra-right-wing politicians who would have been well at home in occupied Vichy France during World War II. Are these nations getting the types of leaders they deserve, rather than the decent and wise leaders that they so desperately need? And what about the role of the Roman Catholic pope in Europe? Pope Francis has continued to urge Europeans to rediscover their Catholic heritage as a more powerful unifying force than any local nationalism. Benedict XVI had so strongly advocated the importance of reestablishing Europe’s “Christian” roots that he alienated not only European Turks but even non-European Muslims around the globe.</p> <p>Truly, the world’s present political stability is as solid as a will-o’-the-wisp.</p> <p>In the Hebrew Scriptures, Moses described how God orchestrated and guided the dispersion of nations and peoples in antiquity. “When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deuteronomy 32:8). Like a chess master, God moves kings, queens, bishops and pawns at will, according to His purpose. He guides various major nations to the area of the earth where He wants them and blesses or curses them in weather, war and prosperity according to how they yield to <em>His</em> will (cf. Leviticus 26).</p> <h2>WILL JESUS CHRIST RETURN TONIGHT?</h2> <p>Millions of Pentecostal and Evangelical believers expect that Jesus Christ may come at any time. They see world events shaping up according to Bible prophecy, and they want to be “ready.” “Jesus Christ may come back <strong>tonight</strong>,” bellows the iron-lunged evangelist in his big tent meeting. “You had better give your heart to the Lord <strong>now </strong>while He is calling you. You may never get another chance like this!” Most of us have heard such talk—either in person or on the radio or television.</p> <p>Franklin Graham, son of noted preacher Billy Graham, was famously quoted as saying: “The churches believe that everything is coming to a head and that God is moving. Many people in the evangelical community believe that the return of Jesus Christ could be at any moment—and I’m one of those” (<em>Los Angeles Times</em>, December 31, 1995). And he was far from alone! For decades, forceful evangelicals have thundered in revival meetings: “Jesus Christ may come <em>tonight</em>. You need to be ready to meet your Maker <em>now</em>!”</p> <p>Is it likely that the Jesus Christ of the Bible will return tonight? To most people living today, the prospect of God’s intervention does not seem very real. Even among “believers,” there is great disagreement as to when and how Christ will return—or if He will literally return at all.</p> <p>Will God intervene suddenly and mysteriously—totally unexpectedly? Or has the Almighty revealed a <em>specific chain of events</em> that will inform and warn those who take the Bible seriously? <em>Has</em> God been intervening in world affairs?</p> <p>What does the Bible really say? You need to know!</p> <p>Before anything else, it is necessary to state that God is not capricious. The Creator of the universe does <em>not</em> make His plans for fanciful, impulsive or temperamental reasons. God the Father will send Jesus Christ back to this earth at a time when His Second Coming will make the difference between life and death for the human race. Preachers who foolishly proclaim “tonight is the night” are doing a grave disservice to their listeners. The return of Jesus Christ is deadly serious business. It may even be a question of <em>your</em> very survival!</p> <p>The Holy Bible is the only true source of revealed knowledge about Jesus Christ’s return. Most of mankind’s ideas and speculation about His return are sheer nonsense, based on nothing but guesses and vanity! Is there a way to recognize the signs of His coming, and the end of the age? Can we truly see prophecy fulfilled in world affairs—and understand what this means for us and for our world?</p> <h2>END-TIME WORLD SUFFERING</h2> <p>The Bible reveals that man’s technological knowledge will be vastly increased just before Christ returns. It will also be a time of mass travel and large movements of immigrants: “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4).</p> <p>Despite this boom in technological ability, man’s know-how in spiritual matters is stagnating! Our ability to get along with each other has not improved over the last 4,000 years. Jesus said: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37).</p> <p>The Bible clearly reveals that Noah’s day was characterized by rampant sin and violence: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.… And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth'” (Genesis 6:5, 13).</p> <p>The Apostle Paul was also inspired by God to look into the future to describe the last days as “perilous times”—times of crass materialism, moral degradation and a false spirituality that denies the power of the true God of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:1–5). Does this description fit our present Western civilization?</p> <p>The time leading up to Jesus’ return will also experience an abundance of horrifying wars and destruction (Matthew 24:3–20). Jesus warned that there would be a real threat of human <em>extinction</em>—if He did not intervene to save man from his deadly ways: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (vv. 21–22).</p> <h2>A VISION FOR THE FUTURE</h2> <p>Consider this vision of the future: An alarming variety of crises face a bewildered humanity. The world’s supply of good food and clean water dwindles, because of pollution that degrades the environment and global warming that alters weather patterns. Millions face hunger and, eventually, starvation. Some areas struggle with horrendous winter storms and massive flooding while other areas wither in drought under a blazing sun! These weather upsets exact staggering financial tolls, bankrupting many insurance companies.</p> <p>Massive earthquakes, occasional volcanoes and insect plagues further drain international and local disaster relief resources. Ethnic tensions, unemployment and pervasive urban crime cast a pall of insecurity over once-peaceful communities. Life becomes increasingly cheap. After all, what is the cost of a few bullets or a knife?</p> <p>Meanwhile, the horrors of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, and the July 7, 2005 bombings in Great Britain, continue to remind us that increasing <strong>terrorism </strong>will greatly exacerbate all of the above problems!</p> <p>Devastating disease epidemics will afflict tens of millions! As the climate warms, exotic diseases once confined to Third World tropical countries move north with certain species of disease-carrying mosquitoes and other insects. Drug-resistant infectious bacterial strains breed rapidly in hospitals, wiping out the effectiveness of antibiotics and other “miracle” drugs. Bioengineering—providing humans with transplant organs from baboons, pigs and other animals—facilitates the dangerous mutation of deadly bacteria and viruses. These consequently leap the previous barrier between animal and human susceptibility to one another’s diseases. The young, the elderly and the destitute die in staggering numbers. Mass burials of the dead become commonplace.</p> <p>“Nonsense,” you say? “It will never happen where I live,” you argue. “Unwarranted gloom and doom,” you assert. “Besides, my government and modern technology will save me from such problems,” you hope.</p> <p>Oh, really? Will your armies, police, social security and health care systems indefinitely insulate you from such looming <em>foreign</em> and <em>domestic</em> <strong>terrors</strong>? What do you <strong><em>really</em></strong> expect?</p> <p>Many Western governments are saddled with swiftly rising public debts that have grown to truly gargantuan proportions! Painful budget cuts are the fodder of many nations’ political debate. In many Third World countries, the priority is to spend money these days on guns—not health care or pensions.</p> <p>If you are an American, a Canadian, a Briton, an Australian or a resident of one of the comfortably wealthy Western powers, take note. Fiscal irresponsibility on a national scale presages a clear decline in future prestige and power. If your country has to cut back because of falling income, how will you individually be affected? Is it really all “blue sky” up ahead? Or are there storm clouds on the horizon?</p> <h2>A SOMBER PORTRAIT</h2> <p>Consider: “The worldwide recession has forced countries around the world to curb public spending—or risk defaulting on their debt. The United Kingdom is the latest to tighten its belt. The National Health Service (NHS)—the centralized public agency that runs Britain’s government healthcare system—is being forced to shave $31 billion from its budget by 2015. These cuts are leading to a precipitous drop in the quality of care patients receive. The NHS has been living well beyond its means for quite awhile. And now brutal government-enforced cost controls are exacting a heavy human toll” (<em> </em>“The Ugly Realities Of Socialized Medicine Are Not Going Away,” Sally Pipes, December 19, 2011).</p> <p>Such declines in public health care systems are taking place all around the world. In many places, cuts in health care for the poor, the young and the aged have already been a fact of life for years, but are now being seen on a more drastic scale, even in the United States:</p> <p>“A battle has broken out between California counties and Governor Jerry Brown, who is proposing to take an estimated $2.5 billion over the next three years from local health and prevention programs.</p> <p>These funds, which have flowed from the state to counties since 1991, support community clinics in Los Angeles and other cities that serve poor people who don’t have insurance. They help pay for public health programs, like one in Alameda County that provides preventive services to children with asthma, reducing hospitalizations” (<em></em>“California Health Care Cuts Will Cripple Prevention, Leave Poor Out In Cold, Counties Say,” Rob Waters, June 7, 2013).</p> <p>And consider this startling prognosis on the effects of budget cuts on our ability to fight current and future outbreaks:</p> <p>“In December, Congress approved $5.4 billion in emergency funding to fight the outbreak in West Africa, with a portion of that money dedicated to preparing U.S. hospitals for domestic Ebola cases. The funding was most of what President Barack Obama had requested.</p> <p>But experts say readiness efforts have been stymied by years of reduced funding. Local health departments cut about 4,400 positions in 2013, according to an April report from the National Association of County &amp; City Health Officials. Since 2008, more than 48,000 jobs in local health departments have been eliminated through layoffs and attrition.</p> <p>The cuts have left state and local health departments stretched thin to provide services such as vaccinations and HIV/AIDS education, and have limited their ability to recruit personnel who can help detect and identify disease threats. “What happens is one program has to borrow money from another program,” said Chris Aldridge, senior director for infectious disease prevention and control at NACCHO” (<em></em>. “U.S. Still Unprepared for Epidemics,” Steven Johnson, January 10, 2015).</p> <p>As disease and declines in health care support spread, and long-cherished societal norms break down, many turn to despair, and even to suicide. In the last decade, 300,000 Americans have taken their own lives—as many as were killed in combat in World War II. “America is in the throes of a largely unrecognized <strong>suicide epidemic</strong>, as suicide has become the eighth leading cause of death in the United States today, and the third leading cause among adolescents. All Americans recognize that our country is rife with violent crime, but few know that 50 percent more Americans <strong>kill themselves</strong> than are <em>murdered</em>” (<em>San Diego Union-Tribune</em>, January 11, 2002).</p> <p>More young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9–12 in public and private schools in the United States (U.S.) found that 16 percent of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13 percent reported creating a plan, and 8 percent reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the U.S.” (“Youth Suicide,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control, September 2014).</p> <p>The problem of suicide is worldwide. The World Health Organization reported in calendar year 2015 that almost a million people each year kill themselves, and that suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year-olds globally. (<em>World Health Organization</em>. “First WHO report on suicide prevention,” September 4, 2014). In 2014, the CDC released a report showing that the rate for all of the top ten leading causes of death in the U.S. EXCEPT suicide dropped from 2011 to 2012, whereas suicide rates <em>rose</em> to 12.6 cases per 100,000 Americans (<em>, </em>“Suicide Prevention Investment Needed to Reverse Trend of Increasing Suicide,” October 10, 2014).</p> <p>Our jails, too, are filled with evidence that American society is not what it should be. “Recently, the United States achieved the dubious honor of boasting the largest prison and jail population on Earth. It reached this zenith by surpassing cash-strapped Russia—long its only rival as a mass imprisonment society—after Russia released thousands of inmates to save money,” noted Sasha Abramsky, author of <em>Hard Time Blues</em>. “Approximately 2 million Americans are now serving either prison or jail time.… Per hundred thousand residents, the United States has an incarceration rate over five times that of England, six times that of Canada, and seven times that of Germany.”</p> <p>In 2011, according to a U.S. Department of Justice BSJ report, nearly 7 million people in the U.S. were on probation, in jail, in prison or on parole—accounting for 2.8 percent of the U.S. population or one of every 35 adults. What does that say about the stability of a society and the contentment of its people?</p> <h2>MELTING AT THE POLES</h2> <p>Even a seemingly small matter such as rising temperatures can herald grave crisis. For as long as records have been kept, there has been a thick Arctic pack of “perennial ice”—present year-round and unaffected by the Arctic summer. That ice cover had formed a barrier between the northern European coast and the North Pole. In 2006, however, scientists discovered that a section of the ice pack larger than the British Isles had melted away, leaving a sea route by which ships could soon navigate from northern Europe to the North Pole. “If this anomaly continues,” said Mark Drinkwater of the European Space Agency, whose cameras recorded the melting, “the Northeast Passage, or ‘Northern Sea Route’ between Europe and Asia will be open over longer intervals of time, and it is conceivable we might see attempts at sailing around the world directly across the summer Arctic Ocean” (<em>Agence France Press</em>, September 20, 2006).</p> <p>Since then, as recently as August 2013, <em>Spiegel</em> reported:</p> <p>“The ice cap off Siberia now almost completely disappears in the summer months. Although there are still isolated floes, the Arctic Ocean is navigable. Coastal ice vanished for the first time in the summer of 2005, and it has been disappearing every summer since 2007. There was never as little Arctic ice as in mid-September 2012, and the ice has never melted as quickly as it did in the first half of July 2013, with an area twice the size of Bavaria disappearing every day” (“Northeast Passage: Russia Moves to Boost Arctic Shipping,” August 22, 2013).</p> <p>Climate changes have even affected the vast expanse of Antarctica’s giant ice shelves. One shelf that scientists estimate had existed for at least 12,000 years collapsed in 2002, prompted by one of the warmest summers on record there. “It’s a profound event,” said geologist Christina Hulbe. “This ice shelf has endured many climate oscillations over many thousands of years. Now it’s gone.” The collapsed area, 650 feet thick, had a surface area of 1,250 square miles—about the size of Rhode Island. “Scientists said there has also been a 50-year warming trend in the peninsula, which is considered a sensitive, early indicator of global climate change” (<em>San Diego Union-Tribune</em>, March 20, 2002). Another shelf, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, has been on the verge of collapse in 2014; some scientists say its collapse has already begun.</p> <p>As temperatures rise around the world, drought will bring more severe trials to mankind. Scientists now estimate that by 2050, “the number of people living in river basins under severe water stress is projected to reach 3.9 billion by 2050, totalling over 40 percent of the world’s population… In water stressed basins, small changes in water regimes (droughts) can have major consequences… groundwater depletion, which more than doubled between 1960 and 2000, may become the greatest threat to agriculture and urban water supplies in several regions in the coming decades” (<em>Global Water Forum,</em> “Water Outlook to 2050: The OECD Calls for Early and Strategic Action,” May 21, 2012). At present, water shortages affect about 700 million people in 43 countries, and by 2030, almost half the world’s population, with 75-250 million people Sub-Saharan Africa alone, will suffer from “high water stress” according to the UN in 2015.</p> <p>All over the world, major aquifers are being destroyed at an alarming rate, and in major regions, including the Near and Middle East and parts of Asia, conflicts over water are becoming increasingly troubling: “The US security establishment is already warning of potential conflicts—including terror attacks—over water. In a 2012 report, the US director of national intelligence warned that overuse of water—as in India and other countries—was a source of conflict that could potentially compromise US national security” (<em>The Guardian, </em>“Global Water Shortages Pose Threat of Terror and War,” February 8, 2014).</p> <p>“Water could become the new oil as a source of conflict,” said Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, chairman of the Forum. One poignant statement was made at the March 2006 meeting of the World Water Forum in Mexico City: “Millions have lived without love. No one has lived without water” (<em>Synthesis Report,</em> World Water Forum 2006, p. 65).</p> <p>Notice: “Despite innovations that have lowered costs of water treatment, more than a billion people still lack safe drinking water.… Rural, agricultural areas are threatened the most… a combination of global warming, wasteful practices and pollution means that major rivers that traditionally have been relied on by millions of people are now running dry for part of the year. The Yellow River in China, the Nile in Africa and the Indus and the Ganges in south Asia don’t always reach the sea during the dry season, leaving farmers struggling.… There’s not enough water available to produce enough food” (<em>Los Angeles Times</em>, August 14, 2001).</p> <h2>STARVATION AND POLLUTION</h2> <p><em>Millions may </em><strong>starve</strong><em> as a result</em>. “Forty of the world’s poorest countries are likely to see major losses in their ability to produce food—declines of up to 25 percent… with 450 million malnourished people” (<em>Los Angeles Times</em>, July 11, 2001).</p> <p>How do people cope? Reporter Craig Timberg described the tragic choices facing hungry refugees in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region: “More and more often, women in Darfur face the starkest of choices: Risk being raped by leaving the [refugee] camps in search of firewood and grass, or starve. If they invite their brothers or husbands along to protect them, the [militia] will still rape the women, they say, and kill the men. ‘It is better for me to be raped than for my brother to be killed,’ said Eisa, soft-spoken and round-faced, with hair braided into tight rows beneath her head scarf. She has two children, ages 2 and 5” (<em>Washington Post</em>, September 17, 2006).</p> <p>Remember, too, that the U.S. is not immune from the threat of starvation! “Drought has engulfed nearly a third of the United States, threatening to confront some places this summer with what experts say could be their worst water shortages in years. ‘This is a sleeping giant,’ said climatologist Mark Svoboda, at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb. ‘The impact is still to come.'”</p> <p>In Spring 2002, New York City’s reservoirs sunk to 48 percent of capacity, and many other communities throughout the U.S. experienced shortages and mandatory water rationing that summer. More recently, California has experienced severe drought, with reservoirs ranging from 54 percent to as little as 7 percent of capacity in Spring 2015.</p> <p>And the water we <em>do</em> have may be poisonous. “Three decades after the Clean Water Act, a growing number of environmental scientists believe that traditional concerns about water contaminants might not go far enough. They see a potential threat emerging from the ubiquitous use and presence of chemicals associated with medicine and ordinary life. These compounds, from antibiotics to caffeine, are washing into the environment and water supply—with consequences unknown” (<em>San Diego Union-Tribune</em>, March 20, 2002).</p> <p>But some effects <em>are</em> known. In England, for example, sharply lower human sperm counts have been linked to contaminants in the Thames River. In Germany, where sewage runoff can amount to at least half the water in many smaller rivers, researchers have detected noticeable quantities of anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, and other types of drugs in the water supply. Researchers in Kansas have found traces of nonylphenol in their water; this common ingredient in soap has been linked to cancer, infertility and physical deformities.</p> <p>Modern agriculture itself is changing the nature of our water supply—for the worse. “Agriculture is the single biggest threat to water quality in the nation today,” said Charles Fox, who served as associate administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration. One factor is a phenomenon called “hypoxia,” which causes tainted water to become so salty—and devoid of usable oxygen for plants and wildlife—that it is damaging the ecology of many areas. “Since 1960 farmers in the region have tripled the volume of nitrogen and other chemicals they apply to their fields. Although soil conservation has improved dramatically during that period, thousands of tons of chemical nutrients still run off those fields into tributaries of the Mississippi and ultimately into the Gulf of Mexico. There, every summer, the nitrogen does its work again—triggering unnatural algae blooms that decay, sink to the bottom and consume the oxygen needed to sustain coastal life” (<em>Minneapolis Star Tribune</em>, September 17, 2006).</p> <p>Sometimes the problem is as simple as mankind’s careless disposal of what it has used. A 2014 UN report stated that “In developing countries, 70 percent of industrial waste is dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply” and that every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in rivers and other water sources (<em></em>, “Statistics”).</p> <p>With clean, fresh water becoming scarcer and more precious, how long will it be before wars break out over water? As an editorial in the <em>Midland Reporter-Telegram</em>observed, “The fact remains that the world is on the lip of the cup as far as fresh water sources are concerned.” (September 26, 2006).</p> <h2>THE SCOURGE OF AIDS</h2> <p>AIDS—Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome—may no longer command the headlines it did in years past, but it has not gone away. According to one United Nations report, an estimated 33 million people around the globe were living with the HIV virus as of 2012. In that year alone, an estimated 2.2 million became newly infected with HIV, and an estimated 2 million lost their lives to AIDS (“Global Report: UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, 2013”).</p> <p>In Sub-Saharan Africa, somewhere between 23.5 and 26.1 million adults and children live with HIV, and this region comprises about 71 percent of all people in the world living with the disease—with much higher rates in the female and young children’s populations (<em>, </em>“The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” November 2014).</p> <p>In its <em>Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report</em>, the Centers for Disease Control noted the sad milestone, “Twenty-five Years of HIV/AIDS.” The CDC reported that more than a million people in the U.S. were living with the HIV virus, with 40,000 of those newly infected in 2006. Of these, male homosexuals accounted for 45 percent of the new infections. Women account for about 25 percent of new AIDS infections in the U.S., and AIDS is currently the leading cause of death for black women between ages 25 and 34 (June 2, 2006). In 2011, the CDC still reported that “1,201,100 persons aged 13 years and older are living with HIV infection” and that “the pace of new infections continues at far too high a level—particularly among certain groups” (“HIV in the United States: at a Glance,” November 2014). In addition, “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly young black/African American MSM, are most seriously affected by HIV” (<em>ibid.).</em></p> <p>AIDS continues to have a devastating effect on the American economy. Researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation have calculated that AIDS cost the U.S. economy approximately $29.7 billion <strong><em>in 2014 alone</em></strong> in direct and indirect costs, and that in 2015 the government budget called for more than 30 billion (“U.S. Federal Funding for HIV/AIDS: The President’s FY 2015 Budget Request.”<em>, </em>June 25, 2014).</p> <p>AIDS, of course, is by no means just—or even primarily—an American or African problem. Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and central Asia have the fastest-rising rates of HIV infection in the world, with the number of HIV-positive people in these areas growing more than 50 percent from 2001 to 2011, according to UNAIDS (“Eastern Europe’s growing HIV epidemic under scrutiny,” December 5, 2012). The highest rate of infection there was found in the Ukraine, where 38 out of every 100,00 at least 70 percent of new cases in 2011 were found (<em></em>“European HIV &amp; AIDS Statistics, 2014”).</p> <p>In total, between 1981 and 2015, estimates indicate that as many as 42 million people around the world have died of AIDS—including 650,000 in the U.S.—and another 35 million or so are living with the dread disease.</p> <h2>THE BIBLE PLAINLY PROPHESIED THESE TRENDS!</h2> <p>Jesus Christ prophesied that just before His return there would be “famines”—lack of food—and “pestilences”—disease epidemics. Presently we are seeing just the beginning of these curses, which will increase until they have a massive effect on our entire way of life! Christ directly prophesied that our time would be like Noah’s (Matthew 24:37–39). Noah’s day was characterized by “wickedness” and was filled with “violence” (Genesis 6:5, 13).</p> <p>Has the problem of crime been solved in the U.S.? No, it has not! With a prison population of roughly 2.2 million, the United States leads the world in incarcerations. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2013 alone, the U.S. saw a rate of violent crime of about 23.2 victimizations per 1,000 people. Around the country, constant reports about the rise of drug related, violent crime and an overburdened justice system contribute to people feeling less safe; more than 68 percent of Americans surveyed by Gallup in 2011 felt that crime in America was worsening, despite reports of “declining” crime rates (“Most Americans Believe Crime in U.S. is Worsening,” October 31, 2011).</p> <p>At the same time, to the disgust of many in conservative, traditional communities in other parts of the world, Hollywood and its imitators grow fantastically wealthy by merchandising moral degeneration through violent, sex-filled videos and CDs. Such a corrupt influence is increasingly seen as a social evil that ought to be kept out—yet the youth and, increasingly, the adults of the Western world eagerly embrace it! The Guttmacher Institute reported in 2014 that 16 percent of teens had engaged in sexual intercourse by age 15, compared with 33, 48 and 61 percent for 16, 17 and 18 year olds, respectively (“American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health,” May 2014). Not long ago, researchers in Washington, DC designed a program to prevent early sexual activity. They designed it with seventh-graders in mind, but after a pilot study they decided to target fifth-graders instead—<em>because too many seventh-graders were already having sex!</em></p> <p>Yet all of these problems are just the beginning of the story. The world continues to face nuclear proliferation on a truly massive scale. While you might rejoice at the breakup of the Soviet Union, the immense amount of weaponry that nation possessed—including nuclear weapons—is now in danger of being sold to the highest bidder!</p> <h2>MUSLIM EXTREMISTS PREPARING FOR WAR!</h2> <p>Militant Islam is galvanizing hundreds of millions of people in opposition against the Western democracies, even as the U.S. military finds itself pushed to its limits in the “war against terrorism.” We need to understand that it is the ultimate <strong>goal</strong> of radical Muslim leaders to “conquer” the world in the sense that <em>all</em> human beings either become Muslims, <em>totally submit</em> to Muslim domination or ultimately be wiped out!</p> <p>Note what historian Bernard Lewis—a Princeton University professor world-renowned as one of the top experts on Islam—tells us about the growing Muslim threat. In his powerful book titled <em>The Crisis of Islam</em>, Lewis describes how “a significant number of Muslims—notably but not exclusively those whom we call fundamentalists—are hostile and dangerous, not because we need an enemy but because they do.” He explains: “In recent years, there have been some changes of perception and, consequently, of tactics among Muslims. Some of them still see the West in general, and its present leader the United States in particular, as the ancient and irreconcilable enemy of Islam, the one serious obstacle to the restoration of God’s faith and law at home and their ultimate universal triumph. For these there is no way but war to the death, in fulfillment of what they see as the commandments of their faith” (p. 28).</p> <p>Lewis continues: “For most of the fourteen centuries of recorded Muslim history, jihad was most commonly interpreted to mean armed struggle for the defense or advancement of Muslim power. In Muslim tradition, the world is divided into two houses: the House of Islam (<em>Dar al-Islam</em>), in which Muslim governments rule and Muslim law prevails, and the House of War <em>(Dar al-Harb</em>), the rest of the world, still inhabited and, more important, ruled by infidels. The presumption is that the duty of jihad will continue, interrupted only by truces, until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule” (<em>ibid</em>., p. 31).</p> <p>Although the U.S. is working hard to impose a kind of “democracy” in Iraq, Lewis and most credible scholars acknowledge that Islam lacks the political and social traditions that would allow democracy to flourish. Many religious Muslims see the very practice of democracy as an act of turning against God. So they are often violently opposed to it, and will fight to the death to stop the continuing practice of any sort of genuine democracy, though they may use “democracy”—the act of voting—for a short time if it helps them overthrow the current regime and set up in its place an Islamic republic which then becomes a totally undemocratic and dictatorial regime!</p> <p>Lewis comments on this problem, common to many Muslim nations: “Similar problems arise in Egypt, in Pakistan, and in some other Muslim countries where it seems likely that a genuinely free and fair election would result in an Islamist victory. In this, the democrats are of course at a disadvantage. Their ideology requires them, even when in power, to give freedom and rights to the Islamist opposition. The Islamists, when in power, are under no such obligation. On the contrary, their principles require them to suppress what they see as impious and subversive activities. For Islamists, democracy, expressing the will of the people, is the road to power, but it is a one-way road, on which there is no return, no rejection of the sovereignty of God, as exercised through His chosen representatives [the Islamist religious leaders]” (<em>ibid</em>., p. 111).</p> <p>The Bible prophesies that a coming “king of the South” will push against a resurgent European empire, provoking world-shaking end-time events. If you wish to understand these prophecies, please write for a free copy of our information-packed booklet, <em>The Middle East in Prophecy</em>. Then you will see how militant Islam is setting the stage for the dramatic fulfillment of Bible prophecy. You can then begin to understand how increasing <em>tens of millions</em> of Muslims are being <em>won over</em> by the growing power of militant Islam! Then you will begin to understand even more how to “watch and pray”—which Jesus told us to do! Years ago, an article in the <em>Washington Post</em> gave insight into the then-current situation in the Middle East:</p> <p>“The goal of reuniting Muslims under a single flag stands at the heart of the radical Islamic ideology Bush has warned of repeatedly in recent major speeches on terrorism. In language evoking the Cold War, Bush has cast the conflict in Iraq as the pivotal battleground in a larger contest between advocates of freedom and those who seek to establish ‘a totalitarian Islamic empire reaching from Spain to Indonesia.’</p> <p>The enthusiasm of the extremists for that vision is not disputed. However unlikely its realization, the ambition may help explain terrorist acts that often appear beyond understanding. When Osama bin Laden called the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon ‘a very small thing compared to this humiliation and contempt for more than 80 years,’ the reference was to the aftermath of World War I, when the last caliphate was suspended as European powers divided up the Middle East. Al Qaeda named its Internet newscast, which debuted in September, ‘The Voice of the Caliphate.’</p> <p>Yet the caliphate is also esteemed by many ordinary Muslims. For most, its revival is not an urgent concern. Public opinion polls show immediate issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and discrimination rank as more pressing. But Muslims regard themselves as members of the <em>umma</em>, or community of believers, that forms the heart of Islam. And as earthly head of that community, the caliph is cherished both as memory and ideal, interviews indicate.</p> <p>That reservoir of respect represents a risk for the Bush administration as it addresses an issue closely watched by a global Islamic population estimated at 1.2 billion. Already, many surveys show that since the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Muslims almost universally have seen the war against terrorism as a war on Islam.</p> <p>‘Why do you keep invading Muslim countries?’ asked Kerem Acar, a tailor in central Istanbul. ‘I won’t live to see it, and my children won’t, but one day maybe my children’s children will see someone declare himself the caliph, like the pope, and have an impact'” (January 14, 2006).</p> <p>And these frustrations and ambitions are bearing fruit! As recently as 2014, following the unprecedented rise of the brutal Islamic militant organization now known as the “Islamic State” or ISIS, this “regime” has been clear about its goals:</p> <p>“Restoring the caliphate, and with it a measure of the glory that attended Islam’s golden age, has been the stated goal of Sunni Muslim activists for decades, from the Muslim Brotherhood to Hizb ut-Tahrir to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. But al-Baghdadi’s group is the first to assert it. “The time has come for those generations that were drowning in oceans of disgrace, being nursed on the milk of humiliation, and being ruled by the vilest of all people, after their long slumber in the darkness of neglect — the time has come for them to rise,” said the statement” (<em>TIME</em>, “ISIS Militants Declare Islamist ‘Caliphate,'” June 29, 2014).</p> <p>Indeed, a coming “Mahdi” whose arrival Muslims are expecting—in Bible prophecy known as the “King of the South” (Daniel 11:40–45)—will soon arise and have a dramatic impact on world events. This powerful Muslim religious leader will unite many of the <em>more than one billion</em> Muslims. He will pose a <em>genuine</em> threat to the coming European Empire, which will have to <em>crush</em> that threat in order to continue exploiting Middle Eastern oil to further its military ambitions.</p> <p>Truly, we need to recognize soberly that the world is, indeed, at war. Unwittingly, perhaps, America’s political and economic leaders have caused Muslims to perceive that the U.S. is “attacking” the entire “Islamic nation”—as they sometimes describe themselves—consisting of more than 1.2 <em>billion</em> human beings!</p> <p>Little-noticed, amid the military escalation, is that the U.S. has abandoned its decades-old “two front” strategy, in which the nation kept itself prepared to fight, for example, a war in the Mediterranean at the same time as another war in the Pacific. This strategic change may portend grave danger in the not-too-distant future, as the U.S. acquires more enemies.</p> <p>And do not forget that it is a resurgent Europe—not a weakening America—that will be at the forefront of the fight against expansionist Islam. Unified since January 2002 by a common currency—the euro—the nations of Europe are increasingly eager to intervene globally where they believe the U.S. is failing, whether in the “war on terrorism” or in the Middle East.</p> <p>When all these trends are combined, they describe a vision for the future that sounds very scary! What is going on? To those who have studied, traveled widely and who understand the complexity of these issues, it is evident that we live in “perilous times.” World events are shaping up as described in Bible prophecy! Change is in the wind, but perhaps not in the way many have thought.</p> <h2>AND THEY WERE SCATTERED!</h2> <p>God does not need to watch the Weather Channel. He decides whether tomorrow will have clear skies or not. Jesus Christ said God “sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Occasionally, God withholds rain, or sends too much, to teach people lessons!</p> <p>In his epistle, James describes how the prophet Elijah “prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17–18).</p> <p>So God has power to water a land or to dry it up. The same applies to the wind, cold, hurricanes and clouds. He uses this power on occasion to intervene in human affairs: “As when You break the ships of Tarshish with an east wind” (Psalm 48:7).</p> <p>Several of the major turning points of history for the English-speaking peoples were determined by God’s intervention in the weather during battle. These successful interventions made possible the religious freedom, prosperity and power the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic powers of the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom continue to enjoy.</p> <p>In 1586–87, Catholic domination of the English throne was made impossible by the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. The following year, Spain’s King Philip II unleashed his “invincible” 124-ship Armada against England in an effort to reassert Catholic control. Though the English naval forces tenaciously fought, eventually they exhausted their gunpowder! At that critical point, an unprecedented gale-force wind arose and drove many of the heavily armed, lumbering Spanish galleons to their doom. The weather-beaten ships that limped home to Spain were so damaged that many could never again be used.</p> <p>Queen Elizabeth, commemorating the Spanish defeat, issued a silver medal, bearing the inscription: “God blew and they were scattered.” She<em>knew</em> who took charge of those winds at that critical hour in the history of her people!</p> <h2>A MIRACULOUS ESCAPE</h2> <p>In 1940, Hitler’s forces had swiftly invaded France and the lowlands. They had cut off 330,000 crack British troops, forcing them to retreat with their backs to the English Channel at the port of Dunkirk. If the British lost this army, they could hardly have hoped to beat back the Nazi hordes set on conquering them. Word went out all over Britain: “Winnie [Churchill] needs boats.”</p> <p>Though the English Channel is normally rough and treacherous, hundreds of ships, yachts and small boats—anything that would move while staying afloat—were sent to rescue at least a remnant of the army. But the situation seemed grim. Then, surprisingly, bad weather on the continent grounded most of the German air force. But, instead of being rough and choppy as usual—dangerous for small craft—the channel became almost as calm as a bathtub! Men and women who had lived all their lives on its shore had never seen it so tranquil. Winnie’s motley armada of naval flotsam and jetsam rescued nearly one-third of a million British troops—the backbone of their entire army! Hitler was dumbfounded. The Nazi generals bitterly grumbled under their breath for having lost an easy kill. The British were profoundly thankful and called it “the miracle of the calm seas.”</p> <p>I have spent four years of my adult life in Britain, and talked to several older men who were personally familiar with the Dunkirk rescue operation. They <em>all</em> got a certain glint or tear in their eyes when they talked about it. They <em>all</em> remembered the outpouring of gratitude to God by the British people after this event. Sunday, June 9, 1940, was appointed as a Day of National Thanksgiving for God’s deliverance at Dunkirk, and many English vicars will tell you that their churches were packed on that day and have <em>never</em> been as full since.</p> <p>The day before, June 8, London’s <em>Daily Telegraph</em> ran an article about what it called “the miraculous deliverance” at Dunkirk. A British officer who had himself been rescued from Dunkirk said: “One thing can be certain about tomorrow’s Thanksgiving in our churches. From none will the thanks ascend with greater sincerity or deeper fervor than from the officers and men who have seen the Hand of God, powerful to save, delivering them from the hands of a mighty foe, who humanly speaking, had them utterly at his mercy.”</p> <p>Yes, God <strong><em>controls</em></strong> the destinies of nations—and individuals—even by turning the weather to His purposes. For more on this amazing sign of God’s intervention to bring about His prophetic ends, please request your <strong><em>free</em></strong> copy of our powerful booklet, <em>Who Controls the Weather?</em></p> <h2>HITLER’S DEVIL</h2> <p>To enact His will among men, God uses His secret, invisible agents—righteous angels (and at times even fallen angels)—to influence, to deliver or to destroy.</p> <p>The Bible reveals a fascinating insight into the working of the spirit world in 1 Kings 22. The inspired writer details an account of a conference before the Lord. It seems that God had already decided to take out one of the most wicked kings in the history of Israel, King Ahab. The question was how to do it. God settled on the plan to prod Ahab to personally go to an upcoming battle with the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead. But God needed someone to stir Ahab up to go fight. In this case, an evil spirit spoke up and volunteered to do the job: “The Lord said to him [the evil spirit], ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his [Ahab’s] prophets'” (v. 22).</p> <p>On the day of the battle, God already knew that the Syrian army was stronger and would indeed defeat the Israelites. Ahab, though he had disguised his rank to avoid being a target, was slain during the course of the battle when a “lucky” arrow pierced the joints of his armor (vv. 34–37). This was because God had determined that this evil king should neither stay behind out of danger, nor escape alive from the battle, but should perish right along with many of his defeated troops.</p> <p>When Adolph Hitler rose to power, a noted German Lutheran minister, Martin Niemoller, perceptively stated: “Verily a time of sifting has come upon us. God is giving Satan a free hand, so that He may shake us up and so that it may be seen what manner of men we are.”</p> <p>Evidently, God did specifically allow <em>demons</em> to possess or strongly influence the Nazi dictator. British author George Bruce wrote: “Can the mystery of the evil of Nazism be explained? Was there a Satanic nucleus at the heart of it? One interpretation of its nature that should be mentioned is the link between Nazism and the alleged attachment to black magic and occultism of Hitler and his inner circle, including Goering, Himmler, Goebbels, Ley and, in the early days, Dietrich Eckart and professor Karl Haushofer.</p> <p>“Hitler, according to what may seem to many people a far-fetched belief, was the <em>medium</em> through whom contact was made with supernatural powers of evil. Hermann Rauschning, who observed Hitler with a cold and analytical eye, declares that he was a medium, ‘<strong>possessed by forces outside himself—almost demoniacal forces</strong>.’ Rudolf Olden, political editor of the newspaper <em>Berliner Tageblatt</em> in the days of Nazism’s rise to power, remarked how the overwhelming, almost superhuman Niagara of words that poured forth during Hitler’s speeches sometimes reached a climax during which he literally <em>‘spoke in tongues’ </em>and seemed <em>possessed</em>. André François-Poncet, French Ambassador to Berlin, also referred to this apparent demoniacal possession” (<em>The Nazis</em>, Hamlyn, p. 154).</p> <p>After citing a number of other observers who felt Hitler had dark spiritual help, George Bruce speculated: “And does not this theory of Hitler being dominated by evil supernatural forces throw light for the first time on the reason for Auschwitz, Treblinka, the deaths of six million Jews, the plan to murder 33 million of the Slav population of Russia, the readiness to sacrifice three or four million of Germany’s young manhood in war and, finally, the long-term aim, reported by Fabian von Schlabrendorff, for the total and permanent <em>destruction of Christianity</em>throughout the world?” (<em>ibid</em>., p. 156).</p> <p>Hitler’s Europe was a mild precursor of what God’s inspired Word prophesies concerning the future revival of a satanically influenced “Babylonian-Roman system”: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!” (Revelation 18:2).</p> <p>It is a sobering thought to consider that some of the most important players on the world scene who are shaping our destinies cannot be seen. They are <em>angels</em> or <em>demons</em>! We need to be much more aware of the very real <em>spirit world</em> around us, and we must make absolutely certain that we are guided by the Spirit of God!</p> <h2>HOW DOES GOD KNOW IN ADVANCE WHAT WILL HAPPEN?</h2> <p>How does God know what will take place in the future? How can He prophesy about some event hundreds or even thousands of years in advance? From the beginning, God has been an acute and perceptive observer of human behavior. He really knows what we are like (Jeremiah 17:4–10). God fully understands how humans tend to degenerate, to compromise and to forsake the right way.</p> <p>Right after God gave Moses the details of His law for ancient Israel, He told him: “Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?'” (Deuteronomy 31:16–17).</p> <p>Since God has such a profound knowledge and insight about us, He can authoritatively predict what the basic conditions of peoples and nations <em>will be</em> in the future. Then, by skillfully manipulating the determinants of national power such as the weather, human leadership and other circumstances, God can fulfill <em>specific</em>prophecies that are sometimes astonishing in their minute detail.</p> <p>An example of this divine intervention is the remarkable story of Cyrus the Great, king of the Persian Empire. Incredibly, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to describe Cyrus by <em>name</em> and by <em>deed</em> almost <em>two centuries before</em> Cyrus was born!</p> <p>Around 740–720bc, Isaiah wrote under divine inspiration: “Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, “you shall be built,” and to the temple, “your foundation shall be laid.”‘ Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut” (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1).</p> <p>Today, many scholars say that these scriptures in the book of Isaiah must have been written contemporaneously with the events they describe. They deny that Isaiah wrote a prophecy 200 years in advance of its fulfillment. On what basis do they deny this? They do not have facts to prove their point—only a lack of faith that God is the Almighty who truly intervenes in human affairs!</p> <p>Look at what historians know about the events that took place around 539bc when Cyrus conquered Babylon, an “impregnable” city-fortress renowned throughout the earth for its power. Unable to surmount the massive fortified walls around Babylon, which had repelled so many other invaders, Cyrus’ men diverted the Euphrates River, which normally flowed under the heavy city water gates as it passed through the city. By lowering the river level and by having a spy unlock the inner gates along the river, Cyrus’ army invaded the city in a totally unexpected manner and took the Babylonians by complete surprise.</p> <p>Was God surprised? No. He had described nearly <em>200 years earlier</em> how a leader specifically named “Cyrus” would conquer great kings by going through “the two leaved gates”!</p> <p>Soon after this, Cyrus issued the order to allow the Jews to voluntarily return to their homeland and Jerusalem, and—in another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy—instructed them to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:2–4; 6:2–5).</p> <h2>WHAT IS GOD DOING?</h2> <p>Religious people ask themselves: “What does the Creator God have in mind?” But popular interest in religion ebbs and flows with world events. “Religion was in the air after September 11 in a way that hadn’t been the case for a long time and may not be the case for a long time in the future,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People &amp; the Press. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, some secular commentators said religion in general was a problem, but Kohut’s Pew Center found that the American people had a different opinion. “By a 2-1 margin, people said the September terrorist attacks were the result of too little religion in the world rather than too much,” according to the Pew poll (<em>San Diego Union-Tribune</em>, March 22, 2002). That poll also showed that 52 percent of Americans thought religion’s influence was already declining, just six months after a surge of interest in September 2001. Yet most Americans still consider religion important; 69 percent of those surveyed in a September 2012 Gallup Poll said they were either “very religious” or “moderately religious.” About 31 percent said they were “nonreligious.”</p> <p>Despite secular skepticism, we can find ultimate understanding about the resolution of these future “perilous times” in a book many people may feel sentimental toward, but really know very little about. This book is the Holy Bible. It speaks with authority about the future of our nations. It reveals prophecies about awesome events that will overtake all humanity.</p> <p>Although little realized by people in the modern world, the Jesus Christ of the Bible was the greatest forecaster of future events who ever lived. The book of Revelation, also known as the Apocalypse, describes what Jesus Christ directly revealed.</p> <p>Notice the first verse of this exciting and meaningful book: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John” (Revelation 1:1).</p> <p>But these prophecies were not only given in the Apocalypse. They were also spoken by Jesus Christ while He was on the earth. The entire chapters of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 are devoted to Jesus’ famous Olivet Prophecy—a vital prophecy describing the sequence of events leading directly to the end of civilization as we know it today, and leading to the beginning of a very different age.</p> <p>The discussion began as Jesus’ disciples asked: “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?”—this age of man’s rule (Matthew 24:3). After listing a series of conditions, including the appearance of false prophets, local and world wars, famines, disease epidemics and earthquakes, Jesus described a “Great Tribulation” on the earth—”such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (v. 21).</p> <p>The worst time of trouble ever to hit this earth? Tragically, yes. The Jesus Christ of your Bible prophesied this in unmistakable terms. The Gospel of Mark renders Jesus’ statement this way: “For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be” (13:19).</p> <p>Grinding poverty, drought and starvation, raging disease epidemics and, finally, worldwide violence will threaten the extinction of biological life—all these are clearly predicted in the Bible to occur near the end of this human civilization.</p> <p>But is that really the end of it all?</p> <p>Jesus stated unequivocally: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [or left alive]; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22). Those days are to be cut short for the “elect’s sake”—the sake of true Christians who genuinely serve and obey God.</p> <p>However, before God’s merciful intervention, He will allow the Western world to experience a time of unparalleled national anguish—called in Bible terminology the “Great Tribulation.” It will be a time of national punishment affecting the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and most of the nations of northwestern Europe.</p> <h2>WHY THE GREAT TRIBULATION?</h2> <p>God Almighty is the One who makes and unmakes nations. He is the One who—thousands of years ago—foretold the soon-coming formation of a final European empire or “United States of Europe,” which He will use to punish America, Britain, Canada and the other nations just mentioned!</p> <p>In Isaiah 47:1, God speaks of a virgin daughter of ancient Babylon. He describes her future punishment: “Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for you shall no more be called the Lady of Kingdoms. I was angry with My people; I have profaned My inheritance, and given them into your hand. You showed them no mercy; on the elderly you laid your yoke very heavily” (vv. 5–6).</p> <p>Notice that God speaks of “My people” and “My inheritance.” Remember that the house of Israel is called “My inheritance” and God calls them “My people,” or “My house” or “My heritage” repeatedly throughout the Old Testament (Isaiah 19:25; Jeremiah 12:7–9).</p> <p>Remember also that it was the ancient Assyrians who invaded and conquered the Ten Tribes of northern Israel.</p> <p>But this prophecy pictures a daughter—a political, economic and religious system in the spirit of ancient Babylon—that will rise up in modern times and impose a “yoke” upon the physical descendants of God’s people, Israel.</p> <p>Notice that she is called the Lady of Kingdoms, and says: “I am, and there is no one else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, nor shall I know the loss of children” (Isaiah 47:8). We should not use faulty human reasoning to identify this daughter of Babylon; we should let the Bible interpret the Bible. In Revelation 17, we find this same false system described perfectly.</p> <p>The Bible uses symbols to illustrate spiritual concepts. Revelation 17symbolically tells of a great whore, clothed in purple and scarlet, who politically lobbies and “gets into bed” with the secular leaders of this prophesied economic and politico-military power (v. 18). This scarlet woman represents a false religious system labeled as: “Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” (v. 5). The “waters” where she holds dominion are “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (v. 15). This evidently describes a type of polyglot federation or empire. Truly, as Isaiah prophesied, she is the “Lady of Kingdoms.”</p> <p>Also, compare Isaiah 47:7–8 with Revelation 18:7, which states: “For she says in her heart, I sit as queen [have power], and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.”</p> <p>The Apostle John wrote that, in the end-time when this prophecy was to be understood, “there are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time” (Revelation 17:10).</p> <p>Serious students of prophecy realize that the sequence of five kings refers to the “Holy Roman Empire” which, under five different “kingdoms,” dominated Central Europe and the Mediterranean region for more than 1,000 years, from late antiquity to the early 19th century. By transforming and reinventing itself repeatedly, this political system proved as hardy as any tenacious weed. Its most famous heads were, in chronological order: Justinian, Charlemagne, Otto the Great, Charles von Habsburg and Napoleon.</p> <p>John also wrote of a sixth kingdom—”one is”— that would be ruling when this prophecy came to be understood in the end-time. That kingdom was the revival that culminated in the Hitler-Mussolini “Axis” of Italy and Germany during World War II.</p> <p>Now, as we watch end time events coming together, we know that one final king “has not yet come.” That leader is “waiting in the wings” to emerge on the world stage—within the lifetimes of many of you reading this booklet.</p> <h2>DOES THE BIBLE MENTION THE USA AND UK?</h2> <p>Abraham was promised that his descendants would be as the sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:16–17). This promise was passed to his grandson, Jacob. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and told him his descendants would include a “nation and a company of nations” (Genesis 35:10–12). In his old age, Jacob passed these great promises on to his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:15–20). These promises were not just to be “top dog” in the Middle East. The descendants of Israel were to be “high above <strong><em>all</em></strong> nations” (Deuteronomy 26:19).</p> <p>Where and when did God fulfill these promises? The kingdoms of David and Solomon were great, but did they fit this description? No! Although Solomon’s kingdom was probably the wealthiest of its day, it was a single nation, not a “nation and a company of nations.” Furthermore, its size and population were very small compared to the Chinese empire at the time. Since Solomon, no nation headquartered at Jerusalem could claim to be “high above all nations.” Has God forgotten these many promises over the long years?</p> <p>Certainly not! The answer is found in 1 Kings 12 and 2 Kings 17, 24 and 25. After the death of King Solomon, Israel and Judah became separate nations and are still separate today! Israel was conquered by Assyria, and then Judah was conquered by Babylon, more than 100 years later. Both were deported, but only a portion of the nation of Judah returned!</p> <p>It is a fascinating story, too long to tell in this booklet, but the facts are there. The modern-day nation calling itself “Israel” is really the descendant of the ancient kingdom of <strong><em>Judah</em></strong>—the Jews. The ancient <em>kingdom of Israel</em> lost its identity and is now “as the sand which is on the seashore”—the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada and much of northwestern Europe. The biblical and historical evidence is there, though many prefer to ignore it. Together, we are the physical descendants of the biblical patriarch Israel. The Almighty will rebuke and chasten us for our mounting sins, just as He does every son He loves (Hebrews 12:6).</p> <p>If you would like to know the real <strong><em>truth</em></strong> about this vital subject, please request our free booklet, <em>The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.</em> If you want to know who you are—and if you want to know the origin and prophetic identity of the British-descended peoples of the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and northwestern Europe—then write to the regional address nearest you (listed at the back of this booklet) for your free copy of this fascinating and informative booklet.</p> <h2>THE FINAL HUMANLY DEVISED EMPIRE</h2> <p>The most recent revival of the Babylonian-Roman system was pictured as existing when this prophecy was first understood by Herbert W. Armstrong in the late 1930s. It was the Mussolini-Hitler Axis power bloc. Mussolini acknowledged that he was attempting to revive the Roman Empire system.</p> <p>In Revelation 17:10–12, we see that, after the sixth head, one final head is to rise up—one more revival of this system is to take place! Notice that the ten horns pictured on the original beast are ten kings—or dictators! They have received no kingdom (power) as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. Here we see that ten kings or dictators are to rise up simultaneously and unite in pledging their support to a charismatic leader whom the Bible calls “the Beast.” Where will this last revival of the Holy Roman Empire be? Who will these kings and nations be?</p> <p>The answers are clear! This empire, uniting church and state, has resurrected itself repeatedly in Central Europe as well as Mediterranean-bordering lands. This is the same church-state power that God condemns throughout Revelation 17 and 18.</p> <p>It is in continental Europe where the system will rise again! This system will have the form of a “United States of Europe”—a European Empire, which will undoubtedly be dominated <strong><em>not</em></strong> by democracy-loving Britain, but by a governmental system that consolidates power in the hands of a few key players in Europe and has an official connection with a powerful religious influence!</p> <p>Notice also in Revelation 17:14 that this system finally comes to its end waging war against the Lamb—Jesus Christ—at His Second Coming as King of kings. The time for these milestones is soon, as the prophecies in Matthew 24 indicate.</p> <p>Prophecy is dual. God used ancient Assyria to punish the Ten Tribes of northern Israel more than 100 years before the house of Judah was taken captive by Babylon (2 Kings 17:6; 25:21).</p> <p>In this time of the end, however, God will use the modern descendants of ancient Assyria, together with the prophesied modern revival of the Babylonian/Holy Roman Empire system, to punish His wayward, sinning people—primarily Canada, Britain and America. These modern descendants of the patriarch Israel will be punished for their sins, just as surely as their ancestors were. The Jews, too, along with the other remaining tribes of Israel and the Gentiles who live among them, will also receive their share of punishment at the same time.</p> <p>Let me be very plain and clear. In the years just ahead of us, you will read and hear news reports about the decline of the world’s English-speaking peoples! It will not usually be phrased that way, but you will notice, increasingly, that the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand will all have more and more problems. They will have financial difficulties. They will gradually be pushed aside in the arena of world leadership. When they do try to lead and intervene militarily or otherwise in world affairs, they will make more and more mistakes than ever and be more resented than ever. The Palestinians, the Iraqis, the Iranians and others who now call America the “Great Satan” will then be joined—at least in spirit—by a large number of important nations.</p> <p>At first, many nations will profess to feel sorry for these nations’ present ineptitude and difficulties. But, gradually, they will turn increasingly hostile and bitter—against the U.S. especially. Because of envy, they will feel that America has been the big man on the block for too long. The U.S. has been rich and powerful, and has been the exporter of decadent entertainment and a selfish lifestyle that causes genuine disgust and revulsion in other societies.</p> <h2>DEADBEAT NATION</h2> <p>The U.S. currently <em>owes</em> <strong>trillions</strong> <em>of dollars</em> that it will never be able to repay! Who will be left holding the bag—and holding it angrily? A nation that was once the economic engine of the planet is now a debtor that may soon face an unwanted accounting. For decades, America has at least been able to earn a good return on its overseas assets, thus shielding it from the worst effects of the deficit. But this phenomenon is coming to an end.</p> <p>To get an idea of how dramatically America’s role has shifted, note what happened when Chinese official news agency Xinhua reported concerns about America’s financial stability, after the U.S lost its triple AAA rating from Standard &amp; Poor:</p> <p>“In a harshly-worded commentary by the official Xinhua news agency on Saturday, China gave its first official comments on the United States losing its gilded AAA long-term credit rating from Standard &amp; Poor’s.</p> <p>‘China, the largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets,’ Xinhua said.</p> <p>China also urged the United States to apply ‘common sense’ to ‘cure its addiction to debts’ by cutting military and social welfare expenditure.</p> <p>‘The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,’ Xinhua wrote” (“China blasts U.S. over debt problems, calls for dollar oversight” (<em>Reuters, </em>August 6, 2011).</p> <p>America’s leaders need to <strong>wake up!</strong> The days of unchallenged U.S. financial power are behind us. Americans are beginning to reap the consequences of several generations of selfish and greedy economic choices! And nations that have traditionally lagged behind the U.S. in development and global influence are increasingly losing their former respect for America on account of its foolishness!</p> <p>Perhaps other nations may convince themselves that they are justified in attacking a nation whose renowned exports include a lifestyle promoting drugs, sex, degenerate music and bad debt. Will we be accused by other nations in the future of borrowing their money and continuing to live “high on the hog” with no real intention of ever repaying them?</p> <p>Notice God’s instruction to His true ministers just before the horrifying Great Tribulation begins: “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”‘</p> <p>“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. <strong><em>Turn, turn</em></strong> from your evil ways! For <strong><em>why should you die</em></strong>, O house of Israel?'” (Ezekiel 33:10–11).</p> <p>Yes, indeed.</p> <p>If we would, as a people, truly <em>repent</em> and turn to God and begin to keep His commandments, He could relent. He could postpone this national punishment for another generation or two, for He says: “Turn, turn from your evil ways!”</p> <p>But how many of you really believe that Britain and America will experience a genuine revival of true religion? Do you really think we will start studying Scripture and begin living by it? Or will we stop being known as nations filled with the criminally inclined? Will we stop <em>murdering</em> millions of unborn children? Will we stop indulging in the illicit sex that produces fatherless children by the millions?</p> <p>Do we have the guts to rid our entertainment media of rotten sexual perversions and violence? Will we return to exercising self-control to stop abusing liquor and drugs? Will we stop divorcing our spouses or abusing our children, and turn to honor God by <em>keeping</em> <em>His </em><strong>commandments</strong> and doing those things that are pleasing to Him (1 John 3:22)?</p> <p>Most of us know better than that. But—unless a real, <em>genuine </em><strong>repentance </strong>occurs—the Great Tribulation is just ahead!</p> <p>Only the Second Coming of Christ as King of kings will spark a real change of heart on a nationwide scale—and even <em>that</em> will come only after tremendous suffering. What a paradox! What a sad situation it is that before this world can experience the best of times we must go through the very worst of “perilous times.” But Jesus Christ is coming again, and He will set up a real, literal government here on this earth to save us from the mess we have gotten ourselves into. Jesus’ government will teach mankind the laws and ways of God in that future time. People who fervently desire to be genuinely Christian can and should be preparing—right now—to have an active part in Christ’s soon-coming Kingdom.</p> <h2>WHAT DID JESUS REALLY SAY?</h2> <p>Throughout His Gospel, Jesus constantly spoke about a coming Kingdom of God on earth. In the parable of the pounds, Jesus showed the reward for those who used their talents and time to zealously serve God. To the one whose pound had increased ten times, Jesus said: “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, <em>have authority over </em><strong><em>ten cities</em></strong>” (Luke 19:17).</p> <p>Jesus did not say that His faithful servants would “roll around heaven all day”—with nothing to do! Rather, He said that the saints would participate in the coming Kingdom of God. They would <strong><em>rule</em></strong> over <em>five cities</em> or <em>ten cities</em>—depending on how much they grew spiritually and multiplied their “pounds” or “talents.” The real Jesus Christ predicted that He would return to this earth as King of kings and set up a world government (Matthew 25:31–34; Revelation 19:11–16).</p> <p>So Jesus’ message—the Gospel of the Kingdom—involves a world government. There is a great need for purity, decency and peace to be restored to this earth. That is why the Apostle Peter proclaimed that God would again “send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:20–21).</p> <p>Peter said that God’s appointed spokesmen foretold, throughout time, a new beginning for the world! What did these spokesmen predict about the direct government of God being established on earth?</p> <h2>TOMORROW’S WORLD</h2> <p>The prophet Micah described these coming days of peace: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the <strong><em>law</em></strong> shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken” (Micah 4:1–4).</p> <p>Note that men will not learn war anymore. This is the language of peace and prosperity, with people enjoying rest and the fruit of personal endeavor. None shall be afraid—for not only nationally, but individually, mankind will learn to obey God’s laws.</p> <p>The “law” that will go forth from Jerusalem to the nations (v. 2) is, of course, the <strong><em>Ten Commandments</em></strong>. The basic spiritual law of God has been the foundation of God’s instruction to mankind from the beginning.</p> <p>During His ministry on earth, Jesus was asked by a young man about the way to eternal life. Jesus answered: “<em>If you want to enter into life</em>, <strong>keep the commandments</strong>.” “Which ones?” the young man persisted. Jesus responded: “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness'” (Matthew 19:17–18).</p> <p>A global society based on the Ten Commandments, with the promised help of the Holy Spirit to empower people to keep them, would have no wars and virtually no crime, adultery, broken marriages, juvenile delinquency or lying. National budgets could eliminate all expenditures for the military and most of what is now spent for the local and national police systems. Many other “necessary” government services could also be eliminated as “no longer necessary.” Such services contribute quite heavily to high taxes. With no lying or stealing, you can imagine the massive amounts of money saved simply because there would be no need to worry about burglary, shoplifting, business rip-offs and cheating on taxes.</p> <p>What a blessed society!</p> <p>Yet it is coming—as sure as the rising and the setting of tomorrow’s sun! And the people living in this society will—through Christ’s mercy, help and guidance—be keeping the Ten Commandments as a way of life.</p> <p>As God promised for that time: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.… I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26–27).</p> <p>Their land will become fabulously fruitful, and more prosperous than it has been for thousands of years. Men and women will be given a new spirit—of obedience to God—so the world will finally be at peace.</p> <p>What many fail to realize is that this coming time of peace under Christ’s rule on earth is also a major element of the Gospel or “Good News” that Christ Himself preached. It is a vital message about the coming world government!</p> <p>From the beginning to the end of His ministry on earth, Jesus Christ constantly talked about the coming Kingdom of God. The word “Kingdom” is about government—a way of running a country or group of nations.</p> <p>After teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum, Jesus said: “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent” (Luke 4:43). In what is called the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus tells us to pray: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). He instructs us to pray that God’s government will be restored to this earth!</p> <h2>CHRIST’S MILLENNIAL RULE</h2> <p>When Jesus appeared to the Apostles after His resurrection, they asked Him: “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). If the Kingdom of God was merely spiritual fluff and not a real government, foretold by dozens of Old Testament prophecies and by Christ’s own statements, then Jesus had here a marvelous opportunity to dispel that notion.</p> <p>But did He?</p> <p>On the contrary, Christ said: “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (v. 7). So the Apostles kept right on preaching the Good News of the coming government of God. To the end of the Apostolic Age, Christ’s Apostles continually preached about the coming Kingdom or Government of God to be set up on earth, with Christ Himself as “King of kings” (Revelation 19:16).</p> <p>Even after the death of the original Apostles, many of the early church leaders continued to teach and preach the message of the coming 1,000-year reign of Christ on the earth. The eminent historian, Edward Gibbon, wrote about how widespread this teaching was in early Christianity: “The ancient and popular doctrine of the Millennium was intimately connected with the second coming of Christ. As the works of the creation had been finished in six days, their duration in their present state, according to a tradition which was attributed to the prophet Elijah, was fixed to six thousand years. By the same analogy it was inferred that this long period of labor and contention, which was now almost elapsed, would be succeeded by a joyful Sabbath of a thousand years; and that Christ, with the triumphant band of the saints and the elect who had escaped death, or who had been miraculously revived, would reign upon earth till the time appointed for the last and general resurrection” (<em>The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire</em>, vol. 1, p. 403).</p> <p>We are now near the end of 6,000 years of recorded human history! It will soon be time for Christ’s Kingdom to be set up on this earth. Although some may <em>believe</em> that 6,000 years of recorded history have already passed since Adam and Eve, <em>this is clearly</em> <strong>not </strong><em>the case</em>! Many students of biblical chronology acknowledge that, because of differing months in the accession years of the kings of Judah, the presently accepted chronology set out years ago by Archbishop Ussher may be off by as much as 20 to 30 years. Therefore, it is easily within the parameters of biblical chronology for the first 6,000 years of human history to last for as much as another 25 years or so.</p> <p>However, with prophetic events now speeding up, we feel that these 6,000 years will probably be completed <em>much sooner than that</em>! This will be the <strong>end</strong> of 6,000 years of human society under the sway of Satan the Devil (Revelation 12:9; 20:3). It will be the <strong>end </strong>of six millennial “days” during which mankind has written the lesson of human suffering—to show the great lesson that man’s ways are wrong—that humanity apart from God does not know how to live in peace and happiness.</p> <p>The <em>living</em> Jesus Christ must return to <em>save us from ourselves</em>—from literally <strong>annihilating all life</strong> from off this planet through nuclear war and other means of mass destruction (Matthew 24:22)! Those who truly heed Jesus’ message will have the awesome opportunity to join the returning Christ in <em>ruling</em> over the nations of this earth during the soon-coming seventh millennial day—the millennial Sabbath of 1,000 years, during which Christ and the true saints restore <em>peace</em> to this troubled planet. The Apostle John was inspired to describe the coming Millennium: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).</p> <h2>TRUE CHRISTIANS WILL HAVE A JOB TO DO</h2> <p>The true saints will <strong><em>not</em></strong> be floating around in heaven after Jesus Christ’s return! Rather, they will have a challenging and exciting responsibility—under Christ who will be King of kings. As Revelation 2:26–27 states: “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—’<em>He shall </em><strong><em>rule</em></strong><em> them with a rod of iron</em>; as the potter’s vessels shall be broken to pieces’—as I also have received from My Father.”</p> <p>Notice that the saints’ future role is to rule the nations with a rod of iron. Obviously, there are not rebellious nations up in heaven! So they will be stationed here on earth—where the problems are, and where they can work with Christ to provide the solutions.</p> <p>In the “prayer of the saints” given in Revelation 5:8–10, it indicates that God has “<em>made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign</em> <strong>on the earth</strong>.” And Jesus promised the Twelve Apostles: “And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29–30).</p> <p>Individual Christian “overcomers” will rule over cities, and each of the Twelve Apostles will rule over an entire tribe of Israel here on earth. To whom will the Twelve Apostles report?</p> <p>In describing the re-gathering of the people of Israel from their captivity in the coming Great Tribulation, God inspired Hosea to write: “Afterward the children of Israel shall return, seek the Lord their God and David their king, and fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days” (Hosea 3:5). So in the “latter days,” <strong><em>all</em></strong>“Israel”—including the American and British-descended peoples—will be re-gathered. King David will be <em>resurrected </em>from the dead—along with all of God’s true saints. Then David will rule again over all twelve tribes, or <em>nations</em>, of Israel—as he did, so faithfully and effectively, 3,000 years ago!</p> <p>In Jeremiah 30, God describes how He will restore Israel from its coming captivity: “Foreigners shall no more <strong><em>enslave</em></strong> them. But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them” (vv. 8–9). Note that nearly all scholars agree that Jeremiah was written in approximately 600bc—nearly 400 years after King David’s death. So these scriptures are describing <em>what happens at the </em><strong>time</strong> <em>of the </em><strong>resurrection</strong> <em>from the dead</em> (John 5:28–29).</p> <p>Jesus Christ will return as King <strong><em>of</em></strong> kings. King David of the Bible will <em>literally be </em><strong><em>resurrected</em></strong> to become one of the spirit-born kings reporting to Christ. Serving under David will be the Twelve Apostles. Serving under them will be thousands of the true saints of God—ruling over individual cities as we have already seen in Luke 19:11–19.</p> <p>“David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; <em>they shall also walk in My</em> <strong>judgments</strong> <em>and observe My</em> <strong>statutes</strong>, <em>and </em><strong>do</strong> <em>them</em>” (Ezekiel 37:24). So all Israel shall once again learn God’s <strong><em>laws</em></strong> and His <strong><em>statutes</em></strong>, and the nations will have rulers who are fully instructed and skilled in the laws of God—something God always intended (Deuteronomy 17:18–20).</p> <p><em>Please</em> <strong>think</strong>, my friends! We are <strong>not </strong>talking about “pie in the sky” sentimentalism! The great <strong>God</strong> who inspired the above scriptures either <em>means what He says</em>—or else the Bible is <strong>lying </strong>to us!</p> <h2>THE BIBLICAL MESSAGE IS CONSISTENT</h2> <p>From Genesis to Revelation, the biblical prophecies point toward a <em>literal </em><strong>government </strong>to be set up on this earth by <strong>God</strong>. As the prophet Daniel put it very succinctly: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a <strong>kingdom </strong>which shall <strong>never</strong> be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).</p> <p>After the Babylonian, Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman Empires—with Rome’s seven “revivals,” including the soon-coming <em>final </em>revival with ten kings or rulers giving their power to a super dictator called the “Beast” (Revelation 17:9–14)—the <em>living</em> Jesus Christ will come as King <em>of </em>kings (Revelation 19:16) to <strong>rule </strong>this earth and straighten out human society before it <strong>destroys</strong> all humans from this planet (Matthew 24:21–22).</p> <p><strong>If</strong> we will “believe” and <strong>respond </strong>to God’s message, you and I will have the magnificent opportunity to be among those “other kings” and rulers assisting Christ in this <em>very</em> <strong>real government </strong>that God will set up <em>on this earth</em>! God inspired the Apostle Paul to explain this same point: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that <strong><em>we</em></strong><em> shall </em><strong><em>judge</em></strong><em> angels? </em>How much <strong><em>more</em></strong>, things that pertain to <em>this life</em>?” (1 Corinthians 6:2–3).</p> <p>Then Paul explains that the true Christians in God’s Church need to <em>practice correct </em><strong>government </strong>and learn to “judge” problems between brethren in the church, because <em>true </em>Christians are <strong>now</strong> “in training” to become kings and priests under Jesus Christ!</p> <p><strong>Why</strong> have you never heard this before? <em>Why</em> is this clear biblical message virtually <strong>never </strong>preached in the “mainstream” churches of this present society?</p> <p>Somewhere on this earth is Christ’s true “little flock” (Luke 12:32), which is preaching the <strong>Truth</strong> of God’s great <strong>purpose</strong>. Although God is not trying to “save” everyone now (<em>or </em>He would be <strong>succeeding </strong><em>at it</em>!), His true Church is to preach the good news of the coming Kingdom or government of God as a “witness” to all nations (Matthew 24:14). People in <em>this</em> Church are taught the genuine <strong>purpose </strong>for their lives. They are instructed in <em>how to prepare</em> to be literal kings under Christ and under King David in the coming Kingdom of God. Christ’s coming Kingdom is <em>very </em><strong>real </strong><em>to them</em>!</p> <p><em>Is it to </em><strong>you</strong>?</p> <h2>OUR CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY</h2> <p>All of us who want to be part of that Kingdom must learn to <em>think like King David</em>, who wrote: “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me” (Psalm 119:97–98). We need to love and to meditate on God’s spiritual law, the Ten Commandments. We need to study the statutes of God and especially how they are all magnified in the New Testament. This is how we learn God’s righteous and merciful ways of abundant living. Then, we will be far more qualified to teach and administer those laws in Tomorrow’s World—the coming Kingdom of God!</p> <p>Many other scriptures make it clear that the Kingdom of God is a <strong>literal </strong><strong>government</strong> <em>to be set up</em> <strong>on this earth</strong>. The true saints of God have before them an <em>awesome</em> challenge and opportunity! For they will rule not only human beings on this earth, but also the angelic hosts whom God now uses to “minister” to human beings and help them prepare for their coming responsibilities in Tomorrow’s World (Hebrews 1:14).</p> <p>Some people who have not really studied the Bible may find this truth quite startling, as it is a departure from the common misconception that at death we float off to heaven with nothing really to do! Yet, the inspired Word of God continually sets before us this calling, this hope and this Work.</p> <p>This is the reward of—and the awesome challenge for—the true saints of God. We need to use our talents and abilities now in God’s service. We need to overcome sin and Satan and so be truly prepared to serve under the <em>living</em> Jesus Christ.</p> <p>Can all this be spiritualized away? Are true Christians really called to just drift off to heaven and do <em>nothing</em> for all eternity?</p> <p>After describing how the final “evil empire” is taken away and destroyed, notice what Daniel prophesied: “Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:27).</p> <p>Coming right after the destruction of the final revival of the Roman Empire—the final attempt at humanly devised one-world government—this is obviously speaking of a <em>literal</em>, <em>divine</em> <strong>government</strong> being set up on this earth, which will be given to the “saints of the Most High.”</p> <p>How clear!</p> <p>In Psalm 149, we read a plain statement about the opportunities of the true saints of God to deal with the dictators who will exalt themselves just before Christ’s return to earth. Notice: “Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute on them the written judgment—this honor have all His saints. Praise the Lord!” (vv. 5–9).</p> <p>If you and I will genuinely surrender ourselves to the <em>living</em> Jesus Christ, if we will <em>obey</em> Him and serve Him, then the Father will give us the magnificent opportunity to help bring real <em>peace</em> and <em>joy</em> to this earth at last, for we will have learned the <strong><em>way of peace</em></strong>, which the nations of this earth do not now know (Isaiah 59:8).</p> <p>Remember God’s own description of “faithful” Christians: “<em>Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who </em><strong>keep the commandments</strong><em> of God and the faith of Jesus</em>” (Revelation 14:12).</p> <h2>GOD’S PURPOSE STANDS</h2> <p>God foretells during these “latter days” that humanity’s “knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4). Perhaps the distinctive hallmark of our time is the explosion of material knowledge. Technological changes are totally overturning what we used to think of as “normal.” In His wisdom, the Creator knew that when our focus would be primarily on materialism, our lives would be entrapped by idolatry and paganism. What we are sowing today, we shall reap tomorrow. The One who <em>delivered us </em>again and again from past national threats like conquest by the Spanish Armada and annihilation by the Nazis at Dunkirk, has definitely prophesied that since we have <em>rejected</em> Him and His ways, He will now set His hand—in love—to <em>punish</em> us and <em>humble</em> us in a coming Great Tribulation!</p> <p>We could only forestall this by a national change of heart and, individually, by a sincere return to God that demonstrates a willingness to follow His ways, His righteous laws and His <em>rule</em> over our lives. Will we?</p> <p>If not, the great Creator of heaven and earth will intervene in our leadership and that of other countries. He will <em>distress us</em> through weather, earthquakes, disease epidemics and other disasters. He will <em>allow</em> perverted demon spirits to strike at and <em>destroy</em> the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic nations and their allies through their influence over envious, hateful leaders yet to appear on the world scene! And greatly increased <em>terrorist attacks</em> will serve as an additional tool to “break” the pride of our power (Leviticus 26:19)!</p> <p>God is Almighty! He has the power to bring about the inspired prophecies of His Word. God’s will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven.</p> <h2>CHRIST’S MESSAGE A COMING REALITY</h2> <p>The powerful Good News that God sent to mankind by Jesus Christ is not only His wonderful offer of total forgiveness from our past sins and mistakes, but also the message of a <strong>world government </strong>soon to be set up and ruling all the earth! It will not be a warlike, competitive human government. Rather, the Creator of all humanity <em>will intervene</em> to save, to teach and to bring us to spiritual maturity.</p> <p><em>His rule will</em> <strong>change everything</strong> <em>around you</em>—the entire human society, the educational systems, the cultures and class structures—and it will eliminate the politics, the wars and the sufferings! These are massive changes we are talking about! Our daily environment—our diet of television, the kind of radio programs and music we listen to, the threat of mugging, rape and murder in our streets, our parks and even in our schools—will be changed for the better!</p> <p><em>Do not kid yourself!</em> This is not religious “fluff.” This will be the prophesied handiwork of the real God, who made us in His image, intervening to shake this world to its senses and, finally, to save the world and bring it true peace, prosperity and happiness.</p> <p>Even the physical earth itself—suffering these many centuries because of human sin and neglect—will be restored to beauty. “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1).</p> <p>These are God’s plans for the future, and He has the total wisdom and supreme power to bring them about! You need to come to know and understand the will of the great God who will soon intervene in our world and <strong>change </strong>everything!</p> <p>If you would like to learn more, and be able to really prove these matters from the Bible, then keep viewing the <em>Tomorrow’s World</em> television program and reading the <em>Tomorrow’s World</em> magazine. Please write for the free literature we offer on this subject, and <em>study your</em> <strong>own Bible</strong> as never before!</p> <p>And if you genuinely want to <strong>act</strong> on this information, and on the other powerful truths you are receiving through this Work, then write or phone the regional office nearest you listed at the end of this booklet! <em>Request a visit,</em> and give us a <strong>phone number</strong> where we may reach you. <strong>No one </strong>will come to your home without first making an appointment with you at a time and place <em>convenient for you</em>. Such a visit will open up the opportunity to talk to a representative of this Work who <em>believes and teaches the </em><strong>Truth</strong>. You will then have the chance to discuss your Bible questions and other related matters—and to ask about meeting <em>with a group of faithful Christians </em><strong>if</strong> <em>you wish</em>. There will be <strong>no</strong> request for money and <strong>no </strong><em>pressure </em>to <em>do anything</em> or “join” anything.</p> <p>The God of creation <em>will</em> intervene in human affairs—and soon! Ultimately, it will be a positive and wonderful development—beyond what most of us can now grasp. Even so, we all need to understand and <em>be prepared</em> for what God has definitely planned for our future.</p> <p>Get ready! Humbly seek God and His revealed will in the Holy Bible. Be willing to <em>do </em>what God says. Then, God’s intervention will be an awesome <em>blessing</em> to you and your family. Just as you have seen prophecy fulfilled in the past—and seen God’s promises come true in your life now—you will know God’s promises about the future are sure. Remember what Jesus told His faithful followers in Luke 21:28: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-booklet-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Booklet Category</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/12" hreflang="en">Current Events</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/7" hreflang="en">Prophecy</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 28 Feb 2022 21:00:39 +0000 4uwzvo 29 at