Prophecy Fulfilled: God's Hand in World Affairs
To the modern scientist, 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 reality 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?
Most importantly, we need to remember that the God revealed in your Bible has the ability to exercise total power and total 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).
Do you believe that? Or was Isaiah making this up—perhaps taking literary liberties—in this perspective on divine power? 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.
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.
Can Americans take comfort in this scripture when thinking about their leaders over the past decade or so? Can the British look at the actions of their Prime Ministers and see God's hand? In the first 55 years after World War II, politically unstable Italy had a series of 58 governments. Other European nations, too, are facing social and political turmoil. The French, in May 2002, held a presidential run-off between a Gaullist and a man often called a neo-Fascist. 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 Benedict XVI has strong ties to his native Germany, and has talked openly about the importance of reestablishing Europe's "Christian" roots—alienating European Turks and Muslims around the globe.
Truly, the world's present political stability is as solid as a will-o'-the-wisp.
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 His will (cf. Leviticus 26).
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 tonight," bellows the iron-lunged evangelist in his big tent meeting. "You had better give your heart to the Lord now 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.
Franklin Graham, son of noted preacher Billy Graham, is 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" (Los Angeles Times, December 31, 1995). That was more than ten years ago! For decades, forceful evangelicals have thundered in revival meetings: "Jesus Christ may come tonight. You need to be ready to meet your Maker now!"
Commentator Andree Seu reported: "I know a pastor who likes to say, 'Jesus is coming back today,' because, as he explains, whichever day He returns, it will be 'today.'" (World Magazine, April 24, 1999). Christianity Today writer Mark Galli wrote, "Jesus is coming again! We just don't know when. It could be soon. Or it might not be for another thousand years... or more" ("Millennium Madness," January/February 1999). Today, or a thousand years from today? Which is right? Or are they both wrong?
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.
Will God intervene suddenly and mysteriously—totally unexpectedly? Or has the Almighty revealed a specific chain of events that will inform and warn those who take the Bible seriously? Has God been intervening in world affairs?
What does the Bible really say? You need to know!
Before anything else, it is necessary to state that God is not capricious. The Creator of the universe does not 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 your very survival!
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?
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).
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).
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).
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?
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 extinction—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).
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.
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?
And 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 terrorism will greatly exacerbate all of the above problems!
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.
"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.
Oh, really? Will your armies, police, social security and health care systems indefinitely insulate you from such looming foreign and domestic terrors? What do you really expect?
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.
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?
Consider these news reports:
"Dr. Abdul Wahab Achakzai is medical officer at the Civil Hospital in Chaman, a poor and dusty Pakistani bazaar town. Each day, 700 to 800 children and adults stream into his flyblown establishment near the Afghan border for treatment of diseases ranging from malaria to tuberculosis.
"'The government gives us 120 rupees'—less than $4, Achakzai told a visitor one afternoon as he examined a shivering 5-year-old girl who he suspected had been bitten by a mosquito carrying vivax malaria. Less than $4. That's not per patient. That's the hospital's daily subsidy, Achakzai said" (Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1995). Could such a decline in the public health care system take place in your country? In many places, cuts in health care for the poor, the young and the aged have already been a fact of life for years.
As disease spreads, 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 suicide epidemic, 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 kill themselves than are murdered"(San Diego Union-Tribune, January 11, 2002). In 2003, Students Against Drunk Driving released a survey showing that 19 percent of U.S. high school students had considered suicide, 14.8 percent had made a plan to commit suicide, and 8.8 percent had actually attempted suicide at least once.
The problem of suicide is worldwide. The World Health Organization reported in September 2006 that more than a million people each year kill themselves, and that for every suicide death there are as many as 50 unsuccessful suicide attempts (United Press International, September 8, 2006). China's Xinhua News Agency reported in September 2006 that nearly 250,000 Chinese kill themselves each year. In many countries, suicide is the leading cause of death for young men between ages 15 and 24.
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 Hard Time Blues. "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."
In 2004, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report, nearly 7 million people in the U.S. were on probation, in jail, in prison or on parole—accounting for 3.2 percent of the U.S. population or one of every 31 adults. What does that say about the stability of a society and the contentment of its people?
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" (Agence France Press, September 20, 2006).
Climate changes have even affected the vast expanse of Antarctica's giant ice shelves. One shelf that scientists estimate has 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" (San Diego Union-Tribune, March 20, 2002).
As temperatures rise around the world, drought will bring more severe trials to mankind. Scientists now estimate that by 2025, one in three people will not have access to enough water, and that traditional agriculture will not be able to feed the world's population. At present, "water shortages affect about 450 million people in 29 countries, and tensions over water rights in Asia and Africa could erupt into serious clashes if governments don't find new ways to use existing supplies more efficiently," according to a report issued by the World Water Forum in August 2001. "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" ("Synthesis Report," World Water Forum 2006, p. 65).
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" (Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2001).
Millions may starve as a result. "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" (Los Angeles Times, July 11, 2001).
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" (Washington Post, September 17, 2006).
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'" As of spring 2002, New York City's reservoirs had sunk to 48 percent of capacity, and many other communities throughout the U.S. experienced shortages and mandatory water rationing that summer.
And the water we do 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" (San Diego Union-Tribune, March 20, 2002). But some effects are 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.
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 from 1997 to 2001. 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" (Minneapolis Star Tribune, September 17, 2006).
Sometimes the problem is as simple as mankind's careless disposal of what it has used. Chinese environmentalists report that their nation discharged more than 52 billion tons of waste water into rivers and the ocean in 2005—nearly half of that entirely untreated (China Daily, September 27, 2006).
With clean, fresh water becoming more scarce and more precious, how long will it be before wars break out over water? As an editorial in the Midland Reporter-Telegram 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).
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 46 million people around the globe were living with the HIV virus as of 2005. In that year alone, an estimated 6.2 million became newly infected with HIV, and an estimated 3.3 million lost their lives to AIDS ("2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic," May 2006).
In six African countries, more than one out of every 20 adults between ages 15 and 49 is infected with the HIV virus. Botswana is the worst hit, with a 24.1 percent rate of HIV prevalence in this group. This represents a decline from a nearly 33 percent infection rate in 2001, but much of this drop was not good news—it reflects the many who have died (ibid.).
In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 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. are living with the HIV virus, with 40,000 of those newly infected in 2006. Of these, male homosexuals account 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).
AIDS continues to have a devastating effect on the American economy. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control have calculated that AIDS costs the U.S. economy approximately $36.4 billion each year in direct and indirect costs ("The Economic Burden of HIV in the United States in the Era of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy," Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, September 2006).
AIDS, of course, is by no means just—or even primarily—an American or African problem. Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union now have the fastest-rising rates of HIV infection in the world, with the number of HIV-positive people in Russia growing fifteenfold between 1998 and 2001, according to a United Nations report. The highest rate of infection there was found in the Ukraine, where at least 1 percent of the population is infected with the virus.
Between 1981 and 2006, more than 25 million people died of AIDS—including 500,000 in the U.S.—making it the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.
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).
Has the problem of crime been licked in the U.S.? No, it has not! The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that two out of every 1,000 people in the U.S. were victims of a violent gun crime in 2005—a 43 percent increase over the 2004 rate. Additionally, there were 2.6 robberies per 1,000—up from 2.1 in 2004. Dan Esserman, police chief in Providence, Rhode Island, recently met with Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, and was told that federal funds previously earmarked for crime-fighting would now be used for preventing terrorism. Esserman's response: "I believe in homeland defense, but I also believe in crime fighting, I don't want one neglected for the other. Every year we're losing 16,000 people to murder, mostly young people and mostly killed by guns, and that's more than three times the number that died at the World Trade Center" (The Star-Ledger, September 11, 2006). Criminologists are warning that the coming generation may become "superpredators" without a consciousness of right and wrong—having never been loved, nourished and positively disciplined.
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! Kim Painter, in a March 15, 2002 article for USA Today, reported that studies now show as many as 21 percent of boys and 19 percent of girls say they have had sex by age 14! 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 decid-ed to target fifth-graders instead—because too many seventh-graders were already having sex!
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!
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 goal of radical Muslim leaders to "conquer" the world in the sense that all human beings either become Muslims, totally submit to Muslim domination or ultimately be wiped out!
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 The Crisis of Islam, 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).
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 (Dar al-Islam), in which Muslim governments rule and Muslim law prevails, and the House of War (Dar al-Harb), 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" (ibid., p. 31).
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!
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]" (ibid., p. 111).
The Bible prophesies that a coming "king of the South" will push against a resurgent European empire, provoking world-shak-ing end-time events. If you wish to understand these prophecies, please write for a free copy of our information-packed booklet, The Middle East in Prophecy. 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 tens of millions of Muslims are being won over 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! A recent article in the Washington Post gives further insight into the situation in the Middle East:
"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.'
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.'
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 umma, 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.
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.
'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).
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 more than one billion Muslims. He will pose a genuine threat to the coming European Empire, which will have to crush that threat in order to continue exploiting Middle Eastern oil to further its military ambitions.
Truly, we need to recognize soberly that the world is, indeed, at war. Unwittingly, perhaps, U.S. President George W. Bush has caused his nation to appear to be "attacking" the entire "Muslim nation"—as they call themselves—consisting of more than one billion human beings!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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).
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.
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.
Queen Elizabeth, commemorating the Spanish defeat, issued a silver medal, bearing the inscription: "God blew and they were scattered." She knew who took charge of those winds at that critical hour in the history of her people!
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."
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."
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 all got a certain glint or tear in their eyes when they talked about it. They all 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 never been as full since.
The day before, June 8, London's Daily Telegraph 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."
Yes, God controls 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 write for your free copy of our powerful booklet, Who Controls the Weather?
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.
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).
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.
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."
Evidently, God did specifically allow demons 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.
"Hitler, according to what may seem to many people a far-fetched belief, was the medium 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, 'possessed by forces outside himself—almost demoniacal forces.' Rudolf Olden, political editor of the newspaper Berliner Tageblatt 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 'spoke in tongues' and seemed possessed. André François-Poncet, French Ambassador to Berlin, also referred to this apparent demoniacal possession" (The Nazis, Hamlyn, 1974, p. 154).
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 destruction of Christianity throughout the world?" (ibid., p. 156).
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).
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 angels or demons! We need to be much more aware of the very real spirit world around us, and we must make absolutely certain that we are guided by the Spirit of God!
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.
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).
Since God has such a profound knowledge and insight about us, He can authoritatively predict what the basic conditions of peoples and nations will be in the future. Then, by skillfully manipulating the determinants of national power such as the weather, human leadership and other circumstances, God can fulfill specific prophecies that are sometimes astonishing in their minute detail.
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 name and by deed almost two centuries before Cyrus was born!
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).
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!
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.
Was God surprised? No. He had described nearly 200 years earlier how a leader specifically named "Cyrus" would conquer great kings by going through "the two leaved gates"!
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).
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 & 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 (San Diego Union-Tribune, 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; 83 percent of those surveyed in a September 2006 Gallup Poll called religion either "very important" or "fairly important" in their lives. Just 16 percent said religion is "not very important."
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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).
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.
But is that really the end of it all?
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.
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.
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!
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).
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).
Remember also that it was the ancient Assyrians who invaded and conquered the Ten Tribes of northern Israel.
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.
Notice that she is called the Lady of Kingdoms, and that she 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). To understand who this daughter of Babylon is, we should not use faulty human reasoning, but should let the Bible interpret the Bible. In Revelation 17, we find this same false system described perfectly.
The Bible uses symbols to illustrate spiritual concepts. Revelation 17 symbolically 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."
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."
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 all nations" (Deuteronomy 26:19).
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?
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!
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 Judah—the Jews. The ancient kingdom of Israel 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).
If you would like to know the real truth about this vital subject, please write for our free booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. 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.
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.
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?
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.
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 not 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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. currently owes trillions of dollars 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. As one of the world's most highly respected magazines reported (The Economist, January 19, 2006): "In the mainstream view, America is now the world's biggest debtor. Thanks to its chronic trade deficits, it stood $2.5 trillion in the red at the end of 2004. And yet it still somehow manages to earn more on its foreign assets than it pays out to service its much bigger stock of debts: $36.2 billion more in 2004.… It is not the $36.2 billion of income that is the mystery, they say. The anomaly lies in the $2.5 trillion of debt. If America is still coming out ahead of foreigners, then, contrary to popular belief, it must still be a net creditor.… But sadly… after making $36.2 billion in 2004, America made just $4 billion on its net foreign assets in the first three quarters of 2005. If it continues on its present trajectory, it will shell out about $190 billion in 2010… America's net foreign assets would then amount to minus $3.8 trillion. A dark matter indeed."
Is the U.S. financial position becoming "a dark matter"? America's leaders need to wake up!
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?
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?"'
"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. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezekiel 33:10–11).
If we would, as a people, truly repent 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!"
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 murdering millions of unborn children? Will we stop indulging in the illicit sex that produces fatherless children by the millions?
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 keeping His commandments and doing those things that are pleasing to Him (1 John 3:22)?
Most of us know better than that. But—unless a real, genuine repentance occurs—the Great Tribulation is just ahead!
Only the Second Coming of Christ as King of kings will spark a real change of heart on a nationwide scale—and even that 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.
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, have authority over ten cities" (Luke 19:17).
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 rule over five cities or ten cities—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).
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).
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?
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 law 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).
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.
The "law" that will go forth from Jerusalem to the nations (v. 2) is, of course, the Ten Commandments. The basic spiritual law of God has been the foundation of God's instruction to mankind from the beginning.
During His ministry on earth, Jesus was asked by a young man about the way to eternal life. Jesus answered: "If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." "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).
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.
What a blessed society!
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
But did He?
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).
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" (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1, p. 403).
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 believe that 6,000 years of recorded history have already passed since Adam and Eve, this is clearly not the case! 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.
However, with prophetic events now speeding up, we feel that these 6,000 years will probably be completed much sooner than that! This will be the end of 6,000 years of human society under the sway of Satan the Devil (Revelation 12:9; 20:3). It will be the end 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.
The living Jesus Christ must return to save us from ourselves— from literally annihilating all life 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 ruling 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 peace 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).
True Christians Will Have a Job to Do
The true saints will not 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—'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the potter's vessels shall be broken to pieces'—as I also have received from My Father."
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.
In the "prayer of the saints" given in Revelation 5:8–10, it indicates that God has "made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." 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).
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?
In describing the regathering 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," all "Israel"—including the American and British-descended peoples—will be regathered. King David will be resurrected from the dead—along with all of God's true saints. Then David will rule again over all twelve tribes, or nations, of Israel—as he did, so faithfully and effectively, 3,000 years ago!
In Jeremiah 30, God describes how He will restore Israel from its coming captivity: "Foreigners shall no more enslave 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 what happens at the time of the resurrection from the dead (John 5:28–29).
Jesus Christ will return as King of kings. King David of the Bible will literally be resurrected 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.
"David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them" (Ezekiel 37:24). So all Israel shall once again learn God's laws and His statutes, 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).
Please think, my friends! We are not talking about "pie in the sky" sentimentalism! The great God who inspired the above scriptures either means what He says—or else the Bible is lying to us!
From Genesis to Revelation, the biblical prophecies point toward a literal government to be set up on this earth by God. As the prophet Daniel put it very succinctly: "And in the days of these kings 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).
After the Babylonian, Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman Empires—with Rome's seven "revivals," including the soon-coming final revival with ten kings or rulers giving their power to a super dictator called the "Beast" (Revelation 17:9–14)—the living Jesus Christ will come as King of kings (Revelation 19:16) to rule this earth and straighten out human society before it destroys all humans from this planet (Matthew 24:21–22).
If we will "believe" and respond to God's message, you and I will have the magnificent opportunity to be among those "other kings" and rulers assisting Christ in this very real government that God will set up on this earth! 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 we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?" (1 Corinthians 6:2–3).
Then Paul explains that the true Christians in God's Church need to practice correct government and learn to "judge" problems between brethren in the church, because true Christians are now "in training" to become kings and priests under Jesus Christ!
Why have you never heard this before? Why is this clear biblical message virtually never preached in the "mainstream" churches of this present society?
Somewhere on this earth is Christ's true "little flock" (Luke 12:32), which is preaching the Truth of God's great purpose. Although God is not trying to "save" everyone now (or He would be succeeding at it!), 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 this Church are taught the genuine purpose for their lives. They are instructed in how to prepare to be literal kings under Christ and under King David in the coming Kingdom of God. Christ's coming Kingdom is very real to them!
Is it to you?
All of us who want to be part of that Kingdom must learn to think like King David, 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!
Many other scriptures make it clear that the Kingdom of God is a literal government to be set up on this earth. The true saints of God have before them an awesome 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).
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.
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 living Jesus Christ.
Can all this be spiritualized away? Are true Christians really called to just drift off to heaven and do nothing for all eternity?
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).
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 literal, divine government being set up on this earth, which will be given to the "saints of the Most High."
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).
If you and I will genuinely surrender ourselves to the living Jesus Christ, if we will obey Him and serve Him, then the Father will give us the magnificent opportunity to help bring real peace and joy to this earth at last, for we will have learned the way of peace, which the nations of this earth do not now know (Isaiah 59:8).
Remember God's own description of "faithful" Christians: "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12).
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 delivered us 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 rejected Him and His ways, He will now set His hand—in love—to punish us and humble us in a coming Great Tribulation!
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 rule over our lives. Will we?
If not, the great Creator of heaven and earth will intervene in our leadership and that of other countries. He will distress us through weather, earthquakes, disease epidemics and other disasters. He will allow perverted demon spirits to strike at and destroy 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 terrorist attacks will serve as an additional tool to "break" the pride of our power (Leviticus 26:19)!
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.
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 world government 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 will intervene to save, to teach and to bring us to spiritual maturity.
His rule will change everything around you—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!
Do not kid yourself! 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.
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).
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 change everything!
If you would like to learn more, and be able to really prove these matters from the Bible, then keep viewing the Tomorrow's World television program and reading the Tomorrow's World magazine. Please write for the free literature we offer on this subject, and study your own Bible as never before!
And if you genuinely want to act 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! Request a visit, and give us a phone number where we may reach you. No one will come to your home without first making an appointment with you at a time and place convenient for you. Such a visit will open up the opportunity to talk to a representative of this Work who believes and teaches the Truth. You will then have the chance to discuss your Bible questions and other related matters—and to ask about meeting with a group of faithful Christians if you wish. There will be no request for money and no pressure to do anything or "join" anything.
The God of creation will 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 be prepared for what God has definitely planned for our future.
Get ready! Humbly seek God and His revealed will in the Holy Bible. Be willing to do what God says. Then, God's intervention will be an awesome blessing 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."