How can you really understand the traumatic events beginning to affect the entire world? How can you make sense of the adversities that seem to be afflicting especially the American and British-descended peoples scattered all over this earth?
What is the vital "key" that will help you fully grasp the prophetic meaning of the fast-moving events reported each day in newspapers and on television news?
Can the ancient prophecies that Almighty God inspired centuries ago "come alive" for you? Can they help give a sense of understanding and purpose to your life? Can they help you know how to seek and find divine protection in the years just ahead?
As you ponder these important questions, I must throw out to you a challenge: you must be willing to prove to yourself that—in its original writing—the Bible really is the inspired Word of your Creator. You must be willing to understand that the great God who gave us life and breath inspired this book and that, in the Bible, God says what He means and means what He says!
Speaking of what most people call the Old Testament, Jesus Christ said: "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). Jesus also said: "Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Again, speaking of the "Old Testament"—the only written scripture then available—Jesus said: "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God'" (Luke 4:4).
Approximately one-fourth of the entire Bible is prophecy. It is vital that we genuinely understand God's revelation to mankind, and understand how He will guide the rise and fall of nations and empires—how He will orchestrate world events and the decisions of men to bring about His plan here on earth, and teach all mankind the lessons that we need to learn in order to fulfill God's ultimate purpose for human life.
The Eternal God told ancient King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon that he would be removed from office and greatly humbled, "until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses" (Daniel 4:32). The Bible clearly reveals that our Creator is in charge of major world events—that He sets up great nations and also brings them down to fulfill His purpose. God's Word also tells us: "For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives" (Hebrews 12:6). God repeatedly indicates that He, our Creator, will "chasten" or will punish entire nations when it is necessary, to teach them lessons through this process.
God's inspired prophet Amos wrote: "If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it? Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:6–7). The greatest prophet of all time, Jesus Christ, stated that the most awful tribulation in human history would immediately precede His Second Coming. After describing the end-time events of increasing wars, famines, disease epidemics and massive earthquakes, Jesus said: "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).
Most prophecy students fail to ask: "Will this Great Tribulation equally affect all parts of the earth? Or will it primarily affect particular nations—before the trumpet plagues and seven last plagues, which come later, affect all the world and humble the entire human race just before Christ returns?"
The answer is that although many nations are to be involved in the coming Tribulation—some as "instruments" God will use to punish others—the Bible reveals that the soon-coming Great Tribulation will primarily focus on chastening God's "birthright" peoples. God has given these nations the greatest blessings and the greatest power in modern history, yet they are rapidly turning away from the God who gave them these blessings. In fact, these nations are beginning to "despise" God's name and everything for which He stands!
We desperately need to know who God's birthright peoples are. Our very lives may depend upon it. For the Great Tribulation—the greatest tribulation in human history—is soon destined to fall primarily upon these very peoples.
When God told Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees, He said: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:1–3).
Later, God told Abram (as he was first named): "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered" (Genesis 13:14–16). Yet, just as liberal ministers have tried to "spiritualize away" much of the Bible, they have also attempted to explain away these scriptures—and the following promises of God—as applying only to the relatively small nation of ancient Israel, or only to the spiritual blessings of the Church. But God is clearly talking about physical blessings such as national territory, military power and control of the "gates" of their enemies. These awesome promises cannot be trivialized or "spiritualized away"!
For example: after Abraham had proved his total submission and trust in God by being willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, the Eternal God stated: "By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies" (Genesis 22:16–17).
Rebekah, who would become the wife of Abraham's son Isaac, was given this blessing: "Our sister, may you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands; and may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them" (Genesis 24:60). What gates could these prophecies be talking about? What kind of gate would help God's birthright peoples achieve and maintain both economic and military power all over the world?
If you have studied military strategy, geopolitics and world trade, you will recognize that the "sea gates" have been the most vital—and very nearly the only—gates that have had much significance in the last few hundred years. And who was given control over virtually all of these sea gates? Britain and the U.S.!
Until recently, the U.S. controlled the Panama Canal—one of the most vital sea passages on earth—and the British peoples controlled the other major sea gates all over the world! They controlled the Suez Canal, Singapore and the Malacca Straits, the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el Mandeb—controlling the southern entrance to the Red Sea as the Suez controlled the northern entrance. The British also controlled the vital naval base of Simonstown, South Africa, guarding the passage around the southern tip of Africa. They still control Gibraltar (guarding the western entrance to the Mediterranean Sea) and the Falkland Islands (which have been used to control shipping around the southern tip of South America)—yet these last two gates are even now in grave danger of slipping from British control. Watch the daily news!
"So, what's the 'big deal?'" some may ask.
The big deal is that God gave the American and British-descended peoples unprecedented national resources and wealth—and gave them these "gates" to control trade and naval action all over the world—allowing them to rise to a level of power and prosperity far surpassing the Roman Empire or any other group of nations in human history!
This fact must not be "spiritualized away." Because of Abraham's obedience and God's great purpose, these awesome blessings have come down through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph to the modern descendents of Joseph—the American and British-descended peoples. We who are willing to understand should give the Eternal God great thanks, praise and worship for keeping His solemn promises and demonstrating His love and His power in these latter days of human history!
In His inspired Word, God spelled out and enlarged to Abraham His promises of national greatness, telling his grandson: "'Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.' So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him: 'I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body'" (Genesis 35:10–11).
The name "Israel" was given to Jacob and his descendents. Which of Jacob's descendents would continue to bear the name "Israel"? The genuine answer may surprise you!
Most people assume that "Israel" and "the Jews" are synonymous! But they are not! Jacob, whose name was changed to "Israel," had 12 sons. One was named "Judah," from whom come the Jews. One of the younger sons was named "Joseph." He was the one Simeon, Levi, Judah and the other brothers sold into slavery. They had become jealous of Joseph, because, as the Bible tells us: "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him" (Genesis 37:3–4).
After being sold into slavery in Egypt, Joseph rose to become "governor" of the entire nation, reporting only to Pharaoh! For Joseph had unusual ability to manage men and material wealth with skill and wisdom.
At the end of Israel's life, God guided him to give Joseph—not Reuben, Judah or one of the older brothers—the "birthright" inheritance of great wealth and power. Judah, father of the Jewish people, received the "scepter" promise—that from him would come the kingly line and the Messiah who would eventually rule all nations (Revelation 11:15). Notice the clear biblical proof: "Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel—he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright; yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler, although the birthright was Joseph's" (1 Chronicles 5:1–2).
So, just before Jacob (or "Israel") died, God guided him to place his hands on Joseph's two sons (not Judah), conferring upon them the "birthright" promise (Genesis 48:14–22). Soon after this, as he was dying, "Jacob called his sons and said, 'Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days'" (Genesis 49:1). Notice that these promises were to come to fruition in the "last days"—the end of this age. God said of Judah, the Jew: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people" (v. 10). Judah had unusual brilliance in many ways and would be "praised" (v. 8) by his brothers. Actually, the word Judah means "praise." In modern times, the Albert Einsteins, Leonard Bernsteins, Alan Greenspans and countless of the world's outstanding scientists, musicians, doctors and economists have come from the Jewish people—far more, proportionately, than from any other ethnic group on the face of the earth! From Judah came King David, and later Jesus Christ Himself—plus most of His apostles. So the Jewish people certainly do merit praise and respect for their abilities and contributions to mankind. And we all need to be forever mindful of the fact that—in His human form—Jesus Christ, our Savior, was a Jew!
However, as the Bible clearly states, the birthright was Joseph's (1 Chronicles 5:2). So, when we read Genesis 49, we see just a verse or two describing the destiny in the last days of most of the modern nations descending from Jacob. But when we read what God inspired Jacob to prophesy about Joseph's descendents in these "last days"—Wow!
If they inherited the "birthright" promise, then why did America and the British-descended nations only rise to true greatness in the last 200 years? In Leviticus 26, God warned that if Israel turned to the worship of idols, He would punish the nation "seven times more" for their sins. The Hebrew word for "times" indicates duration of punishment, not merely intensity, as in Nebuchadnezzar's "seven times" (seven years) of punishment (see Daniel 4:32). What is a prophetic "time"? Revelation 12 and 13 use the expressions "1,260 days" and "time, times, and half a time" and "42 months" interchangeably. Forty-two months of 30 days each are equal to 1,260 days—or three-and-a-half years. Clearly, then, 2,520 days—1,260 doubled—are the equivalent of "seven times." Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6 establish the principle that a day is equal to a year in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Beginning from 721bc, when Israel first went into captivity, this "seven times" extension of its punishment would run for 2,520 years—until 1800ad, when indeed the U.S. and the British Empire began their rapid rise to world dominance. God fulfilled His promise to bless Israel; He also delayed it according to His promised punishment!
For the last 200 years or so, the British-descended peoples of the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have inhabited the choicest parts of the earth, and have received unparalleled blessings of prosperity and national power. Even the peoples of the Roman Empire, at its very zenith, did not have the wealth and power—and worldwide influence—with which America and the British peoples have been blessed. Together, we won World War I and World War II. The weather (controlled by God; see "The Weather Factor!" on page 10 of this issue), miraculous circumstances and incredible blunders by our enemies, all gave the U.S and Britain decisive victories in those major wars. Together, these nations were absolutely unbeatable during these many years.
However, after World War II, the U.S. did have to compromise in the Korean conflict and then suffer a degree of actual humiliation in the Vietnam War. America quickly won a limited "victory" in the first Gulf War (though without even reaching Baghdad or ousting Saddam Hussein). In the second Gulf War, however, America is running into tremendous obstacles trying to "finish the job" in Iraq. In the months and years to come, it will prove extremely difficult—if not impossible—to "democratize" Iraq and the rest of the Islamic world. America has some fearful lessons to learn as it continues to turn away from God—yet many Americans still expect, somehow, that the God of heaven will always "see us through" as He has in past generations!
Remember—the wonderful physical blessings America has received were not given because of the nation's inherent goodness. They have come because of an entire series of awesome promises that the Eternal God made to the biblical patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Notice these promises carefully. Remember, as Jesus Christ said: "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
Read carefully the magnificent prophecy: "Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), by the God of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers" (Genesis 49:22–26).
Remember, this inspired prophecy is telling us what would happen to Ephraim and Manasseh—the sons of Joseph—who were destined to become a single "great" nation and also a "company" or commonwealth of nations (Genesis 48:8–19). They were to bear the name "Israel" (v. 16)!
Where, in these last days, have we seen one truly great nation—and a group of related people who became a "company of nations"—together blessed in these last 200 years with national wealth and power above all other nations? When you consider where these powerful prophecies may have been fulfilled in modern times, it is clear that only the U.S. and the British-descended peoples have fulfilled these specific predictions!
In these last days, it is obvious that the U.S. is overwhelmingly the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth. But let us not forget that up until the end of World War II, the British Empire was the largest and most powerful group of nations ever to assemble in human history! As was often stated: "The sun never set on the British Empire." Comprising Britain itself, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, both northern Rhodesia and southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe), Egypt, the Sudan and many other nations and territories, this mighty empire circled the globe, guided the destinies of hundreds of millions of people, possessed one of the most powerful naval fleets on earth, controlled most of the vital "sea gates" of the earth, and spread its language, literature and commerce all over the world in a way that no other power before had ever done.
Together, the U.S. and the British Empire proved absolutely unbeatable—until they began to turn away from God. The two "brothers"—Ephraim and Manasseh—were granted control over most of the world's developed resources. They shared a common language, culture and religion. When you read the inspired prophecy of Genesis 49:22–26, you should be moved by the words of this remarkable prophecy for these two "brother" nations in the last days: "The Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers" (vv. 25–26).
These words are very much like the religious and patriotic hymns of our two nations, describing our mutual blessings "from sea to shining sea." Throughout his speeches and in his writings, Sir Winston Churchill commented upon the remarkable and meaningful relationship between the American and British-descended peoples. One of these prescient statements was contained in Churchill's address to the U.S. Congress on December 26, 1941: "If you will allow me to use other language I will say that he must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below, of which we have the honor to be the faithful servants. It is not given to us to peer into the mysteries of the future. Still I avow my hope and faith, sure and inviolate, that in the days to come the British and American people will for their own safety and for the good of all walk together in majesty, in justice and in peace."
Indeed, as Churchill stated, a "great purpose and design" is being worked out here on earth. The American and British people have been used as God's "servants" to preserve a degree of peace and human liberty in the modern world—up until recent years!
But, as we turned more and more away from God and His ways, He orchestrated the downfall of the former British Empire. He has taken away most of the sea gates formerly controlled by Britain and America. He is now in the process of humbling both of these peoples as nearly everything is beginning to go wrong in their wars, as the American dollar continues to drop in value and as respect for America and Britain declines all over the world! So what will be the outcome of all of this?
God called the American and British-descended peoples as "custodians" of the great blessings that He had promised Abraham. These blessings were not given because they were "better" people in any spiritual or moral sense. Again and again, God specifically warned in many prophecies that if His people turned away from Him, He would take away these blessings and bring them into national tribulation and disgrace! For the Great Tribulation predicted by Jesus Christ was specifically prophesied to come upon both Israel and Judah in the latter days (Jeremiah 30:4–6). God said: "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. 'For it shall come to pass in that day,' says the Lord of hosts, 'That I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; 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. 7–9).
This time of "Jacob's trouble," coming upon the descendents of the entire House of Israel, will certainly come primarily upon the descendents of Ephraim and Manasseh, who had the greatest blessings from God in the first place!
God indicates that when they are finally delivered, "foreigners shall no more enslave them." And then, "but they shall serve the Eternal their God, and David their king whom I will raise up for them." This is at the time of the resurrection from the dead when King David will once again be made king over all Israel. When the prophet Ezekiel was inspired to describe the reuniting of all the tribes of Israel in Ezekiel 37:24, he stated: "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." And in verse 25: "My servant David shall be their prince forever."
Though the God of heaven will bring on the American and British-descended peoples the greatest national tribulation in human history, He will finally bring them back: "With weeping and with supplications I will lead them" (Jeremiah 31:9). After they have been humbled enough to begin to learn their lesson, God will deliver them. Meanwhile, we all need to realize that God has kept His word! He has given the sons of Abraham through the sons of Joseph—Ephraim and Manasseh—the awesome blessings that He promised. As we understand the vital "key" to our national origins, we should not only rejoice, but we should also take heed that we, individually, may be protected from this coming Great Tribulation if we will truly repent and turn to God. For, speaking of the terrible events of these last days, Jesus Christ stated: "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). Each of us needs to understand and prove to ourselves this important "key" to understanding end-time prophecy!