Finding the Ark of the Covenant

Finding the Ark of the Covenant

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It would be the greatest archaeological discovery of all time. And Bible prophecy indicates it is about to happen.
From the December 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

The ark of the covenant has inspired a lot of curiosity over the years. The ark was a holy chest that God instructed the Israelites to build. It represented the throne of God. In the past, it has been the subject of documentaries and movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Few people are talking about that artifact today. Yet a fascinating verse in the Bible says that in this modern era, many people will be talking about it. The implication is that very soon, the ark of the covenant is going to be found!

That verse is found in Jeremiah, a book of prophecy that was written for this end time (Jeremiah 30:1-9). So this prophecy about the ark is for us today.

If the ark were found, it would electrify many people around the world!

People don’t know where the ark is, but I believe that the Bible—and a certain nation’s history—tell us in which country it is located today.

An End-Time Setting

This prophecy about the ark of the covenant is found in Jeremiah 3. To understand it, we need to look at the context.

Verses 12-14 of this chapter give some important details: “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”

God addresses this passage to “backsliding Israel,” to whom He says, “I am married unto you.” Numerous English-speaking nations have descended from ancient Israel, but this is not talking about those nations. God is only married to His Church, which is spiritual Israel. In this prophecy, God is talking specifically to His Church, which is His wife (Revelation 19:7).

Jeremiah is talking about a modern crisis in God’s Church. God’s end-time Church is rebelling against Him and backsliding from its Husband! But God does have a faithful remnant that delivers this message (Revelation 3).

This rebellion in the Church of God has taken place in our day. (You can read all about it by ordering a free copy of our book Raising the Ruins.) This establishes the time frame of this prophecy: It occurs just before the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (Request a free copy of Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible to learn more.)

Jeremiah 3:16-17 move forward in time: “And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more,The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.” These verses refer to the time of the World Tomorrow, after Jesus Christ has returned and is ruling the world.

Notice: Once that occurs, people will no longer focus on that physical ark. This implies that they were focusing on it before that time.

In ancient Israel, the ark symbolized God’s presence. Located in the holy of holies inside the tabernacle, it was a symbol of God’s throne and rule. He even spoke from that ark (e.g. Exodus 25:22). So it makes sense that once God’s reign is actually established on Earth, that physical ark will no longer “come to mind.” The world will no longer need a symbol for God because He Himself will be here.

But right now, almost no one is talking about the ark of the covenant anyway.

Visiting the Ark?

Examine Jeremiah 3:16 carefully. It says that once Christ returns, “they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” They won’t say it anymore—which means they were saying it at some point. People are not saying it now, but according to this prophecy, there is coming a time when they will be saying it! “[N]either shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.”

Notice that shocking statement: God says people won’t visit the ark anymore! Do you know any place today where people visit the ark? There isn’t any such place, but God here describes a time when people will visit the ark of the covenant.

Remember, the time frame is during a backsliding of God’s Church, leading into the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ. These scriptures refer to the time we are living in now. Just before the Tribulation, many people will be visiting the ark like a tourist attraction, according to this prophecy. It sounds like it has created a world sensation! I don’t see how you can understand this prophecy any other way.

Strong’s Concordance defines visit: “to visit, to inspect, to review.” A secondary definition is “an overseer, to be set over.” That certainly indicates to me that the ark is going to be found.

The ark is rarely discussed today. You may see an occasional documentary about people looking for it, but they have never found it. That is because it has not been time for the ark to be found! But this prophecy indicates that it will be found in this end time just before the Great Tribulation. That is very soon.

Jesus Christ said we must live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). That includes the book of Jeremiah. Do you have the faith to believe every word of God?

The Ark Was Everything

The biblical book of Chronicles contains a lot of prophecy for this end time. My booklet The Book of Chronicles explains why (request your free copy). Chapters 13-17 of 1 Chronicles are five key prophetic chapters, and they discuss the ark of the covenant extensively.

Why should the Bible speak so much about the ark of God? Because of what it symbolized. In the Old Testament, the ark was everything. It is called in various places “the ark of God,” “the ark of the Eternal,” “the ark of the God of Israel,” “the ark of the Lord of all the Earth.” Everyone in Israel looked to it. It was a type of the throne of God—very much like a blueprint of God’s throne room in heaven. It was the symbol of God!

1 Chronicles 13:6 talks about God dwelling “between the cherubims.” Most Bible dictionaries have a picture of the ark of the covenant, showing those cherubim with their outspread wings covering the throne of God. That depicts how God’s actual throne looks in heaven.

1 Chronicles 15 describes the ark’s return to Jerusalem after the Philistines had taken it captive so many years before. The Israelites really lamented when they lost it because the glory of God had departed from them. But as they brought it into the city, they celebrated with trumpets and coronets, cymbals and dancing. David wore a robe of linen, and all the singers wore linen, a symbol of righteousness (Revelation 19:8).

1 Chronicles 16:37 describes Asaph and his brothers ministering “before the ark continually, as every day’s work required.” Christians today are likewise expected to labor before God daily. 2 Corinthians 4:16 says the inner man is renewed day by day. Every day we must renew that inner man on our knees in prayer, and by studying our Bibles.

1 Chronicles 17:4 contains a very interesting statement. God sends a message to David saying, “Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in.” He is talking about the temple, which would house the ark. God determined that Solomon would build that temple, not David. But here He refers to the ark as “me”! In verse 5, He says, “For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent ….” Again, God is talking about the ark and saying,I dwell there, because the ark is there.

Imagine what a spectacular event it would be for the ark that symbolizes God Himself to be discovered today!

But where is it? Nobody today really knows. However, I want to show you how the Bible and Irish history reveal whatnation it is in. To understand this, we first need to look at some important history.

A Royal Lineage

The ancient nation of Judah fell to the Babylonians in 585 b.c. In the siege, the king of Babylon killed all the sons of Judah’s King Zedekiah. Most people believe that the royal line of King David ended at that point. But if you study 2 Samuel 7:12-16, you see that God had promised to establish David’s lineage on that throne forever! If David never had another royal descendant—if the throne of David ceased with Zedekiah—then God’s promise would have been broken.

However, as Herbert W. Armstrong proved in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, that throne did not cease. God kept His promise by keeping a royal descendant of David—not a son of Zedekiah but a daughter—alive. He preserved her with the help of the Prophet Jeremiah, whom God allowed to escape Babylonian captivity.

“The real ancient history of Ireland is very extensive, though colored with some legend. But with the facts of biblical history and prophecy in mind, one can easily sift out the legend from the true history in studying ancient Irish annals,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “[I]n 569 b.c. (date of Jeremiah’s transplanting), an elderly, white-haired patriarch, sometimes referred to as a ‘saint,’ came to Ireland. With him was the princess daughter of an eastern king and a companion called ‘Simon Brach,’ spelled in different histories as Breck, Berech, Brach or Berach.” This is Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch. “The princess had a Hebrew name Tephi—a pet name—her full name being Tea-Tephi. … This royal party included the son of the king of Ireland who had been in Jerusalem at the time of the siege. There he had become acquainted with Tea-Tephi. He married her shortly after 585—when the city fell. Their young son, now about 12 years of age, accompanied them to Ireland.”

As Mr. Armstrong proved in his book, this royal line was thus preserved in the British Isles. It can be traced directly to the British throne today!

This was once common knowledge. The Otago Witness, a prominent newspaper in New Zealand for about 80 years up until 1932, ran an article on Sept. 24, 1902, titled “The King’s Pedigree.” It mentioned how Frederick Robert Augustus Glover, one of the best Irish historians with knowledge about Jeremiah, researched the history of the British monarchy and contacted Queen Victoria. “He sent Her Majesty a letter intimating the nature and result of his labors,” the paper reported. “In reply, he got what both surprised and delighted him. The Queen’s answer was a most gracious letter in which she acknowledged Mr. Glover’s [work] and informed him that she was already in possession of the facts of which he had spoken concerning her ancestral line … and led him to believe that the facts were actually accepted as genuine by the royal family as true and authentic.”

Queen Victoria died in 1901, so this is fairly recent history. She recognized that she was a descendant of King David of ancient Israel—that her sitting on the throne of England was actually a fulfillment of God’s promise to King David!

Queen Victoria ruled more than 60 years on that throne of David, the same throne that sits in London today. She knew about all the history of her throne. These days, we don’t hear much about that history from Britain’s throne, but we should. It brings the Bible to life in a deeply inspiring way.

Where Is the Ark?

Irish annals show that when Jeremiah migrated to Ireland, he brought with him more than just the princess of Judah who carried on David’s throne. “Besides the royal family, Jeremiah brought with them some remarkable things,” Mr. Armstrong continued, “including a harp, an ark, and a wonderful stone called ‘lia-fail,’ or ‘stone of destiny’” (op. cit., emphasis mine).

The “stone of destiny” is also called “Jacob’s pillar stone.” It is the stone the patriarch Jacob set up to memorialize the promise God made to him in Genesis 28—that his descendants would become as numerous as “the dust of the earth.” This stone remained with the nation of Israel throughout its history. And when Jeremiah fled Jerusalem, he took this stone with him.

We know where this stone is today: It is in Scotland, in Edinburgh Castle. In recent years, faithless critics have tried to discredit the origins of this stone—but for hundreds of years its true origins were widely accepted and understood. Queen Elizabeth was crowned over it, as was Tea-Tephi’s royal son anciently.

Notice that along with that stone, Jeremiah brought the ark of the covenant on his journey to Ireland!

This knowledge, too, was not uncommon until relatively recently. F. R. A. Glover, who ascertained that the British monarchy was aware of its linkage to King David, wrote extensively about these objects having made their way to Ireland with Jeremiah. His book England the Remnant of Judah and the Israel of Ephraim records this history.

Glover stated that the grave of Queen Tea-Tephi lies in the Hill of Tara, the origin of Irish history. In his research, he found that she had been buried with the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, along with the ark of the covenant.

In Volume i of The Journal of the British Archeological Association, published in 1895, an essay called “The Hill of Tara” by R. H. McDonald referred to the work of the Irish archaeologist Dr. Denis Hanan: “‘Tara,’ says Dr. Hanan, is almost pure Hebrew for Torah, which means ‘law,’ and the original tables of the law were in the ark which, curiously enough, Irish history says is buried with Tea.”

Note that! Tara comes from torah—God’s law! There is a well-known connection between the famous Tara Hill and the law of God!

This is amazing history. The tablets of the Ten Commandments were written by the very finger of God! (Exodus 31:18; 34:1, 28). God personally gave them to Moses, and they were placed within the ark of the covenant (Deuteronomy 10:5; 1 Kings 8:9; Hebrews 9:4).

According to these archaeologists and historians, these tablets were buried with Tea-Tephi in Tara Hill! Why don’t we hear more about this history? It is clearly recorded in Ireland’s history books. This simply cannot be chalked up as a “legend” or “myth” of Irish history!

Don’t you think it might galvanize a lot of people if the ark were found, and the Ten Commandments on those two tables of stone were inside?

A Warning From God

Why would God cause the ark to be found in this end time—and never before? Why would He want people to visit the ark now—and not before or long after? He could be using this symbol as a warning sign that we have strayed far from the true God—and are about to experience dire consequences.

Prophecy shows that God is going to do some dramatic things to warn this world of the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord just before His Second Coming. The period leading up to Christ’s return is going to be the worst suffering in human history. That is the horrifying end result of mankind’s vile sins! God wants to warn people in advance to help as many as possible to repent before that time comes so they don’t have to experience it.

If the ark were discovered, wouldn’t that be a powerful witness to the world? I believe it would be. Proof that the biblical chronicle is accurate could help lead some to repentance. The ark’s discovery would even point people to where God’s message was being proclaimed, and help them to realize that even though they heard it and didn’t act on it, that message was right and was from God.

Prophecy shows that many people—an innumerable multitude—are going to repent during the Great Tribulation and will receive God’s protection at that time (e.g. Revelation 7:9, 14). Perhaps the discovery of the ark of the covenant will contribute to the size of that number.

Remember the prophecy in Jeremiah 3:16, because God tells us that the ark is going to be found! And Scripture and Irish history even tell us, in general, where it will emerge!

Is Japan’s Military Secret About to Come Out?

Is Japan’s Military Secret About to Come Out?

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Tokyo may soon receive Washington’s blessing to act like the military giant it is.
From the December 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

After Japan wreaked some of the worst brutality in history and then surrendered in World War ii, nations were eager to ensure that would never happen again. First came Article 9, the clause America wrote into Japan’s postwar constitution that restricts the nation from building a military any larger than it needs for the self-defense of its immediate geographic arena. Then came the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, which, among other things, codified Japan’s dependence on the U.S. for its defense.

Now, six decades later, this military cooperation pact is undergoing big changes. As a result, for the first time since World War ii, Japan could soon officially have first-strike capabilities against potential threats and be allowed to engage in collective self-defense.

Many U.S. policymakers say it is wise for Washington to encourage Tokyo to take on a more assertive military posture in Asia. After all, North Korea is a loose cannon, China is increasingly belligerent and the war-weary American people are tired of policing every corner of the world.

But these changes have profound implications, both historically and prophetically.

What’s the Big Deal?

On October 3, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry met with their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo to discuss their two nations’ security pact. While Washington has called all previous meetings about the pact, Japan asked for this one.

During the meeting, Japanese officials deployed plenty of the usual rhetoric about wanting America to keep ensuring security in Asia. Afterward, however, the Japanese said they’ll foot a $3.1 billion bill to help move 9,000 American troops out of Okinawa. Japan wants to break free of the U.S. military; this is just one of many steps it will take toward that end.

Tokyo’s true purpose for the conference was to work toward expanding its own military role. A joint statement afterward said Japan is “reexamining the legal basis for its security including exercising its right of collective self-defense, expanding its defense budget, reviewing its National Defense Program Guidelines, strengthening its capability of defending its sovereign territory” and more. The U.S., the statement said, “welcomed” all these efforts.

Before the meeting, an unnamed Pentagon source said the two sides would also “start the process for reviewing” a lift on the ban that outlaws Japan’s first-strike capabilities. Although statements released after the meeting made no mention of lifting that, the wheels of this monumental change may well be in motion.

Is there anything wrong with America letting Japan expand its military power so it can help look after U.S. interests in the region? Isn’t Japan a reliable, trustworthy, peaceful nation? For the answer, consider why Article 9 was written again. Many nations, particularly among Japan’s neighbors that experienced the war that gave birth to Japan’s pacifist constitution, view a rearming Japan with deep anxiety rooted in history (“A Savage History,” page 16).

For decades, that history has restrained Japan from being overly bold or open in its military activities. Now, however, three factors make Japan less concerned about appeasing those who fear a revival of its militaristic nationalism: Japan’s dwindling faith in America’s security promises; its rising tensions with China and the Koreas; and its desire to be viewed as a world power in its own right, complete with the ability to defend its national interests.

These factors have caused Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other nationalists to intensify efforts to redefine Japan’s military as a full-fledged force. “I will do my best for the future and for amending the constitution. That is my historical mission,” Abe said in August. The October 3 conference showed that America is ready to help Abe achieve this “historical mission.”

But if the restrictions are lifted, would Japan behave responsibly? Are the new generations of leaders and citizens repentant over the nation’s past atrocities? Have the Japanese changed?

Massacre? What Massacre?

Tokyo has apologized for instigating aggressive wars, but the apologies have been regularly undercut by revisionist statements from top politicians.

“The Nanjing Massacre is a lie made up by the Chinese,” Japanese Cabinet Minister Shintaro Ishihara said in 1990. “The Nanjing Massacre is a fabrication,” Japanese Justice Minister Nagano Shigeto said in 1994. “The Americans brainwashed the postwar Japanese into believing they had committed terrible war crimes,” said Tokyo University Prof. Nobukatsu Fujioka in 1997.

In 2007, Mr. Abe wrote a newspaper article saying there is no evidence that the Japanese had kept sex slaves. Last year, the governor of Tokyo said the soldiers’ practice of keeping slaves was “necessary,” and “a good means of making money” for the women.

This year, Abe proposed scrapping several key government statements that Japan made in the ’80s and ’90s acknowledging its atrocities.

Is this just a handful of extremist politicians? Abe’s favorable rating among the Japanese public fluctuates between 60 and 70 percent and has been described as “stratospheric.” Domestic media seem unperturbed by his revisionist statements.

Textbooks used in Japan’s school system are notorious for glossing over or ignoring the country’s wartime barbarism. Some fear that since Japanese students aren’t learning this history, the nation is forgetting its past and new generations could be likelier to repeat it. Mr. Abe has addressed this, saying that he wants to further beautify Japan’s wartime history so Japanese children can be proud of their past!

The people of Japan embody many exceptionally noble traits. Their cultural and technological contributions have enriched the human experience for millions around the globe, and they have the same incredible potential that God gave to all human beings. But a dangerous number of modern Japanese view their nation’s wartime atrocities with pride. The history is being downplayed, and their potential for brutality remains.

The Secret

As significant as gutting Article 9 would be, the reality is that Japan has long been building toward a military capable of more than defense. Late Trumpet columnist Ron Fraser explained, “The reality is that the sheer strength of current Japanese military power—let alone its potential for rapid growth—belies the intent of Article 9 …. [U]nder the cloak of Article 9 of its constitution, Japan—entirely of its own initiative and in its own national interest—has built one of the most powerful military forces in the world, a force with the capability of power projection far beyond the realm of self-defense. How soon will the world wake up to the fiction that a pacifist Japan continues to be content with a military role of purely self-defense?” (theTrumpet.com, August 8).

Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the U.S. officials who wrote Japan’s constitution were experienced and world wise. If they were around today, they would recognize Japan’s shifting tides and take action to reverse them. But, as the Prophet Isaiah wrote, American leaders today act like children (Isaiah 3:4). The biblical name for the United States is Manasseh, which in Hebrew means forgetful. Those leading America today are living up to this name: Like children, they are destitute in experience and forgetful even about very recent history.

As the U.S. snubs history, turns inward and ignores geopolitical shifts, the barriers established to prevent another world war are being systematically dismantled.

The Powerful Speech the World Ignored

The Powerful Speech the World Ignored

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From the December 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

On October 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered what was probably the most powerful speech ever heard in the United Nations. It was a dire warning of the clear and immediate dangers posed by Iran. He said Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, is fooling the world with soft words—while fanatically working behind the scenes to obtain the nuclear bomb.

This warning should have left the ears of the world burning. It should have pricked the conscience of the Israeli people, as well as the international community. Shamefully, it did not.

Iranian Double-Speak

Prime Minister Netanyahu urged the world to not be fooled by Rouhani. In his public addresses, Rouhani mentions the “human tragedy in Syria”—but, as Netanyahu pointed out, Iran is one of the biggest supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad! Rouhani condemned the “violent scourge of terrorism”—yet Iran is the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism! Rouhani criticized “attempts to change the regional balance through proxies”—but Iran itself uses proxies to stir up violence in Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, Bahrain and several other places.

This is the leader of a country that is about to get nuclear bombs! How can the world afford to believe him when he says Iran doesn’t want nuclear weapons?

Netanyahu put forward some tough questions for those who believe that Iran only wants to build nuclear power plants (emphasis mine throughout): “Why would a country that claims to only want peaceful nuclear energy … build hidden underground enrichment facilities? Why would a country with vast natural energy reserves invest billions in developing nuclear energy? Why would a country intent on merely civilian nuclear programs continue to defy multiple Security Council resolutions and incur the tremendous cost of crippling sanctions on its economy? And why would a country with a peaceful nuclear program develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, whose sole purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads?”

The facts are clear, and the truth is obvious. The Iranians have lied in the past, and they continue to lie. Yet, incredibly, Western leaders and many of our people simply believe the lies.

Those icbms Iran is working on are only to deliver nukes! Look what Iran is doing without nukes and try to imagine what it would do with nukes. Can you imagine a Middle East with Rouhani in charge? Netanyahu tried to explain it, and a lot of UN representatives walked out!

Mr. Netanyahu warned that Iran obtaining the nuclear bomb “would trigger nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East, turning the most unstable part of the planet into a nuclear tinderbox.” Imagine that: a nuclear tinderbox.

Netanyahu exposed Rouhani’s strategy: Just smile, say soothing things about peace, democracy and tolerance, play the game of negotiating—and never stop pursuing nuclear weapons. “Why does Rouhani think he can get away with it?” Netanyahu asked. “Because he’s gotten away with it before. Because his strategy of talking a lot and doing little has worked for him in the past.”

America and the world went through this same charade with the North Koreans: We made a deal where North Korea promised to dismantle its nuclear program—and one year later, North Korea had nuclear weapons. We learned nothing from that.

Netanyahu knows this history. And so do the Iranians. They know that if North Korea can get away with it, so can they! That is what American weakness has taught the world!

A Warning for Israel

Judging from the tone of his speech, it appears the prime minister realizes he is losing international support. He said that if Israel had to, it would stand alone against Iran.

Netanyahu quoted parts of Amos 9:13-15. He said the prophecy in these verses about vineyards being planted in Judea, and God planting Israel “upon their soil, never to be uprooted again,” is fulfilled today.

That prophecy is sure, but he is absolutely wrong about its timing. Amos is talking about a future time that is coming—after the worst time of suffering ever on Earth!

In his conclusion, Netanyahu stated, “Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home ….” Who of us would not like to believe that? But is that what biblical prophecy says? No—it says they are facing the most hideous holocaust mankind has ever seen!

Netanyahu didn’t mention the preceding scriptures in Amos. He overlooked Amos 3:11-12, which mentions two legs and a piece of an ear being taken from the lion’s mouth. That prophecy is not talking about sheep—but about the way that the modern nations descended from ancient Israel are going to look after a nuclear attack!

It is a grisly picture, but this is the reality of our world!

People read Amos and the prophecy that the Jews will never be uprooted—but that won’t be fulfilled until after the captivity, which is mentioned in the same context!

Netanyahu certainly made a scathing attack against Rouhani—yet God has a scathing attack for the people of America, Britain and the Jewish nation. These three nations—which are the modern descendants of Israel (as explained in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy)—are hypocrites! They don’t believe God. They’ll quote one verse that has good news while ignoring the terrible warning in the surrounding scriptures.

Netanyahu noted that Israel is “from the ancient people Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” But how many Jews are trying to walk by the faith of Abraham today? How many policies of that small nation truly stem from the faith exemplified in their biblical forefather? And how many people emulate the obedience to God that Abraham is praised for? (Genesis 26:4-5).

Prime Minister Netanyahu even spoke of the Persian King Cyrus, and how the Persians were once good friends with the Jews. But he said nothing about why the Jews were in captivity to Cyrus! That is where there is a real lesson for America, Britain and the Jewish nation today!

At least Netanyahu can see that Iran is a danger to the world, and he is trying to do something about it. What a stark contrast to the U.S., which half-heartedly addresses the danger with meaningless statements that leave the U.S. frail and its enemies emboldened!

What will it take for people to give up their devotion to trivial pastimes, and focus on the Earth-shattering events around them? Open your eyes, and you know the world around you is falling apart. Time is short. However, there is still time for individuals to escape the coming nuclear destruction, when, as Amos says, there will only be “pieces” of the nations of Israel left.

Also, understand that there is incredible hopebeyond the coming horrors of nuclear darkness. Don’t lose sight of the vision at the end of Amos. If you can grasp that vision, if you can avoid the distractions of our world and see beyond the terrible times to come. Then you can be sure to one day participate in the awesome world God has in store!

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We’re All Falling in Love With Germany

We’re All Falling in Love With Germany

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It’s become the most popular nation in the world. What could go wrong?
From the December 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

In relationships, whether between persons or between countries, falling in love is a sure path to tragedy.

To fall in love is to enter an intimate relationship casually, blindly. Falling into a relationship means failing to take the time to evaluate the character, personality and history of the target of your affections; neglecting to measure compatibility and whether the elements exist for a healthy, lasting relationship.

It’s important we think about this, because the world is falling in love with Germany.

It’s easy to understand why. I travel to Germany regularly, and the more I visit, the more I appreciate and admire the German psyche: the work ethic; the quality of craftsmanship; the respect for law and order; the frugality, the discipline, individually and collectively, in the face of materialism; the emotional and mental stoicism and toughness; the reliability. There is much to admire and love.

Compared to her suitors—notably Britain and America, two recklessly led countries that are collapsing daily—Germany, with its financial stability, its robust economy, its cautious, calculated politics and sound-minded global leadership, looks like a supermodel. For a world that craves leadership, strength and constancy, a world searching for a nation it can depend on, a nation with a bright and hopeful future, Germany seems the ideal choice.

But as we fall for Germany, we need to stop and consider: Are we making a fatal mistake?

Germany, like all peoples, has ugly sides to its personality. Have we deeply considered these? More significantly, although it’s politically incorrect to discuss, Germany has a long history with tyranny, with powerful men and regimes amassing power then abusing it with unspeakable cruelty and horror. You would never give your heart to such a person. Yet, here we are, giving our hearts and souls to Germany.

It can only end in tragedy.

Deutschland über Alles

It’s been nearly 70 years since World War ii ended, and 24 years since the Berlin Wall fell. Today Germany and the German people are respected, admired, and very often envied by peoples and nations the world over. Much of this is deserved, too.

In May, Germany took first place in the bbc’s annual poll of the “most popular country in the world.” In the survey of 26,000 people from 25 countries, 59 percent said Germany has a “positive influence” in the world. In the “Nation Brands Index,” a large survey conducted by research company GfK to measure the global image of various countries, Germany came in second to America.

In May 2012, the German Society for International Cooperation (giz), an organization that informs the opinions and policies of the German government, conducted an in-depth study of the perception and reputation of Germany and the Germans. The report revealed a world that is not only agreeable to increased German leadership, but yearning for Berlin to take more control.

“Many countries have high expectations of Germany and see it playing a bigger role in Europe and the world,” giz reported. Feedback indicated that “almost everyone expects Germany to take on a major role,” and that the only thing holding Germany back right now is Germany.

Analysts at giz were surprised. “Expectations that Germany will in future take on the role of honest broker more frequently are astonishingly high—not just for ‘politically safe’ areas like energy and climate, but also on highly controversial issues like Iran and Syria” (emphasis added throughout).

Even Germany’s contemporaries in Europe, though they might sometimes balk at German demands, crave German leadership. Chancellor Angela Merkel is often criticized and ridiculed, but when she speaks, Europe listens—and conforms. Europeans know that their fate, financially and politically, rests with Germany.

‘Don’t Hide Behind Your History’

The global swoon over all things Deutsch goes beyond a love for bmws and Oktoberfest. Important people on every continent—world leaders, statesmen, finance gurus, journalists—are begging Germany to do more to solve major world problems.

President Obama lavished Chancellor Merkel with praise in 2011 while presenting her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest honor America can give a civilian, and an award usually given only to American citizens. “Don’t hide behind your history, said the president. Act in accordance with your importance,” reported the German weekly Die Zeit. “The world today does not fear a strong Germany,” Der Tagesspiegel recorded Obama as saying. “It is, rather, disappointed when Germany is too reserved.

On June 19 this year, in a speech beneath the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Mr. Obama again invited Germany to assume more leadership. “[S]ometimes there can be a sense that the great challenges have somehow passed. And that brings with it a temptation to turn inward …. But I come here today, Berlin, to say complacency is not the character of great nations. … And I’ve come here, to this city of hope, because the tests of our time demand the same fighting spirit that defined Berlin a half century ago.”

The world’s fortunes depend on Germany, and Berlin has the responsibility to lead the world, Mr. Obama explained. “[W]e are not only citizens of America or Germany—we are also citizens of the world. And our fates and fortunes are linked like never before. … I say all this here, in the heart of Europe, because our shared past shows that none of these challenges can be met unless we see ourselves as part of something bigger than our own experience. Our alliance is the foundation of global security. … We cannot shrink from our role ….”

Thirty years ago, that speech would have been delivered in Hyde Park, or outside Buckingham Palace. But today, Britain, like America, is collapsing from the inside; it is a shell of its former self. America’s president has made it clear that he disdains the special, historic relationship—the alliance that secured global security during the 20th century—between Britain and America.

So here he was in Berlin, foolishly declaring America’s affections for the nation responsible for some of the greatest suffering in human history.

‘Germany, Lead Us, We Beg You’

In July, London Mayor Boris Johnson, during a visit to Berlin with his family, wrote a gushing article celebrating Germany’s rise and reproving those who view Germany with caution. Johnson recalled his grandfather’s distress about a reunited Germany. “Everything tells me that his anxieties were baseless, and that the reunification of Germany has been one of the greatest success stories of modern geopolitics,” he wrote (July 21).

Baseless? Aren’t the horrors of World War ii legitimate justification for some skepticism over Germany’s unification and emergence as a leading world power?

“You look at Berliners today,” Johnson wrote, “and you ask yourself what the fuss was about, 24 years ago. There were people like my grandfather, and Margaret Thatcher, who were instinctively hostile to German unification. … There were the Euro-federalists, who argued that Germany needed to be ‘locked in’ to Europe. We needed a single currency to ‘contain’ Germany, they claimed, to ‘tie them in’—as though the Germans were [a] loose cannon rolling about the European quarterdeck, about to crush innocent Slavic nations. What a load of bunk that turned out to be.”

What shallow, shortsighted analysis. To understand “what the fuss was about,” and to evaluate whether Germany could pose a threat, we can’t just “look at Berliners today.” Britain made this mistake during the 1930s, when many influential people, including the Prince of Wales—much like Boris Johnson today—admired and praised what they saw in Berlin. We must consider the facts of the past and present, study the trajectory, and then marshal all these pieces to build a picture of the future.

We ought to be less concerned about what Germany looks like today, and more concerned about what the nation will look like in 2, 5, 10 or 20 years!

Mr. Johnson concluded: “I can understand why my grandfather’s generation felt as it did, but it is emphatically time to forget all that and embrace the new Germany. … We have absolutely nothing to fear.”

What a sweeping endorsement: Forget history, embrace Germany’s hegemony, fear nothing! Johnson will live to regret those words.

This sentiment prevails in capitals all over the world—even in nations that not all that long ago were destroyed and occupied by Germany. Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, stated in November 2011: “I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity. You have become Europe’s indispensable nation.”

It’s difficult to find consensus among nations, but on the subject of Germany and its place in the global order, the world is in harmony: Germany, we want you, we need you, please do more!

Again, one can understand the logic. Major world problems are mounting. The West’s competitors—Russia, China, Iran and radical Islam—are increasingly belligerent. And the U.S., overwhelmed by domestic crises and led by a foreign-policy introvert, is abandoning the bridge. Meanwhile, Germany has one of the largest and healthiest economies in the world, is responsibly managed both politically and financially, and has the size and military and diplomatic infrastructure to exert leadership. Germany is strong but pacifist, adept but not overtly domineering.

It looks like the perfect savior.

The Reluctant Superpower

Berlin has answered the global clamor very shrewdly. Its leaders haven’t responded with arrogance, marching about with an “it’s about time” look on their faces. Angela Merkel hasn’t turned diva, prancing around making outrageous demands or obnoxiously lording it over others. To the contrary, Berlin is handling the attention with caution, reticence and modesty.

Germany reciprocates, but coyly, with a shy smile. Berlin is involved, often centrally, in all the important issues. It gives decisive input, signs agreements and joint statements, and dispatches its diplomats, and even its military, all over the world. It provides leadership—but it does so quietly, gently, and seemingly reservedly, with a hint of regret. Germany, as the Telegraph recently put it, appears to be a “reluctant superpower.”

This inflames the world’s affections and only makes us pine more!

Consider Germany’s conduct in Europe’s debt crisis. No one doubts that the solution can only come from Berlin. Although EU officials and European leaders participate in most conversations, on a practical level the decisions and policies are approved by Berlin. Germany is leading Europe through this crisis. But it is leading in a way that doesn’t overly concern or frighten Europe. More often, it makes Europe desire more German leadership and intervention.

We see this same strategy in Germany’s foreign policy. Consider Libya. When America, Britain and France ran off to war in 2012, Germany sat on the bench alongside Russia and China. The result? First, Germany avoided being blamed for aiding the rise of radical Islam in Libya. But it also showed itself to be independent of America and Britain, a lackey to no one. In Libya, Germany was the wise old man that more people ought to have listened to.

It’s the same in Syria. Instead of being among the first to sign Barack Obama’s statement at the G-20 condemning Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons attack, Germany was the last. Think back to the height of the Syria crisis. Can you remember a strong speech from Angela Merkel or Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle? It’s not that Germany doesn’t have a role in Syria—it does, especially via its arming of Saudi Arabia and Gulf states with military hardware. Germany is involved, but in a cautious and calculated manner, a manner that avoids offense and wins respect among its counterparts on both sides.

This strategy is working, too. Notice what President Assad stated in an October interview with Der Spiegel: “When I think of Europe, I ask myself who is closer to the reality in my region? Every European position is still far from our reality. Germany and Austria have the most objective and closest position to reality. The German position is the closest.” Asked if Germany could play the role of mediator, Assad replied: “Of course, I would like to see envoys from Germany come to Syria to see and discuss the reality. Coming here doesn’t mean you support the government. But if you come here, you can do, you can talk, you can discuss, you can convince.”

Even Syria wants more German leadership! Now that’s impressive!

The same day the Assad interview was published, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani called on Germany to play a “positive and constructive role” in the following week’s negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. The P5 is comprised of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Guess who the +1 is? Germany. Even Iran, the sworn enemy of the West, seems to recognize Germany’s potential as a leader.

This strategy of playing the coy and reluctant superpower is evident in Germany’s dealings on every continent. The nation is entrenched politically and militarily, and especially in trade and commerce, in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. But its presence in these regions is strong but quiet, influential but not offensive, and smartly calibrated to cause its hosts to crave more German involvement.

Historical Amnesia

Earlier this year during a conversation with a German journalist in Hamburg, I raised the question of Germany’s imperialist history and whether it ought to be considered when we discuss Germany’s ascension today. His response was cogent and delivered matter of factly, as if the question itself was passé: Listen, you guys are going to have to get past World War ii. It has no bearing on the present.

This man was speaking about the few today who factor in history when evaluating contemporary geopolitics. Because as we’ve seen, the general view is that we must forget Germany’s history, and that the German people need to get past it too. “Almost everyone expects Germany to take on a major role,” the giz survey found. “Few respondents voice[d] reservations stemming from the country’s former striving for hegemony and Nazi crimes.” Barack Obama has cautioned Germany against “hiding behind its history.” Boris Johnson says we have “absolutely nothing to fear.”

Forgetting or ignoring the horrors of Germany’s past makes us feel noble, merciful, forgiving. But this view is more self-righteous than righteous.

We must not forget that only 74 years—just one lifetime—ago, Germany started the most destructive war in human history. Today we’re taught that it wasn’t the Germans, but just Adolf Hitler and a few friends, that caused the Second World War. We’re taught that the war was imposed on the German people as much as it was on the world. This just isn’t true. The war was Hitler’s brainchild, but it was supported and fought by the German people.

We must not forget that less than a quarter of a century before World War ii, Germany instigated World War i, the most destructive war in human history to that time. Today we’re commonly led to believe that this war started in the Balkans with the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand. The truth is, the war started because Germany pushed Austria to declare war on Serbia, thereby thrusting the major powers into conflict.

We must not forget the 19th-century history of Prussian Prince Otto Von Bismarck, the man responsible for consolidating the German states, augmenting Prussian power, and igniting the flame of modern German nationalism. Under Bismarck, the imperialist German empire initiated violent wars with the peoples of eastern and southern Europe, as well as France.

We must not forget the history of the Habsburg Dynasty, which was centered in what today is southern Germany and Austria. This too was an imperialist empire, one that expanded using a well-crafted strategy of violence, politics and romance to encompass most of Europe, the Americas and East Indies.

We must not forget the history of Otto the Great, the 10th-century German emperor, the forefather of German nationalism, and the man who under moral and spiritual cover from the Catholic Church conquered the people of central, southern and eastern Europe and established the German Holy Roman Empire.

Germany is not responsible for all of Europe’s history with war and violence. Napoleon was French. So was Charlemagne. The Spanish had their moments. But if you study objectively the past millennium of European history, you’ll find that leaders, kingdoms and regimes that were headquartered in southern Germany and Austria instigated the majority of Europe’s conflicts.

One thousand years of history teaches that when Germany is united and strong, and when it is ruled by a particular type of leader, its natural tendency is to expand and conquer. One thousand years of history teaches that the German people have a deeply rooted nationalism that can be exploited and can lead to cruel and violent action. One thousand years of history teaches that the German people, for all their wonderful qualities, have a deep weakness for embracing tyrannical leaders.

Mesmerized by the moment, we reject 1,000 years of history!

Whenever I read about the history of the 1930s and the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party, I’m always struck by the behavior of Britain and America. Many people weren’t merely naive or ignorant of Hitler and his ambitions. Many actually admired the man, his ambitions, and even Nazism. Shockingly, many British politicians, artists and media personalities visited Germany and fell in love.

Can you imagine? Many British and American leaders were infatuated with Germany—just years before Hitler thrust the world into a nightmare! There’s a powerful lesson there for us today. Sure, no German leader is publicly declaring his hatred for Jews the way Hitler did. Germany doesn’t appear to be as militaristic. We haven’t seen ominous edicts like Hitler’s Nuremberg laws. Nevertheless, Germany—in spite of, or perhaps because of, its long history of imperialism—is rapidly gaining dominance.

History demands that we be more careful.

The Mastermind

For more than two decades, Gerald Flurry and the Trumpet have marshaled Bible prophecies and world history to reveal how the now-forming German-led European superpower is in fact the seventh manifestation of the Holy Roman Empire. Employing a host of Bible passages—including Daniel 7 and 8, Isaiah 10, Habakkuk 1, and Revelation 12, 13 and 17—we have shown that Germany’s end-time global dictatorship is prophesied. For some this is hard to see and accept, but time and events are vindicating our message and warning.

The Bible also reveals that there is an unseen hand, a spirit power, that guides the Holy Roman Empire. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2 calls this being the “prince of the power of the air,” and in 2 Corinthians 4, “the god of this world.” Jesus called him Satan. In Revelation 12, in direct relation to the Holy Roman Empire, this being is called the “great red dragon.”

Satan masterminded the rise and actions of all six historical resurrections of this church-state combine. Today, in the rise of the seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire, we are witnessing the devil at his finest.

Think on it. If you look back on each of the six resurrections of the Holy Roman Empire, it’s easy to see each for the incredibly cruel and violent entity that it was. In each case, often long before the regime attained the height of its power, it was evident that it would inflict catastrophic damage. Take Hitler. It wasn’t hard to recognize Hitler’s capacity for evil long before World War ii. He laid out his plans for world dominion in Mein Kampf in 1926! Throughout the 1930s he rejected agreements, built his military, persecuted Jews, and toward the end of the decade even invaded other countries. It was said about Hitler that his eyes shone when he spoke, as if there was another power speaking through him. He delivered speeches with such fervor and emotion that he’d often collapse into a heap afterward. It was as if his body had been used by a foreign power.

The point is, when Satan constructed Nazi Germany, he didn’t hide his ambitions. You could see—and some few, like Churchill, did—what the terrifying and disastrous fruits would be long before they arrived.

But Satan is building the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire much more deviously! He is being covert.

This being is the master of obfuscation and circumlocution, of smokescreens and sleight of hand. And he’s pulling out all the tricks to deceive us and lull us into a false sense of security. Who considers Angela Merkel a threat? She’s the antithesis of Hitler. We don’t see German leaders swaggering around openly plotting invasions. The German public, which appears to still be carrying around the guilt of World War ii, looks pacifist and disinterested in engaging the world. Compared to others, Germany’s military looks small. Germany today appears the exact opposite of an imminent imperialist power. It’s the perfect ruse!

Today we have to look harder and deeper than Churchill ever did. There’s no Mein Kampf, no obvious dictator at the moment, no Nazi Party, no goosestepping, no ominous hints of an impending genocide. But look closely, and you will see that Germany possesses all the basic requirements to unite Europe and establish what Bible prophecy says will be a Catholic-inspired, German-led global dictatorship.

First, there is a desperate need for leadership. Germany has the financial supremacy, the reputation and respect regionally and globally, the geopolitical experience and acumen, and the military infrastructure and power. Consider also the geopolitical landscape. Who’s around and willing to check Germany’s ascendance? France, Britain, America? Forget it. Russia and China? They are its friends, for now.

You can argue that Germany lacks a Hitler, Napoleon or Charlemagne, someone with the personality and will to shape Germany and Europe into a superpower. That’s fair. But that can change quickly. Then what happens when such a man comes along, as the Bible says he will? In that moment, he will take all these components and virtually overnight transform Germany into a terrifying superpower.

Beyond all this, there’s something the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire has that the others lacked—something brilliant and remarkable—something virtually unprecedented in human history. That is, Germany today has the love of the world—and an openinvitation to take global leadership!

For more information, request a free copy of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

Are We in the Last Days?

Are We in the Last Days?

JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

From the December 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Even to the casual observer, it is evident this world has withstood a series of profound crises over the last decade.

In 2004, a devastating earthquake rocked the Indian Ocean, which triggered a massive tsunami that wiped out 230,000 lives. Nearly a quarter of a million people were swept out to sea. A similar catastrophe occurred in March 2011, when Japan was pounded by an earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis.

In July 2005, radical Islamists bombed the London underground rail system, killing 56 people and injuring 700. A month later, Hurricane Katrina plowed into the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 people. It was the deadliest hurricane to strike America in more than 75 years.

In August 2006, Iran started the Second Lebanon War by orchestrating the kidnappings of Israeli soldiers. There was the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, which has proved to be a continual thorn in Israel’s side, as hundreds and sometimes thousands of rockets fired from Gaza strike Israeli soil every year. In September 2007, Israel bombed Syria’s nuclear facility. Some analysts said this nearly started World War iii.

In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia, Iran conquered Lebanon, Germany conquered Kosovo, the United States ran Pervez Musharraf out of office—adding to Pakistan’s instability, and the U.S. economy came within a few minutes of financial meltdown.

In 2009, the new leadership in the United States spent the year courting its traditional enemies while at the same time sticking it in the eye of its allies. Israel went to war with Hamas in Gaza, Iran crushed a democratic uprising called the Green Revolution, and the Lisbon Treaty became Europe’s new constitution. That same year, Europe was rocked by an economic crisis, which opened the way for Germany to ride to the rescue.

In 2010, for all intents and purposes, Iraq fell to Iran. The American dollar came under assault. America’s strong traditional ties with Israel unraveled. Britain surrendered its military sovereignty. And then there were the natural disasters: 2010 was one of the deadliest years on record. The Associated Press called it “the year the Earth struck back.”

And Today?

Today the world faces an ever radicalizing Islamist movement in the Middle East. That movement’s momentum has greatly accelerated since February 2011, when the U.S. helped oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Right now, we see a last ditch attempt by Egypt’s military to suppress the Brotherhood’s power, but the secularist military is operating on borrowed time. This is especially true now that is has lost the U.S. funding that long helped it contain the Brotherhood and Egypt’s other radical Islamists.

In Syria, civil war rages, claiming over 120,000 lives to date. Meanwhile, the nation is becoming the center point of a dividing line between Sunnis, Shiites (often radical Islamists) and European allies.

Last year we witnessed the infamous attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Just weeks later, Americans reelected Barack Obama and with him the most radical leftist administration this country has ever seen. Earlier this year, we saw another deadly terrorist attack on American soil in the Boston bombing.

Multiple political scandals have also hit the headlines this year: revelations of a deliberate cover-up after the Benghazi attack; the Department of Justice admitting to monitoring AP and Fox News journalists; the Internal Revenue Service being exposed for targeting known conservative groups to influence the 2012 election; National Security Agency leaks showing the government has been collecting phone records and vast amounts of Internet data from ordinary American citizens for years. In October we had the government shutdown, revealing paralyzing division in America’s political system.

Given these many earthshaking events, is it any wonder why many people now believe we are living in the prophesiedlast days of this age?

Dangerous Times

In his booklet Are We in the Last Days?, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “Time was, when some wild-eyed freak shouting a ‘doomsday’ warning was ridiculed as ‘off his rocker.’ But today serious world leaders and scientists are saying grave things about the current drift in world conditions.”

Added to that, never before in history—until this generation—has it been possible for man to destroy all flesh from the Earth. This, in itself, makes it possible for the prophecy of Matthew 24:22 to be fulfilled: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

In 2 Timothy 3:1 Paul warned, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” The word perilous can also be translated dangerous. These dangerous times are upon us now!

Commenting on this prophecy, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “When I was a little boy, 90 years ago, those conditions were not true or escalating as they have been within the last 20 or 30 years. … The weapons have never existed in all history that could have laid all cities waste until the hydrogen bomb of some 30 years ago. How significant that this became possible only during the time while this gospel of the Kingdom was going from nation to nation into all the world for a witness to all nations.”

2 Timothy 3:2 describes human nature in all of its ugliness. People today are “lovers of their own selves”: They couldn’t care less about the needs or desires of other people. Everywhere we see lovers of money, materialism and radical individualism—people who are contemptuous of God and His law and who aggressively promote the upside-down families spoken of in Isaiah 3. Paul also says people are unholy, unthankful and without natural affection, and we love pleasure more than we love God. It all has a “form of godliness,” but it’s just a show.

Losing Our Religion

God says we deny His authority by our rebellious actions! The Bible no longer bears any direct authority over people’s lives. The miraculous events of Scripture are explained away as fable or old wives’ tales. People may claim to be religious, but they don’t really believe that God will intervene and change world events. They deny that Christ will return and rule this Earth with a rod of iron, even though dozens upon dozens of prophecies describe that soon-coming reality.

The world is filled with churches, which send hundreds of “missionaries” into foreign lands, telling people about Christ. Yet His message, the good news of the Kingdom of God, they deny. The true gospel they oppose. This world has been deceived by a counterfeit gospel about Christ the person. His actual message has long been forgotten.

“From such turn away,” Paul says. He describes this generation as ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (verse 7). The Greek word ever in that verse means at all times or always. In other words, Paul is describing a generation where there has been an explosion of materialistic knowledge. And yet, we are further from the truth than ever before! This is the “great paradox” Mr. Armstrong spoke of on so many occasions. Advances in science have not put an end to war and suffering—instead, we have seen tragedies increase.

And yet, many people still deceive themselves into thinking there is no special danger right now—that the world has always been like this. Of course, this is true in part. From the very beginning, it was man, under the influence of Satan, who introduced this world to selfishness, destruction and death. But 2 Timothy 3 tells us that in the latter days, world events will take a dramatic turn for the worse.

This, coupled with the stark reality that never before has human annihilation been possible as it is today, ought to wake us up!

The Sign of Christ’s Coming

In Matthew 24, the disciples came to Christ and asked Him what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the world.

The focus of Christ’s message was on today—the end of the world, or the end of this age. Not only did Christ describe signs of the end of the world, He gave signs of the end of the end time! He gave specific details to watch for.

Notice the first and most important warning Christ gave them: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (verses 4-5).

This religious deception is the first horseman of the apocalypse! (Revelation 6). It is not just about deception from false, non-Christian religions. People are going to be deceived about Christ and His message—about what true Christianity really is.

Christ went on to say, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matthew 24:6-7).

All this is only the beginning, He says in verse 8. These end-time events, Jesus continued, are leading to a world war, the likes of which this Earth has never seen (verse 21). Without God’s intervention, mankind would literally destroy itself (verse 22).

“Many other scriptures show that conditions will become more frightful than ever before or ever shall be again on Earth,” Mr. Armstrong continued in Are We in the Last Days? “Such conditions are rapidly escalating at this moment. Person is against person, even within a large proportion of families. Group is against group. Nation is against nation. Violence is escalating as never before in history. Terrorism is throwing fear and consternation into people all over the world.”

But we can thank God that all these self-inflicted curses will culminate in the prophesied return of Jesus Christ: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (verse 30).

Jesus Christ will set foot on this Earth for the second time, arriving in the exact same manner He left the first time (Acts 1:11). This time, however, He isn’t coming to sacrifice His life for the sins of a rebellious mankind. This time, He is coming to forcibly put an end to human suffering and death, and to set up the Kingdom of God—the royal Family of God that will administer God’s righteous government over all the Earth!