Former Iranian President Rafsanjani Dead

Former Iranian President Rafsanjani Dead

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His death deals a dual blow to the so-called ‘moderate’ movement in Iran.

An influential leader and prominent figure in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was one of Iran’s most well-known “moderates.” On Sunday, at age 82, he died from a heart attack in a hospital in north Tehran.

Depending on which news source you read, you will find a variety of obituary-like recounts of Rafsanjani’s presidency and life. Many in the left-wing media emphasize his support for fellow “moderate” and current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, his support of the Green Movement, and his role in the cessation of the Iran-Iraq War as signs of an enduring commitment to moderation and reform in Iran.

But consider: The Green Movement collapsed; Rouhani has failed to raise standards of living or bring moderation to Iran’s political elite; and although the Iran-Iraq War is over, today’s Iranian military and Shiite militias are a vital part of Iraq’s own armed forces—essentially propping up the current Iraqi administration.

Furthermore, Rafsanjani’s death strikes a blow to Rouhani. Rafsanjani was a longtime supporter of Rouhani’s and was no doubt prepared to be a key ally in the upcoming elections. Rafsanjani’s history and prominent placement in Iranian politics would have been a bulwark of support for Rouhani.

A blow was also dealt to the broader “moderate” movement in Iran. High-ranking positions in the Guardian Council are primarily comprised of hard-liners—not to mention the top job of the supreme leader himself. The “moderates” and reformists of Iran have lost a powerful spokesman.

Furthermore, the hopes of a moderate supreme leader were further diminished by Rafsanjani’s death. Rafsanjani was head of the Expediency Council—the advisory council of the supreme leader. While unlikely to be in the running himself, Rafsanjani would have played a key role in choosing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s successor.

Rafsanjani’s latter works have barely outlived him. But what of his earlier days? One key policy looks set to live on well after his death. It is a policy that carries with it a warning: Iranian “moderates” are not moderate.

Nuclear Weapons

On al Quds Day on Dec. 14, 2001, Rafsanjani stated: “If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.” He was discussing the potential of nuclear war.

Mark Langfan of Arutz Sheva wrote about the capability of a crudely built nuclear weapon the size of that dropped on Hiroshima if detonated in Tel Aviv. It would instantly kill 2 million people and irradiate the coastal plain, wounding another 2 million. This is the sort of warfare Rafsanjani discussed, even as he was considered Iran’s lynchpin “moderate.”

Iran’s nuclear program has since been validated in perhaps the worst deal contrived during U.S. President Barack Obama’s tenure. Iran now inspects its own facilities and receives sanctions relief on the promise that it won’t pursue nuclear weaponry—all while advancing its nuclear-capable ballistic missile program.

The Rafsanjani-supported nuclear weapons program is going to live on. While he may not have seen the dream fulfilled, the current generation surely will.

Rafsanjani’s enduring legacy of support for nuclear armaments is indistinguishable from the current ruling class. This “moderate” did not bring reform or moderation, just more of the same post-revolution extremism.

In Rafsanjani’s Footsteps

This begs the question: Will Rouhani—a fellow “moderate”— be remembered as such? Or will his lasting actions, like those of Rafsanjani, only aid in the perpetuation of the radical regime?

Here are a few things to consider. The nuclear deal that Rouhani presided over has given the Iranian regime funds to perpetuate terror throughout the region. Rouhani has overseen Iran’s gains in Iraq—splintering the nation along the Sunni-Shiite divide. During his time on the world stage, relations with the Sunnis have been strained nearly to the breaking point. His first term in office saw hundreds of thousands die in Syria. He has supported Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Iranian people have received little-to-no benefit from the nuclear deal. Iran has not stopped funding terror or other programs maintained by Rouhani’s predecessor.

Meanwhile, the Western media clings to the belief that Rouhani is a moderate. But the facts say otherwise. Both Rouhani and Rafsanjani—two examples of supposed “moderates” in Iran—have carried out policies that maintain Iran’s extremism and bring the nation closer to obtaining nuclear weapons!

Rouhani might not be as vocal as Rafsanjani in calling for nukes, but his deals with the West have given Iran time, legitimacy and money. Remember in 2006 when Rouhani bragged about secret nuclear work? “[B]y creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work on Isfahan [a nuclear enrichment facility].” That was while he was chief nuclear negotiator! Rouhani supported the quest for nuclear weapons, even if he won’t admit it today.

Rouhani is no different from Rafsanjani. And if Rafsanjani was unable or unwilling to moderate Iran over the course of his long political career, what hope should be placed in Rouhani?

Rouhani’s legacy and dreams will be the same as Rafsanjani’s—the same as Khamenei’s: radicalism. The only difference is Rouhani might yet see those dreams become a horrifying reality, in the form of nuclear weapons.

Dreams Become Reality

The Trumpet has stated repeatedly that Iran will soon gain the nuclear weapons that it desires. When that happens, terrible events prophesied in your Bible will also become reality. Read Daniel 8:23, 11:40, Leviticus 26:19 and Joel 2:3. These are just a handful of the prophecies that forecast a coming cataclysm.

But as abundant as these warnings are, so too are the promises that you can escape these terrible events!

Leviticus 26 is not just about curses; it is about blessings too! Remember that God never changes. The promises He made to ancient Israel can apply to you as well! Read the first 13 verses of Leviticus 26. God promised protection to Israel if it obeyed Him. Our path to true prosperity—even Iran’s path to prosperity—can be found in these verses. Tragically, most reject this knowledge and instead put their hope in the promises of “moderate” leaders.

As Rafsanjani and Rouhani both prove so well, there is no hope in the “moderates” of Iran. These men work only to promote violence, terror and eventually World War iii!

All people can take encouragement from Leviticus 26, if they heed and obey. You need to understand where Iran is heading, what it means for this world, and how you individually can be saved from the tragedy ahead.

Request and read our free booklets The King of the South and Jerusalem in Prophecy. If you seek real hope for major, lasting, peaceful reform, this is the place to start.

‘Where Is God in the Terrorist Attacks?’

‘Where Is God in the Terrorist Attacks?’

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Terrorist attacks on Christmas markets and New Year’s Eve celebrations once again raise the question: Where is God as humanity suffers?

Horrifying news of terrorist attacks electrified Christian communities around the world in 2016, and the opening days of 2017 have brought more of the same. While this year promises to be worse than last year, many question: Where is God in all of this? If God is an almighty, all-powerful, all-loving, all-merciful Being and if He really does love His creation, why does He not stop the violence?

Could it be that God has left humanity alone?

Heiner Koch, the Catholic archbishop of Berlin, was asked that exact question by German newspaper Die Welt after Berlin was hit by the terrorist attack in December. His answer: “The Christian message says that God is especially with us during the times of suffering and darkness” (Trumpet translation throughout).

The newspaper then asked, if God loves us, why does He allow such suffering? Koch admitted (emphasis added):

I can’t explain this; I ask Him the same question. As Christians, we firmly believe that God is greater than our thinking and knowledge. We cannot understand God. A God whom we can understand, one that we believe to be able to explain, is no longer the infinite God. Surely I will die with the question of why God allows suffering. But the one thing I know is that the Son of God did not descend from the cross but remained and did not leave us alone. I firmly believe that God does not leave us alone in this terrible situation. This is the nail test of our faith and trust.

What a paradox: If the God of love and light is with us when we suffer and are left in darkness, why do Christians feel further away from Him when such horror happens? The archbishop said that He endures with those who feel abandoned, and none in the world can explain it to them.

A telegram from the Vatican addressed to Archbishop Koch dated December 20 read: “Pope Francis unites all men and women of goodwill who commit so that the homicidal madness of terrorism no longer finds space in our world. In this sense, his holiness implores God the merciful Father for consolation, protection and His comforting blessing.”

It became clear that the pope’s prayer for protection remained unheard, as just a few days later 39 people were killed in the Istanbul shooting while celebrating the New Year.

New Year’s Day is meant to be a day of “good wishes and hope,” but hardly anyone today has any good wishes or hope left for the coming year. More and more Christians now believe that they have to live with terrorism.

In a general address on January 4, Pope Francis singled out mothers who have lost their children and admitted that he too doesn’t know why God allows such suffering to happen. But instead of trying to find an answer to this question, he encouraged silence and joint mourning:

In order to speak of hope to those in despair, you have to share in his or her despair. In order to wipe a tear from the face of the suffering, we must unite our tears to hers. Only then can our words really begin to give a bit of hope. If one cannot say words like that, or share in the painful tears, it is best to be silent, to offer a caress or a gesture without words.

But what reason is there for such suffering? Why does God not hear the pleas of those who suffer violence? Where is God’s comfort in today’s world?

Why didn’t God save the 5,000 migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean in 2016? Or the almost 17,000 civilians who died in Syria? What about the nearly 4,000 children among them—didn’t they have a right to live? If Christ is really trying to save the world today, as Christianity claims, why doesn’t He give those people a chance to come to Him, rather than letting them die before they’ve had the opportunity?

So-called Christianity does not have the answer. Archbishop Koch and many Catholics conclude that God is so great that we cannot understand Him. But is it true that no man can or ever will understand God? The Bible says otherwise: All those with God’s Spirit understand what God is doing—“for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). The same verse says that God has given this Spirit to His disciples. So what is God doing? Why is He a mystery to this world?

Will the suffering of this world ever end? Will humanity see light? The highest religious offices of this world say they don’t know.

Jesus Christ did prophesy about suffering, darkness and tribulation—but He also prophesied about His return with power and great glory to put an end to all the suffering of this world (Matthew 24). Sadly, today’s Christianity is not focusing on these prophecies, which are the only source of hope; but rather it is caught up in trying to change and comfort a world that has been prophesied to go into much tribulation.

But why does God allow such temporary suffering today?

For eternity, God dwelled in peace, joy and happiness. He wanted to share His joy, so He created angels. But one of the angels, Lucifer, rebelled against God’s way. He led a third of the angels into rebellion with him (Revelation 12:4), and they brought darkness, suffering and destruction to the Earth and the universe. Lucifer’s name was changed to Satan, and he is now the temporary god of this world (Revelation 12:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4). But this rebellion did not destroy God’s ultimate goal. God had a backup plan.

After the angelic rebellion, God created mankind—and He gave man the ability to choose between Satan’s way of suffering and death or God’s way of joy and life. Adam, and with him mankind as a whole, chose Satan’s way of rebellion against God. This has led to terrorism and all the other types of suffering mankind endures today. Adam’s rebellion also prompted God to “shut off” access to His way—typed by the tree of life—for the majority of mankind. Herbert W. Armstrong explained in his masterpiece Mystery of the Ages what happened after Adam made his choice:

And so a world—a civilization—developed from the original Adam and Eve. When God shut off the tree of life, that act marked the foundation of the world. It was founded on rejection of God, on disobedience to God’s law, which defines God’s way of life. And all the evils, sorrows, pain and suffering in 6,000 years of human civilization have resulted.[But] God had designed a 7,000-year master plan for accomplishing his tremendous purpose. The first 6,000 years were allotted to allow Satan to remain on Earth’s throne, and for humanity to learn the bitter lesson, through experience, that Satan’s way of self-centeredness in opposition to God’s law leads only to pain, suffering, anguish and death.

The temporary suffering of today serves an eternal purpose. Most everyone who lives through it will see the need for man to rely on God, instead of thinking humanity—under Satan’s deception—has the answers. After 6,000 years of suffering, followed by 1,000 years under God’s government, ruled by Christ, the dead will be resurrected to life and taught God’s way. They will be given 100 years to choose God’s way. After all mankind who has ever lived has been given their opportunity for salvation, God the Father will come dwell with His children—not in darkness, but in light! He will wipe away all tears from their faces—not with tears of His own, but with His all-encompassing presence. Then “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

That is the hope we have!

The suffering of this world is not a sign that we are closer to God than ever before. But it is a sign that we are closer than ever to Christ’s return when we will learn—by divine intervention—that we have lived apart from God because of our sins (Isaiah 59:2). Christ will soon return and turn darkness to light (2 Peter 1:19). People at that future time will be able to reflect back on this current age of suffering, and they will be able to compare it to the peace they will then be experiencing. The comparison will be stark, and the vast majority will choose God’s way of life.

The truth of why God allows such suffering today, and why the religions of this world don’t understand it, is thoroughly explained in our booklet Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?

Will Siri Steal Your Job?

Will Siri Steal Your Job?

Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on January 9, 2017.

The world stands on the brink of yet another technological revolution. Advances in machine learning and vocal recognition are giving rise to new ways of intelligent machines—such as self-driving cars and electronic assistants. Some experts are predicting mass unemployment as machines take over yet more jobs once done by people. Are they right? Trumpet writer Richard Palmer examines the myths and truths behind these predictions and looks at how economic instability can lead to political and even global instability.

Listen to or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show on:

2017—All Eyes on Jerusalem

2017—All Eyes on Jerusalem

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As united Jerusalem turns 50, we ask: Will it make it to 51?

Jerusalem—2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War in which the tiny Jewish state of Israel defended itself against numerous Arab armies simultaneously. Israel not only survived, but by the war’s end, it had taken possession of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank from Jordan, expanding its territory threefold. At the time, many Jewish leaders and foreign journalists alike recognized this was a miraculous victory.

However, the most symbolic and emotive part of the war for the Jews occurred on the third day when Israeli Army Chaplain Rabbi Shlomo Goren gathered soldiers before the Western Wall to blow the shofar at Judaism’s holiest site. The solemn blast announced to the world that the Jews had captured the Old City and the Temple Mount. For the first time in almost 2,000 years, Jerusalem was united under Jewish rule.

But now, 50 years on, we must ask: Will united Jerusalem make it to 51?

UNSC Unilaterally Divides Jerusalem

As we enter 2017, more attention is being focused on Jerusalem than any year in recent memory.

On December 23, the United States broke with its traditional role as Israel’s protector at the United Nations Security Council (unsc) by choosing not to veto a resolution that called Israeli communities in the West Bank illegal and invalid. The resolution, however, has a more sinister aspect than most previous attempts to impugn Israel’s claims over the territory it won in the war.

In that resolution, we see the UN taking aim at Israel’s control and sovereignty of Jerusalem itself, not just the territory of the West Bank.

Notice the first three points of the resolution. The unsc (emphasis added):

1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations ….

Why single out Jerusalem in the resolution? Why not just mention the West Bank, or the more general term of the “territories” as in previous resolutions?

Why? Because the unity of Jerusalem was the real target of this resolution.

The resolution isn’t about settlements in far off regions of the West Bank. The key difference in this resolution to all others is that Jerusalem itself is now on the chopping block. According to the unsc, which is the closest thing we have to a world government, Israeli rule over East Jerusalem has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law.

In these three separate instances, the resolution draws specific attention to East Jerusalem, not just the West Bank. East Jerusalem of course is technically part of the West Bank, but all previous negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, such as the Oslo Accords in the 1990s and the Camp David Summit in 2000, dealt with Jerusalem as a separate issue from the territory of the West Bank.

The future of Jerusalem wasn’t predetermined. The issue of Jerusalem in a final peace deal was to be negotiated separately.

But now, according to the UN—and supported by the U.S.’s decision not to veto—the Israelis not only cannot build or live in Judea and Samaria, but now, any building in East Jerusalem beyond the now invisible 1967 lines is illegal.

The UN has unilaterally divided Jerusalem—and Israel didn’t even have a say in it.

Past Precedent

It is true that some Israeli leaders in the past had offered East Jerusalem to the Palestinians in an effort to reach a peace agreement. One of these was former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

In 1993, the government of Yitzhak Rabin signed the first set of Oslo Accords. They became the new foundation and platform from which Israeli-Palestinian peace would be negotiated. As part of the accords, the future of Jerusalem was declared to be a separate subject for future negotiations. The likelihood of Israel giving up sovereignty of East Jerusalem in a peace deal was highly unlikely. Rabin even declared in his last Knesset speech, one month before he was assassinated in 1995, that Jerusalem must always remain the united capital of Israel.

However, one of Rabin’s own followers, Ehud Barak, would go against Rabin’s intentions just five years later.

In 2000, during the waning months of his time in office, Barak offered terrorist and Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat the West Bank and East Jerusalem in return for peace as part of the Camp David summit negotiated with U.S. President Bill Clinton. Although Arafat refused, Barak’s offer of East Jerusalem signified a huge departure from Israel’s negotiating position.

But now the cat was out of the bag: Israel was willing to negotiate away East Jerusalem. Israel had always said Jerusalem would be undivided, but apparently there was division on that position.

As Dore Gold, adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, recounted in his book The Fight for Jerusalem, the Israeli public was absolutely furious when it learned that Jerusalem was being offered as part of a peace deal. This led to the largest demonstration in Israel’s history, as 400,000 citizens marched to the Old City walls to protest.

At the time, even though Arafat did not accept the deal, some leftist Israeli officials even considered proposing a unsc resolution where the new parameters for peace including East Jerusalem would be locked in to the new negotiating position of the Israelis. But that didn’t happen. There was no security resolution in 2001.

But fast-forward to December 2016, and we now have that Security Council resolution. The international community has unilaterally decided, with U.S. support, that East Jerusalem does not belong to the Jews. East Jerusalem is no longer up for negotiation—it is Palestinian land, and the Jews have no right to it. Jerusalem, according to the United Nations, is not the united capital of the Jews.

Setting the Stage for Fulfilling Bible Prophecy

Why is this important? It would be easy to disregard the unsc resolution as nothing more than talk. Israel today, especially under the leadership of Mr. Netanyahu, would refuse to concede the Old City and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Mr. Netanyahu himself has said as much. If the UN wanted to enforce this resolution, they would have to march member-nations’ armies into Jerusalem to force Israel out of East Jerusalem.

Most people would agree that it would be highly unlikely and irregular for the UN to be able to organize itself that way.

It is possible, however, that the Palestinians themselves could react to this resolution in an armed uprising and try to simply take what the UN has now said already belongs to them. At which point, Israel would need to suppress the violence. That action would put Israel at loggerheads with the international community.

This is important because the Trumpet has long forecast this exact scenario we see developing. Pointing to a prophecy in the biblical book of Zechariah, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said for many years that half of Jerusalem will indeed fall into Palestinian hands. In March 2006, he elaborated on how it would come about:

It seems the Palestinians could get East Jerusalem, minus the Temple Mount, without a fight. Zechariah’s prophecy implies that there will be an impasse over the Temple Mount—which the Palestinians “resolve” by taking East Jerusalem by force. That is why I believe the conservatives could regain control in Israel. They have a stronger will to fight for the land they believe belongs to the Jews.

At the time he made this statement, a passive left-wing government was in power. But for this prophecy to unfold, conservatives would have to return to power.

This has since happened.

Mr. Netanyahu will not accept Palestinian control of the Temple Mount or East Jerusalem. Yet buoyed by this resolution and likely further action by the international community in the coming months, the Palestinians could be motivated to make a run for it themselves.

Clearly the unsc resolution doesn’t further the chances for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Instead it undermines Israel’s negotiating position, and actually encourages the Palestinians to fight for the land, which brings into play Zechariah’s pivotal prophecy of half of Jerusalem falling.

In 2017, all eyes are going to be on Jerusalem. Zechariah’s prophecy of half of Jerusalem falling is not some obscure or relatively unimportant end-time event. Rather, it is a verifiable and highly visible event that sets off a chain reaction of further prophecies leading to the coming of the Messiah. To understand in detail the events to follow the fall of East Jerusalem, please request Jerusalem in Prophecy by Gerald Flurry.

God’s Watchman

God’s Watchman

The book of Ezekiel discusses two end-time watchmen. Only one of them is appointed by God.

The Prophet Ezekiel wrote about two watchmen who would be on the scene in this end time (Ezekiel 33). One has already come and gone. The other will remain until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. You need to know who this second watchman is.

The Ezekiel message is an end-time warning to physical and spiritual Israel. Physical Israel consists of the birthright nations of America and Britain primarily. Ezekiel also discusses in less detail the scepter nation of Judah, which is the tiny Jewish state in the Middle East. (Request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to prove the prophetic identity of these nations.) Spiritual Israel is God’s Church.

A watchman warns the people so they may live and be successful. He isn’t just a man of doom. “If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezekiel 33:3-6). God is being very direct here. The watchman has no choice: He must either deliver a warning or die!

Notice Ezekiel’s description of the first watchman. “Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman” (verses 1-2). This figure was chosen by the people, not by God.

Some historians give Winston Churchill credit for saving Western civilization during World War ii. Britain and the entire Western world had quite the watchman at that time. God used Churchill to fulfill a vital purpose, but the people chose that man. God did not. (Request my free booklet Winston S. Churchill: The Watchman for proof that he was the prophesied first watchman of Ezekiel.)

The Second Watchman

Ezekiel wrote a very different description of the second watchman. “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me” (Ezekiel 33:7). God says of this second watchman, “I have set you.” This is the last man whom God will use to deliver a warning before the coming of the Messiah. What a blessing it is to hear the voice of our Creator through His watchman. We must know our Bibles to discern whether this message is really coming from God.

There will never again be a watchman chosen by the people. The times are too dangerous, and the people are too asleep to see the need for a warning. The nations have reached the point of no return; no longer can they repent as a whole and escape destruction. (Request my free booklet Lamentations: The Point of No Return to understand more.) This time, God has chosen His own watchman. This is the greatest turning point in the history of God’s watchmen since He sent Jesus Christ to the Earth.

God’s watchman is a “son of man.” God chooses a lowly messenger to declare the warning so that the people of physical and spiritual Israel will focus on the words instead of an impressive leader.

There is a unique aspect to God’s watchman today. “And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (verse 33). He is a watchman and a prophet. You could not say the same about Churchill. He did not have a prophetic message. He did not tell the people to repent of their sins as God’s watchman does today.

Ezekiel was a prophet but not a watchman. He wrote his warning message to Israel in 585 b.c., while in Babylonian captivity along with the rest of the nation of Judah. Israel had already been enslaved by Assyria more than 100 years earlier, so Ezekiel’s warning to Israel must be for this end time.

“When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (verse 8). God is saying that He speaks through one man. We won’t hear from God personally, but hearing the voice of the watchman is the same as hearing God Himself!

“Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul” (verse 9). God wants to protect all people from the Great Tribulation. The only way to be protected is to hear the warning message, to accept it, to rally behind it, and to help deliver it to the world. God wants us to live! In a world full of nuclear bombs, survival is no certainty. We need God’s protection.

“Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (verses 10-11). The root cause of all human suffering and death is made clear here: sin. God is crying out, through His watchman, for all mankind to repent! Evil leads only to death; God wants us to live.

The Rebels

“Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking [about] thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord” (Ezekiel 33:30). A few people can sense that this is a message from God. They can watch it on television, hear it on the radio, and read it online or in print. It is an intriguing and peculiar message.

What do they do with this precious understanding? “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness” (verse 31). Only God’s rebellious people could seem so much like His loyal remnant, yet without works. They may know how to talk or dress nicely, but where are their fruits? They are consumed by covetousness and materialism. If God’s own people have gone so far off track, the rest of the world must also be in big trouble.

“And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not” (verse 32). After Mr. Armstrong died in 1986, the Worldwide Church of God fell apart and broke into hundreds of offshoot churches. Other than the Philadelphia Church of God, no one has held fast to his teachings. They may enjoy reminiscing or listening to old World Tomorrow radio broadcasts, but they don’t do anything with the truth that God gave them! Only doers will receive the protection and blessings of God (James 1:22-25).

“And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (Ezekiel 33:33). God’s rebellious people fail to see the watchman standing right in front of them. They are wasting away in debilitating sins. The nations of Israel are just as blind and rebellious. Had the Gentiles received similar access to God’s truth, they would have repented! (Ezekiel 3:6). Our people seem determined to choose the path that leads to death (Deuteronomy 30:19).

“Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil” (Isaiah 56:1-2). God’s people have failed to uphold the law. They no longer keep the Sabbath holy. They mix the corrupt customs of the world with the pure truth of God.

“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (verse 10). Each rebellious offshoot group of God’s Church has its own watchman. These watchmen don’t warn of what is coming. They won’t face reality. These are the times of the Gentiles, whom God compares to wild ravaging beasts! Russia, China, Iran and the Holy Roman Empire are rising. This is no time for slumber! The only good news is that the problems in God’s Church are a sign that Jesus Christ is about to return.

God says He will offer a tremendous reward to anyone who supports His watchman warning message. “For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off” (verses 4-5). God’s loyal remnant will be more than sons and daughters—they will be the very Bride of Jesus Christ! They will help billions of children be born into the God Family.

God tells us, “Do the Work, and I will make you a lot more than sons and daughters in my Kingdom.” That reward is worth anything asked of us.

God’s Watchman

The Prophet Ezekiel described two end-time watchmen who would have a powerful impact on the world. One was chosen by the people; the other was chosen by God.