One Sip of a Bitter Cup

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One Sip of a Bitter Cup

From the September 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

How can you not become complacent? Suicide terrorist attacks have become so routine in daily headlines that we casually scan them and move on.

Many rush-hour riders of the London Underground surely felt that way as they toured the city or commuted to work the morning of July 7. Some may have even fleetingly cast their eyes over a small report in that morning’s paper of yet another suicide car bombing the day before in northern Iraq that killed an Iraqi soldier.

But suddenly, mere words on a page became horrifically vivid—a bloody reality.

On three separate trains, each filled with 700 to 900 passengers, deafening booms shattered the calm. Commuters pitched forward as the train abruptly stopped. Blackness—lights blinked out and carriages filled with smoke.

Screams and cries pierced the air.

“We were all trapped like sardines waiting to die,” one survivor said. People shattered windows and battered down doors to escape.

Through the haze they spilled, running in panic and terror. “I saw a lady coming toward me soaked in blood,” said another witness. “Everyone was in confusion.”

Pieces of flesh lined the train walls; corpses and portions of corpses littered the ground.

“I honestly thought I was going to die,” said another, “as did everyone else.”

Fifty-seven minutes later, a nearby blast ripped the roof off a double-decker bus and killed 13 people. “There were bodies everywhere,” said one onlooker. “Heads and bits of bodies, heads and arms and legs all ripped away.”

All told, 56 were killed and 700 wounded in the four coordinated attacks that Thursday morning in London.

The event made major headlines worldwide particularly because it had hammered one of the world’s premier cities. But it was only one of countless terrorist attacks that occurred worldwide in July, some few of which were even more lethal. Iraq saw one of its bloodiest months ever, suffering an average of 68 attacks per day; in one of the worst, July 17, a car bomber rammed a fuel tanker, creating an explosion that slew 90 people. In Egypt, the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh was rocked in the early hours of July 23 by three bombs that killed at least 88 people, foreigners as well as Egyptians. Other major attacks occurred in Lebanon, India and Turkey.

Such violence has been a horrifying fact of life in the little nation of Israel for some years. But the cancer is spreading. Suicide attacks have struck over 25 countries on five continents, and have hands-down become the weapon of choice for Islamic terrorists the world over.

As more and more lives are lost and upset, complacency will become a luxury we can no longer afford.

There is, in fact, a palpable and dramatic shift taking place in our world.

Against the backdrop of July’s spike in terrorist attacks came a rash of reports outlining a correlated and equally troubling trend: a weakening of anti-terrorism forces. U.S. military recruitment declines; junior officer retention sags. Unforeseen Iraq occupation costs skyrocket; U.S. economy strained. Washington questionably declares a sort-of victory; justifies withdrawing almost two thirds of U.S. forces from Iraq by next year. Iraqi draft constitution aims to establish Iran-style theocracy; end result of U.S. intervention could be a nightmare.

Meanwhile, Israel proceeded with plans for its unilateral pullback from the Gaza Strip despite the move angering and dividing Israelis and emboldening militant Arabs.

Add to this equation the recent political shift to the right within Iran and that country’s new president’s declaration of a revived worldwide Islamic revolution.

Step back and view the whole picture, and it is as if the current world order is visibly unraveling. The momentum, it appears, is swinging away from the United States in favor of the most dangerous pockets of radical Islam.

Is this how it is to be now? Will these trends persist?

The Trumpet states with confidence that, sadly, the answer is yes.

More and more, complacency is about to give way to recognition that we are leaving behind a comfortable era of Western dominance—and entering a new and uncertain era of violent competition for supremacy among remorseless foes.

It is a cruel era specifically prophesied by Jesus Christ.

During Christ’s ministry, His disciples asked, “[W]hat will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matthew 24:3, Revised Standard Version). Jesus didn’t dismiss the idea that the world as we know it would come to an end. No—He responded by warning His disciples of specific events to beware of (found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21). He concluded with the words, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).

One third of the world’s population considers itself Christian. So it should hardly seem unusual or unorthodox to take Jesus at His word. Do you?

In one of these specific signs, Christ said that the people of “Jerusalem” would “fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (verse 24).

Who are the Gentiles? If we are to watch for this sign, we must know.

The common idea that any non-Jew is a Gentile is false. A careful study reveals that the modern identity of the tribes of the biblical nation of Israel—of which Judah, or the Jews, is only one—includes, most prominently, the United States and Britain. If you have not proven this truth, a reading of our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy by Herbert W. Armstrong is critical.

Christ prophesied that—barring mankind’s repentance—we are about to enter a time when America’s and Britain’s global influence will be snuffed out, and Gentile powers will wreak unimaginable havoc on the Earth.

Jerusalem, the literal city located in modern-day Judah, will be “trodden down of the Gentiles.” Revelation 11:2 also shows how the Gentiles shall “tread under foot” the “holy city” for 42 months—or 3 ½ years. But Bible prophecy also uses Jerusalem, the capital of ancient Israel, to denote the entirety of prophetic Israel—chiefly the American and British peoples.

This seismic shift in geopolitical momentum—away from America and toward a clutch of non-Israelite, or Gentile, powers, accompanied by an escalation in brutal violence and war—is one of the visible signs Jesus Christ gave of His imminent return!

The darkness and evil that are about to flood this globe presage the most wonderful news in human history!

In this issue, the Trumpet illuminates this sign: the geopolitical shift in favor of this world’s growing Gentile powers. The terrorist attacks—the rise of Iran—the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq—the retreat of Israel—these are early indicators. The articles that follow put these events into their prophetic context.

We will look squarely at the remarkable rise of radical Islam and where it is leading. We will examine the measurable decline of Western, specifically American, power. We will expose two other world powers gaining ascendancy exactly in keeping with the Bible’s prophetic outline.

We will take an unblinking look at just what this world should expect when the early indications we see today explode into their full scope.

And we will discuss the hope of physical protection God affords those who put their trust in Him—and the far greater hope of a new world, governed by God, which will begin when the darkness has passed.

But what darkness. 9/11 was the first sip of a bitter cup for Anglo-America—7/7 the second. Soon we will look back upon these terrorist strikes as mere pinpricks.

The time for complacency is past.

The times of the Gentiles are upon us.