The Wuhan Coronavirus and the Bible’s Prophesied Disease Pandemics

People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, China.
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The Wuhan Coronavirus and the Bible’s Prophesied Disease Pandemics

Scripture shows that the pale horseman is not finished riding.

“If things go on like this, we will all be doomed,” said a woman identifying herself as Xiaoxi, in an interview over the weekend with the South China Morning Post. “[P]eople just keep dying; no one is taking care of the bodies.”

Xiaoxi’s husband is among the 7,600 people across China who are confirmed to be infected by a new pneumonia-like illness called the 2019-nCoV, or Wuhan Coronavirus. The illness is named after the central Chinese city of Wuhan where it originated and after the halo- or corona-like shape of the microorganism.

Experts say Wuhan is milder than other illnesses in the coronavirus family, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (mers). But it is still deadly dangerous: As of Thursday morning, the official number of dead as a result of the virus stood at 170. And authorities expect the numbers of infected and dead to continue to mushroom.

Fear that the rates will rise is largely because before Wuhan and its suburbs were placed on lockdown, some 5 million people are believed to have left Wuhan for other parts of China and the world. These individuals are potentially carrying the deadly virus to all corners of the world. And cases have already been confirmed in recent days in Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Ivory Coast, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In the United States, the fifth case was confirmed on January 26, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an additional 50 people in 22 states are under observation.

The Wuhan Coronavirus is spreading, and the Chinese National Health Commission has said its ability to do so grows stronger with time.

The official story from the Chinese government is that the virus originated from a Wuhan wet market where animals that ordinarily wouldn’t interact with each other—koalas, wolf puppies, snakes, rats, peacocks, foxes, salamanders and dozens more—live in terribly cramped and unhygienic quarters as they wait to be slaughtered and sold as food for people. The authorities say circumstances at this market gave rise to trans-species mutations of pathogens that were eventually able to leap from animals to humans.

But a study released on January 24 shows that the first three infections, documented in early December, were not connected to the Wuhan wet market. Nor were 11 others of the 41 cases analyzed. This indicates that the true cause of the virus may still be unknown, that the strain that infects humans emerged earlier than official reports say, and that it then remained undetected for an unknown duration.

One factor complicating efforts to contain the spread is that the virus has shown itself to be transmissible before any symptoms appear. This means carriers often do not realize they are infected until after they have transmitted it to others. Scientists at Imperial College London calculate that each individual infected by Wuhan has gone on to spread it to two or three other people. And they calculate the death rate around 1 in 50, which is comparable to the rate of the Spanish Flu in the United Kingdom. Worldwide, the Spanish Flu killed as much as 5 percent of Earth’s total population—a higher percentage than died in World War ii.

So it is easy to see why much of China has gone into emergency mode, with 15 cities—a combined population of 57 million people—having been placed under lockdown. Even as far away as Shanghai, hundreds of miles from Wuhan, businesses are shut down and schools are closed until the illness can be contained.

In the U.S., the government is advising its citizens to “reconsider travel” to China. Several other countries have suspended tourism from China altogether, and others are evacuating their citizens from infected areas. Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan have closed their borders with China. The World Health Organization said the worldwide risk from Wuhan is high, and global markets are beginning to falter over fears of a possible pandemic.

Much remains unknown, and it is possible that the efforts to contain the Wuhan Coronavirus will keep it from snowballing into a worldwide catastrophe. But Bible prophecy says devastating disease pandemics are on the horizon.

The biblical book of Revelation is about “things which shall be hereafter,” or occurrences that would happen after the era of the Apostle John (Revelation 1:19). In Revelation 6, John was inspired to write about the “seven seals” that lead up to the return of Jesus Christ. The first four are often called the “four horsemen of the apocalypse.” They represent religious deception, war, famine and disease (verses 1-8).

Regarding the fourth horse and its rider, John writes: “I looked, and there was a pale green horse! Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him …” (verse 8; International Standard Version).

This is a personification of disease epidemics—sickly, haunting and unyielding. The passage says that along with the other three riders, the anemic-looking horseman that represents disease will slay “the fourth part of the earth.” With today’s population of 7.7 billion, that figure would come to almost 2 billion.

Revelation 6:8 also connects the pale green horse to “the beasts of the earth.” Trumpet contributor Fred Dattolo addressed this connection in 2005, writing that in addition to instances of starving animals attacking people, this passage “can also refer to animal-borne disease that passes on to humans,” as may have played a role in the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Revelation is not the only biblical book to mention an end-time return of disease epidemics. Jesus Christ Himself said outbreaks of pestilence would occur prior to His return: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be … pestilences … in divers places” (Matthew 24:7; see also Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:11).

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry and Wayne Turgeon cowrote about the impending return of disease pandemics in their booklet The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, stressing that these prophecies are for the present age. “We are not discussing some dusty old prophecies,” they write. “These are dramatic, dire prophecies that lie directly in front of us! … Multiple millions of people will perish from sickness and disease ….”

They continue: “[E]ven in the 21st century, despite better medicine and technology, the threat to all societies looms large on the horizon. Even old diseases from world wars fought over 75 years ago are making a silent but deadly return.”

Mr. Flurry and Mr. Turgeon explain that although this points to a dark and devastating future, the Bible makes plain that God will provide a route of escape for those who will turn to and rely on Him. “The future appears very bleak,” they write. “But there is a way of escape (Revelation 12:13-17). God will hear and forgive anyone who will repent. The only ones promised divine protection are those few who have yielded to God and His way of life.”

The Scriptures reveal that, whether the Wuhan Coronavirus fizzles out or not, the gains against disease that mankind has made in recent generations will soon be lost. The pale horseman is not finished riding. But each person could have some say as to whether he or she will be in his path or not.

To understand more, order your free copy of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

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Thoughts From a Dead City

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Thoughts From a Dead City

From the March 2020 Trumpet Print Edition

Pompeii is one of the most amazing archaeological sites I’ve ever visited. About 10,000 people lived there until a volcanic eruption in a.d. 79 destroyed the whole town. Today, it’s incredibly well preserved. You can walk down streets and wander through houses that have been empty for nearly 2,000 years. The history of Pompeii and Rome opens a window to a past that is both strangely alien and strikingly familiar.

Parts of Pompeii feel familiar. The amphitheater held 20,000 sports fans, who bought food at streetside fast-food stands and who supported their sides so passionately that fights sometimes broke out between opposing spectators.

Then you remember what “sport” they were watching. This structure, the oldest known Roman building of its kind, was built for fans to watch slaves fight each other to the death.

Exhibits of family life from Pompeii show familiar scenes: husband and wife nervously posing for a picture, brothers doing homework, guests arriving for dinner. Other aspects of Roman family life are abhorrent: A child didn’t count as human until he or she was accepted by his father. A rejected child had no legal rights and would be left to die of exposure on a rubbish dump.

The Roman world had an advanced economy, high-rise apartment blocks, sprawling cities. It also had slavery: Perhaps two out of every five people in first-century Italy were enslaved.

The Romans were people like us, with similar hopes, fears, pleasures and human nature. Yet these people, so similar to us, committed appalling evils and thought them normal.

Yet the Romans considered other societies barbaric. Surely they conversed about the abominable child sacrifices of some Eastern religion as they strolled past the rubbish dump on the way to the gladiator deathmatch.

From the outside, we clearly see some horrors for what they are. But looking at life around us, we see everything as normal. The Romans didn’t recognize their own evils. Neither do we.

Our societies regard it as normal, even good, to reach into the womb with crushing instruments and vacuums to kill millions of babies, usually because they are “inconvenient.” Romans allowed the murder of babies, but archaeological evidence indicates they rarely exercised that “right.” You can’t say the same about us today.

Slavery may be outlawed, but Western businesses and governments bend over backward to appease the Chinese government, which has around a million people locked in concentration camps and treats many of its own people poorly, to put it mildly.

I’m sure there are things I regard as unpleasant or bad, yet still “normal.” I’m sure I don’t fully recognize the evil as clearly as I would with an outside perspective.

“Today we are lost in the present—rejecting the past and blind to the future!” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in the July 1998 Trumpet. “We have lost the big overview.”

Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the human heart “is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “Human nature wants to be good—to consider itself and be considered good, while it wants only to do evil” (The United States and Britain in Prophecy). This is exactly what happens when you’re lost in the present. You judge societies by your own current standards, and therefore today’s society always compares favorably. It gives the illusion of the past as barbaric evil and the present as perpetually progressive.

But get to know people from the past, and you see that they were just like us. They committed appalling evils while considering themselves good. If you have even a whiff of humility, you have to ask yourself, are we not doing the same thing?

For a society to refuse to confront its evils is deadly. Yet no society wants to. When first-century Christians declared that society was evil, they were publicly murdered in the same amphitheaters where the gladiators died. Today, nothing will get you denounced more viciously than to suggest that we are sinners.

Our belief that we are much more sophisticated than those who have gone before us blinds us to all lessons from history. What can such inferior barbarians teach us, after all? Our ignorance of history makes us arrogant. And our arrogance keeps us ignorant.

Our failure to see the evil in our own hearts and minds is “the number one problem of humanity today,” Mr. Flurry writes in Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible. Understanding the truth about Jeremiah 17:9 and the evil of the human heart is “more important than any education in this world. When we understand it, radical action is necessary.”

We are no more righteous than the people of Pompeii. Our arrogance just illuminates their sins more brightly than our own. The truth is, we have similarly serious flaws. As a society, and as individuals, we must take radical actions to fix them.

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How Can I Make My Marriage Work?

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How Can I Make My Marriage Work?

From the March 2020 Trumpet Print Edition

A happy marriage is one of the greatest joys life can offer. Yet so many suffer failed marriages. Your marriage can be different if you will obey the Author of marriage.

Marriage is not just a tradition; it is an institution ordained by God. To the first man and woman, He commanded, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

Making your marriage work begins with this understanding. God’s earliest definition of marriage is leaving, cleaving and becoming one. Marriage is the point where a man and wife leave the authority of their parents and form a new family, a new life with new responsibilities and new roles.

Why did God create marriage? The answer is incredibly inspiring. When God gave Adam a helper (verse 18), that symbolized the Church marrying Jesus Christ at His Second Coming (Revelation 19:7). God gave man and wife the ability to reproduce, which pictured the future expansion of the God Family (Genesis 1:28). And He made marriage permanent (Mark 10:9, 11-12), illustrating that the Church’s marriage to the Son of God will never end. Marriage is an institution, a blessing and a vision.

God gives us a lot of instruction in the Bible for making our marriages work, particularly about the individual roles and responsibilities of husband and wife.

Ephesians 5 is the most important biblical chapter explaining marriage. It is a gold mine of instruction. This passage teaches the roles of husbands and wives, then shows that these roles primarily address the marriage between Christ and the Church. The instruction works within a physical marriage because this is an exact type of Christ’s marriage. Both are governed by the same laws.

It starts with verse 21: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Godly family life is a way of mutual submission in the fear of God. In this passage, the Apostle Paul gets more specific about how the husband submits and how the wife submits. He spells out the individual responsibilities of women and men, which reveals God’s thinking, His love, His government and His purpose for marriage.

The two marriage roles interlock in an extraordinary way. Each is about service. Each demands 100 percent commitment to the way of give—the way of love! It requires sacrificing your own notions and ideas. The vast majority of husbands and wives are simply too selfish to do this. We walk by sight, and want to hold on to our own theories of the way a relationship should function. But if we are willing to simply obey—to walk by faith and do as God commands—wonders and miracles result. To do this fully requires real faith in and submission to God.

When a husband and wife each devote themselves to following God’s marriage laws, they set a God-level dynamic in motion that creates a profound level of trust, intimacy and interdependence.

God designed these roles and responsibilities to strengthen, benefit and bless human beings. They draw us into the world of the God Family! They teach us exquisite, God-level governance and love.

None of us are perfect, but God requires that we strive to become perfect (Matthew 5:48). No marriage is perfect either, but both husband and wife must work toward God’s perfect standard.

Wedding ceremonies generally end with the husband and wife making their marriage vows. The vows used in the Philadelphia Church of God, publisher of the Trumpet, come straight from the instruction in the Bible.

The man vows to cleave to his wife unto death, to love her, cherish her, honor her, and provide for her—five specific promises that come straight from Scripture. When husbands understand and keep these vows, their marriages flow with love, blessings and purpose.

The bride vows to take her husband for the remainder of her natural life, to submit herself to him as unto the Eternal, to be subject to him in everything, and to deeply respect him. Different promises for a different role, and also straight from Scripture.

Keeping these beautiful, biblical wedding vows leads to harmony, happiness, stability and longevity in your marriage. If you remember them and keep them, you will enjoy the rich rewards of a marriage governed and blessed by the Creator of marriage! He wants your marriage to be great! He created this magnificent, God-plane relationship, and He wants it to be a rich, joy-filled, deeply satisfying, intimate and altogether loving experience for everyone who enters into it. And as you make your marriage work, you learn more about the awesome spiritual dimension and ultimate purpose of marriage, which extends through the remainder of your natural lives and far, far beyond.

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SocietyWatch

From the March 2020 Trumpet Print Edition

Children’s book teaches that demons are fun

Koyama Press published a book on July 16, 2019, titled A Children’s Book of Demons, by occultist Aaron Leighton. It portrays demons with colorful caricatures and silly descriptions that encourage children whose parents have told them to do something they don’t want to do to “dial up” demons by drawing special symbols.

The past decade has seen a boom in popular interest in demons, possession, magic, witchcraft, vampires and zombies, spreading through books, movies, and other entertainment—now, even children’s books.

Some dismiss demonic entertainment as fantastical, but the spirit world is real. The existence of evil itself, so evident in human interactions, is due to human minds accepting the influence of evil spirit beings. To learn the basic, biblical truth about such beings, read “Mystery of Angels and Evil Spirits” in Mystery of the Ages, by Herbert W. Armstrong (request your free copy).

UK expands civil partnerships as marriage alternative

New laws governing civil partnerships in the United Kingdom came into effect on Dec. 31, 2019, allowing heterosexuals to live together and receive legal benefits such as tax breaks, inheritance rights and property entitlements while avoiding the commitments of marriage.

Civil partnerships were introduced in 2004 as a compromise over homosexual “marriage.” They provided the same legal and financial protection as marriage, without the binding commitments or religious rites—or the term “marriage.” Homosexual “marriage” was legalized in 2014, but civil partnership remained an option and are now also being offered to non-homosexuals.

This progressive destruction of marriage was predicted decades ago by Herbert W. Armstrong in his booklet Why Marriage—Soon Obsolete? Request your free copy to see why Mr. Armstrong knew that the millennia-old institution of marriage could soon fade into irrelevance. He knew that society had lost the purpose of marriage, and in Why Marriage—Soon Obsolete? he showed from the Bible what that inspiring purpose is.

Majority of British children suffer from anxiety

A study commissioned by ChannelMum.com states that the majority of British children suffer from anxiety. The study questioned 2,000 parents, 60 percent of whom said their children regularly feel worry, unease or fear. Of these children, 29 percent can become “out of control” during an anxiety attack. About 30 percent of parents said their children suffer stress-induced stomach aches or use the toilet frequently or pull out their own hair, about 20 percent said their children scratch their own skin, 14 percent said their children have spoken openly about considering suicide, and 13 percent say their children have watched self-harm content online.

In spite of living in the wealthiest nations in human history, Western children are suffering mentally and emotionally in a society that has rejected God.

Study: Half of American adults obese within 10 years

A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine on Dec. 19, 2019, shows “with high predictive accuracy” that by 2030, 48.9 percent of adults in the United States will be obese. In at least 29 states, more than 50 percent of the adults will be obese, with none of the 50 states having fewer than 35 percent. The Trust for America’s Health states that about a third of Americans of all ages are already obese. Large amounts of added sugar are being consumed by adults and children. The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that more than 80 percent of toddlers and infants consume added sugars every day; the recommended amount is zero.

Americans are clearly misusing the prosperity God has given them. He prophesied that those who disbelieve and disobey Him will suffer poor health, among other curses. He specifically said that the Americans and other descendants of ancient Israel would be like “Jeshurun,” who “waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness” and “forsook God which made him” (Deuteronomy 32:15).

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WorldWatch

From the March 2020 Trumpet Print Edition

New record for German arms exports

From 2018 to 2019, the value of German armament exports rose from $4.8 billion to more than $8 billion. Controversial sales to “third countries” outside the European Union and NATO rose by almost a billion euros. These weapons are often purchased by regimes that commit human rights violations and are directly used in regional conflicts. Yet last year, Germany supplied firepower to Algeria, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Indonesia, among others.

Germany’s Ministry of Economic Affairs states: “Arms exports are not a means of economic policy. Whether arms exports are approved depends on foreign and security policy considerations in each individual case.”

German weapons exports are a tool for building not only Germany’s weapons industry and national security, but also strategic partnerships and alliances. Psalm 83 prophesies that Germany, the modern descendant of ancient Assyria, will ally itself with some of the Arab nations it is currently arming. Daniel 11:40-45 show that this alliance will eventually fight Iran.

America blocks Russia-Germany pipeline

United States President Donald Trump shut down the most significant energy project in the world on Dec. 20, 2019, by signing into law the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The law sanctions companies involved in the project, and as soon as the president signed it, Allseas, the Swiss-Dutch engineering company laying pipe for the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline, immediately stopped work.

Whether work will resume on the last 13 percent of the project remains to be seen, but even a delay helps Poland, which is working on several projects to end its dependence on Russian energy, including a pipeline with Norway.

The Nord Stream 2 project is one of the best examples of Germany turning away from its former ally, the United States, and toward its former enemy and historic adversary, Russia. Germany is actually expanding Russian power in Central and Eastern Europe rather than continuing NATO’s policy of keeping Russia out. The situation is so serious that the U.S. used a powerful economic weapon that it only rarely employs.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry described the significance of this pipeline conflict in “Germany and Russia’s Secret War Against America,” showing that a prophecy in Jeremiah 1:13 applies to modern Germany. It describes “a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.”

“This symbolic language is describing modern Germany,” wrote Mr. Flurry. “Beneath the surface, that nation is full of simmering dissatisfaction with the current world order. Germans are angry at the U.S., and especially furious with President Trump. The imperialistic ambition that prompted Germany to start both world wars is alive and well. It is ‘seething’!”

Germans say Trump more dangerous than Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un

Germans view United States President Donald Trump as the most dangerous world leader, according to a Dec. 16-18, 2019, YouGov survey. Selecting from a list including Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 41 percent of the 2,024 Germans surveyed indicated they felt most threatened by President Trump. Only 17 percent feared Kim the most, followed by Putin and Khamenei (8 percent), and Xi (7 percent).

This sends an alarming message about America’s declining popularity in Europe. Germany has been an ally of the U.S. for decades because of American financial support and shared democratic ideals. But that stable relationship is quickly deteriorating. An increasing percentage of Germans are beginning to despise their allies on the other side of the Atlantic.

Clearly, America’s alliance with Germany and the post-World War ii order is crumbling. The Bible prophesies that not only would these two nations fall out, but that Germany will actually lead an attack against America. To understand where the current political crisis between Germany and America is heading, read our article “Europe and America: They’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.”

Will Ethiopia survive 2020?

Ethiopia is suffering severe divisions, and elections scheduled for May could become violent. Africa’s second-most populous nation is divided between supporters of a stronger central government and supporters of stronger individual states, as well as between its nine regions, between ethnicities, and between Christians and Muslims. Conflicts between Ethiopians often become violent and are now reaching a new extreme.

In 2018, the division left hundreds of Ethiopians dead and almost 2.9 million displaced. The central government is weak, and conflict is expected to worsen ahead of May 2020 national elections.

Daniel 11:40 prophesies of a power bloc called “the king of the south.” The fulfillment of this prophecy is modern radical Islam, led by Iran. Ethiopia is specifically mentioned as part of this bloc. Radical Islam thrives in civil unrest, and Iran has worked in Central and East Africa for decades. Watch for Iran to take advantage of Ethiopia’s volatility.

China opens ‘Suez Canal of our era’

A Chinese freight train passed through the Marmaray Tunnel in Turkey in November 2019 on its way to Europe, marking the completion of a major transit point of the Trans-Asian Railway.

“[I]t will be remembered as the first freight train to pass from China across central Asia and under the Bosporus Strait, using the Marmaray tunnel,” Geoffrey Aronson wrote for the American Conservative on Dec. 6, 2019, calling the railway route the “Suez Canal of our era” and an “Iron Silk Road” that is not just a major “time saver,” but provides “the added bonus of circumventing sea routes now controlled by the West.”

Hundreds of related infrastructure projects in more than 60 nations are linking Asia and Europe economically in an unprecedented way.

Bible prophecy forecasts a powerful “mart of nations” trade bloc will form in our lifetimes. Isaiah 23 and Ezekiel 27 show that “Chittim” (modern China) and “Tyre” (a symbol of modern Europe’s economic power), Japan, Russia and other powers will form a powerful trade bloc that will briefly control global commerce. Deuteronomy 28:52 shows that this trade partnership will harm the descendants of ancient Israel, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom. Request Isaiah’s End-Time Vision to learn more.

New alliances forming in the Mediterranean

On January 2, Israel, Cyprus and Greece signed a deal to build a new pipeline that will pump gas reserves from Israeli and Cypriot waters into Greece. A later project is planned to connect Italy. The $7 billion pipeline is expected to supply 10 percent of Europe’s natural gas needs.

Turkey, which was left out of the deal, is working to thwart it. It signed an agreement on Nov. 27, 2019, with the Libyan Government of National Accord that sets the two nations’ maritime boundaries to cut straight across the proposed pipeline route. Turkey, which already has a major military presence on Cyprus, is also planning to establish a naval base in Northern Cyprus and to send drilling ships into Cypriot waters.

Although its population and economy are small, Cyprus occupies an important strategic location. Watch for Turkey and Europe to maneuver for control of the island. To understand the critical role Cyprus may well play in end-time events, read Gerald Flurry’s article “Why Germany Conquered Cyprus.”

Persian Gulf crowded

Since January, nearly two dozen nations have been involved in several separate maritime security missions in and around the Persian Gulf in response to recent attacks by Iran.

On Nov. 7, 2019, a U.S.-led naval coalition launched Operation Sentinel from its headquarters in Bahrain to secure global trade in the Persian Gulf. Warships are escorting cargo vessels just 15 miles off the Iranian coast through the Strait of Hormuz, an important waterway serving one third of the world’s maritime oil shipments. The coalition force has been joined by Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

France’s defense minister announced on November 24 that, instead of Europe joining the U.S. coalition, France would lead its own “European maritime surveillance mission,” which has been joined by Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

Iran conducted joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean with China and Russia starting December 27. Iranian leaders also called for further military cooperation with China, especially in the production of destroyers and submarines. Meanwhile, Japan and India are running their own independent naval operations.

In October, the Trumpet wrote, “Iran is taking aim at the most volatile region on Earth: the oil-producing and shipping sector of the Persian Gulf. This change of policy means that the Middle East is now a lot more dangerous.” Daniel 11:40 says this is leading to a spectacular military clash between Europe and Iran. The Persian Gulf is becoming crowded with foreign militaries. But even if war does not ignite now, tension will grow, and warfare will soon become reality.

Australia suffering ‘apocalyptic’ bushfires

Wildfires are ravaging Australia in an unprecedented bushfire season that has incinerated 41,000 square miles, killed roughly 1 billion animals, destroyed more than 2,200 homes, and killed at least 27 people. Navy ships and military aircraft have been delivering supplies such as food, water and fuel to areas cut off by the fires. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned that this national emergency may continue for months. Smoke from the conflagration has even reached New Zealand, 1,300 miles away.

Many are blaming the fires on climate change, but man-made carbon dioxide emissions are not the primary cause of Australia’s bushfire crisis. Arsonists have been found to be most directly responsible. But the ultimate cause for their sheer destructiveness is found in Leviticus 26:3-4: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.”

Instead of blaming the climate change or the government, Australians need to look at themselves. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in “The Deadly Climate Change Deception,” “God will continue to ratchet up the weather disasters until we finally begin to listen to Him!”

China looking to control Strait of Malacca

On January 6, Malaysia commissioned its first of four Chinese-built Keris-class warships to be built in the coming months, a sign of China’s increasing influence over a nation that controls one of the world’s most important maritime choke points.

The Royal Malaysian Navy wrote that the acquisition marks a milestone for military ties between the two as it is “the first capital defense asset acquired from China” by Malaysia. The contract follows an equally momentous decision by Malaysia in April to let China resume construction on the East Coast Rail Link, which will connect to Port Klang, one of the primary ports controlling passage through the Strait of Malacca, the world’s second-most heavily trafficked maritime choke point for crude oil shipments, surpassed only by the Strait of Hormuz.

The Strait of Malacca is one of dozens of the world’s most important passages that were controlled by Great Britain, then the United States, but that are now falling under the influence of nations like China. As China, Europe and other powers take control of more passages, the British and the Americans will find themselves “besieged,” as prophesied in Deuteronomy 28:52. See “China Is Steering the World Toward War.”

Global debt reaching ‘mind-boggling’ levels

Global debt has ballooned to a record high of more than $250 trillion, according to a Nov, 14, 2019, report from the Institute of International Finance. Global debt has grown by $78 trillion since the 2008 financial crisis, while the global economy has only grown by $28 trillion.

More than 60 percent of the debt is owed by the United States and China, the report continues. Around the world, “there are increasing questions about the marginal utility of further borrowing—and a lot of concern that a continued ramp-up in debt could spark a fresh crisis.”

The world is reaching the limits of the growth that can be squeezed out of deficit spending. Further spending risks are causing a crisis. Economists now have a choice to make: Stop spending and risk destabilizing the global economy, or keep spending until national economies crash under their debt loads.

In Deuteronomy 28, God warns that debt problems are one of the curses that come from disobedience. The world’s current economic woes are not the cause of its problems. Instead, they are one of many symptoms that point to the greater problem: rebellion against God’s law.

China is building an alarming number of warships

The Chinese Navy is bringing an eye-popping number of new warships online, including the commissioning on Dec. 17, 2019, of its first indigenously built aircraft carrier. The Type-002 carrier, named the Shandong, can carry 36 J-16 fighter jets, a dozen more than China’s first aircraft carrier, the Soviet-built Kuznetsov-class Liaoning. The Chinese Navy now also has 30 destroyers, 48 frigates, 42 corvettes and over a hundred smaller hulls, along with 62 ballistic missile and attack submarines, some of which are nuclear-powered. Many more vessels are under construction.

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France Is Resurrecting the Holy Roman Empire

Emmanuel Macron receives the Charlemagne Prize.
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France Is Resurrecting the Holy Roman Empire

France defies America and Britain, allies with the Catholic Church, and empowers a German-led European superpower.
From the March 2020 Trumpet Print Edition

Under the leadership of President Emmanuel Macron, France has turned against America and Britain. Instead of siding with its former allies, France is now courting its World War i and ii enemy Germany.

In light of Bible prophecy, this turn of events is very alarming! In fact, it will lead into a horrifying crisis. But at the same time, this news can fill you with great hope if you understand God’s promises.

Last year, the whole world witnessed France’s bitter clash with America. In an interview with the Economist in November, President Macron said, “The [United States] is turning its back on us. What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of nato [North Atlantic Treaty Organization].”

The U.S. hasn’t led nato perfectly, but it has paid for Europe’s security for decades! Meanwhile, European member states—including France—haven’t spent the minimum requirements on their militaries as required by nato rules. But instead of calling on Europe to contribute more to nato, Macron is stirring a rebellion against the U.S.

Why such harsh words? Why is Macron so negative toward the U.S. when France has benefited so much from that relationship? If not for America’s part in two world wars, France would be part of Germany today!

U.S. President Donald Trump responded by saying, “Nobody needs nato more than France, if you just look back over the last long period of time. Nobody needs nato more than France—and frankly, the one that benefits really the least is the United States. We benefit the least. We’re helping Europe.”

Mr. Trump is exactly right: France has benefited most from nato. But there is a profound reason why Macron is opposing America the way he is.

The real catalyst for this changed approach by France is Germany. Germany is the only one who benefits from Macron’s statements. This is not a question about Europe’s security, primarily. This is about a changing world order. It is a question of accepting or opposing American dominance.

It is also a question of whether France is willing to surrender to Germany’s rule.

Macron is not arguing over minor conflicts of interest; he is rejecting U.S. objectives. He believes Europe and the U.S. have opposing military goals.

nato’s first secretary general, Lord Hastings Ismay, described the alliance’s goals: “Keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” If you consider how greatly France suffered at German hands in World War ii, you would think this would be in Macron’s interest. During World War ii, Russia and Germany made an alliance that enabled Germany to conquer almost all of Europe! After the war, the Allies wanted to ensure that Germany would not be able to rearm again. They agreed that Germany should never be allowed to ignite another war. nato was created to secure the Continent from the Russian threat without letting Germany rearm.

Macron opposes these goals. He believes the time of U.S.-Europe cooperation against Russia is over. “We are in a Europe where we left the arms issue under the control of treaties that predated the end of the Cold War between the United States and Russia,” he told the Economist. “Is that a Europe that thinks about its destiny and builds?”

France wants Europe to step out of the shadow of America’s military umbrella. It wants a Europe that is independent of the U.S. and that no longer sees Russia as the main enemy.

But without nato, the postwar order is in acute danger! New military alliances are bound to form and dramatically shift the balance of power. This is especially dangerous considering that the world is now armed with nuclear bombs. A break of the relative peace since World War ii would lead to the end of humanity if God would allow it!

Macron is risking all this, and you need to understand why.

France’s betrayal of America and Britain should be a strong warning to this world. Macron is not just calling for a reevaluation of relations—he is calling for a European army, which will undoubtedly be led by Germany! By letting Germany rearm after the war, America and Britain were taking a calculated risk—as their leaders and even Germany’s leader said at the time. I prophesy that unless America and Britain repent now, they are going to regret that decision a million times over! So says your Bible.

Anchored to Germany

A clear trend is taking place: President Macron demands what Germany wants. I don’t believe Macron would ever say what he said unless Germany approved of it. He acts as a sort of puppet to Germany!

In a speech in October 1995, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher warned, “You have not anchored Germany to Europe,” which was the original plan, “you have anchored Europe to a newly dominant, unified Germany. In the end, my friends, you will find it will not work!” Mrs. Thatcher’s strong stance against Germany helped get her ousted from office, and to this day she is criticized for it. But it is the truth!

That is a big reason a majority of British voters chose to leave the European Union in 2016: They know Europe is anchored to Germany. As cnbc headlined in February 2019, “Brexit Is a Revolt Against a German-Run European Superstate.”

If France would support Britain’s opposition to German dominance, Germany’s control of Europe would be greatly diminished! But Macron does exactly the opposite.

From the beginning of his term, Macron has been calling on all Europe to get behind Brussels. In September 2017, Macron said critics are “forgetting that Brussels is us, always, at every moment! … It is up to Europe to make [proposals], up to us to support them, here and now.” This demand is the opposite of what millions of Brits voted for. But it is just what Germany wants! To see why, you need to understand who controls Brussels.

The EU’s economic strength hinges on Germany. Germany is the largest net contributor to the EU. With around 83 million citizens and a gdp of nearly $4 trillion, Germany is the EU’s most populous country and its largest economy. For those reasons, Germany sends the most members to the European Parliament.

Germany leverages this into tremendous power. The government’s finances are healthy; it is actually paying off its debt. If a European country needs bailing out, Germany is the only one that can offer substantial help. But that help requires meeting Germany’s conditions.

Germany’s clout means that many of Brussels’ top jobs are filled by Germans. The European Commission President—Brussels’ most powerful position—is German. In the European Parliament, the largest, most powerful party is led by a German. The Parliament’s secretary general is a German. So is the secretary general in the EU’s version of its foreign ministry. Other EU countries commonly complain that there are too many Germans in Brussels’ top jobs.

Macron is announcing this coming European army. But Germany will makes it happen.

An EU-led military would bring this German dominance into the military sphere. Geopolitical Futures founder George Friedman wrote: “Collaborating on defense budgets, with each nation contributing based on economic size, would mean that Germany would be both the leading economic and military power in Europe.”

The EU’s whole system is designed to create a superstate dependent on and dominated by Germany. And Britain leaving the EU gives Germany even more power. Britain’s opposition is a major reason Brussels hasn’t been more powerful.

By calling on all Europe to support Brussels, Macron is essentially demanding surrender to Germany! The more united Europe is, the harder it will be for Britain to escape Germany’s claws. Macron is betraying Britain and surrendering to Germany!

Imagine if a German chancellor gave a speech like Mr. Macron did, demanding that all Europe support Brussels’ dictates. Germany wouldn’t dare make such a proposal right now! But it is definitely in Germany’s interest—and Macron is the one pushing for it!

On a trip in November 2018, Macron told Germany’s parliament, “If you do not understand the words from France, remember that France loves you” (emphasis mine throughout). He said this just after he called for a “true European army” to protect Europe “with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America”!

America and Britain virtually saved France in two world wars from being absorbed by Germany. Yet today, France despises Britain and America, and loves Germany! This is an astonishing turn of events!

Macron is announcing this coming European army. But Germany will be the one that makes it happen, whether the rest of Europe likes it or not, and a lot of them are not going to like it! The Bible reveals in Revelation 17 and other passages that the European Union will be pared down to 10 nations or 10 kings.

The late Herbert W. Armstrong foretold this for over 50 years. He based his warning on the sure word of Bible prophecy. We continue to trumpet this warning. God is warning and warning because He does not want mankind to go through this suffering. But our nations, if they don’t repent, will be severely punished.

France and the Holy Roman Empire

While Macron is seeking closer alliance with Germany, he is also allying with Europe’s oldest institution: the Roman Catholic Church. Macron is thus leading France into a dangerous church-state union that has plagued the Continent for centuries: the Holy Roman Empire.

In the name of religion, millions have fought and died on the European continent. For rejecting Catholicism, many have been tortured and killed by the state but at the behest of the church!

Because of this history, France’s government is very sensitive when it comes to religion. It was therefore seen as a great provocation when Macron addressed the bishops of France in April 2018 and said, “[W]e doubtless share the same vague feeling that the link between the church and the state has been damaged, and we both believe it is important to repair it.”

This link has been damaged because of the wars and blood it caused over the course of centuries! Why does Macron want to repair it now?

The United Kingdom’s Catholic Herald gives some insight as to the answer. In “Why Is Macron Courting the Church?” the paper noted that Macron “actively encouraged French Catholics to participate in French life as Catholics,” probably partly as a “strategy for addressing France’s greatest challenge: how to integrate a growing and, in some areas, increasingly militant Muslim population” (April 19, 2018; emphasis in original).

Pope Francis welcomes Emmanuel Macron to the Vatican.
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

In response to a growing Islamic population actively working to influence European politics, Macron wants to revive Europe’s Christian roots. That means the Holy Roman Empire.

“Could Macron’s speech to Catholics be the start of efforts to rethink laïcité [secularity] in ways that would effectively ‘tame’ Islam in France?” the article asked. “At this stage, it’s too early to tell. But pursuing this goal mirrors Macron’s self-image as someone intent on renovating France by confronting problems that no French politician since [Charles] de Gaulle has successfully addressed.”

But Macron has greater ambitions than just pushing back against political Islam.

“Indeed, it is because I refuse to be indifferent,” Macron told the bishops, “that I am aware to what extent the history that the state and the church have shared for so long is now peppered with misunderstandings and reciprocal mistrust. … But today, in this period of great social fragility, when even the fabric of the nation is at risk of falling apart, I believe it is my responsibility not to let Catholics’ trust for politics and politicians erode away.”

Macron has a very positive view of the Holy Roman Empire. He believes in times of crisis, this empire needs to be revived.

In an article addressed to Europe’s citizens and published in various newspapers on March 5, 2019, Mr. Macron wrote that the future of Europe needs to be discussed with “citizens’ panels and … academics, business and labor representatives, and religious and spiritual leaders.”

Politics and religion are again merging in Europe! Macron wants to unite Europe through the Catholic faith, to oppose Islam, and at the same time to break from mostly Protestant America and Britain.

But Macron knows he can only revive the Holy Roman Empire with the support of not only the Roman Catholic Church but also Germany.

This is exactly what the Bible prophesies will happen!

The Seventh Resurrection

The Bible speaks of seven resurrections of the Holy Roman Empire. History has already seen six. There is yet one more to come (for proof, request our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy).

Revelation 17 is a prophecy for the “last days,” the time we are living in right now. With Daniel 2, it reveals that this last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire will be ruled by 10 kings. Revelation 17:12-13 read: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”

This prophecy shows that the European Union, currently at 28 nations, will be pared down to 10 kings. Britain has already withdrawn from the EU. Others will follow or be kicked out.

Verse 13 shows that these 10 kings will all have one mind—and it will be revolving around the German mind and the Holy Roman Empire mind. These kings will “give their power and strength unto the beast.” This is a prophecy that these nations will be anchored to Germany! France of all countries is the first to admit it! Macron’s demand for France to ally with Germany and the Roman Catholic Church is fulfilling this prophecy to a tee!

This chapter also uses the symbol of a woman (verses 1-2) to illustrate that this empire is in union with the Catholic Church. Even some of the older Bible commentators recognized this.

This resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire is going to wreak havoc! About a hundred prophecies in your Bible tell you this! But you don’t hear much about it at all in this world, except from this magazine. We have been prophesying for many years. God has given a warning because He doesn’t want people to suffer. He also warns so they can learn how catastrophic it can be to reject that warning.

Verse 14 explains how this empire will end: “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” This is all prophesied to happen just before the Second Coming! This beast will be destroyed when Jesus Christ returns to save mankind!

Holy Roman Empire Vs. Israel

The Holy Roman Empire is the archenemy of Israel, God’s chosen nation. As Herbert W. Armstrong explained in The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Israel is more than just the little Jewish nation in the Middle East that is called Israel today. That nation is biblical Judah, only one tribe of Israel.

Some people claim that we can’t identify the other tribes of Israel today. But consider what Genesis 49:1-2 say: “And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.”

Jacob’s name was changed to Israel when he became converted. Now, everybody ought to “hearken” to this message, and it is for “the last days.” It wasn’t for ancient Israel. It is prophesied to happen in the last days to the 12 tribes of Israel, which have become modern nations! Rejecting this clear fact means rejecting the authority of the Bible!

If God gives a prophecy, you can be sure He reveals it to His very elect to understand. Otherwise, what is the purpose of prophesying it?

When God prophesies what would happen to the various tribes of Israel just prior to Christ’s return, we need to know where they are today. In Matthew 10:6 Christ told His disciples to “go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The disciples knew where they were, and we can know their identity today. If you don’t know who these tribes are today, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. It explains it in detail.

The Holy Roman Empire has worked for centuries to hide this truth from mankind. That is one reason the Catholic Church sought to control education for so many centuries. But God has made sure this truth would be known in our day. We can know who these nations are.

Notice Genesis 49:22: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall.” These are the birthright promises. It began with Britain—the mightiest empire ever. Starting from the British Isles, the colonies of the descendants of Joseph—from his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh, upon whom he placed the name Israel (Genesis 48:13-16)—spread around the Earth. Ephraim and Manasseh were one nation until they split, and Manasseh became the United States, the greatest single nation ever. Its “branches run over the wall” also, by its worldwide influence.

Why have Britain and America been so wealthy for so long? Because the birthright promises God gave to Israel were passed on to Ephraim and Manasseh. God isn’t picking favorites here. But He is blessing obedience—in this case, Abraham’s obedience.

Genesis 49:23-24 read, “The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:).” So the descendants of Joseph have many enemies. But God promised to protect them. The term “stone of Israel” is used as a type of the very throne of David and, most of all, a type of Jesus Christ, our Rock, our Stone and our Shepherd. He looks after us, and He gives us these birthright promises and protection.

God will eventually pour those blessings over all mankind as they learn to obey Him. But the focus in this end time is on three nations: the birthright nations—the U.S. and Britain— and the scepter nation, Judah. Judah, the father of the Jews today, received the scepter promise (verse 10). From his line rose kings that sat on David’s throne, which is still on this Earth right now. Foreign powers have tried to destroy this throne from its beginning. The Holy Roman Empire also tried to destroy David’s throne that was planted in Britain, but failed. (To understand this fully, request our new book The New Throne of David.)

Sadly, Joseph’s descendants have not followed in Abraham’s footsteps. Instead they have rebelled against God. Their blessings are therefore turning into curses (Deuteronomy 28). We are in “the last days” now, so this is a prophecy that we must be concerned about. To understand it, it is crucial to understand that Reuben in Bible prophecy refers to France. (This is also explained in The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

The French are a great people. But in flirting with the Holy Roman Empire, they are getting hooked into something truly dangerous.

France in Prophecy

Here is how Jacob started the prophecy in Genesis 49: “Reuben, thou art my firstborn” (verse 3). Did you know that Reuben should have received all those great birthright promises and been a wealthy nation like Britain and America?

France should have received those promises, but because of Reuben’s sins, the birthright promises were given instead to Joseph. Early in Genesis we read how Reuben betrayed Joseph. This too is a prophecy for this end time: Reuben is going to turn against his brother, Joseph. That’s a tragedy, because France is also a part of Israel.

Verse 3 continues, “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.” God has some very complimentary things to say about France. But He also has some criticism: “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch” (verse 4). Anciently, Reuben had relations with his father’s concubine. Such lustful indiscretion was a big problem for Reuben, and France still has it today.

The French still have the very characteristics that Reuben had anciently. This is part of the reason why France is “unstable as water,” which means it can be manipulated by a country like Germany.

Realize that God still deeply loves the people of France. The French are a great people, as are the Germans. But in flirting with the Holy Roman Empire, they are getting hooked into something truly dangerous!

America restored Germany after World War ii through the Marshall Plan. It also helped France greatly. But Germany and France are now going to betray America and Britain and even the Jewish nation. The Holy Roman Empire’s primary targets, nationally, are America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East. God will punish these nations most of all because they have been so richly blessed and didn’t heed God’s message.

A Prophesied Military Power

Macron seeks to restore the link between the Catholic Church and the state. But the Holy Roman Empire was not only famous for its church-state union, but also for its military.

Macron is calling for both a European army and more religious involvement. That is exactly what the Holy Roman Empire is about. That empire has one government, one religion, one army, and it rules over various nations.

But the so-called Holy Roman Empire is not holy at all. It has repeatedly caused rivers of blood.

Revelation 13 and 17 include some of the most detailed prophecies of this empire in the New Testament. Revelation 13:4 reads: “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”

The whole world will ask who will be able to rival this empire militarily. This is a prophecy that Europe will get a powerful army! France wants this and is again entering this Holy Roman Empire union. But the French do not realize that it leads them to worshiping the devil, as his main military and religious tool, symbolized by the great dragon! (Revelation 12:12).

Germany wanted a European army long ago. It seeks to revive the powerful army of the Holy Roman Empire. The Germans have planned for this since before World War ii ended. We need to see what God is doing and why God is allowing it to happen. In fact, He is even putting it in their minds to do it! (Revelation 17:17).

France may be the one calling for a powerful European army, but Germany has the power to create it! People don’t talk about this because they don’t want to face reality.

The Bible reveals repeatedly that America’s and Britain’s lovers are going to betray them (e.g. Ezekiel 23; request Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet). America and Britain today rely on their global prestige and past glory. But we cannot protect ourselves, though we think we can. This is a painful lesson we must yet learn.

Look to the Shepherd

God wants us to look to our Shepherd “the shepherd, the stone of Israel.” God is the source and foundation of all our blessings. Our people should have some humility and recognize that God is behind all their prosperity. But this world doesn’t look to God.

A shepherd looks over and protects the sheep. Without a shepherd, we are helpless sheep that will be devoured by ravenous wolves! Israel today has rejected their Shepherd. The Holy Roman Empire is now rising to devour its blessings.

Each one of us needs that Shepherd in our lives personally or we are all as helpless as sheep. We must always remember to look to that Rock, Jesus Christ. He will be your Shepherd and watch over and protect you.

Here is another prophecy for the end time: “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 wants you to listen to His watchman, and you must know who he is. This message is sent in the last days to warn Israel, primarily, but the rest of the world as well.

Israel will be punished first because of its great sins. Verse 11 reads, “Say unto them [Israel], 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?” Could this message be any stronger? God wants us to turn from our evil way! Then He will be our Shepherd and save us, and everything will work out!

Daniel 2:44 prophesies this about those 10 kings: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” The saints of God—those who will stand up for Christ and His message and warn Israel today—will be given this Kingdom. They will have positions and rewards like no people have ever had!

We are warning people today that the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord are coming! God wants to prevent that. He wants us to live, physically and spiritually, and prosper in every way. But if Israel doesn’t heed His message, then He has to punish them as no people have ever been punished.

It is up to us to declare this message, and up to Israel to heed it. God will bless everyone who supports God’s message now or heeds it in the future. Jesus Christ is about to return to bring prosperity to all mankind. Those who support God’s message today will be protected from the coming Tribulation and rule with Christ for eternity! What great hope we have if we look to our Shepherd!