What you have read in this Trumpet issue should profoundly affect your thinking and your life! Prophecies in your Bible written more than 2,500 years ago forecast what would happen to modern nations. And time after time, prophecy after prophecy has been fulfilled!
God recorded these prophecies “to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will …” (Daniel 4:17). God is able to crown and dethrone kings, make and unmake nations, raise up and destroy empires!
God prophesied that the descendants of Abraham would become superpowers: the British Empire and the United States of America. No one but God could make such great and such detailed prophecies and bring them to fulfillment across continents and across centuries.
“Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. [A]nd tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come” (Isaiah 41:21-22; Revised Standard Version).
God challenges you to read your own Bible, face the facts honestly, and prove prophecy for yourself.
The Spirit of Prophecy
Did you know that Jesus Christ was a prophet? He spoke detailed prophecies throughout His human lifetime and inspired prophecies throughout the Bible. Revelation 19:10 states that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” A true Christian is one who follows Christ, so a true Christian has the spirit of prophecy.
Today, this world is in darkness and uninterested in God’s Word. But God prophesied that scoffers would multiply in this end time (2 Peter 3:3-4).
The Olivet prophecy (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21) is the most miraculous prophecy in the Bible for proving God. It was made by Jesus Christ Himself. When His disciples asked for the signs of His Second Coming and the end of the world, He answered, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5).
Christ Himself warned that there would be many deceivers! Many claim to be Christian, but they have replaced the gospel Jesus Christ actually taught with a gospel message about Christ. They preach that Jesus Christ came to Earth and was the Son of God, but they do not teach what He taught! They do not teach His prophecies or His true gospel message: the prophesied coming of the Kingdom of God! More believe this gospel about Christ than ever before, but as Christ prophesied, this gospel is false.
In verse 7, Christ warned about pestilences. That would certainly include the coronavirus, so this prophecy is right up to date with what is happening today. But He warned in verse 8, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Conditions are going to get much worse! And God is telling you that if you want to avoid that, you must repent.
Verses 21-22 is a great prophecy that must be true—there is no way around it. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (verse 21). Christ prophesied of a period of the worst suffering in human history just before His Second Coming! Do you believe His words?
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (verse 22). Understand what this shocking scripture is saying! The Moffat translation reads, “Had not those days been cut short, not a soul would be saved alive.” The Phillips translation says, “Yes, if those days had not been cut short, no human being would survive.”
When Christ uttered this prophecy 2,000 years ago, men were fighting with swords and spears! Yet He warned of a time when weapons would threaten human extinction! Such weapons never existed in human history, until our day! How can you get around that? You cannot!
‘Times of the Gentiles’
Christ described this coming period of incomparable misery with a term that puzzles many people. But if you understand what we have discussed in this Trumpet issue, it will make perfect sense to you.
Luke’s version of the Olivet prophecy reads, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. … For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:20, 22). The Bible has many prophecies of this horrific period, and Christ said all of them would be fulfilled within a short span of time. If you follow the signs He gave us, you know that time is almost here.
“And they shall 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).
Christ called this period of tribulation, just before His return, “the times of the Gentiles.” Most people think “Israel” refers to the Jews, which would make all non-Jews “Gentiles.” It is true that Israel includes the Jewish nation in the Middle East, but as this Trumpet issue has shown, the name Israel most aptly applies to America and Britain! The Gentiles (a word meaning “the nations”) are the non-Israelite peoples.
This is part of the core of biblical prophecy, right out of the mouth of Jesus Christ! The dramatic fall of the English-speaking nations the world is now witnessing is a horrendous warning. The Israelite nations are falling, and Gentile nations are taking charge of the world right now. This shows that we are now in the outer edges of the catastrophic storm that Christ forewarned!
This forecast of the worst suffering in human history parallels one by the Prophet Jeremiah: “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble …” (Jeremiah 30:7). He called it “Jacob’s trouble” because it will be directed primarily against the modern descendants of Israel due to our national sins.
Christ prophesied that Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies. These armies will be led by wild and ferocious men. This crisis is building around Jerusalem today. Iran and almost all Gentile nations are hostile toward Israel. They hate not just the Jewish state but also America and Britain.
When this prophecy is completely fulfilled, all three of those Israelite nations will be destroyed and enslaved, and replaced by two new superpowers, each with many strong allies: one led by Germany, the other by Russia and China. These Gentile powers will clash in the worst war ever on Earth.
Over 2,500 years ago, God gave the Prophet Daniel a prophecy revealing the world-ruling powers that would rise between his time and our time. It was the interpretation of a dream of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, in which he saw a statue with four parts. The golden head represented Babylon; the silver chest and arms represented Medo-Persia; the bronze belly and thighs represented Greece and Macedonia; the iron legs and feet represented Rome. Other prophecies show that the prophesied Roman Empire would be resurrected 10 separate times. Another vision in Daniel 7 describes these same four kingdoms, represented as “four great beasts” (verse 3). These prophecies refer to the kingdom and the king interchangeably because every leader of these Gentile kingdoms was led by an evil spiritual influence that made his mind like that of a fierce beast! History is filled with their wild conquests, pillaging, burning and destruction.
Britain and America will soon be replaced by empires and their rulers who act like wild, raging beasts! God calls these leaders beasts for a reason! Yet people don’t believe God. Somehow, the leaders of Israel think our modern world has evolved beyond such evil nature. Britain infamously tried to reason with one of those beast-like leaders, Adolf Hitler. Yet even after the war and Holocaust that he helped perpetrate in World War ii, we haven’t even seen the worst of these beasts. The worst “times of the Gentiles” is yet ahead of us!
Britain lost its global power following that war. America is now rapidly surrendering its power. To fill the void, Gentile powers are rising. These peoples have utter contempt for the weak.
The pitiless, Communist regime of China is on the march. It is asserting power in the South China Sea and across the globe with its new “silk road.” It is unilaterally pushing dubious territorial claims against Japan, the Philippines and other nations. It has swallowed up Hong Kong. It has threatened to invade Taiwan. It supports North Korea. This fearsome regime brutally dominates its own people and wants to subdue many more!
Russia is also rising. Authoritarian President Vladimir Putin is rapidly upgrading his military and pressuring Europe, working out deals and manipulating energy exports so Germany can dominate some parts of Europe while Russia can dominate others. He is allying closely with Xi Jinping’s China. Look at Russia’s history and you can see how terrifying a 21st-century Russia-China axis will be to its own people and to the world!
Germany is increasing its dominance of Europe, especially with Britain out of the European Union. Several European leaders are trampling on people’s rights and growing more authoritarian. Meanwhile, the extremist leaders of Iran are racing to build nuclear bombs, and the world seems helpless to prevent them.
The future is going to be dominated by leaders who act like wild, raging beasts! God is warning you and all who will listen about the times of the Gentiles.
A Lamp in a Dark World
Revelation 1:1 introduces the book as a book of prophecy about events that will definitely come to pass. Verse 20 describes seven candlesticks, or lamps, symbols of the seven eras of God’s Church. Chapters 2 and 3 prophesy of seven successive eras that would exist from Christ’s first coming to His Second Coming. Jesus Christ is right in the midst of those churches (Revelation 1:13). He said He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). That one true Church would always be there, shining as a lamp in this dark world. Christ gives that Church the spirit of understanding, the testimony of Jesus Christ, the spirit of prophecy!
God does give this world a light—if only they would see it and begin to change their lives! All these plagues and crises and imminent destruction would be quickly solved if we would let God guide us!
Do you recognize where Christ’s true Church is and where that light is shining today?
In Ezekiel 33:7, God commissions a man to deliver His message of prophecy: “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.” God says He will show His prophet exactly what is coming from the prophecies He has inspired in the Bible!
“And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (verse 33). Yes—all these prophecies will come to pass! Our sins will result in exactly what God prophesied they would. What a tragedy that most people will not learn this until they experience these terrible plagues and we come to the brink of human extinction! In verse 11, God pleads with humanity to turn from their wicked ways and turn to Him! God is calling on all of us to repent! This world simply does not understand or desire to repent.
But God says that He won’t do anything without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). When we learn those prophetic secrets, who can but prophesy? (verse 8). When God gives someone His prophetic secrets, who could sit there and not do anything?
Shamefully, there are some who refuse to prophesy as God commands. Amos foretells that even some true Christians, whom God charged with publicizing His prophetic message, now say, “Prophesy not” (Amos 2:11-12).
Herbert W. Armstrong preached a strong message of prophecy. But even those in the church he founded resisted prophecy and repudiated him altogether after he died. This treachery is prophesied in the book of Revelation, as is the fate of those who say, “Prophesy not.”
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar [a symbol of the ministry], and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Revelation 11:1-2).
“It is given unto the Gentiles” is another reference to the times of the Gentiles. In this end time, 95 percent of God’s own people have rebelled. God has cast them into the outer court of His spiritual temple, where they will have to experience the wrath of these beast-like Gentile war machines! God chastens them because He loves them and is trying to motivate them to repent (Revelation 3:19).
This scripture also talks about the small portion of God’s people in the inner court who are faithful in proclaiming God’s message. God promises to take these people to a place of protection from all that terrible suffering shortly before the Second Coming (e.g. Revelation 12:14).
The commission of the Philadelphia Church of God revolves around prophecy: “And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:11). We must prophesy again—as Mr. Armstrong did. God commands it!
God’s own people who have rebelled against Him will have to experience all this misery and suffering. Half will finally repent, but half will lose their eternal lives! (e.g. Matthew 25:1-13; Jeremiah 24).
Christ said this terrifying period will be a time of “[m]en’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26).
However, notice the very next verse! “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (verse 27). The fantastic, hopeful news is that these times of the Gentiles lead directly to the return of Jesus Christ! He will finally put down the beast-like rulers so they are no longer able to tear apart mankind!
You have a choice to make. Will you escape the times of the Gentiles that Christ prophesied? Will you obey the voice of the Lord, which He speaks to you by His servants the prophets?
Prophecy is undeniable proof of God! He wants us to understand it today! It shows that He is alive and that He rules in the kingdom of men. It warns us of the consequences of sin and rebellion against God. It motivates us to repent and turn to God. It gives us a timeline for knowing that the end of this age is near. It prods us to make urgent use of the few days we have left! And it provides true comfort and hope, because the same God who warns of correction and punishment also prophesies of where all these events are ultimately leading! The powerful God of prophecy promises to send His Son to establish His Kingdom on Earth and to install a perfect government that will bring peace, joy and prosperity to people all over the world. That is no fantasy! That is a sure prophecy from the all-powerful, living God!