A Sign of Worse to Come

And of the far better news that follows!

Look closely at the inhumane evil perpetrated by Hamas in its attack on Israel in October. These savage beasts sought to terrify, kidnap, torture, rape and murder as many Jews as possible. They indiscriminately gunned down fleeing youths, stole innocent civilians as hostages, killed children in front of their own parents and parents in front of their own children, burned whole families alive in their homes, cut babies out of the bellies of pregnant mothers, beheaded infants, and committed other sickening atrocities.

Then, they boasted about their evil. They uploaded graphic videos onto social media. They spread these horrifying images as far and wide as possible.

These are demonic actions. They are inspired by Satan the devil, who hates human beings, and especially hates Jews. That is a bold statement, but you can prove it from your Bible. (Request a free copy of my book The Key of David and read Chapter 8, “Satan’s Great Wrath.”)

This is important to realize; otherwise you will not grasp the significance of what has happened in the Jewish state of Israel.

This nightmare is a foreshadowing and a sign of a time of unprecedented suffering prophesied to come upon the whole world very soon!

This war that suddenly besieged the Jewish state should arrest the attention of all people. It is a flashing red warning of just how catastrophic and devastating are the events about to engulf all of our lives.

Thankfully, though, that devastation precedes unimaginably glorious hope.

Great Tribulation

Jesus Christ warned specifically about the signs of the end of this age. You can read His important prophecy in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.

When His disciples asked Him about these signs, He first spoke about religious deception, then “wars and rumours of wars”; He warned of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes” and said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:3-8). These signs have been visible for many years, even decades. But we can expect them to intensify.

The next sign, though, is more specific. Christ spoke of the true gospel being “preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (verse 14). This sign of the end has already occurred—it was fulfilled by a man named Herbert W. Armstrong (request a free copy of A Pivotal Sign of the End Time). That puts this prophecy from Jesus Christ right in the context of today’s world events.

What then is the next event that will signal the end of this age? “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)” (verse 15). Luke’s account describes this “abomination of desolation … in the holy place” as “Jerusalem compassed with armies” (Luke 21:20). And Christ said that when you see this, “then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.”

We must watch Jerusalem! That city is a powder keg, and it is there that the spark will be lit that ignites a sequence of events leading directly to the end of civilization as we know it! Many prophecies show this.

The violence that unfolded in Israel on October 7 portends an explosion of volatility and violence that will lead to these armies surrounding the Holy City.

You need to know about those armies. Whoso reads, let him understand! That event is an urgent sign for people to flee (Matthew 24:16-20)—because the worst suffering in human history is about to begin! “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).

The great tribulation will be an expression of the devil’s great wrath, because he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12). God will not allow him to continue his evil reign much longer.

When you see what the butchers of Hamas are doing to Jews, you get a terrifying picture of how fierce Satan’s hatred is!

Other prophecies show that this “great tribulation” is particularly punishing to the nations of modern Israel—the Jewish state, the United States and Britain most of all. (Prove the biblical identity of these nations by requesting your free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy.) These nations are about to fall! And no other peoples will suffer worse treatment. Even the period leading up to this Tribulation is a dreadful, horrendous time.

Today’s tragedy in Israel is just a taste of the Great Tribulation. It is only a single sip of a bitter, bitter cup. Events are about to get far worse.

Times of the Gentiles

Revelation 11:2 says that the city of Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles for 42 months—3½ years. In Luke’s account of the Olivet prophecy, Christ said 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” (Luke 21:24).

“The times of the Gentiles” is a very telling expression. Who are the Gentiles? We must know, if we are to watch for this sign Christ gave us. Today that word is used to mean all non-Jews. But the truth is, it refers to non-Israelites, and the Israelites include America and Britain.

Christ was prophesying of a time when the age of British and American dominance in the world would end—and be overtaken by a period when Gentile powers unleash an unparalleled nightmare!

I wrote about this prophecy in last month’s feature article “World Leaders Who No Longer Have a Human Mind” (theTrumpet.com/28157). Please read that article. Events in Israel graphically illustrate what I was talking about. They show us that people can have the heart of a beast! What kind of mind can command and commit such murderous butchery?

Man’s capacity for evil has been fully exposed in Jewish towns bordering Gaza. Yet that spirit of evil exists far beyond Gaza and far beyond those mourning towns. And there is a specific reason why it targets the nations of Israel, the Jewish state and Jerusalem.

As I wrote in that article, we are already deep into the times of the Gentiles. The times of the Israelite powers are over! The demonic savagery the world just witnessed from Hamas is a foretaste of the unimaginable suffering about to engulf Israel, America, Britain and the whole world.

Don’t be lulled to sleep because these events are happening on the other side of the world. Firstly, they are happening in the most important part of the world—a part Christ specifically warned us to watch in preparation for the Second Coming.

But beyond that, Bible prophecy also uses Jerusalem, the capital of ancient Israel, to represent all the modern nations of Israel, particularly the Americans and the British.

That means this terrible violence is going to spread dramatically—and it will affect you.

Breaking the Brotherhood

Prophecy gives us profound insight into many dimensions of these events in Israel. Let’s examine a few more.

For one, look closely at the role the United States is playing. While there was initially some strong support from Washington, America’s leadership is very hostile to Israel. This began under President Barack Obama and is continuing under Joe Biden, who is simply carrying out Obama’s policies (article, page 6). At every opportunity, Obama has weakened Israel and empowered its fiercest enemy, Iran! In this way, Barack Obama is responsible for Iran and Hamas’s horrific barbarity.

This is why, in the Trumpet’s September 2022 issue, I published an article titled “Britain’s and Judah’s Governments Fall—America Next?” (theTrumpet.com/25966). There I wrote: “From the time of Joe Biden’s inauguration, I predicted that we would have more Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel because of the change in leadership. That is exactly what began to happen. Anybody should be able to recognize why!” If you have been reading the Trumpet, you understand how Bible prophecy informed that prediction.

These terrorist groups can see that Israel does not have America’s support. A strong strain of radical leftism and communism has infected America’s ruling class—as has an unmistakable hatred for the Jewish state!

The rift between America and Israel is very dangerous, especially to the Jews. Zechariah 11:14 prophesies that in the end time, God will “break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.” Judah is the prophetic term for the Jewish state, since Judah was the ancient forefather of the Jewish people. Israel was the ancient patriarch of Judah and 11 other tribes, one of which became the United States. So this verse in Zechariah could be a specific forecast of a separation between these two countries that will leave Judah dangerously alone.

Iran and Hamas are exploiting the division in the U.S.-Israel relationship. The more isolated the Jewish state is, the bolder its enemies grow. Israel is a tiny country in a very hostile world. It desperately needs allies. As America falls away, it is actively pursuing alternatives.

This brings to mind still more biblical prophecies.

Israel’s Wound

The book of Hosea is also prophecy for this end time. Notice this specific forecast about the modern-day Jewish state: “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound” (Hosea 5:13). As I explain in my booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy (free upon request), the original Hebrew here reveals that both Ephraim (the prophetic name for Britain today) and the Jewish state look for help from Assyria, modern-day Germany.

The Jews are prophesied here to recognize a deep wound in their body politic. I have been writing for over 20 years that this wound represents the Middle East peace process, by which Israel has surrendered its own land in the vain hope of appeasing its enemies.

In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally evacuated the Gaza Strip. It was hoped that turning this territory over to the Palestinians would reduce their hatred for Israel. Instead Iran, via a terrorist group called Hamas—founded in 1987 expressly to destroy Israel—quickly became the de facto rulers of Gaza. And they viewed Israel’s evacuation as a triumph!

“Now, after the victory in the Gaza Strip, we will transfer the struggle to the West Bank and later to Jerusalem,” Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar, said in 2005. “Neither the liberation of the Gaza Strip, nor the liberation of the West Bank or even Jerusalem will suffice us. Hamas will pursue the armed struggle until the liberation of all our lands. We don’t recognize the State of Israel or its right to hold on to one inch of Palestine. Palestine is an Islamic land belonging to all the Muslims” (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 17, 2005).

Within a short time, Hamas was throwing its Palestinian rivals off of rooftops! In the time since, these brutes have remained committed to their radicalism and hatred. Now the world has watched as Hamas has soaked itself and Jewish bodies of men, women, children and babies in blood! The slaughter of 1,400 Israelis in a single attack planned and launched from Gaza is bitter evidence of what a wound that farcical “peace process” has been!

Based on Hosea’s prophecy of Israel looking to Germany for relief from its “wound,” I have been watching for years for the relationship between Israel and Germany to grow. We have seen that happening in recent years, and this was evident immediately after Hamas’s recent attack. Right afterward, the German government showed solidarity with Israel by illuminating the Brandenburg Gate with the Israeli flag. German leaders pledged robust support for Israel. By contrast, President Biden was practically silent for a few days, and when he did speak, he lectured Israel to use restraint and abide by “the laws of war” in its military response to Hamas.

Of course, Germany was the power behind the worst persecution against Jews in modern history. Jewish leaders believe that German leaders feel a special responsibility to protect the Israeli state because of that shameful past. But here again, biblical prophecy provides insight about what will actually happen. We need to watch Israel’s relationship with Germany very closely. Remember, the closer these two nations become, the closer we are to the Tribulation.

Before we look at more prophecies, however, we need to step back for a moment and consider a larger issue.

Why Would God Allow This?

Seeing the brutality Hamas inflicted on the Jews raises the question: Why would God allow such unspeakable evil? This is an essential question that almost nobody is asking after that horrific tragedy: Why did God allow this?

God is appalled by such violence. He is a God of love, and He wants to save all people and bring them to the knowledge of the truth (1 John 4:8; 1 Timothy 2:4). In Ezekiel 33:11, He says He has no pleasure in the death even of wicked people, let alone the butchery of innocent children and infants!

If you believe the Bible, then you must reckon with the fact that God allowed this for an important reason. And He will allow the even worse events of the Great Tribulation for an important reason!

In that verse in Ezekiel, God says, “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?”‘

By allowing these Satan-inspired thugs to infiltrate the Jewish state today, God is trying to get the attention of the Jewish people and even of the rest of the world! He is showing us the true nature of the hatred and evil that exists in Satan’s world. He is showing that we need His protection! And He is exposing the fact that the Jews do not have that protection today.

Why don’t they? Because of sin.

This is a very unpopular message. But it is the truth, stated repeatedly throughout the Bible. Read Leviticus 26, where God says that if we obey Him, He will give us peace and safety, and hold our enemies at bay, and give us victories. But if we rebel against Him, “I will even appoint over you terror,” He says; “I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies” (verses 16-17).

When we suffer curses like Israel is today, shouldn’t we be willing to consider why God has removed His protection?

In discussing this, I am not pointing the finger at Israelis any more than I am at Americans. We are suffering the same curses in this country—for the same causes and even worse!

National Sins

Our peoples have drifted far from God. We have turned from His laws and excluded Him from our education, politics and public discourse. The infiltration of leftist, socialist and Communist thinking into our nations is a curse, causing horrendous political division. Like America, Israel has developed an entrenched “deep state” with destructive views subverting the nation. For years now, the Israeli intelligence services have been focusing their attention on trying to bring down Benjamin Netanyahu. How much did this contribute to the security breakdown that allowed Hamas to attack so effectively? (sidebar, page 10). These people are overthrowing the rule of law! Their minds are alienated from God and infected with satanic ideology. The fact that they have grown so influential also shows the effects of national sin.

In the face of a tragedy such as this, where does Israel turn for help? Their own Bible repeatedly shows that God wants to be our refuge and help in times of trouble. He wants us looking to and trusting Him! But Israel turns instead to unstable man—even those who have proved themselves not to have Israel’s interests at heart. In fact, Hamas is funded in part by America and Germany! Can Israel really trust these nations?

Another curse listed in Leviticus 26 is that our “strength shall be spent in vain” (verse 20). As Israel spends its strength retaliating against Hamas, remember this verse. Will these efforts actually solve the problem of Islamist terrorism?

Hamas is a death cult. They want Israel to kill Palestinians so they can turn world opinion against Israel all the more. And sadly, whenever Israel tries to defend itself, that is exactly what happens. Israel’s response in Gaza is certain to stir up more hatred against Israel among the nations. But more importantly, striking Hamas is not getting to the root of the problem. Hamas is sponsored by Iran, the “head” of the terrorist snake.

Will Israel—as well as America and Britain—acknowledge that our nations are being cursed?

Obedience to God brings blessings—rebellion brings curses. And sadly, our peoples are saturated with sins for which we are suffering. We have become materialistic, secular societies that tolerate and encourage deceit, idolatry, sensuality, fornication, adultery, homosexuality and many other sins. Our families are fractured. The streets of our cities—even Tel Aviv and Jerusalem—host lgbtq “pride” parades; our public places celebrate and promote transgenderism. What the Hamas monsters did to innocent Israeli children is horrifying—but in God’s eyes is it worse than the moral filth we our forcing on a whole generation of our youth?

Hamas terrorists chose to launch their attack not only on a weekly Sabbath, but also on an annual holy day that many Israelis observe. It is called “the eighth day” in Leviticus 23:36, immediately following the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. This is a wonderfully positive, celebratory and also sacred day. Jesus Christ kept it as well; it is called “the last day, that great day of the feast” (John 7:37). It is also memorialized by Bible-believing Christians in God’s true Church.

One of Hamas’s first targets was an all-night music festival known as a “psychedelic trance event” just across the Gaza border. This activity has roots in the 1960s hippie movement, known for its immoral lifestyle. Such indecent activity is common in Israel today. Is that an appropriate event to be holding, especially on a holy day?

I am not suggesting that anyone deserved the demonic brutality Hamas inflicted. Nobody does! But these young people certainly did not have God’s protection. They were carousing on a Sabbath and on a sacred holy day that they should be keeping! Hamas preyed on that—motivated by Satan the devil.

Should this event not prod us into some honest self-examination? Should we not be willing to make some changes in our lives? 2 Peter 3:9 says that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” If we are to avoid perishing eternally, then we must turn to God in repentance!

As I will show you, the profound spiritual meaning behind the holy day on which this attack occurred is brimming with hope! If you understand it, you realize that it holds the solution to horrors such as Israel has just suffered. Perhaps God allowed this to occur on that day specifically to show us that the inspiring answer to the blood-soaked problems of this world are right under our noses, if only we would seek Him!

The Trigger for World War

Now let’s see what prophecy tells us we can expect to happen in Israel, especially in Jerusalem, in the time ahead.

Zechariah 14 is a critical prophetic chapter. “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh,” it begins. The “day of the Lord” is the prophetic name for the final year of man’s rule on Earth. Prophecy shows that that “day” concludes with the most inspiring event in history: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. So that is what Zechariah’s prophecy is pointing to.

Verse 1 continues, “and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (verses 1-2).

This speaks of a major crisis about to befall Israel: half of Jerusalem going into captivity in some kind of Palestinian uprising. This passage puts that dispute over Jerusalem in the same context as the Day of the Lord! That is because when half of Jerusalem goes into captivity, that crisis will trigger a series of events that leads directly to Christ’s return! Half of Jerusalem falling is like the first domino to fall leading to the Second Coming.

Now, remember Christ’s warning about the “abomination of desolation”—those “armies surrounding Jerusalem.” Several prophecies show that they will be European armies—led by Germany.

Putting all these prophecies together, a picture emerges of Israel being overwhelmed by a convulsion of violence in Jerusalem and crying out for intervention from a German-led Europe.

In this same flow of events, Daniel 11:40-41 show this fearsome European force—called “the king of the north”—launching a violent, blitzkrieg offensive against Iran—the paymaster of Hamas—and its allies and terrorist proxies. The extremist Islamic threat will finally be forcibly confronted!

Every indication is that the Jews will then invite those victorious armies right into their capital city as a peacekeeping force.

Here the forewarning God gives in prophecy is profoundly valuable. You can read it in the end-time prophecy of Ezekiel 23. It describes in appalling detail the Jews fawning over their former archenemy, and the Germans responding in a horrifying way: by turning against the Jews in a treacherous double cross! “And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about … and they shall judge thee according to their judgments” (verse 24).

This breathtaking betrayal gives you a sense of the scale and scope of suffering and bloodshed during the “great tribulation” and the “times of the Gentiles” of which Jesus Christ spoke. It is but an early campaign in what will quickly escalate into full-scale nuclear world war!

These prophecies are disturbing to contemplate, but they are critical to be aware of as we watch world events, particularly in Israel. And as severe as they are, always remember the context: This explosion of violence and warfare is one of the greatest 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!

The Last Great Day

Among the enemies of the Israelite people, there seems to be a grisly theme throughout history. When the ancient Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, the pharaoh commanded a slaughter of their newborn sons (Exodus 1:16). In the days of Jesus Christ, King Herod murdered the infants (Matthew 2:16-18). Psalm 137 is a chilling prophecy of a time in the future, when the people of America, Britain and Judah have gone into captivity, and those European armies will slay their little ones (verses 8-9).

This same hateful, satanic spirit was behind this latest attack on Israel. The Hamas terrorists seemed to find particular glee in targeting children, the most helpless and innocent of the Jews. It was reminiscent of these horrific biblical examples. “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not” (Matthew 2:18).

Thankfully, God has a plan to bring these children back to life and give them the opportunity to grow up in a world free of terrorism and violence!

That vision is wrapped up in the annual Jewish observance during which Hamas launched its slaughter in the Holy Land. After seven days of Sukkot, the Jews keep Shemini Atzeret, along with an observance called Simchat Torah. Among other things, this concludes their annual cycle of public readings from the Torah.

The full meaning of this day and even these readings is something that even the Jewish people do not understand. Real peace is connected with the Torah and the rest of God’s law! Simchat Torah means “rejoicing with the Torah.” Even religious Jews do not understand how world-changing God’s law is and will be.

That holy day, the Last Great Day, symbolizes not only God’s law and the way to peace, but a time when God’s law and government will have been established on Earth and the dead will be resurrected into that new world! (You need to look into the meaning of God’s holy days. They are far more than mere holidays. They reveal God’s entire master plan for mankind and are filled with wonderful vision! Request a free copy of our booklet Pagan Holiday—or God’s Holy Days—Which?)

The hundreds of Israelis slain by Hamas will live again. God wants to lead them to repentance as well as all of Israel. So too will the Palestinians killed in Israel’s military reprisals. God even wants to bring the hate-filled terrorists to repentance! The people who are committing these acts against Jews don’t really know any better: They have been fed hatred from the time they were little children! They are like pawns of the devil and don’t even realize it. They need to be set free from hatred and deception!

In God’s great plan for mankind, all these people will have their eyes opened to understand the truth and be able to repent, turn to God, and receive salvation. So too will the billions who have lived and died, many of them in terror, never knowing the true God!

Psalm 87 is a prophetic picture of God bringing people from all nations into His eternal family. “I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me,” God says—“also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia. They have all become citizens of Jerusalem!” (verse 4; New Living Translation). In prophecy, Philistia refers to modern-day Gaza, and Tyre refers to Lebanon today. The terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah inhabiting these territories today will one day soon come to know the true God!

Watch Israel, and watch Jerusalem. Sadly, the war there today truly is a sign of worse to come. But that is only in the short term. It is also a sign of the greatest news in all history, and it points to the hope of salvation for all mankind!