Copyright © 2005, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2019 Philadelphia Church of God
Here is what I believe to be the single most revealing verse in the book of Daniel: “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” (Daniel 7:8).
God reveals so much in this one scripture. This verse depicts the 10 horns that grow out of the fourth beast—the Roman Empire. It depicts a “little horn”—a great false church—coming on the scene after three horns are plucked up. The church directed the violent uprooting of the barbarians. The three horns picture three governments (the Heruli, the Vandals and the Ostrogoths) that came and went, and then suddenly the whole configuration changed from that point forward: The great church guided every succeeding resurrection of this Roman Empire in an unprecedented church-state relationship.
God revealed to Herbert W. Armstrong that this verse was the key to European history. So European history is tied to Daniel’s image. The last seven horns comprise a church-state relationship, which began in a.d. 554—led by Justinian. Once you understand that, it is much easier to see where it is. Europe was ruled by a church-state relationship and is unique in this way. That is a super-critical key to understanding its past. This combine is called the Holy Roman Empire. It has produced the most destructive church-state relationship in human history!
This verse gives another picture to help us understand this last seven-horned system. It is unlike all the other beasts because it is ridden by a woman (Revelation 17:7). The Bible shows that a woman is the symbol of a church.
This is foundational understanding of the prophecies of Daniel 2 and 7 and Revelation 13 and 17.
But there is an even more dramatic truth contained in this verse—one that those wcg ministers failed to see.
In their 1984 sermon notes, the wcg ministers routinely used the phrase, “Mr. Armstrong saw” or “Mr. Armstrong uncovered”—as if he uncovered the prophecies he preached. That approach is dangerously shallow if God is not brought into the picture.
No man can see and understand such an all-encompassing prophecy! It unlocks over 2,000 years of European history. God had to work a spectacular miracle in Mr. Armstrong’s mind so he could understand it!
Don’t take that miracle for granted. God’s Church possesses astounding revelation—and the only reason is that God miraculously gave it!
Mr. Armstrong didn’t see these prophecies because of his advertising brilliance. Even he made that clear. He didn’t even take credit for being the author of Mystery of the Ages, for example. Mr. Armstrong said he was like a scribe, having that knowledge poured into his mind. When those wcg ministers proclaimed what Mr. Armstrong taught them, they would give God little or no credit.
The reason it is so dangerous to view this as something “Mr. Armstrong uncovered” is that it puts this understanding on a human level. Those men ended up following a human. That is the inevitable result of thinking on a human level: You will always end up following a human being, whether it is yourself or another person.
There is nothing wrong with saying “Mr. Armstrong saw” something, if it is put in a clear context, where the emphasis is on God. But those ministers didn’t express it that way at all.
God’s ministers must remember to always bring God into the picture and to keep Him center stage! That is not easy to do. It is very easy to be Laodicean and to drift into sloppy understanding. It’s easy to get excited about a little prophecy—but to not be nearly excited enough about what God is doing and about the Family He is creating!
God’s ministers must teach that everything works in accordance with God’s master plan, including every detail in our lives. God’s people will face some fiery trials, and they won’t succeed in them if they don’t see God in the picture. To endure trials, you must see God behind them. You won’t get through a fiery-furnace trial without this understanding.
Daniel and his friends flourished in their trials. Those Laodicean ministers have not. What’s the difference? Just compare what the Laodicean ministers were saying shortly before and after Mr. Armstrong died with the way Daniel wrote! Unlike the Laodiceans, Daniel was masterful at always keeping God in the picture.
The Laodiceans began to take the spectacular miracle of revelation lightly. They often left God out of His own revelation! Even though every iota of prophecy or truth is revealed by God!
The ministers’ job is to fill the prophetic panorama with God. Then God’s people get to know God. That is not an easy process.
The Laodicean ministers were looking to a man. When Mr. Armstrong told them to prophesy, that’s what they did. When his successor told them to “prophesy not,” that’s what they did! They obeyed both men!
If we are going to make it into God’s Kingdom, we have to get much deeper than that!
In our age, 95 percent of God’s people—and shamefully, over 99 percent of His ministers—turned against God when a rebellious leader took over God’s Church. God’s government is a vital tool and a wonderful blessing, but human leaders can go astray. This puts a serious responsibility on each one of us to know where our Head—Jesus Christ—is.
God is blunt with the Laodiceans. He tells them that the heart of their problem is that they did not honor their Father (Malachi 1:6). They lost the God Family gospel.
It is critical that we always declare the Father and bring the Father into the picture, as Christ did. A human leader in God’s office is important only to the degree that he follows Christ. The man can do nothing, apart from God. We must be able to see the Father and Christ in order to understand the family office they’ve established. If we remain focused on that, nothing will ever shake us! We cannot be deceived!
The wcg ministers saw and understood God’s prophecy in intricate detail—but they didn’t understand the great God who reveals prophecy!
If we don’t see God in His prophecies—including the new revelation He gives to His Church today—then we are wasting our time! We must recognize God in this education, and realize how truly spectacular it is!
The little horn has a history of being extraordinarily violent. The Laodiceans don’t see it that way today, but they will before long—they’re going to be victims of it!
Look again at Daniel 7:8. This great false church came up and helped behind the scenes in many ways to ensure those first three horns were plucked up and exterminated! It didn’t have any more problems with them after that. It was all done by what came to be called the Holy Roman Empire.
Prophecy tells us that this is a dreadful and terrible beast! The world is almost totally blind to European history. That ignorance will be costly.
We talk about Europe and the church; God doesn’t describe it that way—He calls it a political beast and a religious beast! That’s not politically correct, but that is the truth of God.
So the crucial issue is not knowing that truth, but having the courage to proclaim it.
A Worldwide Church of God publication from 1984 by Keith Stump called The History of Europe and the Church is very revealing about how liberal and off track that Church was becoming on this vital prophetic subject. Let me share some excerpts with you.
Mr. Stump wrote, “As a corporal, Hitler was awarded the coveted Iron Cross [this came right out of the old Roman system] for personal bravery in World War i. Now he gathers a small following of fellow veterans bent on overturning the humiliating Treaty of Versailles and restoring Germany’s honor.”
Wait a minute. Was the Treaty of Versailles really “humiliating”? Perhaps some of the stipulations were too strong, but, after all, the world had just witnessed the death of 10 million people! And Germany started that war. For the most part, the Treaty of Versailles was right. Pushing it aside did not restore Germany’s honor! World War ii wasn’t about righting the wrongs of the Versailles Treaty. That war was motivated by the Holy Roman Empire’s desire to rule the world! Politically correct language like Mr. Stump’s only perpetuates the problem.
“For its part,” Mr. Stump wrote, “the Vatican is at first sympathetic toward fascism, though Pope Pius xi is critical of fascism’s use of violence.” Pius xi reigned from 1922 to 1939; he died at the beginning of World War ii. He was replaced by Pius xii, about whom Mr. Stump says basically the same thing.
Is that true—that these popes were against violence? No, not when it was inflicted on their enemies!
“Like Mussolini, Hitler—a Catholic by birth—sees a need to come to terms with the Vatican. On July 20, 1933, the Vatican signs a concordat with the Nazi regime. … But relations between Berlin and the Vatican are strained. Pope Pius [xii] has no illusions about Nazism” (ibid). Oh really? Then why didn’t he ever speak out against Nazism? Why didn’t he strongly condemn the extermination of Jews? Why, after the war, did his church actually help most of the Nazi leaders escape?
These are provable, documented facts of history! Many historians know it. Yet God’s own people, from headquarters, wrote these lies!
“He authors several protests against Nazi practices. On March 14, 1937, Pius issues his encyclical ‘With Burning Anxiety’ against Nazism. It charges that the German state has violated the 1933 concordat, and vigorously denounces the Nazi conception of life as utterly anti-Christian” (ibid).
Did the church really believe Nazism was anti-Christian? Then why was it allied with the Nazis throughout the war? And why did it help most of the Nazi leaders escape at the end of the war? No other organization was even close! His statement is just blatantly false.
In Revelation 13 and 17 it states that this religious beast looks like a lamb and speaks like the devil! Remember, Mr. Stump is discussing the sixth head of this political and religious beast, the Holy Roman Empire.
Keith Stump and many deceived people see that the church looks like a lamb, but refuse to see that it speaks like the devil.
We must look at this history God’s way! It doesn’t matter what men say—what does God say?
You can envision that down the road we will become unpopular, because we tell the truth about that history and end-time prophecy.
“In August 1939, Germany and Soviet Russia sign a nonaggression pact, guaranteeing Soviet nonintervention in Hitler’s ventures in the West. Hitler’s eastern flank is now secure. The stage is set. A catastrophe is about to engulf the world! In a final last-minute appeal to head off the outbreak of world conflict, the new pope, Pope Pius xii, declares on August 24, ‘Everything can be lost by war; nothing is lost by peace’” (ibid).
Keith Stump wrote as though the church was trying to head off World War ii. God’s version of these events is very different: He says the church was riding and guiding the beast!
The religious leaders weren’t guiding the politicians as much as they would have liked, but there has always been a conflict between the church and the state over ultimate control of that empire. The church wants to run the show, and so does the political head.
Mr. Stump tells us that the church was trying to remain neutral to help more of its members around the world. At the same time, the church was allied with a political beast that was trying to enslave the world! That is shallow and politically correct thinking, not to mention unbiblical and untrue.
Notice these shameful, disgraceful words from that publication: “Pledged to neutrality, Pius believes the Holy See can play a peacemaking role if it maintains formal relations with all the belligerents.”
Pledged to neutrality. First of all, that is a lie—the church was far from neutral. Sometimes neutrality can be just as evil as joining the wrong side! You can allow a lot of evil to develop if you’re neutral. God’s people must not be neutral! Neutral people do not last in the true Church! A person cannot be neutral between God and the devil!
Mr. Stump called it “the Holy See.” God calls it “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. [T]he woman drunken with the blood of the saints”! (Revelation 17:5-6).
We must be careful of saying the word “holy” referring to this beast. I sometimes use the term Holy Roman Empire so people know what I’m talking about historically—but it is anything but holy! Our writings make that crystal clear.
If that church played a “peacemaking role,” as Mr. Stump suggested, then I don’t know anything about history and prophecy!
Keith Stump described the pope as being “keenly concerned about the Jews.” Hitler’s Pope was written by John Cornwell, a Catholic. It is unusually authoritative because he had access to the Vatican’s own archives. That is an extremely rare privilege, given only to a tiny few people whom it trusts. He wrote that Pius xii had a history of being anti-Semitic, and I believe this is accurate. Why?
“In September 1943, Germans occupy Rome. The dilemma of Pius xii becomes even more acute. Nazi troops are now camped on his very doorstep. Public condemnation of Hitler could lead to reprisals—even invite a Nazi invasion of the Vatican. That could jeopardize the Holy See’s diplomatic efforts on behalf of the Jews and end any influence the papacy might have in favor of peace” (ibid; emphasis mine).
This booklet made the World War ii church appear to be a real peacemaking organization that loved the Jews. But look at the history of the Holy Roman Empire! It has been said that Charlemagne, the most-honored ruler of all, waded through a sea of blood to bring “peace” to Europe! He converted many people to Catholicism with the sword. Prophecy shows that this empire has a history not of peacemaking, but of making war—breaking things to pieces!
Jesus Christ is going to return and break it to pieces! That is exactly what the beast power deserves!
How could Keith Stump write about this history in such a way while also writing about Revelation 13 and 17?
These statements should never have been printed in one of our publications. It is shameful that anyone who once knew God would so treacherously misrepresent Him!
I was a minister in the wcg when this was printed, and if I read the booklet it must have been superficially. I simply don’t remember it. But I too should have been more aware of what was unfolding.
These Laodicean leaders knew that Mr. Armstrong would not agree with that booklet. So why did they write it? They were aware that Mr. Armstrong was nearly blind and would not read this booklet. That means they also had enough control over headquarters and this 91-year-old man to keep anybody from getting to him and exposing their satanic plot!
This is a black, black scenario of how Satan used these flagrant rebels. This was “the synagogue of Satan” about to become the Laodicean era in roughly two years. Revelation 3:9 also tells us that they “lie.” They told many lies to cover their rank heresy.
Anybody who truly knows this Church history knows that the father of liars—Satan—used these men to turn the Church away from God. It was a massive rebellion.
“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (Revelation 3:9).
If we do our job, the Laodiceans will humble themselves before our feet—return to what God revealed. God is going to make them know that He loved us.
What is it worth, as a human being, to have God say, I’m going to make them come back to what you believe, and make them know that I loved you! Isn’t that worth dying for?
Let’s get some background on this synagogue of Satan. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). This lady is really clothed majestically—clothed with the sun! The moon is her footstool. She has a crown of 12 stars (symbols of the 12 tribes of Israel). No man can adorn somebody that way—only God can!
The beasts are of the Earth. The great whore is adorned with worldly goods. But God’s Church is “a great wonder in heaven.” It is not of the Earth—it is of God!
This is the Church of God! The sun is a symbol of God’s spiritual light. We are about to change the world through that sun, and the power of God!
People had better be careful when they fight against us. Of course people will cause us problems—but the God we serve will have His vengeance! You don’t go up against the people God clothed with the sun without incurring repercussions from God!
Yet these men from God’s own Church would dare write and speak as they did, sounding so unlike their Father and their Husband!
Do we realize who we are? Who clothes us? Who builds our work facilities? How we answer those questions separates us from the Laodiceans.
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. … And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (verses 3, 6).
God’s Church endured 1,260 years of hiding out in order to survive the wrath of this great false church! That is the church Mr. Stump thinks is so “peace-loving.” Its leaders tried to bring peace to the world by killing God’s saints and spilling the saints’ blood all over their robes!
Historians call that period the Middle Ages. Many Protestants call it the Dark Ages. Quite a lot of them were killed along with God’s true saints. In many places in Europe, especially Spain, there are hardly any Protestants because most all of them were killed! Killed by this “peace-loving” church, guiding a political beast.
Let’s assess the blame as God does.
That is not just history. Ninety percent of God’s prophecy is being fulfilled in this end time. The darkest part of the Dark Ages is just now beginning to develop!
There is a perpetual battle between God’s Church and Satan’s primary church—his number one religious tool. That is why they are placed together in the 12th chapter of Revelation.
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (verse 9). All those angels have become demons, and they’re on Earth, causing us trouble today.
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (verse 12). Satan was grievously troubled and full of wrath when he was cast down about the time of Mr. Armstrong’s death—so what did he do?
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (verse 13). He attacked God’s Laodicean Church with frightening success! He continues to ferociously attack God’s very elect, but can’t conquer them.
At this point in the prophetic timeline, the Prophet Daniel fills in a tremendous amount of detail! Daniel really unlocks this passage in Revelation.
When you put all the revelation together, it’s amazing how much God has educated us.
“For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant” (Daniel 11:30).
When Daniel wrote about “them that forsake the holy covenant,” he was prophesying about rebellious Laodiceans. Let’s not forget, Daniel’s prophecy is for the end time.
Anciently there was a physical Antiochus—but remember, there is also a spiritual Antiochus in Daniel’s end-time prophecy. “So shall he do” means that he too will “have indignation against the holy covenant.”
Anciently, Antiochus had just been defeated in a military battle in Egypt. He was in a rage. He desperately wanted to defeat Jerusalem! Likewise, when Satan was cast down in this end time, he came in a rage after God’s Church. He began by working with those who had “intelligence”—the scholars. They were transgressing, and Satan quickly got them to cast the truth to the ground (Daniel 8:11-12). He reduced them to probably the most pathetic Church of God ever!
As ministers, we have an awesome responsibility. There is no way we can fight this war without the power of God!
These intelligent people knew a lot—they were scholars! They wrote magazine articles and booklets, but they were teaching lies, within God’s sanctuary! Satan had conquered them.
“And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate” (Daniel 11:31). After polluting the sanctuary, the first thing Satan did was to “take away the daily”—he stopped God’s Work! The sanctuary must be polluted before Satan can ever destroy God’s Work.
If Satan can pollute one saint, he hurts God’s Work. We must always remember, his greatest passion is to destroy God’s Work—and to do that he must spiritually destroy God’s people.
That abomination was an army of rebels and demons within God’s Church, led by the “man of sin, the son of perdition” (or destruction), who had one purpose: to destroy God’s Work.
It will not be easy to proclaim this message. But we must do it, and the more we do it, the more we will prosper and the more God will promote us. That is how God works. Daniel 11:31 calls God’s Church a “sanctuary of strength.” That is what we are. We are clothed with the sun! We have all the power of the Creator of the universe if we will just use it. There is a small remnant that uses that power; the physical and spiritual evidence is all around us in this great Work of God! The only way we can do this Work is if we tap in to that power.
You were called to be a part of that sanctuary of strength. God expects you to be strong.
Daniel 8:23 refers to “the transgressors” in God’s Church. The word transgressor means they know about God’s law and willingly transgress. Those are the people Satan preys on most. He targets the weak, those who compromise, those who do things they know they should not do. He is right there to pounce on them.
Why was the Work destroyed? “[B]y reason of transgression” (verse 12). The Work failed because of sin!
As Mr Armstrong said, “Sin is the absence of righteousness.” Nobody will destroy this Work if we are righteous!
However, if we have transgressors in the Church, you can be sure Satan will exploit that.
“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries …” (Daniel 11:32). These people were corrupted by flatteries and vanities. They were saying nice things to each other: You’re doing such a good job—you’re such a wonderful minister—you have such a powerful vocabulary. Just remember to continue to prophesy not! They were led to destroy prophetic teaching so as not to be labeled a cult.
What kind of future awaits people who do that? It’s so painful, you cry thinking about it!
We all battle the problem of vanity. Someone can say something just to flatter us, and if we are not careful we can say, Yes, that’s right—I guess I am kind of a great guy.
If you are susceptible to flatteries, you will do wickedly against God’s covenant. That is human nature, and it is rampant in God’s Laodicean Church.
Laodiceans look to each other for praise—not God!
Of all people, God’s ministers must get rid of vanity. That is right at the core of what we are apart from God. We must be able to discern that.
The Anchor Bible translates “corrupt by flatteries” as apostatize—a great falling away. That is a better translation: God’s people simply fell away from God—to the tune of thousands. The flatteries had one, and only one, purpose: to turn people away from God and destroy the Work! At this point, they were not smashed, they were seduced.
Verse 32 concludes, “[B]ut the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” They know the God of Genesis 1:26—Elohim. These people know the Hebrew word Elohim is a plural word like family. They know all about the God Family! They were taught that by the one who established the sanctuary in purity! They know their history and they are strong! Because they are strong, they do a work—they do exploits, which means heroic acts for God’s Work. Do you do heroic acts for God’s Work?
Look at how specific God is getting in this prophecy. The Revised Standard Version says that these people “stand firm and take action”!
You can either judge by fruits as God does, or you can listen to Satan’s flattering words. Jesus Christ’s Bride will not be led away by flatteries. She stays faithful to her Husband and does heroic deeds! She uses the power of God—Creator of everything!
If you look at what God has done through His people year by year in this small Work, you would have to say these are some pretty impressive exploits. But we will do many more heroic acts if we use God’s universe-size strength! The greatest work is still ahead.
“And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days” (Daniel 11:33). Even though “many” Laodiceans were thoroughly instructed, multiple thousands will still fall.
“Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries” (verse 34). In the midst of crisis, people will continue flattering and trying to work things out humanly—seeking to impress human beings rather than our Father—our Creator! That is disgusting to God!
God not only tells us that the Laodiceans fall, but how they fall!
When the Laodiceans fall, they will receive a little help from God’s very elect. God gives a tremendous amount of detail about exactly how this occurs. Many of us have lived through it (Revelation 11:1-2; 3:9, 14-20).
Now notice: “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed” (Daniel 11:35). Now God directs His warning specifically to us—those doing the daily. Verse 33 says “many” will fall. That refers to the Laodiceans. Here it says “some.” The translators used the word some because they could see that it was a smaller number.
God is talking to the end-time Philadelphians directly! Daniel said this was for a “time appointed.” It’s for a specific time period—the Laodicean era. Right up to the very end, some of us will fall. Haven’t we all seen this happen? The word try in verse 35 means to smelt, like smelting metal—in a fiery furnace! It means a fiery trial. Even when people come into this remnant and understand, they can still fall.
Should we be shocked if some leave? God says it will happen right up to the end. We are in a war. And in a war, there are casualties. Will you be a casualty? It will happen “even to the time of the end.”
We can avoid failure if we follow the example of Daniel and his three friends.
“But in his estate shall he honour the [g]od of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things” (verse 38). We must look at these verses spiritually. This is still talking about the spiritual Antiochus. This individual who honors the “god of forces” is very human. He worships a different god than Mr. Armstrong did.
“In his estate” means he is sitting in the seat of the God of gods. This is happening in God’s sanctuary. This sounds a lot like 2 Thessalonians 2:4. He’s in God’s seat saying by his deeds that he is God! Estate in the margin says “stead”; Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says “in his place.” He is in the place of Christ. This man betrayed God. The first part of this verse should read, “But, as for the Almighty God, in his seat [the seat of the true God] he shall honor a god” of forces—the devil! He honors the people of gold, silver and precious stones; in others words, those who are “rich, and increased with goods” (see Revelation 3:17).
This spiritual rebel acts like the vicar of Christ—not representing Christ, but in the place of Christ! (The pope is also called the vicar of Christ.) What sin could be more grotesque and despicable? Blind Laodiceans don’t see this man for what he is. Where is such a horrifying deception going to lead?
Daniel 7:8 says the little horn will be a mouth “speaking great things.” This religious leader will talk about how he’s going to bring world peace. People by the hundreds of millions will believe him.
Because of that deception, people won’t listen to God’s real message of peace! Instead they will try to have peace by waging war.
As it says in Revelation, this beast looks like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. Think about that. This is the worst kind of deception ever—looks like God, speaks like the devil!
The political beast also has a mouth speaking great things. Both will have super-huge mouths on the world scene.
Mr. Armstrong always believed the Holy Roman Empire would develop because of a crisis—mainly the failure of the dollar. When the United States became the world’s leading creditor nation after World War i, the U.S. dollar became the world’s ruling currency. But now the U.S. is the world’s leading debtor nation. Nations are working to find an alternative to the dollar and are starting to dump their dollar holdings and buy gold, euros, yuan and other currencies. Once the demand for the dollar declines, U.S. creditors will demand higher interest rates, which will make America’s already staggering debt far worse.
Politicians may implement policies to delay economic collapse, but they are doing nothing to reverse this nation-destroying trend. The massively debt-burdened American economy simply cannot continue indefinitely.
How long will America’s economic Armageddon be delayed? Until God’s Work is finished. Then God will protect His people who are doing that Work.
The European Union has 28 members and wants to add more. Prophecy says it will end up with just 10 kings, or national entities. For years we have anticipated some kind of jolt, some catastrophic emergency, that would radically reduce it from its inflated size. We have even suggested, as Mr. Armstrong did before us, that the emergency could be sparked by economic collapse in the United States. This prophecy makes today’s electrifying events extremely important to watch. The global economic catastrophe that began to unfold in September of 2008 is hitting Europe in waves, creating massive social unrest and political disruption. Such unstable conditions set the stage perfectly for strong leadership to rise up and make radical changes.
Historically, an emergency is what has always bound church and state together in Europe! Then they have to depend on each other to be unified and strong. It is not at all difficult to see how present conditions could empower a strong religious leader and a German political head (or head of the EU) to pare down the EU from 28 to 10 kings!
Throughout the history of this church-state union, there has been tension and division. Even the fact that it is represented by two legs in the Daniel 2 image demonstrates that fact. That is why the church has been so instrumental: Religion has a way of pulling people together in an emergency.
The German empire collapsed in 1254. It was having all kinds of crusades down into the Middle East, and it just fell apart! That was a real emergency. What was the church going to do?
Then the church moved to the Habsburgs of Austria, and directed that empire.
Mr. Armstrong had a relationship with Otto von Habsburg, who was a descendant of Charles v, one of the rulers of that empire.
In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on a church building in Wittenberg, Germany, and called the Catholic Church heretical. That caused all kinds of division and a crisis. Something had to be done again. There was another emergency.
Germany was having a lot of problems in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. In 1789, one person in France said somewhat facetiously that there were 1,789 countries in Germany in 1789. That illustrates how divided it was.
What could it do? What could the church do? This was a real emergency. Well, it wasn’t too long before Napoleon came on the scene. The church got together with Napoleon, who led the fifth head of the beast. Napoleon went over to the Vatican and crowned himself. You could tell there was tension between him and the church.
Throughout history, emergencies have always brought the church and state together.
What emergency will bring them together this time?
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another” (Daniel 7:1-3).
These four beasts are the same four successive, world-ruling Gentile empires that are revealed in Daniel 2. This chapter is simply giving more detail about the Daniel 2 image. Daniel is telling us who these world-ruling kingdoms are—and we can read our history books and verify it!
Isaiah 57:20 says that the wicked are like the troubled sea, which is exactly what these four beasts emerged from. This world is full of troubles and problems. When Adam ate from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden, he led mankind into a life of troubles. God never intended the world to be this way! It’s no world for families to rear children in! It must be changed!
The sea is of this Earth—these beasts are of the Earth, man-made. They are not of God. This is an intensely troubled world. Man must eat from the tree of life to even survive!
If Christ didn’t return at just the right moment, no flesh would be saved alive. Man will finally have to see that his sinning ways led him to this horrifying point—self-annihilation.
“The first was like a lion [not a rabbit], and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it” (Daniel 7:4). This lion-like beast is Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldean Empire. These beasts always come from the Earth and have a man’s heart. They reject God’s way.
“And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear [not an antelope], and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh” (verse 5). This is the Medo-Persian Empire, which took over from Babylon and also conquered Libya and Egypt. These really are dangerous beasts: They devour nations!
“After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard [not a deer], which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it” (verse 6). This deadly leopard is Alexander the Great, who took 30,000 men and crushed the Persian Empire, which had a 350,000-man army! What cunning cruelty! Alexander was Napoleon’s hero. He studied Alexander’s blitzkrieg warfare; generals to this day study it.
After Alexander died, four of his generals split the empire into four parts—a total of “four heads.”
That is how ferocious these beasts are! Keith Stump says they’re like “wild animals,” but even a deer or antelope is a wild animal. God calls them beasts—with the jaws and teeth of a lion, and the fierce claws of a bear, and the lightning-strike swiftness of a leopard!
These are dreadful beasts that conquer and enslave entire nations. It’s what these beasts do. But biblical Israel likes to think of them as harmless wild animals. Our nations do that because of their broken wills. They fear to face the extremely unpleasant truth. However, it is only a matter of time until they must do just that. The only way these beasts go away is when they themselves are conquered.
The last of these four beasts will have all the deadly strengths of the first three!
The Laodiceans don’t want to believe that. They want to think the Holy Roman Empire is like a harmless “wild animal.” They will keep saying, “They’re peace-loving people,” until they are devoured! That’s what these beasts do. It’s their nature. The Laodiceans will learn their lesson by suffering the bloody gnashing and crashing of jaws against flesh of the last beast!
With the key of Daniel 2, we can understand Daniel 7 quite easily. We always need to keep that Daniel 2 image etched in our minds; that way we can understand prophecy much better.
The notes I received on these wcg sermons came from 1984, just when Mr. Stump had finished his booklet. The wcg ministers promoted the booklet heavily. They said, Make sure you read it, along with our teaching. Then you will really understand prophecy, and no one will deceive you.
A short while later, they themselves were profoundly deceived. What happened?
Mr. Stump wrote: “On June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand—heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary—is assassinated by a Serbian in the Balkan town of Sarajevo. The great powers are caught in the webs of their alliances. The bloody event triggers World War i.”
Is that true? Do bloody events trigger wars?
What actually happened was, Germany goaded Austria and Hungary into increasing their demands on Serbia to the point where the Serbs couldn’t possibly meet them! And that led to war. This was another attempt by Germany to resurrect the Holy Roman Empire. That thinking has been there since the time of Justinian! Many historians recognize this. Winston Churchill, who knew war and was powerfully used by God to save Western civilization, is surely more reliable than most sources—and he knew it was Germany that started World War i! That’s why he was so alarmed before World War ii. It isn’t bloody events that start wars, it is men—often evil men.
I’m not so naive that I don’t know who caused the First World War. I know enough about history to know that what Mr. Stump said is a deadly lie! People who listen to that are going to learn the hard way! Israel will die because of such reasoning.
That is the reasoning of Satan, protecting his number one tool, the Holy Roman Empire. The Laodiceans were commanded to conquer the devil, as Christ did (Revelation 3:21). Instead, Satan conquered them.
When America works with Europe today, its leaders act in total ignorance of history. Germany has a history of being dangerous when you least expect it.
To say that the war started because the powers were “caught in the webs of their alliances” is to say that nobody was at fault! It just happened—nobody could help it; nobody could stop it—you can’t blame Germany, or Austria, or Britain, or France, or Russia.
That is just how a Laodicean reasons!
The wcg fell apart, and few are willing to assign blame as God does. Mr. Armstrong died, and everything just fell apart, they say. You know how those things go—not much you can do.
God will never accept such rebellious and shallow reasoning. That kind of reasoning is why we keep having wars. There is a cause for wars. There is a cause for churches falling apart. There is a cause for a congregation prospering and being filled with joy, or becoming discouraged and unloving. There is cause and effect!
Remember though: God is putting these thoughts into the minds of the leaders of that Holy Roman Empire in order to correct biblical Israel for its evil. This whole world is terribly evil, and God is about to replace every human government. We all have evil human nature, but God commands us to overcome it. There are Germans who know the Holy Roman Empire is very evil but are powerless to stop it.
God is no respecter of persons or of nations. He loves the Germans, and will use them in a powerful way in the Kingdom of God. He loves all races equally. It would be almost blasphemous to say anything different of God! That’s His creation—those are His future Family members. But they are a tool Satan has used in this world.
“Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few” (Isaiah 10:7). Different nations have different temperaments. This is the way Germany’s history has been.
Germany also started a war with France in 1870 and conquered it. Many nations have been conquered by Germany. It often happened because the victims refused to face reality—like today!
Germany used the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to go to war. You never know what it’s plotting. It’s prone to get into wars!
Foolish, sheep-like biblical Israel does not understand the beast!
In Isaiah 56, God describes the Laodicean watchmen: Beasts are all around the house of Israel, and these dogs won’t even bark! These Laodicean watchmen won’t tell people what’s really happening; they just want to smooth everything over and “prophesy not.”
The Treaty of Versailles did not sow the seeds of World War ii. Germany totally violated that treaty by marching into the Rhineland, which the Allies had made a nonmilitary zone to protect France and the rest of Europe. Hitler decided to march right in. France and Britain were paralyzed, unsure of whether to stop him. They were overcome by dangerous pacifism.
Churchill said, If you don’t stop them there, soon you won’t be able to! They didn’t listen to Churchill, but who was right? Weakness sowed the seeds of World War ii. Hitler could have been stopped easily when he marched into the Rhineland.
You can’t negotiate evil away. We must challenge evil! When we see Laodicean attitudes, we have to speak out—as lovingly and discreetly as possible, of course. We must tell the truth and proclaim God’s prophecies!
If you think I’m being too alarmist, you need to study the history of the Holy Roman Empire and see what Satan is prophesied to do to physical Israel. Very soon, people who say what I’m saying now will be killed for doing so!
Mr. Stump’s reasoning leads to the destruction of nations and of churches! Look what happened in God’s Church because of the synagogue of Satan! Spiritually, that church has been totally destroyed. Mr. Armstrong warned us in the 1970s that history would repeat itself if we didn’t learn from that debacle. How right he was.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns” (Daniel 7:7). The last of these 10 horns is here. It’s also making a lot of noise.
Xinhua News Agency wrote on December 19, 2004: “The EU’s decade-long drive to develop its military muscle to back up its diplomatic weight took visible form as 7,000 peacekeepers in Bosnia and Herzegovina replaced their nato shoulder tags with the EU’s blue and gold colors.
“The mission, which started on December 2, marks the 25-nation bloc’s largest and most complex operation to date. Now, the EU’s military aspirations stretch much further as it seeks to erase its enduring image as an economic giant and a military midget.
“The military operation is seen as a crucial test of the military capabilities of EU nations, as well as their ability to act in unison, as the EU seeks to develop its own coherent military force independent of nato. …
“Although the EU has done a lot in enhancing its independent military role and capabilities, EU leaders have come to realize that Europe has lagged far behind the United States in armaments, intervention capabilities and abilities to cope with crisis. …
“Though the EU has a force of over 2 million troops, merely 2 to 3 percent of them can be employed to undertake a peacekeeping task as in Kosovo.
“Observers say that as things now stand in the EU countries, there is still a long way to go for the bloc to build an efficient independent defense and military intervention system to make the EU a ‘genuine tiger.’”
They have the economic power to do this quickly. The “great iron teeth” are beginning to appear. A major world crisis would produce those “great iron teeth” almost immediately. Let’s look at verse 8 again: “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
Right after that verse about the little horn is this verse: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire” (verse 9).
The wcg ministers didn’t include this scripture in their messages.
Notice how Daniel brings this resplendent Being into the context—describing even His garments and His hair! The Ancient of Days was real to Daniel! Daniel really did know God! This was his hope!
We see Daniel 7:8 being fulfilled with alarming detail today. Then verse 9—the next verse—describes the Ancient of Days: “whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” This awesome and intricate description follows on the heels of the little horn—the last Holy Roman Empire is on the scene.
This fiery God is about to return and conquer the final Roman beast—which is rising powerfully on the world scene even as I write! It’s dreadful and terrible, and Christ is about to return and destroy it forever! If verse 8 has been fulfilled, then so must verse 9 come to pass—and very quickly!
Get ready now for the return of Jesus Christ. That greatest event ever to occur in the universe is almost here.
It is time for each one of us to wake up! Is this majestic, universe-rattling event a part of your daily thinking and acting?
The last horn is on the scene. And it is directly connected to the exhilarating Second Coming of Christ!
“A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (verse 10). It keeps getting more and more inspiring. The new world civilization is ready to burst on the scene. Such verses make the book of Daniel (and Revelation) fill our minds with hope—our hearts beat a little faster!
“I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” (verse 11). The mouth of the political and religious beast will finally be shut! It is about to go up in flames. The Ancient of Days is going to put an end to it. Man built it—God destroys it.
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (verses 13-14).
This is when Christ is crowned! He is going to rule over all languages and nations—He will have dominion over the whole world! His Kingdom will never pass away—never be destroyed!
Daniel kept bringing this vision into his writings over and over. Yet the wcg ministers barely touched on it! They never really saw beyond the smashed toes of the Daniel 2 image.
We are in the last hour. This new civilization is almost here! Christ is about to have dominion over the whole world. The suffering in this world is about to end forever.
How thrilling and uplifting to be a part of this. But being so human and carnal, we naturally set our hearts on riches and goods here and now. We must overcome that thinking. We have to get beyond men and see things as God sees them.
We should be far more excited about the Kingdom of God forever than we are about fulfilled prophecy today.
It takes a lot of work and praying to get ourselves out of the way. These are some of the most difficult scriptures in the Bible. Fervent prayer and Bible study are needed to plumb the depths.
It is shameful for a minister to preach when he can’t get far beyond the human reasoning. If we can’t get God’s views in our minds and help the people think that way, we have failed.
A minister of God is to be a helper of the members’ joy! He is to help them grow in God’s pure joy.
“These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever” (verses 17-18). These verses too were skipped over by the wcg ministers.
If we are ready to rule God’s way, we will rule forever and ever and ever!
That is far more important than the Daniel 2 image! The Daniel 2 image represents humanity gone wrong. That is where Adam led us by taking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! We must get back to the tree of life so we can live and live and live!
The saints of God are mentioned in the context of the four world-ruling empires. The saints will rule forever, and we will see the beasts no more forever! Which is more important?
“And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (verses 20-21).
Once again, this old whore is going to get drunk on the blood of the saints. Though Laodiceans are saying nice things about that church today, soon they will become bloody victims of that murdering machine. Then they will know that what we are saying is right! They will realize that they lacked the will to fight for God and His truth.
“Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (verse 22). We live and yearn for this prophecy to be fulfilled. Our passion is not about who will lead the religious or political beast.
Verse 22 speaks about the magnificent news. Soon we will forget all about the Roman system and the Daniel 2 image. This is what we want to get excited about. This is what makes us eager to do battle against those who would try to destroy God’s beautiful, happy, abundant way of life.
God wants to give us eternal life. Anything else is a waste of time!
God is going to use that beast as a great educational tool for the Laodiceans. He loves them and wants them in His Family. What else can He do? He must teach them the difference between false religion and true religion.
What is amazing about these prophecies is that we are living through them now. Ninety percent of Bible prophecy is being fulfilled today. What an age to be alive! Most of us will get to see Christ’s Second Coming.Continue Reading: Chapter 4: Unlocking Revelation