Chapter 6: Asia in Prophecy
Herbert W. Armstrong said that about one third of the Bible is devoted to prophecy. The framework of all prophecy, he explained, is found in two prophetic books—the books of Daniel and Revelation. And only in Revelation “do we find events of the various other prophecies correlated in order of time sequence,” he wrote in The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last!
The book of Revelation details events that lead to the return of Jesus Christ. The events are symbolized by seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials. These portray a progression of catastrophic plagues God will inflict on mankind.
Mr. Armstrong categorized these prophetic happenings in three major events. “So here we have three successive world-shaking events to come—first and, now, next to occur in possibly this decade or the next, the Great Tribulation. Second, immediately after the Tribulation, the heavenly signs in the sun and moon and stars. Third, following the supernatural signs in the heavens, the terrible Day of the Lord!” (ibid).
The first four seals in Revelation 6:1-8—false religion, war, famine and pestilence—lead to the fifth seal, the Great Tribulation—the time of Satan’s wrath. Many scriptures describe the Great Tribulation, including verses 9-11. The Tribulation will last 2½ years.
Next, in verses 12-14, we read: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” These are the heavenly signs Mr. Armstrong highlighted as the second of the three successive events.
Finally, we come to the Day of the Lord—the time of God’s wrath. This is when God punishes mankind for its rebellion against Him and His government. God will send plagues upon all sinners to bring them to repentance. The inhabitants of Earth who survive the previous disasters will know that they are entering the time of God’s wrath (verses 15-17).
The Day of the Lord lasts for one year. Because it takes place during the last year of a 3½-year period the Bible frequently refers to, some have supposed the Day of the Lord is synonymous with the Great Tribulation—but it is not. The time sequence is this: first the Great Tribulation, then the heavenly signs, and then the Day of the Lord. Those three shattering events fall within a 3½-year period the Bible calls “a time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14). It is critical we understand this time sequence.
Start of Great Tribulation
The time of “great tribulation” is an end-time period of suffering on a scale never experienced in human history (Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1). Many scriptures show that the nations devastated the most will be America, Britain and the Jewish nation of Israel.
In the past, we believed this Tribulation would begin when these three nations were attacked militarily. But the Prophet Ezekiel describes the Tribulation as beginning with an economic siege against these nations.
Notice the specifics: “Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray [or engrave] upon it the city, even Jerusalem: And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 4:1-3).
The “house of Israel” primarily refers not to the Jews, but to the modern descendants of Israel, specifically the United States and Britain. Here is pictured a siege against the house of Israel. It is a prophecy that one third of these nations will be destroyed economically and socially by a siege! Other prophecies show that this siege will cause an economic cataclysm that will develop into race wars and fighting for food and survival!
The Prophet Isaiah discusses a powerful “mart of nations” that includes both European and Asian nations, including Russia, China and Japan (Isaiah 23). Events are moving toward the fulfillment of this prophecy. In recent years, the European Union’s economic powerhouse overtook the U.S. and Japan to become China’s biggest trading partner. China and Europe have undertaken many joint ventures in recent years, including a 2015 landmark deal between Germany’s largest exchange and China’s Foreign Exchange Trade System, which is significantly strengthening financial links between the two sides.
A top German banker, Folker Hellmeyer, former chief economist at Bremer Landesbank, predicts that the Moscow-Beijing economic axis will prevail against the United States. He also warns that economic damage for Germany and the European Union will be significant if they continue to follow U.S. policy in opposition to the brics alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Germany has already joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Financial analysts like Jim Willie are warning that Germany may already be planning to ditch the dollar and join the brics nations!
The relationship we see developing between “the king of the north” and “the kings of the east” is exactly what Isaiah prophesied over 2,700 years ago! Think about the role that this alliance will likely play in the economic besiegement of America!
Mr. Armstrong prophesied for many years that the alliance between Europe and South America would grow extremely strong. The most significant factors that will cement this connection are religion and language: Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion of Latin America; and after Chinese and English, Spanish is the next-most spoken language in the world. But it will not be a union of equals: The Latin American countries will become vassal states of Europe!
With a German-led Europe (referred to in prophecy as “the king of the north”) possessing great maritime power, North America will be flanked on the east by Europe and on the south by Latin America.
The Bible contains many prophecies of that European power attacking America. This is where China and the other giants of Asia enter the picture. Considering that China now possesses most of the world’s strategic sea gates (at one time held by Britain and America), the German-led Holy Roman Empire will need to form a brief alliance with the Asian powers identified in Isaiah 23 (Russia, China, Japan—“the kings of the east”).
If Europe finds a way to take advantage of key resources and strategic holdings of China, Russia and Japan—even for a short period—then it would have more than enough power to besiege the Anglo-Saxon nations. The United States and Britain are going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Asia, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce. These nations of Israel are going to be literally besieged—economically frozen out of world trade!
This economic siege is all part of the fifth seal of Revelation—the Great Tribulation that Ezekiel prophesied. It will usher in the crisis of crises—the worst ever on Earth! Time is extremely short. Do we dare scoff at the living God?
Superpower Under Siege
The Prophet Ezekiel further reveals that one third of the people inside America and Britain will die during this Euro-Asian trade siege. That equates to more than 100 million people in the U.S. and more than 21 million in Britain.
Notice what God commanded His prophet Ezekiel to do: “Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel [primarily America and Britain] upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 4:4-5).
God is getting very detailed and specific here. He doesn’t want people to suffer any more than they have to in order to realize they don’t know the way to peace apart from God’s law. The Tribulation starts with an economic siege, and this siege will last exactly 390 days—about 13 months!
Verses 6-8 specifically address the house of Judah—the Jewish nation—not the house of Israel, or America and Britain: “And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.”
The main prophecy here is that the much longer siege happens against the United States and Britain. I’m sure the worst of the siege is against the U.S. because it is the superpower. While the siege against America and Britain lasts 13 months, the siege against the Jews will only last 40 days.
The siege against the Jews will begin 350 days after the siege against America and Britain has begun. Both sieges end at the same time, when all three nations are invaded militarily. Hosea 5:5 says that America, Britain and Judah will fall together. That is referring to the military attack!
The story flow now continues into Ezekiel 5, where Ezekiel discusses the three successive parts of Israel’s destruction.
When fire begins to burn the cities, that concludes the siege. The siege will keep intensifying until the cities burn with fire. It concludes with the economy being absolutely destroyed, and with a lot of burning, race wars and other forms of societal meltdown.
A lot of mind-splitting terror faces this land! This is building even now—you can see it!
When the siege ends, then comes the attack, so the situation gets far worse. The siege of these three nations leads to an attack that will leave cities without inhabitant!
America is weak and bitterly divided already. This makes it extremely vulnerable for a foreign power to lay siege to it. With the threat of terrorism and racial hatred, it is easy to see how the siege will lead to a third of Americans dying. One third of Britain will die at the same time. The siege of Judah will end at the same time, but it begins later and is much shorter. Yet one third of the Jewish nation will still die.
This devastating military attack of Hosea 5:5 will occur 13 months after the German-led European Union forms an alliance with the nations of Asia to besiege the Anglo-Saxon nations. This military attack will come from the revived Holy Roman Empire!
Tidings Out of the East
The Prophet Daniel shows us what will happen to the brief Euro-Asian alliance: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south [this is a radical Islamic Middle Eastern power, led by Iran] push at him: and the king of the north [a revived European Holy Roman Empire, led by Germany] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many” (Daniel 11:40-44).
The king of the north—the Holy Roman emperor—will hear troubling tidings from the east and north. These tidings come after the king of the south has been destroyed. They come from the Asian axis! The Holy Roman emperor will be disturbed about what the Russians and Chinese are doing.
Before this, when the Tribulation began, this emperor was cooperating with the Russians and Chinese to besiege the Anglo-Saxon nations economically. But perhaps he hears rumors that the Asian axis is planning to invade North America and conquer it for its own. (Such an invasion would also cut off the Holy Roman Empire from its strong alliance with Latin America!)
Regardless of what the exact tidings are, the Bible is clear that it will be the Holy Roman Empire that single-handedly invades North America. And this passage is clear that these tidings will provoke the emperor to go forth with great fury to destroy!
This is the big picture! This is what will happen at the end of the 390-day siege. Europe and Asia may work together to economically besiege America, but their alliance will fall apart once the revived Roman Empire conquers America, Britain and Judah.
Back in World War ii, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan worked together to conquer the world. After the war ended, however, historians found that each empire had plans to go to war with the other after the Allies were defeated. Let’s not be naive: This is the way it has always been with these powers. That is why, in biblical terminology, the “times of the Gentiles” is so horrific!
This is what we have to be concerned about! Two empires are building right now that are out to conquer the world!
The Day of the Lord
After the 390-day siege is ended and the Holy Roman emperor has conquered North America, the Tribulation will continue for 510 more days until the 2½ years are fulfilled. According to the prophecy in Ezekiel 5, another one third of the people inside America and Britain will die during this military invasion. Those who are left alive will be taken as slaves to foreign lands!
At the end of the 2½ years, the sixth and seventh seals will be opened. Again, the sixth seal represents the heavenly signs and the seventh seal marks the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
Consider the words of Revelation 8:1-2: “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.” All seven trumpet blasts occur after the seventh seal is opened, during the Day of the Lord. These trumpets symbolize plagues sent from God as He directly intervenes in the affairs of mankind. God will plead with mankind in the only language we seem to understand—violence! This is the result of people refusing to listen to God now and believe the warnings He is sounding through His Church.
The first four trumpet blasts make living conditions on the Earth unbearable as God destroys the environment. They are described in Revelation 8. The fifth trumpet signifies world domination by a European beast power. The Bible also gives the fifth trumpet another name—the first woe.
The book of Daniel sets the stage for the first woe. Daniel 11:40-41 reveal that after the king of the north conquers the king of the south, this European beast power will be invited into the glorious land (called Israel today), as a peacekeeper! This occurs just before the Great Tribulation. Putting this verse together with another prophecy in Hosea 5:13, both Britain and Judah went to the king (dictator) of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. But he could not heal Britain of its sickness or Judah of its wound. Within a month of this invitation, the Euro-Asian trade siege of Isaiah 23 begins. This is the start of Great Tribulation!
Shortly after the victories of the king of the north, tidings out of the east and north will trouble the beast power (Daniel 11:44). The king of the north is disturbed by the power it sees Russia and China amassing! This could well refer to Europe recognizing that Asian powers are about to conquer America. Rather than allow that—which would leave Europe flanked in both hemispheres by an Asian alliance—Europe makes the first move.
You can already see the fulfillment of this prophecy occurring in embryo today! Europe is deeply troubled by the increasingly expansionistic and aggressive behavior of Russia and China. Europe is plotting what to do about it.
Daniel’s spectacular prophecy continues: “therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.” Rather than let the Asiatic armies have the advantage of striking North America first, the European beast power will turn its full attention to conquering America, Britain and the little nation in the Middle East called Israel!
Approximately 17 months after this attack, we come to the first woe—the beginning of all-out war to determine who will rule the world!
The First Woe
This first woe is described in Revelation 9:1-11. The Apostle John prophesies here that the beast power will launch a preemptive military strike against the kings of Asia. Just like Kaiser Wilhelm ii launched a preemptive strike designed to halt Russia’s ascension to superpower status during World War i, this German empire will strike out in a desperate attempt to thwart Russia and China from achieving world domination.
The language of the book of Revelation is symbolic. In describing this battle, which God showed to him in prophetic vision, John described the events he saw in terminology he was familiar with. For instance, verses 3 and 7-10 say locusts came upon the Earth with power in their tails like a scorpion. This describes modern military equipment—perhaps thunderous helicopters that fire missiles.
During this first woe, the military beast power is unleashed on the inhabitants of the Earth. For five months, it torments mankind—but it doesn’t kill everyone. Its attack is so cruel that its victims actually seek death in order to escape their misery (verse 6).
The invisible force behind this ruthless army is actually Satan. Verse 11 explains the king over these soldiers is Abaddon or Apollyon—names of Satan. He is a destroyer and full of wrath as he wreaks havoc on Earth and its inhabitants. But this is only the first woe. More destruction will follow, as God works to bring all men to repentance.
The Second Woe
Continuing in Revelation 9, the sixth trumpet then sounds, which is also called the second woe (verses 12-13). Four angels are released specifically to amass an almost incomprehensibly large, 200 million-man army (verses 14-16).
Imagine how stunningly enormous this 200 million-man army sounded to John about 2,000 years ago! But he knew that God’s prophecy would come true.
Most Bible critics today argue that it would be impossible to assemble an army this size. Yet consider the numbers. The current population in China is over 1.4 billion. Russia has 146 million. Other Asian nations are prophesied to join this alliance—among them, India, with its 1.4 billion people and third-largest army in the world. Japan, the nations of Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet republics are all definite or probable participants in this alliance. With these staggering populations, it is easy to see that the family of Japheth—the father of the Asian peoples—has indeed been “enlarged,” just as God prophesied through Moses that it would be (Genesis 9:27).
There will easily be a total approaching 4 billion people from which to make up an army of 200 million! Further, consider the fact that they would have just been attacked by the beast power. They would be engaged in the fiercest battle ever fought! Now, to muster an army of 200 million men, these Asiatic masses would likely only have to call upon a small fraction of their combined populations to fight this battle—hardly unrealistic.
Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The second woe … is also referred to as an event in the Day of the Eternal in Joel 2:4. This refers to a tremendous military power—also to the north—due north! … World events are now moving rapidly to make possible the creation of a Communist Eurasian army of that unbelievable manpower! Yes, it’s time to wake up to what’s taking place today—the true significance of the time in which we live, and where it is leading!” (ibid).
In Joel 2:11, this Asian army is actually called God’s army. The great Creator God will inspire it to wreak havoc on the European beast power. This astonishingly enormous Asian army is going to counterattack against Europe and obliterate it.
This Asian conglomerate will unite to “slay the third part of men” (Revelation 9:15). That has never happened in history. In fact, it would not be possible without the superweapons of this modern age. This is warfare like this world has never seen. And the Bible also reveals vital details about an individual who will lead this gargantuan Asian force!
A Prophesied ‘Prince’
Ezekiel 38 gives us some of these important details about the 200 million-man army. “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (verses 1-2). These verses begin in the latter days (verses 8, 16) before the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord and Christ’s Second Coming.
In Chapter 1, we explained that Meshech and Tubal were the fathers of those who comprise greater Russia today. One other Russian people is mentioned in Ezekiel 38:2. There is controversy over how the Hebrew word rosh should be translated in this verse. The King James Version uses the adjective “chief.” But the correct rendering (used by the Moffatt, New King James Version and others) uses the word not as an adjective, but as a proper noun: Rosh. Thus, that verse should read, “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.”
Rosh was the ancient name of Russia. Many encyclopedias and commentaries (such as the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary) recognize this. So who is this “prince” of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk? The use of all three names shows that this is an individual ruler of all the peoples of Russia, from the west to the east. Ezekiel’s command to “prophesy against him” further indicates a specific individual.
When you study these scriptures alongside current events revealing modern Moscow’s imperialist direction, you see that Vladimir Putin could well become the leader of that gigantic army of the East. We strongly believe Vladimir Putin is going to lead the 200 million-man army (request our free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia’). Just look at the power he already has.
Can you think of any other Russian politician who could become so powerful and have the will to lead Russia into the crisis of crises? Such a man doesn’t appear overnight. It takes years for even a strong-willed leader to gain such control. Vladimir Putin already has the power—and the will to use it. There is not enough time for a competitor to arise and challenge him.
When Russia took Crimea, world leaders and even some top-notch analysts were convinced that the nations of the world would side with the West against Moscow. U.S. President Barack Obama said the international community was “largely united” in its belief that Putin had violated Ukraine’s territory. But in a stunning fulfillment of Bible prophecy, China and India made clear that they supported Putin.
“Backing Russia is in China’s interests,” said the Global Times, a mouthpiece for China’s Communist Party, on March 5, 2014. “We shouldn’t disappoint Russia when it finds itself in a time of need.” The next day, a senior official from India said, “There are legitimate Russian and other interests involved [in Ukraine]. We hope … there is a satisfactory resolution to them.”
In his March 18, 2014, address to the Duma, President Putin singled out these two nations to thank for their support. “[W]e are grateful to all those who understood our actions in Crimea; we are grateful to the people of China, whose leaders have always considered the situation in Ukraine and Crimea taking into account the full historical and political context, and greatly appreciate India’s reserve and objectivity.”
This is an early fulfillment of the Asian nations falling in line behind and in support of the “prince of Rosh.”
When these Asian nations—extremely powerful, nuclear-armed countries—begin to show solidarity with each other regarding moves like that, what does that portend for the world? It is woe to the world! It will cause many serious problems. And it is going to affect everyone.
This Asian cooperation blindsided many in the West, but the Trumpet and the Plain Truth before us never made that mistake. Actually we have been proclaiming for over 50 years that Russia, China and other Asian nations would ally themselves in the end time. And we are in that end time now.
Mr. Obama and even top-tier analysts thought the idea of a revived Russian empire would pose too great a danger to China and India for those countries to support it. But that perspective fails to recognize a significant truth: To India and especially to China, the West is a far greater enemy. More importantly, that perspective fails to recognize the prophecies of the Bible.
We now turn to another critical passage of Scripture that describes this massive counterstrike against the beast power.
The Fall of Babylon
Jeremiah 50 adds many details to the progression of end-time events. God warns Babylon in verse 1. Babylon is the name God gives the political-religious system that sprung from the ancient city of Babylon. Historically, Satan has perpetuated that system primarily in Europe as the “Holy” Roman Empire, though Satan’s influence on this world stretches much further than that (see Revelation 12:9). The fall of Babylon described here in Jeremiah 50, however, refers to the destruction of the end-time European union of church and state—the beast power.
In verse 3, God says, “For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.” The beast power will attack first. But the massive Asiatic counterattack will overwhelm the beast power. This is the second woe.
Now verse 9: “For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain.” An “assembly of great nations from the north” could only be Russia and China, along with various other nations that will join this power bloc. The end of the verse illustrates how effective the attack will be—without any munitions spent in vain! The devastating collapse of the Babylonian system, the beast power, is further described in Revelation 18:2-19.
“Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the Lord. Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it is the vengeance of the Lord: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her” (Jeremiah 50:14-15). God is behind this Asiatic counterattack. These armies spare nothing. The Russians and Chinese both possess nuclear weaponry. When we read about the level of destruction upon Babylon (it will “slay the third part of men”), there can be no doubt that it will be attacked with nuclear weapons! Notice that this attack is provoked because the people of this beast power have sinned against God. God says in verse 15 that this is His vengeance. He instructs the Asiatic hordes to attack Babylon in the same way Babylon attacked others.
God says in Revelation 18:5-6, “For [Babylon’s] sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.” God’s anger is so full that He has the Asian armies deal a doubly destructive attack against the beast power. Reading through Revelation 18, we see that Babylon is destroyed in the space of one hour! Again, we find the reason for this in Jeremiah: “Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel” (Jeremiah 50:29).
Verses 18-20 of Jeremiah 50 speak of the reward measured unto the kings of Babylon and Assyria, or Germany. Further, they describe the time of restoration of physical Israel to the land God gave it millenniums ago.
The repentant people, collected from their former captivity under the beast power, will turn to God and His law in their lives. “In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve” (verse 20).
Babylon’s complete destruction is detailed in the remaining verses of Jeremiah 50. Verse 31 reminds us, “Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord God of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.” God is personally against the people of Babylon for their treatment of His chosen people. He expresses His anger through the Day of the Lord.
To review: The first attack of the beast power against the Russians and Chinese makes up the first woe. The second woe is the Asiatic counterattack. Read through all of Jeremiah 50 and 51 to better understand the level of destruction God is going to exact through Russia and China. His anger will never be fueled like this again because Babylon will be utterly destroyed—never to rise again! (Jeremiah 51:60-63). “And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah” (verse 64).
Mankind Still Doesn’t Repent
Revelation 9:13-21 describe this second woe within its proper time sequence. Verse 16, as we have seen, says there will be 200 million men in the massive army. Verses 17-19 describe the bloody destruction to occur during this second woe.
Yet the last two verses of the chapter reveal just how hardheaded and stubborn man can be, even after such severe correction: “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts” (verses 20-21).
Even after most of the Earth’s population has been personally afflicted by nuclear war and complete destruction, they still are not willing to turn to God and His law!
The Third Woe
As we keep in mind the time sequence, let us move ahead to Revelation 11:14-15: “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Two of the three woes are complete. After that, the kingdoms of this world are to become God’s Kingdom. At this stage, Christ will return, and God’s government will again take over the Earth—with God at the head!
This announcement will cause the angels to rejoice (verses 16-17), but the world will not, even after all the destruction. Verse 18 says the nations will be angry and wrathful toward Christ. And difficult as it may be to believe, what’s left of the beast power and the Asiatic army will actually gather to fight against Christ! This battle at the last trumpet blast will determine the final outcome of World War iii.
Revelation 15 and 16 describe this third woe in greater detail. Just as the seventh seal was divided into seven trumpet blasts, the final trumpet blast is divided into seven vials of God’s wrath—the last seven plagues (Revelation 15:1, 6). At Christ’s return, God sends seven plagues upon mankind because of its hardheadedness.
In Revelation 16:12, we see that God dries up the Euphrates River to prepare the way for the Asiatic hordes to gather with what remains of the beast power near Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. God gathers them in a place called Armageddon (verse 16), the Greek name for Mount Megiddo. A spacious, bowl-shaped valley, Megiddo is located about 55 miles north of Jerusalem. After Christ returns to Jerusalem, the gathering armies at Armageddon will turn their attention toward their one common enemy—the King of kings.
There is wonderfully good news in the midst of all these horrors. Both of these armies will gather in Armageddon to fight each other, but will end up fighting Christ at His Second Coming!
The “king of fierce countenance”—the leader of the beast power—will try to fight Christ, and will be “broken without hand” (Daniel 8:23, 25). The armies will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them (Revelation 17:12‑14). All of these evil forces will be soundly defeated!
The conclusion of that battle will mark the beginning of a new, peaceful age for the whole Earth!
But realize what horrifying blackness will occur before the dawn of that day. It will be a time of suffering unlike any in human history. And we are already seeing the beginnings of that blackness!
Are you awake to what is really happening in this world?
Think about this: The soldiers of Europe, Russia and China today are some of the same soldiers that will march from Megiddo to Jerusalem to be destroyed by Jesus Christ Himself!
That is how close we are getting to the end of this age of man! Are you ready for what is about to occur?
Revelation 19 describes Christ’s triumph over the evil forces of man. This victory ushers in the World Tomorrow, when Jesus Christ will rule this Earth with His saints! For 1,000 years, the world will blossom in abundant peace and prosperity!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Christ will begin the Millennium by gathering His scattered people—the end-time descendants of Israel. They will gather, like they did anciently, around Jerusalem, in what the Bible calls the “glorious land.” Yet all will not be glorious—at least not at the start. Mankind’s rebellious spirit will not disappear at once.
To finish our story, we turn to the Prophet Ezekiel, who describes Israel’s gathering in great detail. Ezekiel also tells us about yet another burst of rebellion to spring from northeast of Jerusalem. That’s right. With the Millennium only just begun, and Jesus Christ ruling the world from His throne in Jerusalem, the people of Asia will muster their forces for one final attempt to overthrow Christ’s rule!
Let us first get the background. Ezekiel’s prophecies were written 130 years after the house of Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians (Ezekiel 1:1-2). Yet God told him, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me” (Ezekiel 3:17). God’s message, through Ezekiel, was for the nations which make up Israel in this end time. The warning could not have been for ancient Israel. These prophecies were written for our time today. These messages were prophecy for the end time, and are directed at the house of Israel (Ezekiel 2:3; 3:1, 4-7).
In chapter 4, Ezekiel pictured war against Jerusalem. This was to be a sign to the house of Israel. Then, in chapter 5, we find a prophecy about the future destruction of the house of Israel. Consider the wording of verse 4: “Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.” That is future tense. This prophecy is soon to be fulfilled.
Ezekiel 7 speaks of the Day of the Lord (verses 17-19). Parallel scriptures can be found in Isaiah 13:6-8 and Zephaniah 1:14-15, 17-18. To better understand these accounts, request our free booklets Isaiah’s End-Time Vision and Zephaniah’s Day of the Lord. Verse 26 of Ezekiel 7 reveals the people searching and crying for a true minister of God after the destruction comes—but it is too late! During the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, the famine of God’s Word, spoken of in Amos 8:11, will be fulfilled.
Chapter 11 of Ezekiel brings a warning from God that He will execute His judgment upon the house of Israel. Then, chapter 12 gives the account of Israel being taken captive (verse 11). “And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries” (verse 15).
Notice what Mr. Armstrong wrote in the April 1981 Plain Truth: “The expression ‘They shall know that I am the Lord’ is used repeatedly through the book of Ezekiel—always referring to the time of the Second Coming of Christ and Israel’s final restoration back to her original land. Many prophecies show that the modern nations descended from ancient Israel are to be scattered in this latter-day captivity when Christ comes to restore them back to that land.”
As we progress through the book of Ezekiel, we see how God warns His sinning and rebellious people. But they refuse to repent, even after repeated warnings. This did happen anciently. After the Israelites had rejected repeated warnings, God allowed them to be conquered by their enemies, who burned their land. The captives were taken and scattered from their own land.
Ezekiel 13 describes problems with God’s own ministers. These lukewarm ministers bring false messages that they conjure up by themselves (verses 1-10). Our books Ezekiel— The End-Time Prophet and Malachi’s Message more thoroughly explain the meaning of these prophecies. God is speaking against the prophets and priests of Israel who cry, “Peace; and there was no peace” (verse 10). This is a common cry today, which is almost always followed by a breach in that peace.
In chapters 25-32, Ezekiel digresses to prophesy against several Gentile nations.
Then in chapter 33, Ezekiel and God both plead with Israel to turn back (verse 11). Again, in chapter 34, God has a message for ministers in this end time. Notice: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? … And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them” (verses 2, 5-6). God blames His unfaithful ministers in this end time because they sought their own will, not God’s.
Reading through the remainder of chapter 34, we find that, after the Day of the Lord, God will gather His sheep—those enslaved Israelites left alive after that terrifying time—and rescue them from captivity. This is when God will remove the spiritual blindness from their eyes, and they will seek God’s ways. God’s Kingdom will be set up to finally establish lasting peace (Isaiah 11:9; Romans 11:25‑26; Micah 4:2-3).
Ezekiel 36 pictures the remnant of Israel returning to the land God originally promised them. Yet they do not return to the Promised Land wealthy and prosperous. They return as former slaves and captive people. They will be humble. God will finally be able to teach His people. Dozens of prophecies refer to the end-time descendants of Israel being scattered around the world during the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. But there is a happy end for the Israelites. God will gather them to one place, as Ezekiel confirms.
Chapter 37 contains a well-known prophecy, referred to as the valley of dry bones. Verses 1-11 speak of the rebirth and resurrection of the whole house of Israel (Judah and Israel). They are saved from captivity, dispersion and slavery. (This prophecy also pictures a literal fleshly resurrection of those who had long since died, never knowing the truth. They too will finally have access to God’s Spirit and His truth—spiritual knowledge. This resurrection occurs at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ.)
Beginning in verse 15 of chapter 37, God pictures Israel and Judah as two sticks that will be united together in the land of Israel after Christ’s return. God says in verse 21 that He will take the children of Israel from among the heathen and gather them into their own land. He will make them one nation (verse 22). A spirit-born King David, resurrected with the rest of the saints at Christ’s return, will be king over Israel (verse 24). David will rule forever (verse 25). God will make an everlasting covenant of peace with His people—the New Covenant (verse 26).
We now come to the critical 38th chapter of Ezekiel.
Punishment of Gog and Magog
“Notice, now, the story flow,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “the time sequence: The prophet has carried us through the sins of his people, the coming invasion and captivity and dispersion, and the coming of Christ as Deliverer to restore the fortunes of Israel. We have come to the time when both the houses of Israel and Judah shall be reunited into one nation, rescued from captivity and dispersion, and regathered again in their land, once again made prosperous, having learned our lesson, now living God’s way, under His laws, enjoying His richest blessings, both material and spiritual!” (ibid). So the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 take place after the return of Jesus Christ. (Jeremiah 50, on the other hand, shows us what Russia and China are prophesied to do before Christ’s return.)
The battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 takes place in the land today occupied by the Jewish state of Israel—not in the United States, Britain or Europe as many have falsely assumed. The final battle takes place in the Holy Land, after Jesus Christ has returned!
“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2-3). Gog and Magog primarily refer to the Russians and Chinese. The chief prince of Meshech and Tubal is referring to the ruler in Moscow: Vladimir Putin.
This prophecy indicates that the prince of Russia becomes the leader of the 200 million-man army that is formed before the Great Tribulation—it is virtually formed already. A part of this vast army even extends into the first few years of Christ’s rule. When this mighty army comes against an unarmed Israel, Christ will destroy it with great hailstones and fire from heaven.
Vladimir Putin will lead the remainder of that army to its death.
It takes time to amass the kind of power that Mr. Putin has today. And there is a small space of time left to build such a powerful military.
When you look at the big picture here, who else could be the prince of Russia but Vladimir Putin?
Ezekiel was told to record an end-time prophecy for Russia and China. God’s anger is against them—just as it was against the Babylonians! Before Christ’s return, God uses the Russians and Chinese to punish the beast power. As a result, they too become proud and haughty, therefore needing correction from God.
God sets His face against Gog and Magog due to their rebellion. God even tells these nations to prepare for a coming battle with Him (verse 7). Remember, this is after Christ has returned. Notice that verse 8 says Israel has been “brought back from the sword.” In this chapter, we find the people of Israel dwelling in villages “having neither bars nor gates” (verse 11). They are living in peace, totally unprepared for war! Verse 13 shows that these villages, because the Israelites are now obedient, begin to prosper.
Gog and Magog will see how God has blessed His people. They, too, want to live under these conditions, but on their own terms—not God’s! The Russians and Chinese think they have found an easy target to spoil: a blessed land that is undefensed!
This passage is astounding! It is common to think that after Christ returns, peace and abundance will overflow throughout the Earth immediately. But that is not what the Bible teaches. There will still exist those who haven’t submitted to God’s law and government. They will learn the “hard way” that God’s system is the only one that will yield such blessings in life!
God issues a challenge to the Russians and Chinese in verses 14-16: “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” God has a purpose for bringing them to battle against His people.
Mr. Armstrong said the time of this battle is “not before, but after the Second Coming of Christ—after the great Deliverer has come and rescued our people and restored us to the land of Israel—after Israel and Judah are reunited” (ibid).
It is true that some of the Asiatic hordes will gather at Armageddon and be destroyed during the third woe when Christ returns—but not all. The rest of these forces will descend upon the glorious land a short time after it has been occupied by the regathered Israelites. It will only be a land of villages at this point, early on in the Millennium.
What is recorded in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is the last great rebellion this Earth will experience for 1,000 years! (There will be another at the end of the Millennium when Satan is loosed for a little season—Revelation 20:7-9.) Through this battle, God will not only defend and deliver His people once again, but He will make one final statement to all of mankind that He is the Eternal! God will prove to the Israelites, and to Gog and Magog, that He fights and wins our battles for us. The people who live in Israel will have to totally rely upon God to defend and protect them. God will utterly crush this final rebellion against His government.
The tremendous wrath of God will be felt and witnessed throughout all the Earth (Ezekiel 38:18-20). God will have the angry nations of Gog and Magog destroy themselves (verse 21). He once again pleads with mankind in the only language we seem to understand: “And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord” (verses 22-23).
Notice the last part of that passage! Through blood, pain and suffering, God will get His message across to rebellious mankind that He is the Eternal! All nations will finally come to this understanding. All peoples will finally come to know God. What a hope-filled prophecy.
This, in itself, dates the prophecy. It’s at the beginning of the Millennium when there are still skeptics—those who do not accept Christ’s rule; those who do not know God. Christ must eradicate the spirit of rebellion from mankind. When He does, mankind will, for 1,000 years, finally come to know its Creator.
Chapter 39 provides more detail about the destruction of Gog and Magog. God says that those who come to attack Israel will be destroyed. He gives this warning specifically to those nations, yet they still come to fight this battle. God must again teach them a lesson. “So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel” (verse 7). God will achieve something here which has never occurred in the past. All nations will finally know that He is the Eternal. Yet consider the price mankind must pay to learn this lesson. We could learn it much easier if we would simply believe God’s Word and submit ourselves to His loving, family government now. Why must we learn through pain and suffering?
The number of dead will be incalculable. God will burn and destroy their weapons of war. He will allow Israel to spoil this defeated people. The people of Israel will be called upon to bury the fallen fighters. “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land” (verse 12).
What a lesson for all of us to learn. God will prove that He is the Eternal and that He, alone, possesses the knowledge of how to achieve lasting peace!
Do You Believe?
Jesus said, “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22). God is working out a purpose here below. We have been blessed with an advance warning of events which are yet to occur and which will shape our lives for eternity. God gives us a choice: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). We have a choice to learn a vital lesson now through the warning God gives in prophecy, or we can learn from the language God has to use to shake this world to its senses: blood and suffering!
God wants us to choose life! He doesn’t want to inflict His wrath—but this world is going to force Him to do so. Do we believe this is all going to happen? Will we listen to God’s warning message from His true Church? Individually, you can still be protected from the horrors to come.
History shows that God’s prophets and ministers have almost always stood alone. But they have stood with God!
Where will you stand?