Chapter 4: Terrorism and Race Riots
America, Britain and Israel have a terrible problem on their hands: violence. Violence from domestic troubles like race riots—violence from terrorist attacks.
Many people in these countries have been affected by this scourge. I believe they are much more likely to recognize the seriousness of this issue. If you have not been personally affected, it is easy to want to pass such problems off as isolated incidents. In this chapter, I will show you that this violence is a much more serious danger than most people would ever imagine!
The Head Is Sick
There is deep racial division and hatred in America. The Philadelphia Church of God doesn’t take sides. We teach God’s prophecies.
The Prophet Isaiah tells us about the terrible times in the “last days” just before Christ returns (Isaiah 2:2). “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint” (Isaiah 1:4-5). This passage is mainly about the U.S., Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East.
“The whole head is sick.” God is saying the power structure that leads these nations of Israel is sick! And the “whole heart faint.” Neither the leaders nor their followers have the will or the strength to get to the roots of race riots or terrorist attacks and solve them once and for all (see Daniel 12:9; 9:13; and Leviticus 26:19). Their “heart” is so weak and unhealthy that the governmental system is about to “faint,” or collapse!
“From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers” (Isaiah 1:6-7). “Your cities are burned”! And who does it? “Strangers [Gentiles] devour it in your presence”!
This is a terrifying passage! Because of the sin these nations are laden with, and because of the weakness of our leaders, we will experience desolation and burning—all at the hands of “strangers.” In other words, race riots and terrorism are going to get much worse.
“Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah” (verse 9). Sodom and Gomorrah were burned and leveled because of their sin! Before this is all over, only a small remnant of Israel will be left. And they remain only because God will spare them!
Remember, ancient Israel never received this message. These prophecies are for the end time—just before Israel’s second captivity.
God gave Ezekiel some peculiar instructions that provide a graphic illustration of the future downfall of the modern nations of Israel. “And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them” (Ezekiel 5:1-2). Israel’s destruction, illustrated by what was done to Ezekiel’s hair, is divided into thirds. The first third will be burned with fire! The second third will be killed in a nuclear attack (request a free copy of The Lion Has Roared). The last third will be taken as slaves and sent all over the world.
But notice these very important facts. The first third is burned with fire in the midst of the city, which is under siege. The burning is related to a siege. Herbert Armstrong prophesied for many years that the siege would be our economy being battered by foreign competition (see Deuteronomy 28:52). The siege means “something hemming in … distress” (Strong’s Concordance). It can also mean “to urge to press upon anyone in pursuit, to besiege a city” (Gesenius’ Lexicon). The U.S. and other Israelite nations are surrounded, or besieged, by fierce and often unfair competition.
Prophecy indicates that the German-led European Union will soon join forces with Russia, China and Japan to shut the U.S. out of more and more markets (see Isaiah 23). As the U.S. and Britain become less and less competitive worldwide, unemployment will steadily increase. The fact that the U.S. and Britain have lost control of the world’s most strategic sea gates—like Panama, Gibraltar, Suez and Singapore—will make it much easier for foreign powers to choke off these nations’ supply lines. God prophesied in Deuteronomy 28:52 that the nations of end-time Israel would lose these sea gates if they turned away from Him!
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!
As that happens, domestic rioting and violence will become much more prevalent. Already in America today, instances of rioting and burning are occurring more regularly, often associated with racial hatred.
Race is a highly charged subject in the United States today, and in many other nations. Past wrongs and present inequalities create fertile ground for hurt, frustration and anger. Many prominent leaders, both black and white, are deliberately fueling those grievances for their own political gain. They are using race as a deadly weapon! The problems that will result are far more dangerous than they realize.
Remember the Los Angeles riots in May of 1992, sparked by the acquittal of four police officers in the beating of Rodney King. Those were some of the deadliest riots in U.S. history. Close to 60 people died in the violence. Property damage was estimated at $1 billion. That is just one example of the destructive potential of a siege coupled with burning. Much of that cost was goods stolen by the looters. Some 40,000 jobs were lost because of the rioting. The Los Angeles police and National Guard did virtually nothing—rewarding the rioters with stolen goods and an opportunity to commit violence—even murder!
More recently, in 2012, a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer killed Trayvon Martin, a black 17-year-old, and was later acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges. Protests sprang up across the nation. About 150 local rioters in Los Angeles stomped cars and broke windows. In Baltimore, a Hispanic man was chased by a mob of black youths shouting, “This is for Trayvon.” Accusations of widespread racial profiling flew; the entire justice system was broadly criticized for its supposed inherent racism. President Obama inserted himself into the tense situation: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon,” he said at a White House press conference. Without facts, the president maligned the police with ugly statements and exacerbated a very public race issue.
In the summer of 2014, a white police officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Violent protests started immediately, before the case could be heard in court. Then they intensified after the policeman was acquitted. Rioters burned down some 25 businesses. The total value of buildings destroyed amounted to nearly $4.6 million. Police and local residents reported that more than 150 shots were fired shortly after news broke that Officer Darren Wilson would not be charged in the shooting of Michael Brown.
In April 2015, after Freddie Gray, a young black man, died in police custody in Baltimore, protests against the police began. These soon erupted in riots, in which downtown storefronts were smashed and police cars were damaged. Rioters cut fire hoses that firefighters were using to put out a fire at a cvs pharmacy. Damage from this rioting cost the city of Baltimore almost $9 million. A survey by the Small Business Administration found that more than 30 businesses and one home sustained major damage. About 130 police officers were injured during the riots. Yet Baltimore’s mayor at one point called on police to stand down. “[W]hile we tried to make sure that [police officers] were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that,” she said (emphasis mine).
Other angry minorities seeing such lack of forceful intervention will be greatly encouraged to riot elsewhere in the future! This is the truth that no one wants to admit!
In May 2020, George Floyd, a black man, was killed while being arrested in Minneapolis. Immediately protests began. Minneapolis went up in flames largely because the police were commanded to stand down. The city’s radical-leftist mayor even ordered the police to evacuate the Third Precinct so rioters could smash up the station and burn it down. Similar scenes of mayhem and devastation spread across America, particularly in cities where left-wing mayors told law enforcement to give “protesters” space to destroy. New York City became a war zone. Once the Floyd protests began, people filled the streets to march, provoke, smash store windows, steal—and scream at, attack and shoot at New York Police Department officers. Dozens of police vehicles were damaged or burned, and dozens of officers were injured, including two struck by vehicles in hit-and-run attacks.
Los Angeles, Ferguson, Baltimore and Minneapolis are only four of the largest, most high-profile race riots to occur in recent decades. Flash mobs composed of primarily black teenagers have become a common occurrence at malls and convenience stores across the nation. In Louisville, Kentucky, some 2,000 black youth rioted at St. Matthews Mall in December 2015. Shoppers reported several gunshots and the mall was forced to close early. That same weekend, over 200 black youths had to be dispersed from a movie theater in Jacksonville, Florida. There have been hundreds of similar cases of mob violence around the country in recent years.
As the economy grows worse, besieged by foreign powers, the rioters will burn more and more—because God’s wrath is upon us! And God is far more wrathful toward the white people in the modern nations of Israel than He is toward the black people. These problems will intensify until our people repent!
“A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them” (Ezekiel 5:12). Notice that pestilence is mentioned first. In the past, we thought the pestilence would be disease resulting from the famine. In this case, the pestilence is actually the leading cause of the famine!
The word pestilence just means destruction or death (see the Gesenius’ Lexicon). One definition of the root word is “to lay snares, to plot against, to destroy.” So this pestilence could be a plague of violence or burning—not necessarily a physical disease at all! It can be defined as a plague of violence or rioting—such as the George Floyd riots in 2020 or the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks! Why would the first third be burned with fire (verse 2) if it referred to a disease epidemic?
The pestilence, or plague of violence, will cause many health problems that lead to famine. Sewage disposal will be disrupted. Gas lines will be broken. Jobs will be lost. Society will unravel and the collective panic will bring a stock market disaster! It will get so bad that violence and famine will take millions of lives!
The rioting in Ferguson and Baltimore is just a type of what is going to happen to major cities in the whole nation! It is a stark prophecy of our future! Terrorist attacks, rioting and burning are the main thrust of the pestilence described in Ezekiel 5. And this rioting will spread to other Israelite nations! God will get our attention one way or another. The worse the violence and burning become, the worse the famine will get. The worse the famine becomes, the more intense the violence will get. It becomes a vicious cycle.
“The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him” (Ezekiel 7:15). The pestilence will afflict only those in the city. Those in the country or field will die from an attack by the European beast power led by Germany (verse 24). The pestilence, or plague of rioting, terrorist violence and burning, afflicts the cities primarily.
The seeds of this future calamity have already been sown. The government has lost control. There is a breakdown of law and order. When the riots in Baltimore were at their peak, the mayor instructed the police to stand down and give protesters “space” to “destroy.” There was virtually no show of governmental force. In the future, when this violence spreads, will this be our main hope for peace? How pathetic! We are getting dangerously close to social anarchy and chaos!
It was the Rodney King court case, in which white policemen were acquitted of using excessive force in arresting a black man, that triggered the L.A. violence. The riots in Minneapolis, Ferguson, Baltimore and New York began with highly publicized cases of police acting against minorities. Serious rioting in London, England, in 2011 was also sparked by racial incidents. The public outcry has been intense and sustained. Now, as a result, the police fear to act, even more than they have feared to in the past. Many policemen only feel secure if they do almost nothing. Other authorities also fear to act, thinking riots may be ignited in other cities. Our government is paralyzed by fear. The “whole heart” is “faint”! We no longer have control of our cities. U.S. citizens already have nearly 400 million guns. As a result of the race riots, more guns will be sold. The people see that the government won’t protect them—and they don’t trust God to protect them either!
These riots would still have been controlled by the police and National Guard only 40 or 50 years ago. Trying to negotiate peace without using some force only encourages a certain criminal element in our society to riot more.
Many blacks want peace, but often they have little control of the situation themselves. After the King verdict, a caravan of blacks in L.A. went from one area to another throwing fire bombs and doing much of the burning. During the Ferguson riots, a Communist group in Chicago sent protesters to Ferguson by bus. Many black people had their own property destroyed by such criminals.
Some of these criminal leaders know how to play public discontent like a fiddle. The news media help them spread their destructive messages.
There is only one solution to this nightmare! Our people, black and white, must repent and turn to God. If we fail to do that, the suffering is just beginning!
One of the greatest sins I believe the United States ever committed was enslaving the blacks. Enslaving people and splitting up families is one of the most horrible things you can do. That sin is just the opposite of God—it is satanic!
I think God is letting that be reversed in some ways today: White Americans are becoming victims more than they have ever been. In many ways, we are doing it to ourselves.
But Ezekiel prophesies that everybody in the United States—whites, blacks, Hispanics—all will go into the worst slavery ever on Earth. He says that after a horrifying siege and a devastating foreign attack, the surviving third of our people will be sent around the world as slaves. Imagine how these people are going to be treated! It will be a horrific slavery like this world has never seen.
Many Laodiceans today say The United States and Britain in Prophecy is a racist book and that we are racist. Where is that coming from? They say that because the devil says it—and they are in captivity to the devil. Satan and the demons are doing everything they can to influence people’s attitudes about the pcg.
Just a look at the pcg’s membership shows that we are not racist. God’s Church includes all races. We are in unity and harmony—we love each other and work with each other. If we don’t, then we won’t rule the world! We have all races because we are going to rule the world! That’s why we are here!
That’s why we have students come to Herbert W. Armstrong College from around the world. We are all here as God’s Family, the spiritual house of Israel. It doesn’t matter what color you are. We are here to bring all nations together and show the world—in a small way even today—that we know how to make it work. We know how to keep the races together in peace. That is worth fighting for!
The Laodiceans were taught that too, but they rejected God’s truth. So they call us racists to do anything they can to hurt us. They spout off these claims that are right out of the mind of the devil. If you let some shallow person inhibit your spiritual progress by calling you a racist, then you do not really understand what it’s all about.
This world is about to see the end of all liars, racists and hatemongers. They will soon be obliterated from this Earth. That is why Satan is in a rage—because he knows his time is running out!
America has been warned like no other nation throughout history. Mr. Armstrong preached unceasingly to America. The message has been proclaimed on television stations all over the United States. Satan hates this message—he wants to destroy this superpower—he wants to destroy this message and cause a famine of the Word of God. Yet the message still goes out. In spite of all the warnings, though, America keeps plunging headlong into sin and violence—and problems and difficulties. Finally God says, Manasseh has ignored enough warnings. I am going to allow Satan to take them captive too.
As I point out in America Under Attack, the political Antiochus is committing the most treacherous, treasonous acts you can imagine! God is allowing it because the American people received—and ignored—all those warnings.
Hosea 5:4-5 reveal that America, Britain and the Jewish state will all fall together. But notice: It refers to them as Israel, Ephraim and Judah. The one called Israel here is Manasseh. Why would God call Manasseh Israel? I think because it is the superpower. At times, God uses Manasseh to represent the house of Israel—the U.S. and Britain—because of its superpower status.
Verse 13 says: “When Ephraim saw his sickness [it finally sees it], and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim [and Judah, it should read] to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.” No one could cure or heal either one of them—only God can do that.
In this prophecy, Judah and Ephraim don’t go to the U.S. for help. I’m sure that by that point, the U.S. will have already collapsed! I suppose there is a possibility that the U.S. refuses to help—already under the Biden and Obama administrations it hasn’t helped Ephraim and Judah. People from the Jewish state have said there is something about President Obama that really doesn’t think kindly toward them—a built-in malice.
This is all building toward the siege that Ezekiel prophesied. It will usher in the crisis of crises—the worst ever on Earth!