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Biblical Prophecy

 

Printed in 1985, magazine. page 7 -17.

What Lies Ahead Now in Prophecy?

But first, before we begin the summary of all prophecy, hear the good news—how it all comes out! In this instance, it won't spoil the story to hear the ending first.

Good News First.

In the end, we are really going to have world peace! We are going to have actual Utopia—far beyond the dreams of today's world-planners! It will not be a millennium of man's devising, however. It will not be a world of idleness and ease— but one of production, plenty, health and happiness. Man does not know the way to peace and happiness and joy. What man is bringing on the world is the diametric opposite — such catastrophic and terrifying destruction that human life will be erased from the earth in this generation unless God Almighty intervenes!

But where are we, now, in the panorama of prophecy-fulfillment?

Are we being sucked into the vortex of a hydrogen-bomb war between the United States and Russia?

The answer is that no such war is included in the many prophecies that fill a third of your Bible. It hardly seems possible that the hundreds of detailed prophecies would omit all mention of such a war, if it were going to occur. Actually, in a different sense, such a war began immediately after World War II. But that war between the super powers is a psychological warfare of propaganda, infiltration, subversion, demoralization. It is a warfare that has attacked minds, moral and spiritual values, as well as bodies and earthly possessions in numerous small wars in many areas of the world. The American and English peoples and the other nations of northwestern Europe, prophecy says that they allow themselves "to be mixed up with foreigners: , . . foreigners eat away his strength, unknown to him." God says they fly like a silly, senseless dove to seek alliances with foreign nations, forsaking God (Hos. 7:8-13, Moffatt translation). But the prophecy reveals no military war between the Soviet Union and the United States. The prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39--explained in detail in our free brochure Why Russia Will Not Attack America, describes a later event.

Meanwhile, however, the U.S.S.R. is exerting a tremendous influence over trends in Europe. All Europe is directly under its shadow. Many Europeans are becoming distrustful of the bungling capitalist superpower, United States. Also, many Europeans are thinking more and more about the coming United Stales of Europe!

Americans, with the British, gave Europe the idea. They tried to organize the European nations together against Russia. Bible prophecy, however, reveals that the Europeans are going to unite and compete against the English-speaking peoples. The stage is being set! What is lacking now is the strong leader! Germany is the economic and military heart of Europe. Probably Germany will dominate the coming United States of Europe. Even if a neutral Austrian becomes the dominant political figure, But Britain will have no part in it in its final stage. This astounding resurrection in Europe of the Roman Empire is the next prophesied major political event. The world will be dumb founded when this military colossus actually emerges to solve economic and political problems the United States has been unable to solve in decades of leadership. While the U.S. has been focusing its attention on the U.S.S.R. with antiquated diplomacy and military might, the world's third superpower has been fitfully trying to unite in Europe, Yes, This Is Prophesied! You'll find this prophesied in Daniel 2 and 7, and more specifically in the 17th chapter of Revelation—a United States of Europe- -a flash in-the-pan final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire'.

It will possess greater military might by far than the Rome of old, but it will also inherit fatal weaknesses. Prophecy symbolizes this admixture of never-equalled military and economic might and unprecedented weakness with the apt phrase, "iron mixed with miry clay." The European nations will unite economically and militarily— but they are suspicious and envious of each other, Germany and Italy are coming back from defeat, not as opponents, but within the framework of a European economic community and within an American-directed military alliance.

This coming military-political leader does not yet know himself who will finally be chosen lo lead Europe and also does not yet know how many, or precisely which nations from Western and Eastern Europe will join in this United States of Europe, the final restoration of the Roman Empire. But you and I can know the number—for God Almighty wrote it down 2.500 years ago in Daniel 2 and 1,900 years ago in Revelation 17! There will be ten European nations or groups of nations. These ten will give all their military power to the central over-all leader—pictured under the prophetic symbol, "the beast." The prophecy does not reveal exactly which ten nations will be included.

Drastic Weather Changes

While this coming European Colossus is developing, an alarming revolution is beginning to occur in the weather. Hurricanes, floods, sectional drought worldwide are increasing. And now, the next prophesied event — to strike in the full fury of its great Olivet prophecy: "For," he said, "nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom"—that's war!—and we are now in the recess between the 2nd and 3rd rounds of it. "Then there shall be famines."—that's the next major world-event now prophesied. Climax before the democratic nations are brought low by the resurrected Roman Empire — is a famine, caused by unprecedented drought and/or floods and affecting Africa first, then other areas of the Third World and finally the United States. Britain, and north western Europe.

And immediately in its wake will come the most frightful epidemic of contagious and degenerative diseases! The disease AIDS is only the forerunner. Jesus Christ foretold it "and pestilences" —disease epidemics, "and earthquakes in different places" (Matt. 24:7). Already there is an increase in frequency of major earthquakes, all over the world.

Still more specific is the prophecy of Ezekiel. Here is exactly how catastrophic it will be: one third of the American and the British population will die in this famine and disease epidemic! Read it, in Ezekiel 5:12: "A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with the famine shall they be consumed in the midst - of thee." The details of the Great Drought coming upon us are described in the first chapter of Joel. It's a frightful, desolate picture of starvation and disease!

Then, World War 3

But all these things, as Jesus explained, are to be only the beginning of national trouble.

Once we are weakened by starvation, disease, and the resulting calamitous economic depression, the ten-nation European Colossus will suddenly meet the stubborn and foolish United States in a confrontation over the future of Jerusalem. Politics, religion and the life-blood of economics—oil— will be involved. The result will be the destruction of our cities and our centers of industrial and military production!

The very next words of Jesus' prophecy (Matt. 24:9, 21-22) are "Then"—not five years or a generation later, but "then" shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations; . . . and then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days [of mass death and destruction) should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved alive, but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

Jesus was there speaking of our peoples nationally, as well as of real Spirit-begotten Christians individually .

But Ezekiel's prophecy adds this specific and terrifying fact: "And a third part"—half our remaining population "shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and 1 will draw out a sword after them."

This is foretold in many prophecies, but here is one that shows the effect that only weapons like the hydrogen bomb can produce—the very next chapter of Ezekiel: "In all your dwelling places, the cities shall be laid waste" (Ezek. 6:6). A few cities were laid waste in World War II.
But not until the production of the hydrogen bomb has it ever been possible to totally destroy all major cities!

Our Great National Calamity

Yes, wake up! American and Britain! You have grown calloused and indifferent to world revolution, wars and the threat of hydrogen-bomb war. You Americans and British! You smug, proud, stiff-necked complacent people'. Many of you enjoy a prosperity God never lavished on any other people—you heedlessly permit yourselves to become soft and decadent, setting your foolish hearts on push-button prosperity and leisure, while others among you are poor and go hungry.

God Almighty now reveals, in time to prevent it, that one third of all our people will die of starvation and disease—that our day of reckoning is upon us—that we are to be stripped of our wealth and prosperity on which we set our hearts—that a second third of our people—of your personal friends, relatives, acquaintances— will be killed by awesome nuclear forces—that the proud United Stales and Britain are now destined to be suddenly crushed in defeat—-that the remaining third left alive are to be carried as captives, scattered as abject slaves —and that even millions of them shall then be tortured inhumanly in organized religious persecution, until their breath expires in martyrdom.

Jesus Christ said, "Ye shall be hated of all nations . . . Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you." Do you foolishly and carelessly assume he meant somebody else? We are the nations that are to be hated by other nations— or hadn't you realized that alarming fact?

Luke's inspired account of Jesus' words makes it even more specific: "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled"—that is, when the prophetic events of your Bible come to their climax, and all prophecies are suddenly and rapidly fulfilled at this end-time! "And they"—speaking of our nations, "shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations" (Luke 21:22, 24), This prophecy refers only typically to the Jewish captivity of A.D. 70. It refers primarily to our future. (Duality)

In the 30th chapter, God reveals to Jeremiah that the time of the prophecy is the time of world war, the most terrible time of trouble and war of all history (verses 3-4), the time of our national trouble (verse 5) climaxing in the coming exodus of both our peoples—descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel—and the Jews—of the tribe of Judah and Levi—back to the Holy Land at the Second Coming of Christ.

But why? Are we not Christian countries?

So we vainly assure ourselves— but the prophecies of Jesus and of Paul reveal that we are deceived into a counterfeit Christianity— our lands filled with many false ministers, coming in the name of Christ, calling their religion "Christian." Jesus warned that when we worship him by following traditions inherited from the pagans (such as Christmas, Easter, "faith without works," etc.) that we worship him in vain!

Jeremiah gives the reason: "I have wounded thee," says God, "with the wound of an enemy, ... for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased." And, "I will correct thee in measure" (by this famine, disease, war, captivity and slavery) "and will not leave thee altogether unpunished."

Why? Because God revealed to Adam that he had set laws in motion that produce happiness, joy, health and prosperity if we obey them: but which bring on us curses and separation from God and his blessings, if we transgress.

Today what is Called organized "Christianity" appropriates the name of Christ-—exalts his person—worships him—but continues to deny his message, and to rebel against God's laws!

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    Annihilation of All Life?

    Can a God of love stand idly by, and permit man not only to destroy his health and happiness, but now also to destroy all earthly life? God is a God of love, and also a God of wisdom and justice, who says he punishes every son he loves! (Heb. 12:6). The punishment is to teach us the lessons of life. Man has written the lesson through nearly 6,000 unhappy years of emptiness, sickness, suffering and death—written it in human blood and anguish! But humans have never yet learned the lesson.

    There is only one language that rebellious mankind will heed-physical punishment, and being deprived of physical assets. Very few individuals ever came to God through Jesus Christ in unconditional surrender until God had punished them by physical adversity. Neither will our nations— and neither will the world as a whole come to God in any other way.

    Our peoples will continue some few more years in comparative economic prosperity. This very prosperity is our fatal curse!—because our people are setting their hearts on it, seeking ease and leisure, becoming soft and decadent and weak!

    We're going the way of ancient Rome—to a greater fall, because we're bigger and more prosperous, and have farther to fall!
    Then, suddenly, before we realize it, we'll find ourselves in the throes of famine, and uncontrollable epidemics of disease. Already we're in a famine we don't know— a famine of many important nutrients in our foods. Our peoples have ignored God's health and agricultural laws. Not all the land has been permitted to rest every seventh year. The land has been overworked. Today, in certain areas, the soil is worn out. And food factories, in the interest of larger profits, remove much of what minerals and vitamins remain—while a new profit-making vitamin industry leads the people into believing they can obtain these precious elements from pills and capsules.

    Along with the coming famine and disease epidemic will come an invasion of crop-destroying insects, plant-molds, and locusts (grasshoppers) on a scale never before to devastate a land. You'll read of This in the first chapter of Joel.

    All this is now only some years off. When we are stricken with the greatest national tragedy ever to befall a nation—people dying in nearly every home—your loved ones—perhaps your children, or your parents, and scores of your close friends—perhaps even yourself dying in this calamity, and the nation's economic prosperity suddenly tail-spinning into its lowest ebb of depression, then the colossus that is the restored Roman Empire will strike its blows—and another third of our populations will be killed—our major cities and industrial centers destroyed.

    During this hellish brief period, there will be no religious freedom. The entire Western world will be under the resurrected Roman Empire—Church and State united -the religion and all schools under a Religious Hierarchy, enforced by the civil police. The eastern world will be under atheistic Communism. Neither the Eastern or the Western world will permit any true gospel preaching whatsoever.

    This is the time, following the famine of food, when there shall be a spiritual famine—a famine of hearing the true Word of God (Amos 8:11).

    "Vengeance is mine," says the Almighty God. Now he shall pour out the vials of his vengeance on those who have voluntarily chosen Satan. Plagues, terrible beyond description, shall fall upon the restored Roman Empire. God will now take vengeance for their tortures of his peoples during the Great Tribulation.

    The sixth of these punishing plagues will be a military invasion of Europe by the Communist forces from Eastern Europe and the Orient. By that time, the Red Armies and their allies will number two hundred million!

    Think of it. A vast army of two hundred million soldiers! These vast hordes will then sweep across Europe, utterly destroying all this resurrected Roman Empire, spoken of prophetically as the modern "Babylon"—the daughter of the ancient Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar. It is a "Babylon" led by the symbolic harlot "woman"—a great apostate paganized religion falsely calling herself "Christian." (Roman Catholic Church Vatican)

    Meanwhile, the leader of this restored Roman Empire (prophecy symbolizes him under the name "the beast"), together with the "false prophet"—-religious leader associated with the military leader -will have moved their capital to the environs of Jerusalem, which they will have surrounded and occupied at the outset of World War III—the beginning of the Tribulation. They will, by the time of the invasion from the East, have large military forces in the Middle East, as well as on other fronts of the world war.

    This is not pleasant to contemplate! It won't be believed by more than a few. Our proud and stiff-necked nations will heedlessly refuse to take warning! (1985.)

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    “But What Do I Watch For?”

    From the February 2005 By Joel Hilliker.
    • The king of the south will be Iran.
    • The nations of Israel are essentially America and Britain.
    • The king of the north will be a German-led consortium of European nations.
    • The kings of the east include Russia and China at the head of several Asian nations.

    Okay—so it is important to be vigilant. But how? How do we watch world events the way Christ commands—that we may be, as He said, “accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass”? Here are a few broad guidelines and principles that will help you in this critical responsibility.

    The Bible talks about four major power blocs being on the scene in the end time: the nations of Israel, the king of the south, the king of the north, and the kings of the east. Being able to identify these blocs on the world scene is absolutely essential to be able to distinguish what is truly important in world news. The nations of Israel are essentially America and Britain. The king of the south will be Iran. The king of the north will be a German-led consortium of European nations. The kings of the east include Russia and China at the head of several Asian nations.

    Prophecy also tells us the general trend to watch for in each of these power blocs. The Bible tells us to watch, in the end time, for America and Britain to be falling from power, the king of the south and king of the north to be rising in power, and the kings of the east to be coming together.

    Are we seeing these trends on the world scene today? Absolutely! The world today provides eye-popping evidence of the dependability of God’s Word.

    The Bible then gives us an outline of the major interactions these blocs will have with one another (some of which we can see in embryo even now): First, all will unite against America to bring it down. With the major power in the world today crippled, the king of the south will push at the king of the north, and subsequently be destroyed by it (Daniel 11:40-43). The king of the north will next push at the kings of the east, who will counterattack (Revelation 16:12-14).

    That is the overall picture given in the Bible.

    So, what do you watch for? Well, the closer to this formula whatever you are watching is, the more important it is.

    We must be able to see world events as they are shaping this prophetic reality. How is a specific event bringing America and Britain down, or exalting the king of the south, or assisting the king of the north, or bringing the kings of the east together?

    This is the approach the Trumpet takes. This is the single factor we use to determine an event’s newsworthiness. If the Trumpet doesn’t extensively cover an event that some may perceive as major, it is simply because it is not relevant within this prophetic framework.

    Of course, we mustn’t get too simplistic. Things often transpire in a way we might not expect. We should never assume we see the whole picture. But having this overview enables us to see the reality behind what is occurring—and to see where it is truly leading. This is what gives the Trumpet its unique perspective that even the most brilliant news analysts in the world lack.

    In addition to this overall picture, God gives us several specifics to watch for in each of these areas.

    Regarding America and Britain, there are precise prophecies that talk about these nations’ moral decline; family breakdown; leadership void; destroyed military will; loss of possession of the world’s sea gates; unbridled immigration; race problems; stock market crash and economic disaster; decline in health; widespread pestilence and disease epidemics; famine; weather disasters; violence within the cities; terrorism; attack by Germany; nuclear destruction; cities without inhabitants; and national captivity—to mention a few.

    Concerning the king of the south, the Bible prophesies of the rise of Iran and radical Islam and their domination of the Middle East; influence over Iraq; alliance with Egypt; increasing military might; support of terror attacks against America and British nations; backing of the Palestinians against the Jews; conquest of East Jerusalem; provocation of Europe; obliteration by a European force; and initiation of World War iii.

    Prophecies relating to the king of the north include those foretelling the German domination of Europe and its rise to global dominance; return to fascism; increase in racist crime; popularity of neo-Nazism; political swing to the right; economic and social destabilization; institution of a federal system of law and order; establishment of a police state; alliance with the Vatican; development of a European army; colonization within the Mediterranean, northern Africa, ex-Soviet satellite countries and the Balkans; rise of a demagogue who gains office by flatteries; adoption of the role of aggressive “peacemaker” on the world scene; temporary cooperation with Russia; role as chief negotiator for “peace” in the Middle East; temporary alliance between Germany and Japan; continued internal division; destruction of the Islamic nations; and conquest of Jerusalem, America and Britain.

    In Asia, or the kings of the east, biblical prophecy specifies the emergence of one massive power bloc; departure of American presence; improvement of relations among countries in the region; greater collusion between Russia, China, India and Japan; rallying of Russian satellites to the mother country; complete self-reliance economically and militarily; massive military buildup; formation of the most gargantuan army in history; annihilation of the European power and march to Armageddon.

    These events are already in motion. We can watch them happening in our daily news.

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    The U.S. and Britain in Prophecy
    Printed July/August 1986
     
    PRIOR to World War II, the American and British peoples had acquired more than two thirds of the cultivated resources and wealth of the world. Yet astonishingly, they acquired nearly all of it, rather suddenly, since the year 1800. Never in all history did anything like this occur. What's even more surprising is that we are witnessing the rapid decline of this national greatness. In the case of Britain, it's diminishing even faster than it developed.
     
    The Holy Bible is a book of the history and origins of all people, but principally it concerns the people of Israel and their descendants today.
     
    Now when I say Israel, I don't only mean the State of Israel today. They are Israel, of course. But they are not all of Israel. Specifically, they are the descendants of one of the tribes of Israel—Judah, or the Jewish people. But there were twelve tribes of ancient Israel.
    Where are their descendants today?
    Many prophecies concerning our time now are written about Israel, not about Judah alone. If you apply all the prophecies about Israel to the State of Israel today, then you'll get a wrong picture.
     
    When Abram, the grandfather of Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel), was 99 years old, God again made a promise to him, found in Genesis 17:1-5.
     
    The promise is expanded to include nations and kings in verse 6. We read this: "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings [more than one, notice] shall come from you.
     
    So we see that the Jewish people are not the only descendants of Abram—now called Abraham— they are only one nation, not many nations. Where are all the other nations springing from the ancient twelve tribes of Israel?
     
    Abraham's descendants were to possess the gates of their enemies (Gen. 22:17). Now a gate is a narrow passage, an entrance or an exit. Nationally, such a gate would be a strategic choke point like the Suez Canal, or the Panama Canal, the Straits of Gibraltar, or Singapore.
     
    Abraham had a son Isaac. This promise of national greatness was reconfirmed to Isaac's wife Rebekah, in Genesis 24:60. The promises of great nations and peoples descending from these men were continued through Isaac's son Jacob. In Genesis 28:13-14, we read this: " 'I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south___' "
     
    The Hebrew word for "spread abroad" has the sense of "break forth," meaning there was no limit on how far north, south, east or west they would go. They would become a people with worldwide impact.
     
    Genesis 35:11 is very important in our search for the identity of Jacob's descendants today. "Also God said to him: 'I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.' '
     
    So Jacob's—or Israel's—descendants were to be a nation and a company of nations. If these people exist today—and remember Israel is mentioned in many, many prophecies for our time—then we must look for them as a nation and a company of nations in this world.
     
    Jacob had a son Joseph. In Egypt, Joseph had had two sons: Manasseh, the firstborn, and Ephraim, the second. Joseph took these two sons with him to visit his father, who was ill.
     
    Old Israel, now a man of many, many years, made a major decision. He said in Genesis 48:5: " 'And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine. . . . '
     
    What Israel did, in effect, was to take Ephraim and Manasseh, his grandsons, and legally make them his sons. When a formal blessing of the children was made, Joseph guided his two sons towards their grandfather Israel. Expecting the birthright blessing to go to the elder, Manasseh, Joseph guided him toward Israel's right hand and Ephraim, the younger, towards his left hand. But Israel surprisingly crossed his hands and pronounced the birthright on the younger, Ephraim. This came as a shock to Joseph.
     
    Here we begin to see a development of the promise that God was giving to this family because of Abraham.
     
    If we're to find these peoples today, we have to ask which nations fit the descriptions God gave of a company of nations and a great nation. What happened to these tribes between the death of Israel and today? History shows us that the twelve tribes became a vibrant nation in the Middle East under King David and King Solomon. At the death of Solomon the nation was divided into two kingdoms. The most powerful tribes in the north were Ephraim and Manasseh, and in the south Judah. As each of these peoples became less fervent in their desire to please God, they were warned by the prophets of punishment to come. Eventually the northern kingdom of Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians.
     
    The last you hear in the Bible of the northern tribes is in II Kings 17:5-6. In verse 18 we read: "Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone." And there, effectively, the northern tribes of Israel vanish from history.
     
    But is that the end of the story?
     
    If it is, what about the promises that were made, particularly to the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, to be a company of nations and a great nation?
     
    They didn't come close to being that in the Holy Land.
     
    What did happen to them? A prophet not read by too many people today is Amos. He gives us a clue to what happened to these lost tribes of Israel. "For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground" (Amos 9:9).
     
    God is telling us that the northern house of Israel would be punished, exiled, and wander through various nations and yet still miraculously be preserved. History shows that these tribes, having lost their identity when they forgot God's identifying sign, the Sabbath, traveled in successive migrations northwest, finally settling in the area today occupied by the democratic nations of Europe.
     
    The children of Joseph— Ephraim and Manasseh—settled in the British Isles. Ephraim spread all around the world and became a company of nations, known as the British Commonwealth of Nations. Among the Ephraimites were the tribe or people of Manasseh. (They were brothers, don't forget.) The Manassites eventually began to populate the United States.
     
    And the United States has become one of the greatest nations this world has ever known.
     
    You need to prove for yourself that these things are so. Our free, full-length book The United States and Britain in Prophecy documents thoroughly the things I've covered in outline in this World Tomorrow program.
     
    The prophetic identity of the United States and British peoples is the key to understanding what's ahead for you and for our nations.

     

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    Economy Prophecy Predicts
    Printed January 1988

    In the late 90s A.D., the apostle John was a prisoner on the Greek island of Patmos. The Apocalypse or book of Revelation is a record of the visions he saw while imprisoned.

    The visions John wrote down describe events to occur on the earth at this period of world crisis called the "end time." Some of the predictions concern a vast economic power to arise on earth in the final years of human-directed governments.

    Trading in Babylon

    In the Apocalypse or Revelation, this economic power is called "Babylon the Great' after that ancient city in what is today central Iraq. The old Babylon was a great trading center as well as a seat of political and religious power.

    Babylon in Bible prophecy came to represent any system of confused thought. It has that meaning in Revelation. We are told, "The inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication" (Rev. 17:2). Babylon is pictured as a woman of ill repute who is carried by a strange beast with seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 17:5-7).

    Students of the Bible know that this "beast" of Revelation, chapter 1|, represents the seven last revivals of the ancient Roman Empire, culminating in a final revival of ten nations represented by the ten horns.

    As the rider of this beast, Babylon directs its political, military and economic policies. John saw in vision a time during which the beast that carries Babylon the Great "causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast" (Rev. 13:16-17).

    His description establishes our prophetic Babylon as the moving force behind a future economic Hercules centered in the confines of the ancient Roman Empire. It wields decisive power in terms of local and international trade. "No one may buy or sell"—trade goods without its express permission.

    John's vision recorded in the 18th chapter of Revelation portrays Babylon the Great as the guru of a global common market. John wrote that under its guidance "the merchants of the earth have become rich" (Rev. 18:3).

    When this system of international commerce suddenly falls, in a struggle with God and with Soviet communisms, "the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore" (Rev. 18:110. World trade will come to a halt.

    John wrote down a list of goods traded through this international cartel. It shows the all-encompassing trade networks Babylon controlled. There was traffic in gold, silver, precious stones, expensive cloth, wood, bronze, iron, spices, wine, oil, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, vehicles and slaves (Rev. 18:12-13.

    As mighty as this trading colossus was, John saw its destiny as utter destruction.

    The shipping magnates would wail: "Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate" (Rev. 18:19).

    While this Babylon controls world trade for a period of only a few years, its power is enormous. Revelation, chapter 17 shows Babylon exercising worldwide political and military authority. It is called "that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:18).

    It has a way of identifying those who are its own, those who cooperate with its policies. Whatever individuals or nations refuse to cooperate will be placed under an economic embargo.

    As John put it: "That no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Rev. 13:11). The choice will be clear. Accept the umbrella of its political-economic system or self-destruct economically.
     

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    Economy Prophecy Predicts

    Trading in Tyre

    Hundreds of years earlier, a prophet named Ezekiel also described his visions of an enormous economic behemoth.

    This time the metaphor was Tyre—an enormously powerful Mediterranean Ocean-based trading empire. The capital city of this empire was Tyre, located in what is today southern Lebanon, about 10 miles north of the Israeli border.

    "Tyre," of course, was not a single city. It was the nerve center of a network ringing the Mediterranean. We know it as the Phoenician empire.

    Carthage, one of its cities, is more familiar. It was founded by the Phoenicians on the shores of the Gulf of Tunis on the north coast of Africa. Its traditional founding date is 814 B.C. After the mother city of Tyre was destroyed, Carthage became so powerful it could challenge the rising Roman Republic.

    Another evidence of Tyre's influence is the name of a body of water—the Tyrrhenian Sea, west of Italy. It's a kind of marker showing the wide-ranging influence of Tyre and the Phoenicians.

    Ezekiel emphasized Tyre's economic supremacy: "You who are situated at the entrance of the sea, merchant of the peoples on many coastlands" (Ezek. 27:3). The most important nations on earth were part of an international trading community dominated by Tyre (Ezek. 27:4-26).

    Tyre and Babylon while two different biblical metaphors, refer prophetically to the same power. As did Babylon the Great, Tyre also enriched the kings of the earth (Ezek. 27:33).

    Both were maritime trading combines (Ezek. 27:29-34;. The Phoenicians, with Tyre as chief city, were a Mediterranean-based trading power. They controlled North African, Middle Eastern and southern European trade routes linked by the Mediterranean. The Roman Empire, too, was centered around the Mediterranean. It controlled North Africa, the Middle East and much of Europe politically as well as economically.

    Trading in Europe

    The parallels with the contemporary European community of nations leap out at the careful reader. Four Common Market countries are partially or completely Mediterranean countries— Spain, France, Italy and Greece. Portugal lies just outside this sea.

    Most of the 12 nations of the Common Market lie within the farthest boundaries of the original Roman Empire. Various continental nations were at one time or another part of the subsequent revivals of the Roman Empire.

    Europe is one of three major players in the world economy. But it is still not unified economically. We can speak of Tokyo and Washington as representing the other two economic powers. But no one city—not even Brussels—stands for Europe.

    It expresses that Europe has no single economic heart or center yet. No leader has stepped forward to forge a true common market and to lead a global economy.

    The prophet Ezekiel saw such a personality in the old common market of Tyre. He wrote: "Say to the prince of Tyre. ... By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches" (Ezek. 28:1, 5).

    Here was an economic genius with brilliant policies. Here was a leader who knew how to solve the problem of world trade—how to direct economic production—and create prosperity. Through his charisma and leadership, he forged a successful economic empire. This leader created a world economy that fulfilled the needs of his constituents: "When your wares went out by sea, you satisfied many people; you enriched the kings of the earth with your many luxury goods and your merchandise" (Ezek. 27:33-34).

    When the revival of the Roman Empire in the Europe of today finds such a leader—a man or a nation—it will complete the metaphor of Tyre and Babylon the Great. A world-dominating economic and political power will again rise for a short time out of the Old World of Europe.

    Printed January 1988

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