How can we know that Christ’s return is near? (Part 6)
The Bible shows that Great Britain will leave the EU. The Church of God has been proclaiming for many years that Great Britain will not be a part of the European unification in its final configuration. The main reason for this warning has been that the Bible predicts a devastating war between Great Britain and continental Europe.
Many falsely believe that the house of Israel and the Jewish people are one and the same. But Judah, from whom the Jewish people descended, was just one tribe of the descendants of Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel (Genesis 35:10). They separated from their Israelite brothers and, along with the tribes of Levi and Benjamin, formed the “house of Judah.” The other tribes became known as the “house of Israel.” The “house of Israel” went into captivity first, never to return to the “Promised Land.” Today, they are called the “lost ten tribes.” The “house of Judah” also went into captivity but did eventually return to Palestine. Many descendants of the house of Judah are living today in the state of Israel.
In due time, as history and archeology reveal, the lost ten tribes of the house of Israel migrated to and settled in Europe and the British Isles. One tribe in particular, the descendants of Manasseh—the older son of Joseph—migrated from there to the United States of America, where they still are today. The descendants of Ephraim—the younger son of Joseph—can be found in Great Britain and in some of today’s Commonwealth nations [once known as the British Commonwealth], including Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Bible shows that just prior to the return of Christ, the United States and Great Britain, as well as some of the other Commonwealth nations, will be overthrown and enslaved by a mighty European power bloc, constituting the last revival of the ancient Roman Empire. When we see that hostile relationships develop between continental Europe and the USA, Great Britain and the state of Israel, and that these hostilities are escalating towards outright military confrontations, we know that Christ’s return is imminent.
A remarkable prophecy for our time can be found in Zechariah 11, which is directed against the USA, the United Kingdom and to some of the Commonwealth nations, as well as the state of Israel. The passage refers specifically to three powerful religious and/or political leaders: “(8) I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me… (14) Then I cut in two my other staff… that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.”
This indicates that in the times just ahead of us, the close relationship between the USA and Great Britain on the one hand, and the state of Israel on the other hand, will cease. We will soon know for sure who the three shepherds or human leaders over these three nations are or will be who will be “dismissed” “in one month.”
That the relationship between the USA, the UK and the state of Israel will deteriorate, just prior to Europe’s attack on these powers, is confirmed in Isaiah 9:20-21, which tells us: “… Every man shall eat the flesh of his own arm. Manasseh (USA) shall devour Ephraim (UK), and Ephraim Manasseh, Together they shall be against Judah. For all this His anger is not turned away, But his hand is stretched out still.”
The Germans will be the dominant people of the coming united Europe, which will attack and conquer both the United States of America and Great Britain, as well as the state of Israel. Isaiah 10:5 describes the person who will launch the world into a devastating war, stating: “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation.” God will use Assyria to punish Israel and Judah, but afterward, He will deal with Assyria as well.
The Church of God has recognized for a long time that the modern Assyrians can be found today in large parts of Austria and Germany (especially the southern part and perhaps the eastern part of Germany). At least three leaders (the German Otto the Great, the Austrian Charles V and the Austrian Adolf Hitler), and possibly as many as seven leaders (the three Germanic Barbarian tribes and Charlemagne or Charles the Great) of the various revivals of the ancient Roman Empire, were descendants of the Assyrians. The last leader, called the king of the North, the beast, the king of Assyria and King Jareb, will also be an Assyrian. This means that the “beast” will be of German or Austrian descent.
There currently still exists a superficial friendly alliance between Germany and the State of Israel, the United States and Great Britain. However, recent events have shaken that alliance considerably, at least between Europe and the USA and the UK, mostly due to the controversial leadership of President Donald Trump and the failing Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU.
The time will soon arrive when any friendly relationship between Europe and the USA, the UK and the state of Israel will come to a complete end. The days of calamity are looming, when the United States, Great Britain and the modern state of Israel will seek the help of the modern Assyrians, without receiving it.
We read God’s words in Hosea 5:9-14: “Ephraim [modern Great Britain and possibly here, by extension, the USA] shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; Among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure. The princes of Judah [modern leaders in the state of Israel] are like those who remove a landmark; I will pour out My wrath on them like water. Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, Because he willingly walked by human precept.
“Therefore I will be to Ephraim like a moth, And to the house of Judah like rottenness. When Ephraim saw his sickness, And Judah saw his wound [a military defeat in war and lingering consequences], Then Ephraim went to Assyria… [the German Menge Bible and the New American Bible add: “…and Judah…”] sent to King Jareb [the “beast”–note that the Elberfelder Bible explains that “Jareb” means, “fighter; or one who seeks quarrels”]; Yet he cannot cure you, Nor heal you of your wound. For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue.”
Ephraim and Judah will attempt, unsuccessfully, to obtain help from Assyria, perhaps pursuant to a covenant or a treaty which Ephraim and Assyria had entered into (Hosea 12:1). Only later, after they had to experience their terrible destruction through the Assyrians, all of “Israel” will come to recognize reality and turn to God, as Hosea 14:1-3 states:
“O Israel, return to the LORD your God, For you stumbled because of your iniquity… Say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips. Assyria shall not save us, We will not ride on horses, Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, “You are our gods.” For in You the fatherless finds mercy.’”
Considering the former greatness of the British Empire and comparing it with today’s British Isles, we can see how accurate the following descriptions are in Hosea 7:8-9, 11-12. We read in verse 8: “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned…”
The Nelson Study Bible has the following interesting annotation: “Instead of depending on the Lord for political stability, Israel formed alliances with surrounding nations. The destructive outcome of this policy is compared to a cake that has been placed over a fire and left unturned.”
Modern Israelites and modern Jews will try in vain, at their time of distress, to obtain assistance from Assyria. But quite to the contrary, the Assyrians will fight against modern Israel and Judah. Enslavement and mass deportation of peoples will be the result. Assyria, which will invade the territories of the modern Israelites and the Jewish state, will bring some of the prisoners into its own country (as in the Second World War many of the imprisoned Poles and Yugoslavs were deported to Germany as forced laborers).
Hosea 9:3 tells us: “They shall not dwell in the LORD’s land, But Ephraim shall return to Egypt [not to the land of Egypt, but to “Egyptian” captivity and slavery, as they had endured it in Egypt], And shall eat unclean things in Assyria.” Hosea 11:5 adds: “He shall not return to the land of Egypt; But the Assyrian shall be his king.”
What all of this means is that the relationship between Europe and the USA, the UK and the state of Israel will deteriorate more and more. Finally, the last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire will attack the USA, the UK and the state of Israel with nuclear and bio-chemical weapons of mass destruction.
That war may not only be directed against the state of Israel, Great Britain and some of the Commonwealth nations (such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand), as well as the USA, but also against some of the Israelite nations in Europe which can be found today in Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden and the northern part of Germany.
On the other hand, the name of Israel should rest specifically on the descendants of Joseph (Genesis 48:16), the father of Ephraim (the UK) and Manasseh (the USA), and biblical prophecies about the modern house of Israel are mainly directed towards them. Therefore, a departure of other Israelite nations from the EU or even the Eurozone is possible, as we pointed out in the last installment, but it is not compelling. It is also possible that many or all of the Israelite nations in Europe (apart from the UK) will remain as members of the EU—in the case of France, Belgium, Luxembourg or Ireland, as well as those living in the northern part of Germany, this is very likely.
For instance, none of the descendants of Dan in today’s Ireland are mentioned in the book of Revelation as part of the 144,000 who will be sealed to receive special protection from the awesome plagues of the terrible “Day of the Lord” (see Revelation 7:4-8), perhaps because of their ongoing idolatry and their alliance with or being part of core European nations. Therefore, the possibility exists that some of these Israelite nations will be part of the European power bloc so that they will participate in fighting against the UK and the USA, as well as the State of Israel. Historically, there have been many times when Israelite nations fought against each other.
We read in Zechariah 14:14 that “Judah”—that is, some or many of the Jews from around the world—will fight not only “at,” but also against Jerusalem. (Compare Revised Standard Version; New American Bible; New Jerusalem Bible and the Moffat translation; as well as the German Elberfelder Bible; the Luther Bible 1891; the Luther Bible 1984; the new Luther Bible 2009; the Luther Bible 2017; the Menge Bible; and the Zuercher Bible.)
In addition, other Israelite nations outside “core Europe” might not actively participate in the fighting, but they may not do anything to protect or defend the USA, the UK or the state of Israel. They may stay “neutral,” as the Israelite nation of Switzerland has famously done many times throughout its history, thereby clandestinely supporting both sides.
Major events have already occurred in the recent past, setting the stage for the final crescendo of end time prophecies—including the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany; the introduction of the euro; the expressed and repeated desire for a strong unified European army; the current power vacuum in Germany which will be filled soon; the deteriorating relationship between Europe and the USA under Donald Trump’s isolation and exclusivist nationalistic policies; the ongoing animosity of Turkey towards America and the Jews; and the resurgence of the Russian military might under Vladimir Putin in collaboration with Middle Eastern and Far Eastern nations, such as Iran, Syria, China, Japan, India and others.
As another necessary preparatory step, the momentous prophetic event of Britain’s exodus from the EU is in the process of being fulfilled. It is expected that Germany (under a new leadership following Angela Merkel’s departure) will fill the vacuum left by Britain, especially in the areas of the economy and “European security.”
The next major development will then be the revelation and manifestation of the “beast”—King Jareb of Assyria—at the same time when ten European nations or groups of nations unite powerfully economically, politically and militarily. We know from previous installments that very shortly thereafter, the newly created unified European army will invade the Middle East and Jerusalem to suppress the daily sacrifices and to occupy the third temple. When these ten nations or groups of nations establish themselves as the leading core European nations and give their power and authority to the beast (who will only rule for a very short time), we know that Christ’s return is imminent.
We do not set any dates, but we can tell from the signs of the times that Christ’s return cannot be that far off (compare Matthew 24:32-33). Some speak of twenty or thirty years, which seems to be clearly outside the realm of reality. It is therefore very important not to fall into the self-destructive trap of some who claim that their Lord delays His coming (Matthew 24:48) and that He won’t come for a long time. The Bible clearly warns against such attitude.
Peter told us in 2 Peter 3:3-4 that in our time, “scoffers will come in the last days… and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’” Peter continued to tell us that they “willfully forget” that God has patience with us (verse 9), but that His patience will run out, stating, “the day of the Lord WILL COME as a thief in the night” (verse 10).
Ezekiel 12:21-28 adds this pronouncement for us today, and we had better take it to heart:
“And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, “The days are prolonged, and every vision fails”? Tell them therefore, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will lay this proverb to rest, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’”
“‘But say to them, “The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision. For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak WILL COME TO PASS; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it,” says the Lord God.’”
“Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, look, the house of Israel is saying, “The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.” Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘None of My words will be postponed any more, but the word which I speak WILL BE DONE,’ says the Lord GOD.”’”
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link