Dear Brethren and Friends,
There were so many significant events that occurred in 2011. One of those was the desire of many to change the political structure in their own country. We can all remember the “Arab Spring,” which started in Tunisia, swept to Egypt and soon encompassed a number of other nations in the Middle East area. It was a domino effect that established that many were unhappy with the leadership their governments had shown.
On December 17, 2011, Kim Jong-il, who had ruled North Korea since 1994, died of a heart attack, and his son, Kim Jong-un, was accepted as his successor. At the funeral in late December, television programs showed scenes of mass hysteria and grief from mourners, many of whom were very young. Perhaps they were not aware of the appalling record of Kim Jong-il who was named as number 2 in a list of tyrants in a book entitled, “The World’s 20 Worst Living Dictators,” which was written by David Wallechinsky. Or maybe they were “planted” in the crowd to bolster the credibility of this small state, where their people have never known freedom.
On October 20, 2011, Muammar al-Qaddafi was shot dead. He is listed at number 11 in Mr Wallechinsky’s book. He had been the leader of the North African nation of Libya since 1969, and his acts of terrorism were numerous.
Apart from Muammar al-Qaddafi and Kim Jong-il, there are 18 other dictators who are exposed for what they are in Mr Wallechinsky’s book, and it is interesting, but not edifying reading. Whilst there may be a smooth transition of power in North Korea, many other nations are now having severe internal problems with their people who say that they are not prepared to stand for more of the same. Expectations were high by those protesting, and by many commentators, who may have thought that Western-style democracy would soon be introduced, but that is surely looking more and more like wishful thinking. It may be that those who espouse Sharia law may well take the place of some of those who have been ousted from power; but whatever happens, problems certainly won’t be eradicated in those countries overnight. In fact, biblical prophecy shows that further problems are just ahead for the world at large.
It is an historically undisputed fact that many despots have ruled down through the ages. One of the great motivations is the lust for power, and there never seems to be a dearth of those who fit the bill. The 20th and 21st centuries have provided their fair share of such leaders.
We want to move on to mention just five individuals who will have tremendous impact on the world at some time in the near future.
The first of these is the Beast (Revelation 17:8) who will be a charismatic leader of 10 European nations or groups of nations. In our booklet “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” we state the following on page 40, under the heading “The Coming European Superpower”:
“The United States, Great Britain and the State of Israel in the Middle East will suffer at the hands of the rising superpower which is now developing in Europe. Scripture identifies the superpower as the prophesied seventh and last revival of the Holy Roman Empire in the form of ten nations or groups of nations. Europe will be led by an Assyrian king (‘King Jareb’), that is, by a powerful German-speaking leader. God will use Europe and especially the modern Assyrian ‘king’ to punish modern Israel and Judah for their spiritual treachery toward Him.”
The second individual will be the False Prophet who will work hand in hand with the Beast. Our booklet “Europe in Prophecy” has this to say on page 12, under the heading “The Scarlet Beast”:
“In Revelation 17, the Apostle John is given a vision of a different beast than the one in chapter 13—this one being a scarlet beast but also having seven heads and ten horns. The most striking difference, however, is that the scarlet beast is ridden by a woman—a harlot. Revelation 17:5 identifies the woman as ‘mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.’ This woman is depicted in verse 6 as drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. In verse 18 the woman is also identified as that great city that reigns over the kings of the earth, the city that sits on seven mountains (v. 9). Though here called Babylon, the famed City
of Seven Hills is the city of Rome!—successor to ancient Babylon politically, militarily,
economically and religiously. It is this city that rides the scarlet beast with the seven heads and the ten horns. The seven heads of the Beast are seven kings or seven kingdoms (v. 10). These are successive kingdoms, one following the other. Five have already fallen, one is, and the last one has not yet arrived.”
The Beast and the False Prophet will work in tandem for a short while, but at the same time, two other individuals will also be at work. They are the Two Witnesses who will have tremendous power for 3½ years—during the time of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. We read in Revelation 11:3-6:
“‘And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.’ These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These two witnesses have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.”
When these two very powerful witnesses have finished their testimony, they will be killed after 3½ years, but they will be resurrected after 3½ days (verses 7 and 11).
These 3½ years will be a very interesting but dangerous time. They will lead to some great news that the Church of God has been anticipating for many years.
The fifth individual we want to mention is the most powerful of them all—Jesus Christ—Who will return to clean up all the mess that human beings have made over the last 6,000 years. It will be a wonderful time when the tyrants, despots and dictators will become a thing of the past. No more injustice, no more terrorism, no more subjugating the masses of people and no more false worship either of men or of false gods.
Many leaders over the last 6,000 years have made quite an impact—either for good or for bad. But we are now awaiting these five individuals to appear in their due time, and they will have an unprecedented impact on humanity. Satan will raise the Beast and the False Prophet and give them his powers. They will be extremely popular in this Satan-inspired and -deceived world. On the other hand, God will raise the Two Witnesses who will not be popular, but their power will be given to them by God! All of them will appear at a time of trouble as never before (Daniel 12:1).
And then Christ returns. And it is His return that should be in our daily prayers.
With Christian love,