Saturday, February 23, 2019

Prophecy Series - the Final Empire!

Image of King Nebuchadnezzar II's dream being struck by a stone from heaven - Daniel 2:31-35.
by: Michael C. Garrett

The Final Empire

Near the end of His human life, Jesus Christ, gave His followers a series of predictions, that is now referred to as the “Olivet Prophecy.” And we can find those proclamation’s of future history in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. And if you would, notice the beginning of Matthew’s account –

Matthew chapter 24, verse 3 – and it says, “… as He [Jesus Christ] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples …” – a group of humans who were handpicked by Jesus – not the mass public. These were followers of Christ. “came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, [‘of Your Return, Your advent!?’] and of the end of the world?’” – King James English, translated much better, means ‘the end of the age.’ The end of an era of time, when human beings would be in charge of this earth. As opposed to a time in the near future when the Kingdom of God would be in charge of the earth.

Well, Mr. Ted Armstrong often referred to himself and to the Church of God as the work of the Watchman. And this is exactly what Jesus told us to do in the last part of Mark 13. Once again, the “Olivet Prophecy.”

(Mr. Garrett speaks of Mr. Ted Armstrong’s claim that he was ‘the Watchman unto the house of Israel” in Notes Regarding the Day of Atonement – Prophetically the Day of the Lord! Part 3 – Watchman for the House of Israel).

And I know you’ve heard these words hundreds if not thousands of times, but I don’t think they can ever be said enough. And I don’t think we can be reminded enough. I know we need to be reminded, because so often – in fact on the way over, Bill, Mary, Darrell, and I were talking. Darrell was saying as we got near the Tyler, Texas turnoff, “I remember going over here to Big Sandy, to a Feast of Tabernacles, and fifteen-thousand people at one feast site!”

And then Darrell asked the question, “Where have they all gone!?” Almost like that song, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone!?” And you know, they’ve gone here, there, and yonder. And some of them have died unfortunately, but, some of them have gone off to other religions. I hear about people tuning in - and of all things - watching Benny Hinn!? When you have heard from the Truth of God and you start watching Benny Hinn – folks you have made a serious mistake! Or Pastor Haaahhkkk-Hagee, as I like to say his name. Folks, these are not the bearers of truth! The work of God is the bearer of truth! And it’s so sad that some people have forgotten – where they heard it, how they heard it, and how they learned it. But we who are still here, we who are still in touch with the truth of God and with the legacy that Mr. Herbert Armstrong and Mr. Ted Armstrong put into effect – we need to keep these words in mind!

Again, speaking of the end-time. Near the end of this earth’s era and the Return of Jesus Christ, he said, starting in Verse 28 – “’Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.’” – folks, when you see daffodil’s blooming you know that summer is near! When you see a Redbud tree blooming you know that summer is near! Verse 29 – “’So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near – at the door! 30) Assuredly, I say to you, this generation …’” – ‘this generation’ – was it the generation back in 31 AD!? No. Was it the generation that lived in the Roman Empire!? No. Was it the generation who lived in England as the Pilgrims were going across the ocean!? No. Was it the generation which saw the American Civil War!? Or World War I!? No. The generation to whom He is speaking is THIS GENERATION! Here and now! He is speaking to you! If you’ve ever wanted to see yourself in the Bible – folks, just put your finger on verse 30. That is you! And others like you who have been exposed to the truth of God! “…’this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31) Heaven and earth will pass away, [or, ‘might pass away,’ ‘could pass away’] but My Words will by no means pass away. 32) But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33) Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34) It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper TO WATCH. 35) Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming - …’” - you may know the season, but you don’t know the actual day and the hour! “…’in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning – 36) lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.’” – and so sadly, many individuals who once knew the truth of God, or who claimed they knew the truth of God, seem to be sleeping. And that is such a tragedy! And He says in Verse 37, one more time, “’And what I say to you, I say to all: WATCH!’

Well it begs to question, “What are we supposed to watch for!?” And I think all of us should think about that!

And, in response to that question, “What am I to watch!?” I think in part a person could make an argument that we – as Christians, as followers of God – are to take account of our own personal private spiritual health – that is to watch it, to monitor it. The very same thing Paul said in 1st Corinthians when he said, ‘Let a man examine himself.” And then in 2nd Corinthians 13 Paul says, ‘Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith.’ ‘Prove your own selves.’ So, yes, there is a responsibility to ‘watch’ your personal spiritual health. You know, people worry about their physical health, don’t they? Get a little cold, and they run off to the doctor and take a bunch of medication or whatever. Boy, people are real quick to worry about their physical health. But what’s more important, your physical health or your spiritual health!? If you have good spiritual health, it makes no difference whether you live or you die. You will be in the Kingdom of God! But if you lack spiritual health – you can have perfect physical health, but without being on the right page with God, if you die, you lose everything.

Another case could be made that we should ‘watch’ the health – as it were – to monitor the health of our local congregations. And of our church organization in general. And I think a case could be made for that, much like Jesus said in Revelation chapter 3, when He was speaking to a local congregation. He said, “…’I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.’” And He goes on and says, Verse 2 – “’Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3) Remember therefore how you have received and heard; …’” – I think in that day and age He was speaking to the people ‘remember that Paul brought you this Message.’ Well, in the 20th century, and now the 21st century, who brought us the truth of God!? There’s no doubt in my mind – I know where I heard it. I was traveling down Indiana Route 66 on my way to Evansville, Indiana on my way to attend and participate in a karate class. And I turned on the radio because I was a little bored, and I went through the dials and I thought I came across the voice of Paul Harvey. Now at the time, in the late 60s, Paul Harvey was very popular, and my Dad always listened to him – and many times I was with my Dad, and I listened to Paul Harvey. But on this particular night I was somewhat confused, because Paul Harvey – instead of talking about news events, world events and different newsy ideas – was talking about prophecies and reading from the Bible. And this person who turned out not to be Paul Harvey, but in fact Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong, was talking about the Return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God sometime in the near future on this earth. And, for some of you it could have been Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. That’s where we heard it! But, to these people He says, “’Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.’

And both of those are excellent arguments and important things to remember. But I think without a doubt the meaning of Mark 13 in terms of ‘watching,’ is probably, without a doubt, the idea that we are to ‘watch’ world events. … Things in WORLD EVENTS! Especially the events which relate to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

Principles of Prophecy

And I’d like to talk a little about prophecy. We don’t often do it, we assume, “Well, everybody knows that, because back in 1970 we studied that!” Or “We heard this or that.” “We had a booklet.” But, quite frankly we have people who are now with us that maybe don’t have that great background of prophecy – just basic outline of prophecy. I think we need to go over that!

But, before we do – some basic principles to keep in mind – 2nd Peter chapter 1, verse 20, Peter said, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” And, O’ my, how the Church of God has made a mistake – in the past – because we’ve had people to go off and come up with ‘personal ideas’ that are not in the Bible and sold them to the Church as doctrine. And unfortunately, it caused a lot of problems. And all I have to say to you is three phrases – 1972, 1975 – Petra. And, I state my case. And folks it was wrong! It was a personal idea, that did not have it’s roots in the Bible. And tragically, even today, there are remnants of the Worldwide Church of God who still believe that they’re gonna get on a ship and go to Petra! Not asking the question, “Uh, Petra’s not on a seacoast!" Or they say, “I’m going to jump on an airplane and fly to Petra!” Not asking the one question, “There’s no airport there, folks!” And yet, there’s still people who believe that! Well, that’s sad – free country, they can believe what they want – but ‘the Scripture is not of private interpretation.’

Another principle to keep in mind -  Isaiah chapter 28, verse 9 & 10 – you’ve heard this many, many, times – “’Whom will He teach knowledge? And whom will He make to understand [doctrine]?” And then the answer – “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.’” And folks, that’s how prophecy must be studied! Prophecy is not laid out in one Book or one chapter in a nice easy and organized package. It’s ‘a little here, and it’s a little there.’ And you sort of have to dig it out.

Another principle – Revelation chapter 19, verse 10 – when John was inspired to write. ‘that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ And that “Olivet Prophecy” contains so much information that if you really wanna understand the end-times, you have to dissect that very carefully.

Another principle – Paul speaks about in 1st Corinthians chapter 13, when he says, ‘for now we see through a glass darkly.’ And folks that’s the way it is, we don’t see – all times prophecy perfectly clear. But I think as we get closer to the end-time trauma some of those ideas are becoming more and more clear! But Paul went on to say, ‘now I know in part.’ And we’ve gotta understand that, we only know in part. But we’re seeking and striving to learn more.

You also have to remember that some prophecies have already been fulfilled. And yet the vast – overwhelming majority – of all the prophecies, and a big huge chunk of the Bible is prophecy, is yet to be fulfilled.

And then there’s the principle that some prophecies are dual in nature. They have an early fulfillment, and they have a latter fulfillment. And sometimes multiple layers of fulfillment. And these are principles which will help you try and keep things in mind.

To properly understand prophecy I think a person needs to understand a basic outline of history and future events. So, it’s good to have a teacher to sort-of set you in the right path. And you’ve got to understand that Biblical prophecies concentrate on events that bear directly upon – impact or influence – three things:

1. Jerusalem 
2. the people of Judah. 
3. and the people of Israel.

And keep in mind, those last two names are not necessarily synonymous. All Jews are Israelites. But the vast majority of Israelites are not Jews. And, we understand that from the old times, but people who open up their newspaper think that little country over there, and what the Bible would call Judea, is named Israel. Well, it’s slightly misnamed. It should be named Judah or Judea. Prophecy doesn’t concentrate on a lot of other empires – and there’s been great empires throughout history. China has had a great civilization. Japan. India. The Mongols that moved in from Central Asia and into Europe. The Aztecs of Mexico and Central America. The Inca’s of South America. There’s virtually nothing in the Bible about these great civilizations! Because the Bible is talking about how it effects Jerusalem, the people of Judah, and the people of Israel.

 And the Bible sets down a basic background – a basic outline of four great civilizations. And to sort of preview these very quickly –

1. Babylon – under King Nebuchadnezzar II and then King Belshazzar
2. Medo/Persian Empire – under King Darius I and King Cyrus II
3. Greco/Macedonian Empire – under King Alexander the Great
4. the Roman Empire.

In fact, you can’t understand prophecy unless you understand the significance of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire controlled the known world for centuries! Rome had a profound effect upon the life and times of Jesus Christ. Upon the New Testament Church, upon the life of Paul and the other disciples. Upon the destruction of the Jewish temple and the dispersing of the Jewish people to many parts of the world in 70 AD. And, it became the birthplace and the breeding ground of a great universal church – headquartered in Rome. Which has become thought of as the quintessential Christian church. Isn’t it true, you turn on a television or see a movie – when they’re talking about “Christian people,” who do they turn to!? A Roman Catholic priest, or a Roman Catholic cathedral. And that’s looked upon as the “essence of Christianity.” And then from that great church, later on we had her protesting daughters. Which became the majority of the Protestant churches.

Historians say that the Roman Empire breathed its last breath in 476 AD. And, it’s sort-of interesting that a leader of a band of German mercenaries deposed the last Roman emperor and called himself the King of Italy. And it sets a pattern of great linkage between Germany and Italy. And throughout the history of Europe there’s this constant flow of energy between Germany and Italy. However, the Book of Revelation shows us that through the centuries there would be seven revivals – of what historians have often labeled the “Holy” Roman Empire. And that the seventh revival, which hasn’t occurred yet – it’s on the horizon, it’s near, but it has not yet occurred – would consist of ten kings or ten kingdoms. And, this last revival would be highlighted by two major personalities

1. A great civic political leader. That the Bible refers to as ‘the beast.’ 
2. A great religious leader. That the Book of Revelation refers to as ‘the false prophet.’

Again, a basic reminder – this is the basic outline – Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. And then seven revivals of the “Holy” Roman Empire in the heartland of Europe. And then the seventh revival would have ten kings, or ten kingdoms with a political leader, and a great religious leader.

Now, let’s take a look and see some of these prophecies. If you would, turn back to Daniel chapter 2. And I won’t go  through and dissect every little verse, but I want all of you to be able to make some notes, and in the future I want you to – if you are able to – have a conversation with a friend or a neighbor or a co-worker, that you could show them these Scriptures, and show these people – this is exactly the outline of world history and into the future. All of us should be able to do that.

You know, Daniel chapter 2 is a story about a dream – Nebuchadnezzar II. And, it was a very troubling dream, I won’t go through all of it. He had decreed that all of the wise men and the astrologers and the magicians had to come to him and tell him what the dream was or they would be killed. And Daniel and his three companions were under the death penalty. Well, when Daniel found out that he was gonna die if he didn’t come up with this interpretation, went to the king and said, “Please give me a little time.” And the king, I guess, accepted that. Daniel went back to his companions, and they prayed to God that He would reveal to them the meaning of this dream. Both the dream and the interpretation. And so God answered that prayer and showed Daniel both the dream and the interpretation of the dream. 

Verse 31 begins with the explanation – “’You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32) This images head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33) its legs of iron and partly of clay. 34) You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35) Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain [a great government] and filled the whole earth.’”

“’This is the dream.’” he says in Verse 36, “’Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37) You, O king [Nebuchadnezzar II], are a king of kings. For the God of Heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38) and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all – you are this head of gold.’” – King Nebuchadnezzar II and the Babylonian Empire.

Verse 39 – “’But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.’” – and that was the Medo/Persian Empire, followed by the Greco/Macedonian Empire under King Alexander the Great.

Then in Verse 40, he comes to the fourth kingdom. “’And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and [subdues] everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41) Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42) And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43) As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44) And in the days of these kings the God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these [other] kingdoms, and It [the Kingdom of God] shall stand forever.’”

And so there we see this basic outline. And isn’t it interesting that in today’s news, what is our newspapers filled with!? Filled with stories of Babylon (you can change that name to IRAQ) and Persia (and you can change that name to IRAN). Even today those same countries are having a significant impact upon the events of the world. So, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and then Rome.

Well, in Daniel chapter 7 we read a few more things about this basic outline of history.

Verse 1 – “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head …” – and as we read in Verse 3 – “And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. 4) The first was like a lion [a reference to Babylon], and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man and a man’s heart was given to it. 5) And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear [and that’s the Medo/Persian Empire]. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’ 6) After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard [a reference to the Greco/Macedonian Empire under Alexander the Great], which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.’”

And, when Alexander the Great died at a very young age, his kingdom was given to his four leading generals and it was divided up. And then he says, Verse 7 – “’After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast [this is Rome – the Roman Empire], dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it …’” – and then he says, “’it had ten horns.’”

Well folks, that ‘ten horns’ is the final installment of the “Holy” Roman Empire! And we see the symbolism of ten in both the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation.

And then he goes on to say, Verse 8 – “’I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, …’” – and this ‘little horn’ is a tremendous world power. It’s had effect upon Europe since 500 AD. This is the papacy. The heart and core of that universal church. “…’before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.’”

Well, as you go forward, taking a look at Verse 13 – “’I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, …’” – seemingly a reference to both Jesus Christ and God the Father. “…’And they brought Him near before Him. 14) Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion [this is the Kingdom of God!], Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.’”

Well, going on down in Verse 17 – “’Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings …’” – or kingdoms, or empires. And we’ve talked about them. Once again Babylon, Medo/Persian Empire, Greco/Macedonian Empire, and the Roman Empire. Verse 18 – “’But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’” – and that talks about the resurrection of the saints and the establishment of the Kingdom of God upon the Earth.

Then he goes back to the fourth beast, Verse 19 – “…’exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; 20) and the  ten horns that were on its head, …’” – once again, those ‘ten horns’ are the final ten countries that make up the final installment of the “Holy” Roman Empire. “…’and the other horn which came up, …’” – the ‘other little horn,’ the papacy. “…’before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, …’” – in fact blasphemous things. “…whose appearance was greater than his fellows. 21) I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22) until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.’” – once again that’s the Kingdom of God.

And now, once again in Verse 23, he goes back to this fourth kingdom – the Roman Empire, and then even unto its seventh revival of the “Holy” Roman Empire. “…’The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces. 24) The ten horns [out of this kingdom] are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He [this other ‘little horn whose appearance was greater than his fellows’] shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings. 25) He [this great religious leader] shall speak pompous [blasphemous] words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law.’” – and even now, we know that the Sabbath is the seventh-day of the week. And yet, we have a whole so-called Christian world that believes that the Sabbath is the first-day of the week. We know that the holy days are in effect, and yet, this great ‘little horn’ and the people who has represented it down throughout the ages, have convinced the Western world that the ‘Mass-of-Christ’ should be celebrated.

And, that the ‘day of Ishtar’ should be celebrated. And they totally do away with God’s holy days. Yes indeed, ‘times and laws’ have been changed! “…’Then the saints shall be given into his hand …’” – and then notice this reference to “a time and times and half a time.’” – and we, over the years, have come to understand that means 3 ½ years. And throughout these prophecies we hear of this 3 ½ years – sometimes expressed as forty-two months, and sometimes as one-thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Verse 26 – “’But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever. 27) Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’”

And that’s basically what’s there in chapter 7. In chapter 8 there’s a few more references.

Daniel chapter 8, verse 9 – once again we see this ‘little horn’ that represents the papacy – this great religious leader, especially in the end-time – the resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire. “…a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land [or the Holy Land]. 10) and it grew up to the host of Heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11) He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.”

And so here in Verse 11 it makes a reference to what Jesus called ‘the abomination of desolation.’ Or, sometimes, in the Book of Daniel it says, ‘the abomination that makes desolate.’ And we know there will come a time, when this great religious leader, who will enter into Jerusalem into a “temple” (that apparently is not yet built). I presume, personally, that there will be a temple. Or a cloth tabernacle – something that is the center of the Jewish religion. We know that before the end-times, they will have reinstituted animal sacrifices, and gone back to their old ancient ways.

Basically, Israel at the present time is a secular society. But apparently I have to presume that something will shock that nation – probably some form of attack from her Arab and Islamic neighbors – that will cause the Jewish people of Israel to go back to their roots, they will reinstitute animal sacrifices. And then when this human being who calls himself the ‘Vicar of Christ,’ the so-called great “holy” man that actually dares call himself “Holy Father” - and I know Mr. Ted Armstrong even had a hard time saying those words in reference to this being – a man who puts on his pants just like you and I and sits on the toilet several times every day. And yet, he will call and say that he’s this great “holy” man! He is going to stop the sacrifices. We find out later that he sits in the “temple” and proclaims that he is God! And that is the ‘abomination that makes desolate.’

Notice Verse 23 – “’And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce [countenance] …’” – this is the final resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire. “…’Who understands sinister schemes. 24) His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; …’” – because he will be empowered by Satan the devil. “…’He shall destroy [completely], And shall [practice his religion] and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.’”

This work of God will not continue till the end-time. There will come a time when Michael will have to shut the camera off. That’s just the truth of the Bible! We still have time between now and then, and we still have work to do, and that’s what we’re doing and we’ll keep doing it as God blesses us. But there will come a time when the people of God, in order to survive, will literally have to be protected by God. Because they will be the object of destruction – the desire will be to kill them. Thankfully God offers the promise of protection many times throughout the Bible!

Verse 25 – “’Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; …’” – this end-time resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire will actually presume that it can fight God and Jesus Christ – and Their returning armies!

Of which some of you reading this will be a part of, hopefully all of us in that great returning army! “…’But he shall be broken without human means.’” – he will be destroyed!

Well, those are some of the prophecies in Daniel which talk about – Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. And then it jumps forward to the end-time – the seventh installment of the so-called “Holy” Roman Empire. If you would, turn to Revelation chapter 13.

Here in Revelation chapter 13 we see John, inspired by God, talking about basically the same thing Daniel was talking about. And this confuses a lot of people – and has throughout the time. Folks, it should not confuse you, it’s actually very easy to understand if you use all of the Bible to let it interpret itself.

Notice chapter 13 – “And I [John] stood on the sand of the sea.” Now, he’s seeing a vision also, much like Daniel. “And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.” – now this ‘seven heads’ are the seven resurrections of the “Holy” Roman Empire. And those ‘ten horns’ are the ten kings or the ten kingdoms that make up the final installment of the “Holy” Roman Empire. The same thing as we saw back in Daniel – the ‘ten horns.’

Now, we’ve often talked about the resurrections of the “Holy” Roman Empire. But it occurred to me here lately when I thought about this, we say them, but we don’t actually say who they were. And I don’t have a lot of time here, but I very quickly want to go through and say the names and maybe you – if you have more time and access to a history book or an encyclopedia or the internet, and if you’re interested, you can go back and find more about these people.

Seven Resurrections of the “Holy” Roman Empire 

These are the seven resurrections of the “Holy” Roman Empire. And I might be wrong, maybe I got one or two wrong, but this is how I see history. I’ve got to tell ya, reading European history is a very complicated subject – very convoluted. Countries taking over countries, war’s, unions, disillusions, treaties. It’s very hard to follow European history for me. But I did do a little research and here’s what I came up with – and as their listed off, keep in mind of where they’re from. Because the question is, “Who will be the next – this final installment, these final ten countries!?” Who will they be!? Well, I have a pretty good idea that the ones that will be in the future are the ones that also were a part of this in the past.

1. King Charlemagne – or Charles the Great of France. Pope Leo III – He had been driven from Rome by his enemies. He appealed to Charlemagne for help. Charlemagne reinstated the pope, stayed on in Rome to protect Leo III, and on Christmas day 800 AD, the pope placed the imperial crown on Charlemagne’s head, and hailed him as “Augustus.” And once again, the West had an emperor. 

2. Otto the Great – a German of 962 AD. He was the great leader of – what the history books call – a German Roman Empire. He was crowned emperor in 962 by the pope, and Otto as successor to Charlemagne, thought of himself as the leader of the Christian West and the protector of the papacy.  

3. Frederick Barbarossa of about 1152 AD – or Frederick I of Germany. He became the first – of what history calls – the Hohenstaufen emperors. And they were Germans. And this very Frederick Barbarossa drowned while on a crusade in Asia Minor in 1190. Then King Henry VI – Frederick Barbarossa’s son. Then Frederick II. He was made emperor by Pope Innocent III.

I want to say a few words about Pope Innocent III. First of all I have to comment – what an ironic name Innocent III. This man, Innocent III, was responsible for the persecution of the Waldensians. You often heard Mr. Ted Armstrong talk about the followers of Peter Waldo. Mr. Ted actually thought that the Waldensians were member’s of the true Church of God and were hiding up in the mountains. And another group, called the Albigensian's in Southern France. And Pope Innocent III persecuted them until they were literally destroyed. He developed a new court called ‘the Inquisition.’ You’ve all heard about that. And this Inquisition accepted neighborhood rumor as a basis for accusation and it used torture to secure confessions. And when I read about that it made me think of Revelation chapter 18, where John wrote, “…’for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. 24) And in her …’” – which chapter 17 of the Book of Revelation calls ‘the great whore’ – and I can’t get any more descriptive than that. “… ‘in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.’” A powerful legacy. And, that court of ‘the Inquisition’ – you know who the most recent holder of that office was!? Pope Benedict XVI. What was his name before he became Benedict!? RAT-zinger! Yes, I love to say it that way! He held the office of ‘the Inquisition.’ They changed the title because that old title had a pretty bad name. But that theme has continued throughout history.

4. The House of Hapsburg. It actually had two branches. One which controlled Austria and Hungary – actually had influence there for five hundred years, beginning in 1438. And also another branch of the Hapsburg family controlled Spain from 1516 until 1698. Now, most of that is considered ‘Spain’s golden age.’ Where their main desire was to export the Catholic faith to the New World. Which is why if you go to Mexico, the predominant church is the Catholic Church. 

5. Napoléon Bonaparte. A man who was on the scene a very short time, but really had a massive effect on European history. Born on the island of Corsica, and by the age of 9 he was at a military school. By age 24 he  became a brigadier general. And in 1801 he concluded an agreement with Pope Pius VII which recognized that the majority of French were to be Roman Catholic. And then in 1805 to 1807 he had a series of victories, gained control over the whole continent, and he was the master of Europe. And he was looked upon as the emperor. Rumor says he crowned himself “Holy” Roman Emperor. Just grabbed the crown from the pope, put it on his own head and said, “I am the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire!”

6. Adolf Hitler from Germany and Benito Mussolini of Italy. Mussolini seized power in 1922. Hitler came to power in 1933, and immediately he began persecution of the Jews, and with help from Germany and Italy, General Francisco Franco gained control of Spain. And then, we know about World War II.

Well, think about the countries I’ve already mentioned. Spain, France, Austria/Hungary which is a big chunk of land in Central Europe, Germany, and Italy. I think there’s a pretty good bet that those countries will once again be part of this – yet one more time – resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire.

The next revival has not yet occurred, but folks it’s not too far down the road! And the question comes, What will cause this empire to come about!? What coalesces Europe to become this United Europe!? You think about Europe right now a secular state, they’re Socialistic in their tendencies, leftist in their policies. They really aren’t that united, they squabble a lot. And yet something is going to happen that will cause all of Europe to gravitate around a great “holy” man and a great religious leader.

Again, Revelation chapter 13 – after the seven heads and ten horns it says in verse 2 – “Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard … feet of a bear, … and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.” – and those are the very things we saw early on in the Book of Daniel. The final installment of the “Holy” Roman Empire, as it were, would be a bit of all of these kingdoms. And then it says Verse 5 – “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months [again, 3 ½ years].” Verse 7 – “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life …” Verse 11 talks about another beast – “…and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.” – and that is that great religious leader. Verse 12 – “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, …” Verse 13 – this is so important – this great religious leader – “… performs great signs, so that he even makes fire [or lightning] come down from heaven on the earth by those signs [“miracles”] which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, …” A little later on it talks about Verse 16 – “He 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 I know a lot of people have speculated, what is the so-called “Mark of the Beast”? I’m just gonna tell ya my idea – my version, my thought. I think it is the sign of the cross. If you think about it – the world of so-called Christianity, the world of the Catholic faith and the Protestant faith – one is the one identifying sign under which all of them sort-of identify!? It is the sign of the cross. And, if you think about Catholics, they take their right hand, and they start at their forehead, and they make that funny little sign. This is the identifying sign of that great religion that sprang out of the Roman Empire and which is the basis of the “Holy” Roman Empire as they go through their different phases and will be the great power behind the formation of that final “Holy” Roman Empire.

In chapter 17 of the Book of Revelation, it talks about in verse 1 – “…’Come, I will show you the judgment of the great [whore; KJV] who sits on many waters, …’” – and I can’t out do that one folks, but that’s what God thinks of a religion that changes the Sabbath and changes the holy days, that teach people that they’re going to burn in “hell fire” for all eternity or flit off to Heaven – when that is not the truth of God! THAT IS NOT THE TRUTH OF GOD! They teach the idea of the ‘immortal soul,’ and the Bible says, ‘The soul that sins it will DIE!’ Every major doctrine of the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches – and if you think about it, there’s not much that separates them. The only thing that separates them is this idea of leadership – who’s in charge. The Catholic’s think the pope is in charge, and the Protestant’s think their own little whatever organizations are in charge. But their major doctrines are all the same. And there is going to come a time when that great religious leader stands before people, calls down fire from heaven – and I’ll tell ya what folks, Lutherans will not be calling themselves Lutherans anymore. And people who are followers of the Greek Orthodox faith – and you know they’ve been fighting each other for centuries - and their dispute is what!? Over who’s in charge. Is it the pope or their leader!? But folks, when a great man stands up, and the one we had previous was – what we say in baseball “the set-up man” – setting up the closer. My own opinion. But when that man comes upon the scene he won’t look like RAT-zinger. He’ll probably look like he came out of a Hollywood set, very charismatic, young, full of energy, full of life. And when he starts calling fire out of the sky, and other “miracles” – well, you know how ga·ga the Catholic’s go over so-called “miracles.” You know, a sprinkler washes up against a wall and they think they see the image of the “Virgin Mary and Child,” and they gather around and pay homage to it!? What if a real guy shows up, that produces “miracles” that… which… now, if you think about it, calling down a bolt of lightning - what does it do!? Maybe all it does it cause a forest fire, but it will be impressive to the people. It’s not the type of miracles God performs. God performs healings and issues like that. But, these false “miracles” – as it says, ‘lying signs and wonders’ – the entire world will be captivated by this man and call themselves followers of that man. And this is what’s going to precipitate the end-time!

I think two factors are going to cause this seventh resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire.

1) I think it’s the threat of Islamic militarism.

You can call it Islamofascism or you can call it Radical Islam or you can call it all just a bunch of crazy people. You know, when I was an Ambassador College student back in the late 60s early 70s, the subject of the Muslim religion was almost never mentioned. In fact I can’t remember it being mentioned. But here in just the last few decades – remember in the late 60s we heard about Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and they were blowing up bombs and causing some problems!? And then in 1972 we heard of Munich – we heard of the Israeli athletes being taken captive and eventually killed!? And then eventually we heard of more and more bombings and crazy people taking planes and hijacking them. But here in the last decade or so it’s become real! And we here in America have lived through 9/11. Make no mistake my friends, the leaders of that Islamic strain of Islam, their greatest goal is to conquer you or to kill you! Don’t be confused about that! I have to say I’m embarrassed by some of our political leaders in this country that wanna make nice. “O’ these are nice people!” they say. “It’s a religion of love!” And every time I hear it I wanna say, “It twernt Lutherans that flew the planes into the Towers!” It was Islamic terrorist’s! And that movement is growing! We have Hamas in charge of Palestine! We have Iran threatening with nuclear weapons! We have Pakistan – one bullet away, one assassination away – from becoming just like Afghanistan! A homeland of fanatics! Throughout the world we have problems! Besides our 9/11, Spain, a few years ago had the train bombings! England, summer of ‘05, had the subway and the bus bombings! October of ’05 we had the riots in France! - that I’m sure shook Europeans to the core! Remember, for about three weeks, France was just up in flames every night! Cars being burned, buildings being trashed, certain people being beat up! And then we had the reactions of the cartoons of Muhammad. They overtook embassies, they picked on poor Denmark. They burned Denmark’s flag and threw in the American flag and the Israeli flag! Somehow we got thrown into the mix!?

But these people, in my opinion, are absolutely nuts! And I guess if they heard me say that right now, they would put me on their death list! We have Iran’s refusal to cooperate with England, France, and Germany in this program to take care of these nuclear weapons! And I had heard on television a commentator – now, think about what has changed – a few years ago America was bad because we had “invaded” Afghanistan and Iraq, and Europe, they were pure and were good because they were against it. America bad, Europe good. Just a few years ago! But now, I have heard commentator’s on television say that Europe now possesses Islamophobia! There is a deep fear within Europe, because they are much closer to them than they are to us. Literally, some places – on the border!

2) A revitalized Roman Catholic Church and a pope of magnificent stature.

These two factors will be the tipping point that causes Europe to say, “We must have strong leaders again! We must have a strong military again! We must protect our borders! We must protect ourselves! We must unite! Even though we have differences!” Remember the image in Daniel, ‘partly clay, partly iron’!?  - doesn’t always get along. But in the threat of a common enemy, I believe, that Europe will coalesce together. It will be Islamic terrorism and it will be led by a revitalized Roman Catholic leader. And it’s going to set up that seventh revival.

If you’ll turn back to Daniel chapter 11, and just one verse. You’ve heard this before – Daniel 11, verse 40 – “’At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; …’” – the king or the kingdom of the South. The Islamic confederation. “…’shall attack him [the king of the North]; and the king of the North [or that European confederation] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41) He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; …’” – and I’ve talked about how the Crusades throughout the history of Europe and the Middle Ages. Well folks, there’s one last Crusade yet to occur! When Europe literally goes into the Middle East and eradicates those regimes! It hasn’t happened yet, but it soon will happen!

So, we’ve touched on a few things about prophecy, given just a quick overview. Babylon, Persia, Greece, the Roman Empire, and then seven resurrections. The seventh resurrection will have ten kings and will be led by a great spiritual man and a great civic leader.


Let’s turn to Luke chapter 21 – once again the “Olivet Prophecy” – verse 28 – “’Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.’ 29) Then He spoke to them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30) When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31) So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. 32) Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33) Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will by no means pass away. 34) But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, …’” – and too many people do, just let the cares of life overwhelm them! “…’and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35) For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the earth.’” – and then, Verse 36 – “’Watch therefore, and pray always that …’” 1) “’you may be counted worthy to escape [the trauma of the end-time era]…’” 2) “’to stand before the Son of man.’

And every day we should ask ourselves, “Please, dear Heavenly Father, please dear Brother, give me Your love, give me Your grace, give me your help. Help me to keep my eyes open. Help me to participate in the work of God. Help me to be a good Church member. Help me to be helpful to my friends and Church members. Help me to do my part. And please bless us, and please protect us from this end-time. And please allow us dear Father, dear Brother, allow us to be a part of Your kingdom.”

Because folks, it is so very near. 

It's best to be sure that this mark is not upon YOU! Without this "mark" of the final beast, no man will be able to buy or sell! Without this "mark," you may very well be persecuted - even unto death! Just what is this "mark"!? Is it, like the old Worldwide Church of God taught, Sunday worship!? - Or, is it something else!? Something that this world's so-called Christianity - the world of Catholic faith and the Protestant faith has had for millennia - one identifying sign of that great religion - the sign of the cross!? Be sure to watch Minister Michael C. Garrett's enlightening sermon - Mark Of The Beast - which Biblically answers this grossly misunderstood important WARNING!
(attribution: adriatikus; changes made - CC BY-SA 2.5)

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