Public Lecture delivered 9/17/'01
The Bombing of The World Trade Center, and What It Means to Bible Prophesy
Respected guests, friends, young people, and brothers and sisters,
The United States suffered a terrible tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001. It is impossible for anyone not to feel great sympathy for the victims of such a horrific disaster. It is impossible not to feel total disgust for the individuals who committed this act of terror on this nation. But our lecture this afternoon will not deal with the personal tragedy, which is greater than anything we have ever witnessed, but rather our focus will be on how the events of the last few weeks contribute to the Divine plan of God and move the world closer to the day of our Lord’s return.
Now we will, this afternoon, discuss these events in relation to the alignment of the nations for the battle of Armageddon, but before we do so, we would like to focus our attention on a subject that has been under discussion publicly this week, which is the subject of "evil." And I would add at the outset, that I am speaking here, about evil in the world, not about evil in individuals.
Evil is a force used by God to bring the world into compliance with His divine commands. When the nations of the world are disobedient to divine command, God uses evil to correct this. The battle which the world looks to as Armageddon is simply a destruction of the world’s various powers which are disobedient to God, and the replacing of them with nations obedient to God.
Shortly following the terrorist’s attacks on the United States, President George W. Bush said that he would not rest till evil had been eliminated from the world. We listened to the funeral of a woman whom we had personally always respected for her world opinion, Barbara Olson. Her preacher blamed the events of that day on "Satan.". Shortly after, we heard Washington political analysts, in a round table discussion, discussing the role of Satan in these events. On Friday, September 14th, President Bush declared a national day of mourning. He assembled the religious leaders of America together for a one hour prayer meeting of sorts, in the National Cathedral in Washington DC. Among the speakers was the now aging Billy Graham. Mr. Graham said in his talk, that one of the questions he had most frequently been asked over the years, was why God allows evil to happen. He confessed that after all his years, he still could not answer that question. He spoke of this for awhile, and concluded with a quote (quoting now) "that God is not the author of evil."
Mr. Graham misquoted the Bible. The Bible does not say that God is not the author of evil, but rather, that God is not the author of confusion. It is a quote from 1 Cor. 14:33. God is definitely not the author of the confusion we saw at that prayer meeting. The confusion that God has nothing to do with was the confusion exhibited from the earliest minutes of that national prayer meeting. Immediately following the proclamation by Paul that God is not the author of confusion, Paul went on to say:" Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
Ignoring this divine precept, the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance was opened by "Bishop" Jane Holmes Dixon. Is it not incredibly confusing that a nation should open its prayers to God, with an outright act of disobedience to God? And Ms. Dixon, in her opening remarks displayed just what confusion we were to witness on that Friday. She said:
Associated Press, Sept. 14th, 2001 "Those of us who are gathered here, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, all people of faith want to say to this nation and to the world that love is stronger than hate,"
Love is not stronger than hate. The love of God, the One True God, is stronger than hate, or anything else. But the Bible clearly warns us that there is a test of the true love of God. John wrote:
"If ye love me, keep my commandments."
And among those commandments is this one:
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,"
2 Cor. 6:14-17
What part hath he that believeth with the infidel, whether Jew, or Moslem, or Buddhist, or even false Christian? The Bible’s answer is absolutely none! Come out from among them, commands God. If we love God, we will do his commandments.
God requires us to obey His commands. As we have seen, He regards this as the true test of love. Now we can call God’s commands sexist, or bigoted, or use any other label that the carnal minds chooses to use, but it never changes the original teaching of God. We are to obey His commands: His commands, not the flesh’s modern manipulation and nullifying of His commands. Anything else is confusion, and God is not the author of confusion. And yet confusion is all that was seen on the national day of mourning as we witnessed the nation praying in total confusion to various false gods.
Now as we pointed out, Mr. Graham, in his speech, after misquoting the Scriptures that God was not the author of evil, said that he did not know why God permits evil. We believe this to be true. Mr. Graham, and most of the so- called Christian world doesn’t understand this. But in saying that, we are not so sure that they do not understand it, as that they do not want to face up to the clear teaching of the Scriptures in relation to evil. The spirit of Patriotism is blinding them, because "evil" is not a difficult principle to understand. God not only permits evil, but actually brings evil for a very specific reason. It is directly due to His working out His plan of salvation in the earth. Evil is the tool used by God to punish, correct, or remove unrighteousness from the earth.
Mr. Graham laid the blame for this problem in human nature, and in this we fully agree with him. He quoted from Jeremiah:
Jer. 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
It is true that human nature is a terribly evil thing, and apart from its understanding and conforming to divine principles, left to itself, it brings only evil. The heart is deceitful. It deceives. At this time it is deceiving an entire nation into failing to recognize their own disobedience to God in the matter. And so the point that Mr. Graham is refusing to acknowledge is that it is God who uses the evil of human nature to punish, correct, and destroy unrighteousness in the earth. It is God who brings the evil. He uses it for specific purposes. Therefore, God tells us through the prophet Isaiah:
"I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
Isaiah is very clear. I make peace, and I create evil. I the Lord do all these things. Now, since Mr. Graham prefers to ignore the words of Isaiah, and prefers to thinks that Jeremiah has the clues to the solution of why God permits evil, let’s look at some of the things Jeremiah tells us about God and the existence of evil.
"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it."
Jeremiah is very clear. God brings evil upon the people because "they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it." And again in the 19th chapter we read:
"And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;"
Jer. 19:3 - 4
Jer. 19:15 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words."
Again God says that He will bring evil upon this place because they have forsaken him, burned incense to other Gods, and hardened their necks that they should not hear God’s word. And again:
"Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered."
Again God says that He will bring this evil on Israel, and He specifically tells us the reason. We are not left to wonder or guess. It is not complicated. It is because God spoke to them, and they refused to hear, God called them, and they refused to answer.
Now we’re not going to go through all of these word by word; you can do this later: but please turn to the final page of your notes. We want you to see how many times God makes this point to Jeremiah alone, not to mention other prophets and individuals in the Scriptures.
God tells Jeremiah in Chapter 4 at verse 5 "for I will bring evil from the north,"
At 11:11 "I will bring evil upon them"
At 11:17 "the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee,"
At 11:23 "for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth"
At 16:11 "Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us?"
At 18:11 "Behold, I frame evil against you"
At 20:10 "For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good,
At 23:12 "for I will bring evil upon them"
At 25:29 "For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name"
At 26:3 "that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them"
At 26:13 "the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you."
At 26:19 "the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them"
At 32:42 "Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people,"
At 36:3 "It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them"
At 36:31 "I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them"
At 39:16 "I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good;"
At 40:2 "The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place"
At 42:10 "for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you."
At 42:17 "none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them."
At 44:2 "Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem"
And at 44:11 "I will set my face against you for evil"
So Mr. Graham has no excuse for not understanding the purpose of evil in the world, or who brings it. It is abundantly clear. God brings evil upon nations because of wickedness. The problem is in facing the facts that the nation is steeped in disobedience to God. And the problem is increased 100 times by the current feelings of patriotism, and unity that the country now feels now that they are under some form of attack. They want to hear that they will defend themselves and be victorious against an immoral foe: not that they are immoral themselves, and simply a tool in the hand of God for bringing the world to the battles it knows as Armageddon.
And you know, there was one very public person in this country who, immediately after the attack, made this point: many in the country became extremely angry with him. This man is the nationally prominent preacher, Jerry Fallwell. Now, we do not generally agree with Mr. Falwell in his view of the world, or religion. He, at least, had the good sense to explain to the country why God brings evil upon them. He explained to them that you cannot legitimize every immoral abomination imaginable to man, and expect God not to exact vengeance upon you. This is a true statement. Actually, it doesn’t go far enough. Simply, you cannot disobey any divine precept and think to escape judgements. But like the Jews in Jeremiah’s day, the country does not want to hear that they are disobedient. No, the people who bombed the buildings are the immoral ones. And they are! But in God’s eyes, they are not alone. All who refuse to walk in the paths set before us by God and His son Jesus are, by Scriptural definition, immoral regardless of how well presented and respected and honorable they may be in their personal affairs.
The nation refused to listen to Mr. Falwell, to us, or to anyone else. In fact, just as Jeremiah was imprisoned as a traitor for telling the Jews of the destruction God was bringing on them for their own wickedness, Mr. Falwell found the pressure of the American public so intense that he finally apologized for his words. This is no surprise. Mr. Falwell is no Jeremiah. And so the flames of patriotism have been stirred up. Now it is easier for God to draw all nations into more and more evil, into vengeance and war, and for all the rest of what God has reserved for the nations when he sends His son to cleanse the earth from unrighteousness.
And again, the reason for all this is quite simple. And it, too, is found in Jeremiah.
"Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and hast made thee a name, as at this day; And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror; And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey; And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do: therefore thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them:"
We have a choice ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters. We have a choice. We can be separate from this world, showing our love in obedience to God, to be counted among those to whom God will show lovingkindness; if not now, in the world to come. Or, we can join in with the nations in patriotic fervor as they rush toward the day called in Scriptures, the Great and Terrible Day of God Almighty.
The Associated Press article that we have been quoting from records this of Mr. Graham:
"The Rev. Billy Graham, a long-time counselor to American presidents, prayed that the country would ‘feel the loving arms of God wrapped around us’ but told Americans it was all right to be angry. ‘You may even be angry with God. I want to assure you that God understands these feelings that you have,’ said Graham, 82. "
Associated Press, Sept. 14th, 2001
To this we respond, “No, Mr. Graham! It is not all right to be angry with God, or to in any way question His decisions.” We are merely the clay. God is the potter. The clay has no right to question the potter. Isaiah told this to Israel long ago when they tried to defend the indefensible:
"Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?"
No, the clay cannot say to Him who formed it, "He hath no understanding." If we do, it is us (the clay) who have no true understanding, for God is working out His plan of salvation in the earth. And He is not looking to the clay for advice. He will work out His plan, that the mortal critics of today should not stand. Those who criticize His precepts will not stand. We can’t be angry in this. Instead, we need to heed the instruction of the Apostle Peter, who said to the saints of old who were also caught up on the evil God had brought upon the world to punish Jerusalem for the crucifying of her Saviour::
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
1 Pet. 4:12-13
We are not to become angry with God, regardless of what we must go through. God is working out His plan of salvation in the earth. If we are caught up in the evil God brings, we rejoice as we see these things come to pass. And if we are caught up in the wars between the nations, what is that to us, who look for another day? It is simply peace till that Great and Wondrous day of God Almighty.
In the last verse of Jeremiah that we quoted, we see that the prophet made note of this. He said of God: "Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel," We will now consider the signs that God has set in the earth, and why such events as we have witnessed recently work to further God’s plan for the earth.
In the last days, the Bible prophesies that the nations shall line up according to a certain pattern around Israel. There will be Israel in the center, as prophesied by Joel:
"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land."
Joel 3:1 - 2
Here the prophet is telling us that after the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem was over, that is, when Israel has been reborn upon the mountains of Palestine, which as everyone who has any interest in this subject knows happened in 1947, that God would bring all the nations to Israel to, at that time, exhibit His greatness. But there is an order to alliances that shall be in place at that time. That order is clearly stated in the Old Testament Bible prophesies.
The 38th chapter of Ezekiel gives us the clearest picture of most of the order. This chapter starts out describing a northern power, a group of nations coming down against Israel. These forces are named as Gog, Magog, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Along with them comes Persia (modern day Iran) Ethiopia, and Lybia. Gomer, and Togarmah.
Now all these names may sound a bit strange, but they are all names that have their roots in antiquity, and are quite easy to determine. Rosh is the most ancient name of Russia. There is still a river Ros today. Meshech (which actually should have been translated Musk) is the ancient name of Moscovey, and is an ancient name of Moscow. Tubal is the ancient name of the Tubolski region--Tubolski literally means "son of Tubal". And of course, there is still a Tubal river in northern Russia. Persia, or Iran, Lybia, and Ethiopia are self explanatory, as they still bear their ancient names. As for Magog and Gomer, the ancient Greek historian Herrodutus tells us that the descendants of Magog settled Europe north of the Danube River, while the people of Gomer settled south of the Danube. Togarmah is the ancient name of Turkey.
These are the nations who come from the North against Israel to conquer Israel. And as is recorded of them in:
"And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes."
This northern confederation is pretty much in place. Russia is still united, though greatly weakened by her collapse in 1991. The events of the 1970s saw the nations of Iran, Ethiopia, and Lybia, all strong allies of the US in World War II, suffer revolutions and become bitter enemies, which they remain today. As for the remaining nations, there is no reason to expect them to join the Northern Confederation, except by the force of conquest, when the Russian power again roars. France and Germany joined Rome after being conquered by the Romans. There is no reason to suppose they will not repeat their ancient history in relation to Russia.
The events of the past few weeks then, at least in the short term probably has little to do with the Northern Confederation in its preparation for the last days. Rather, these events probably effect the formation of the Southern Confederation. In that 38th chapter of Ezekiel, we read of this northern confederation:
"And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
Israel, today, can hardly be described as a land of unwalled villages, a land of rest, dwelling without gates or walls. Nor is there any power in the land in such a position to say, art thou "come", notice that word, art thou "come" to take a spoil, thus indicating that the Ships of Tarshish with all her young lions are already in the land.
Also, and probably quite specifically to the recent events, we see that a particular power is said to be with the Ships of Tarshish and her young lions. This is called Sheba and Dedan. Now, Sheba and Dedan are ancient names for the areas of the Southern Arabian Desert. These are the states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Republic. If we go back to the late 1980s, prior to the Gulf War with Iraq, all these states held unfriendly relations to Israel, and would absolutely not be of a mind to defend her from attack. Relations were so bad that most of these countries had rules, that if an American Corporation wished to do business in their country, they must refuse to do business with Israel. Such was the hatred between these states and Israel.
But in 1990, when Iraq successfully attacked Kuwait, and appeared to be heading for Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government appealed to the US for help. The United States seized upon the moment, and tied conditions to their help which forced Saudi Arabia’s recognition of Israel, and a peace accord between the two states. And following the Gulf War, the peace treaty between Saudi Arabia and Israel became a reality.
At the same time, Jordan was one of a very few countries on earth to support the Iraqis in the Gulf war. They did so because the government feared its large Palestinian population. But with the defeat of Iraq so complete, Jordan found themselves ostracized from the World at large, even isolated from the victorious Arab states. Their condition at that time was desperate. But the path to being in good standing with the World’s community became very clear. The Jordanians, likewise, had to put fears of the militant Arab groups behind them, and make peace with Israel. Which they did.
All of this was quite consistent with the Bible’s prophesies concerning the alignment of the nations at the time of the end. In fact, at that point, one could say that all the Arab nations that were to make up the southern confederation were properly aligned.
But the formation of peace with Israel, plus a good working relationship with the United States started up an all new problem for these allied Southern Arab states in the man Osama Bin Laden who has been so prominent in the news of late. bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia, the 18th of 52 sons of a wealthy Saudi construction magnet. He is a civil engineer by training, but left his profession to join the Afghan Mujahadeen and ultimately became an important figure in the resistance of Afghanistan against the former Soviet Union. He was a commander of guerilla activities in Afghanistan, and is thought to have led the most important victory over the Soviets at Jalalabad--the battle which led to the Soviet’s final withdrawal in 1988.
As the Afghan war was ending in 1988, bin Laden organized his political group, classified by the United States as a terrorist group, called Al Qaeda. The stated goals of Al Qaeda were quite simple. It was the removal of all non- Islamic people from the Arabian Peninsula--including and perhaps especially Israel.
In 1989, bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia as a conquering war hero for having defeated the mighty Soviet Union. His popularity immediately became a problem for the Saudi government. As the Gulf war was ratcheting up in 1990, bin Laden became especially vocal about the placement of US and other foreign troops in Saudi Arabia. He found Americans in Saudi Arabia no more to his liking than the Russians in Afghanistan. Fearing internal turmoil, the Saudi government jailed him until well after the war, when in mid 1991, he was able to flee Saudi Arabia to move to the Sudan, an Islamic country in North Central Africa.
Why Sudan? The Sudan had, in 1989 undergone a religious war, in which the National Islamic Front, another violent and pro Islamic party came to power. To show solidarity with the Islamic people, they opened their borders to immigration of all Muslims. Essentially, this gave a homeland for violent, militant Muslims that had been forced out of their more moderate homelands due to their political activity. The New York Times, in 1992 claimed a couple hundred known and wanted terrorists moved to Sudan at this time.
Finding a favoring political entity with a like-minded population, in 1992 bin Laden began to finally have a chance to develop his Islamic resistance front. Now in a position of political power, bin Laden began financial entities to support his Jihad, or Holy War. Also, in 1992, bin Laden made his next significant alliance joining with the Shiite Moslems in Iran, which included cooperation with the militant group Hezbollah for the purpose of ridding the Middle East of non-Islamic peoples.
We might say a few words here about the different Islamic groups. When one hears of these groups in the news, we see them referred to as "loosely aligned" indicating that there is no common command situation. That doesn’t really tell the whole story. These are Moslem groups who are actually of different religions, no different than the way Catholics and Protestants are blended under the term Christian. They are only able to join together for the common purpose of purifying the Middle East of what they call "Infidels" though these differing groups often consider the other Islamic groups which with they are temporarily aligned, to be "Infidels." For instance, in Afghanistan, the Taliban in one city murdered 15,000 peoples of a race called Hazaras. The Taliban claimed that it was acceptable to murder these people, men and women, young and old, because they were not really Muslims. But they were Muslims, only they were of the Shiite, rather than of the Taliban’s Sunni sect of Islam. So these "loosely aligned" groups, actually hate each other with an equal fervor that they feel for the US and Israel. When not fighting Israel, they never forget how much they hate each other.
The news people are amazed today that Iran is talking of cooperating with the US. This is really not so strange that the Iranian Shiites are not comfortable--and never have been comfortable--with this Taliban group who mass murder Shiite Moslems.
This too, is actually a fulfillment of Bible prophesy, which said of these descendants of Ishmael:
"And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."
Now, by the end of 1992, bin Laden commits his first act of terrorism - attempting to kill US relief workers during the Islamic war in Somalia. In 1993, bin Laden’s men killed 18 US soldiers in Somalia, leading to the US abandoning Somalia to bin Laden’s Islamic supporters. He had three terrorist training camps operating in Sudan at this time, and he seemed to be becoming a tremendous force in the region.
But, by 1994, it was clear bin Laden’s goals, and the Scripture's goals were becoming exactly opposite of each other. Bin Laden wanted Israel out of the Middle East, and had no support. But, the Scriptures called for Israel to be planted upon the Mountains of Palestine, protected by the Tarshish power, with her southern Arab neighbors joined in as well to support her. Something had to break.
The hand of God began to end bin Laden’s carrier. In 1994, Saudi Arabia revoked bin Laden’s citizenship, and froze all his financial assets in Saudi Arabia. In direct response to this, bin Laden called for the overthrow of the Saudi government and opened terrorist camps in Yemen, on the border of Saudi Arabia. He ultimately bombed a Saudi National Guard camp. The four men captured and convicted of the bombing claimed that they worked for bin Laden, which caused Saudi Arabia to further its efforts against him.
Now starting to feel significant pressure from the Southern Arab states, in 1995 bin Laden attempts the assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, along with Jordan’s then prince (now king) because of their cooperation with the US and Israel. When these efforts failed, bin Laden found himself further isolated from the Arab world. In 1996, Sudan bowed to pressure from the Saudis and the US to expel bin Laden: he was force to return to Afghanistan, where he was still a national hero. But it is not the same region that he had left. Saudi Arabia had placed great pressure on Afghanistan’s neighbor Pakistan, to cease cooperation with bin Laden, and to expel his supporters, which they did (to Sudan). They also turned over wanted terrorists to the US.
How bitter is the battle between Saudi Arabia and Osama bin Laden? The following is from a personal interview by ABC News in 1998. The question was asked:
(ABC News, John Miller, 1998) What do you see as the future of the Saudi royal family and their involvement with America and the US military?
(Osama bin Laden) History has the answer to your question. The fate of any government which sells the interests of its own people and, betrays the nation and commits offenses which furnish grounds for expulsion from Islam, is known. We expect for the ruler of Riyadh the same fate as the Shah of Iran. We anticipate this to happen to him and to the influential people who stand by him and who have sided with the Jews and the Christians giving them free reign over the land of the two Holy Mosques. These are grave offenses that are grounds for expulsion from the faith. They shall all be wiped out. ...
Now our point in this is to show how futile is Osama bin Laden’s future. God has foreordained by the words of His prophets that in the time of the end, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the other southern Arab states with Egypt shall side with the Ship of Tarshish and all her young lions for the defense of Israel. Bin Laden is the exact antithesis, or opposite, of God’s divine plan. He cannot succeed. He has ostracized himself from Russia, whom he defeated in war. He has alienated himself from over half the Arab world with attacks and threats on the lives of the Arabian Kings and presidents. He has made himself the most despicable person in the world to the Americans and Europeans. He chose Iran (with Hezbollah) over Iraq, thus closing a door to him with Saddam Hussein (though that door, it must be admitted, is always somewhat opened) but the Sunni massacres of the Shiites in Afghanistan has turned Iran against the Taliban in general, if not bin Laden. Iran condemned his recent attacks, and closed their 540 mile border with Afghan so that no Afghan could escape to Iran for safety. Sudan can’t take him. Pakistan can’t take him.
That leaves Afghanistan alone, to bear him as their burden. Afghanistan, in Bible prophesy cannot be labeled with the accuracy of the other nations, for they are not specifically named in Bible prophesy. Dr. John Thomas, in his book called "Daniel" determined that they will end up with the southern confederation, a friend to the US in the latter days. This is because Afghanistan always proved too difficult for the various Kings of the North in the world’s history to conquer. As a nation, they were never an element of the Nations that went to make up King Nebuchadnezzar’s image, of Daniel chapter 2; therefore, it seems most logical that they would continue outside the Northern Confederation.
We all watched with amazement in 1979 through 1988 as the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan were able, with the help of US training and US weapons, to fight the Soviet invasion. Though the country, in fact, fell in five days through dogged resistance, they kept the latter day King of the North from successfully annexing Afghanistan to their then communist empire. At that point, it looked like Dr. Thomas had correctly assigned Afghanistan to the South.
But following their victory the Taliban government in Pakistan was able to export the Islam extremism to Afghanistan, but not without supreme repression and genocide of the Afghan people. Massacres have been frequent over the three years of Taliban rule, yet Afghanistan is still not wholly controlled by the Taliban government, and the resistance in the North part of the country to the Taliban’s rule is great.
And this is where it gets really messy. All this, by the way, comes from official Indian Army reports. The Taliban victories of 1998 were bought and paid for by the Pakistani government. Using Pakistani money, the Taliban hired soldiers of fortune (often from Pakistan itself), not religious zealots for their rebellion. They also bribed tribal leaders. India points out that the Taliban’s security now depends on their ability to renew these bribes annually. Now there are religious zealots in the Taliban, to be sure. And Osama bin Laden is one. But his Taliban army is not the result of a religious movement, but the result of a financial deal.
The sickening thing is that Pakistan itself did not have the money to finance this political movement. They did it with Saudi and American oil company money, who viewed Pakistan and Taliban’s cooperation as a tool to operating an oil pipeline from southern Asia. This gave Saudi Arabia and UNOCOL (a Saudi firm), with strong American interests, a financial advantage over India, Iran, and Russia with whom they compete in the region.
Can we see the truth of the old proverb: “What a twisted web we weave, when first we set out to deceive’? The Saudi’s and Americans would not stop supporting the Taliban in spite of the threats the Taliban swore against those two nations, because of their lusts for oil. They only stopped when forced (by former President Bill Clinton’s pressure) in 1999. It really is a terrible statement about the nations of the world. But, since the money has dried up, Pakistan no longer has reason to support them; and in fact the Afghan Taliban and bin Laden in particular have become a liability. The truth of the matter is that only three nations of the world ever recognized the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emerits. Saudi Arabia began to qualify its relations with Taliban in 1999, as we said, and the United Arab Emerites broke off diplomatic relations with Taliban yesterday (Saturday, Sept. 16, 2001). The greatest likelihood is that the Afghan Taliban will fall quickly to America in retaliation for the atrocities of the World Trade Center, atrocities which as bad as they were, pale in comparison to what the Taliban has done to the Afghans themselves. But what will spring up in its place? The United States government has been spending large sums of money supporting the peoples of North Afghanistan in their resistance against the Taliban. While this is no guarantee that they will not turn on the US after Taliban falls, it is no secret that these nations are hoping for a US invasion to defeat the Taliban in the South, and set them in charge of Afghanistan.
We should point out that the Taliban has asked bin Laden to leave Afghanistan. This is not really a solution for the Taliban. Islamic extremists claim that Islam will not allow them to hand over bin Laden. They can’t force him out. If the Taliban leadership does turn him over, extremists will lose confidence in Taliban, causing it to fall. If they keep him, the country will fall militarily. Therefore, regardless of the details how these things play out, it would not be at all surprising if this brings Afghanistan into alliance with the southern Arab states, as suggested by Dr. Thomas
This brings us to our final consideration, which is the role of the United States. The Ships of Tarshish with all her young lions shall say, art thou "come" to take a spoil. Not "art thou gone to take a spoil." The United States is the "Ship of Tarshish" and must be in Israel in the latter days.
Now I know that some have claimed that Dr. Thomas said that England is the Ship of Tarshish. This is not entirely true. Dr, Thomas said that based upon certain Scriptural clues, as he looked for the return of Christ in his lifetime (just as we do) England was the ship of Tarshish. But Dr. Thomas also pointed out that there have been many ships of Tarshish.
Unlike names like Sheba and Dedan or Magog or Gomer which can be identified in antiquity, there is no known ancient nation named Tarshish. So as Dr. Thomas points out, Tarshish is not a name of an ancient country, but rather it represents a nation with certain characteristics. First and foremost, it was to be the greatest trading nation of the world. Clearly, this nation has changed over time, and Dr. Thomas noted the change. Writing in Eureka III: page 409 Dr. Thomas chronicled the change of the Mart of Nations. He wrote:
"The merchandise and revenue of the revived Tyrian Mother passed from her to Alexandria, Venice, Lisbon, and at length to Britannia; who hold on to them as her own peculiar and especial inheritance."
Eur. III: 409
Now we can see that Dr. Thomas recognized that the Tyrian power (which is synonymous with the Tarshish power) was not a constant location, but was which ever power who controlled the world’s oceans. And this power had changed over history.
Dr. Thomas gleaned 5 clues from the pages of the Scriptures which defined the Tarshish power.
It is easy to see from Dr. Thomas’s clues that the US is the modern day ship of Tarshish. This great and mighty lion roared in pain, on Sept. 11, and the whole world cowered at the sound. Nations fell all over themselves to proclaim their loyalty and support to the United States. 192 nations pledges support in less than one week. The NATO alliance voted unanimously to invoke what they call Article 5, that an attack on one nation is an attack on all. This is the way NATO was supposed to work, but this is the first time in its history it actually was able to get itself to vote right. The Arab states, even Iran, and the Palestinians, all expressed their grief, fearful of what may be now coming.
Britain played "God Save America" instead of "God Save the Queen" at the changing of the Royal guard. This had never been done before in the world’s history. Britain closed their national day of morning with the Star Spangled Banner, a song which actually commemorated the death of the Old British Lion, and the ushering in of the New American Old Lion. The British, (and even French) leaders have made "pilgrimages" to Washington to personally pledge their support. We’ve seen strange and wondrous things in these past few days.
It was terrorism that drove Britain out of the Middle East in 1947. Britain had made herself the buffer between the Jews and Arabs following World War II. She learned the truth about the Scriptures teaching:
"And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it."
The Biblical goal for the ships of Tarshish was to extend her wings over Israel for the protection of Israel. But Britain did not do this. She tried to walk the middle road between Arab and Jew. As a result, she was viciously attacked by both Jews and Arabs while she maintained her neutrality. With the constant murdering of British soldiers by terrorists from both sides, Britain tired of the effort and, spurred on by the British War Office which had become extremely anti-Jewish due to various events during World War II, she abandoned Israel with the goal of her falling to the Arabs. Britain refused to vote for the establishment of the Nation of Israel in 1947.
After Britain ceased protecting Israel, the United States picked up the Divine effort, and co-sponsored the establishing of Israel.
Now, since the end of the 1948 war, there has been one issue on which the Arabs and Jews have consistently agreed. Both sides have wanted, and still want the United States to set troops in the region as the peace maker. To this the United States has steadfastly refused. The US does not want to be bogged down in the same mire as Britain found herself prior to 1948. The two nations with the closest voting record in the United Nations are the United States and Israel, yet the closest we have ever seen to the US actively supporting Israel was during the Gulf War, when it became obvious that the Israeli army was not proficient in the use of the Patriot Missile batteries. American troops were set in Israel to operate the Patriots for the defense of Israeli cities. That had never happened before or since.
The question that we should watch most closely is whether this new spirit in America will allow the US to put troops down in harms way, in Israel, to try to end the terrorism rampant in that part of the world. Now this could play out any number of ways. The US could be so successful in its early efforts that it feels emboldened to take up positions in Israel: or the US efforts maybe so dismal that they take a stand in Israel as an effort to save face. Or, as usually happens, God will cause it to happen in such a way as we cannot now envision. For who could say even two weeks ago, that they could envision the results and national unity which has taken place?
But how ever it happens, the one point that is clear, is that the Ship of Tarshish must be in Israel as a precursor to bringing down the northern nations against her.
We have our answer to the question of “why God allows evil in the world”. It is because He is still working out His plan of Salvation for the world. The nations of the world, all of them, are disobedient to God’s commands. Some worship false Gods with false traditions. Some manipulate the word of God, making the power of God of none effect, after the example of the Pharisees. But regardless of how they are disobedient, or to what extreme they are disobedient, it is clear that no nation of the earth worships the One True God after the laws He has provided in the pages of the Scriptures. Therefore, God will soon send His Son, to set the world right. May we all be prepared, with our lamps burning, and not caught up in the affairs of the nations, that we might serve the one True God, in wisdom and in Truth.
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