Discourse 1132 – Does the Bible predict the Syrian civil war chaos for the Last Days?  Part 2.

Syria: does the Bible predict the civil war chaos? /TOPIC information service 00, 2012-08-08

Complete overview of time periods and events of the Last Days.

The Old Testament prophecies of the destruction of Damascus

The true end-time prophecies of the Bible.

Civil wars in the Last Days?

List of wars and armed conflicts of 2012

How near is the Second Coming of our Redeemer? / Commentary, Anonymous 01, 2013-04-04

Are we already at "the beginning of the birth pangs"? / Commentary, UL 00, 2013-04-21

Table: The Great Tribulation – classified by events.

Do the acts of war in Syria have a prophetic background? /    Part 1, Discourse 113

How and why the Great Tribulation begins: "he beginning of birth pangs." /    Discourse 1133

(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)

(Syria: does the Bible predict the civil war chaos? / TOPIC information service 00, 2012-08-08)

Syria threatens to sink into the chaos of civil war. Christian observers in the USA see astonishing parallels with biblical prophecy. So we read, for example, in the Book of Isaiah (17,1), "The oracle concerning Damascus: ‘Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin.’" And the prophet Jeremiah too writes (49,24-25): "Damascus has become helpless; she has turned away to flee, and panic has gripped her; distress and pangs have taken hold of her like a woman in childbirth. How the city of praise finds no release,1) the town of My joy!" Admittedly, some biblical scholars see the passage from Isaiah, in particular, as referring to the historic destruction of Damascus by the Assyrians in the year 732 BC; others, however, regard it as a prediction of the Last Days. Best-selling Christian author Joel C. Rosenberg (Washington) already wrote, back in June, that these prophecies are still to be fulfilled. In his view, the connections between the passages from Isaiah and Jeremiah point to the Last Days, at which time it will be a matter of God’s judgment on Israel’s neighbors.

TOPIC information service / Ulrich Skambraks (Kreuztal bei Siegen), GERMANY

1) An emendation of the mistranslation of the NASB, which reads "has not been deserted" here. This of course makes no sense at all.

We have here a quite similar situation to that discussed in Part 1 of this document, Discourse 113 (Do the acts of war in Syria have a prophetic background?). There too the author of a book – the journalist David Dolan – took the line that the events of war in Syria must be allocated to the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah 17, Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39. And it is typical that here again we find "Christian observers in the USA" who are similarly inclined to declare that the Last Days have begun on the basis of Old Testament passages – as if we had not had the New Testament with us for the last two thousand years, which gives us a much more exact and more comprehensible description of the Last Days above all (e.g. the Lord’s discourse on the Last Days in the gospel of Matthew, chapters 24 and 25).

But it appears that some American commentators do not know what to do with the New Testament texts. We do not mean to imply that the Old Testament does not also include some important statements relating to the Last Days – especially with reference to Israel. But as we will soon see, not only does the New Testament give us indications in the letters – especially those of Paul – but in addition we have an entire prophetic book in the Revelation of John, full of concrete detail and almost exclusively concerned with this very period of world history.

Admittedly, of course, interpretation of the statements in Revelation is a tricky business – especially when a person does not have a complete overview of the sequence of events of the Last Days. And in order to obtain this kind of overall view, we must first of all examine all eschatological texts, both of the Old and of the New Testament, in order to determine, on the basis of their context, to what extent they really are to be allocated to the Last Days. Once we have completed this examination of their content, we are then faced with the very much more difficult task of arranging and classifying these texts in relation to one another, so as to arrive at a sequence of the events described that is in conformity with Scripture but logical at the same time.

As it is not difficult to see, people who aim to write a lot of books in a short time – because that is how they earn their living – do not want to take the time and the trouble, but instead write just whatever strikes them in the course of their reading of just a few biblical passages. But in so doing they are ignoring the serious words of Paul, who warns us that we should not peddle the word of God (2Cor 2:17).

In order to arrive at a better understanding of the statements given later in this Discourse, we would like here to insert an overview of the kind required, by way of a preface. This is the same overview that has been available to readers at Immanuel.at for almost twenty years to date.

General survey of the periods and the events in the Last Days.
The Great Tribulation
1st seal: The first Antichrist (first 31/2 years)
The beginning of the woes:
2nd seal: Nation against nation, men slay one another
3rd seal: Famine and earthquakes, drought and shortages on food
The abomination of desolation on the holy place
The Great Tribulation:
4th seal: Death and Hades reap the harvest
5th seal: The martyrs in heaven
6th seal: The great darkness
The return of the Son of Man
The Rapture: the raising up of the dead in Christ and their take off with the living ones
The sealing of the 144,000
The dead faithful out of the Great Tribulation in heaven
7th seal: Silence in heaven

The Day of the Lord
The plagues of the trumpets 1-6
God’s two witnesses
The 7th trumpet
The two witnesses of God killed by the raised up Antichrist / The fall of Jerusalem
The dominion of the demonic Antichrist (second 31/2 years)
The day of the wrath of God
The judgments of the bowls 1-6
The judgment on heaven and earth / Israel dwells in security in the time of the judgment
The 7th bowl of wrath: The reorganization of heaven and earth
The destruction of Babylon
The battle of Armageddon

The Millennium
The judgment of reward in heaven / The First Resurrection
The return home of the redeemed
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to the Messiah
God’s new and everlasting covenant with Israel / God pours out His Spirit on Israel
The remnant of Jacob conquer all their enemies
The rebuilding of Israel / The entering of the Lord into the temple

The End of the World
Satan gathers all nations / The last fight
The General Resurrection / The Last Judgment
The Death and Hades annihilated
The passing away of heaven and earth

The New Creation
The new heaven and the new earth / There is no longer any sea
The heavenly Jerusalem / The tabernacle of God among men
The city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it.
The glory of God illumines it, and its lamp is the Lamb / There is no more night

(See also Table 14: "The Great Tribulation – classified by events.")

Many theologians assert that the prophetic accounts we find in Revelation cannot be interpreted chronologically, because they appear in quite different time sequences. When we examine the situation more closely, however, we find that exactly the opposite is the case. With just a few exceptions (e.g. Rev 12, and that only to a certain extent), this prophetic book gives us a pretty accurate chronological sequence of the events of the Last Days. And that is just what we see documented in the overview represented above.

(See also Table 11: "The chronology in the Revelation of John.")

We can see, accordingly, that the Last Days can be broken down essentially into five periods of time, the content of which has been discussed in detail in documents published at Immanuel.at (Content). But seeing that we are always coming across different interpretations of these biblical texts, we would like here to give a short indication of the most important currents of interpretation and their background.

The Great Tribulation.

The "Great Tribulation" (distress, affliction) is that period of time which was already prophesied by the prophet Daniel in Dan 12,1, and to which the Lord Jesus refers in Mt 24,21. This period of the Last Days includes the dominion of the first Antichrist, and is of great importance for Christians because it is in this context that the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture of the Christian congregation is to be expected. .

(See also Chapter 03: "The Great Tribulation.")

In mentioning the Great Tribulation in Mt 24:21, the Lord also promises, in the course of this same prophecy, his own Second Coming (in Mt 24:30-31). And although he here, in verses 29-31, quite explicitly states that "immediately after the tribulation of those days" he will come to "gather together his elect", large numbers of commentators – both in Europe, and especially in the USA – nonetheless assert that the Second Coming of the Lord, and so also the Rapture of the congregation, will take place before the Great Tribulation.

This interpretation is not only quite patently in contradiction of these statements of the Lord’s in Mt 24,21-31 – we also find Paul telling us, in 2Thess 2:1-3, that this day of the Coming / Second Coming of the Lord and our gathering to him in the Rapture will only take place when it has been preceded by the apostasy (the Great Tribulation) and the coming of the man of lawlessness (the Antichrist). This means that the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture of the congregation will only happen after the Great Tribulation and the dominion of the first Antichrist

(See also Chapter 04: "The Great Darkness.")

The Day of the Lord.

The Great Tribulation essentially comprises the judgments of the seals (Rev 6,1-17), which do not appear as yet to be real judgments of God, but are rather to be seen as natural catastrophes unleashed by the human race. By contrast, the "Day of the Lord" which follows (the Day of the Wrath of God) is that period of time during which the actual judgments of God, the judgments of the trumpets and the judgments of the bowls, fall upon humanity. But because "judgments" are mentioned in both passages, many commentators fail to make any distinction and amalgamate all these events under the heading of the "Great Tribulation". And the result of this, however strange it may sound, is an incorrect interpretation of the time of the Rapture.

For we have Paul’s promise in 1The 5,9: "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ". Here people suppose that we must identify this "wrath" with the Great Tribulation. But the Great Tribulation is not yet the wrath of God. That is something we only find later, on the Day of the Lord (the Day of the Wrath of God). But because these commentators do not take account of the fact that the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are to be kept separate, because they are two different periods of time and two different events, they arrive at the false conclusion that the Rapture is to take place before the Great Tribulation.

(See also discourse 61: "Is the Great Tribulation identical with the Day of the Lord and the Wrath of God?")

But if we make a clean separation between these two periods of time – the Great Tribulation first, with the judgments of the seals (judgments 1-5), immediately followed by the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture of the congregation with the sixth seal; and secondly, the subsequent Day of the Lord (Day of the Wrath of God), with the judgments of the trumpets and the bowls – we arrive at the correct view: the Second Coming and Rapture occur after the Great Tribulation (and judgments of the seals), but before the Day of the Lord / of the Wrath of God. And thus both the Lord’s statement that he will come after the Tribulation and that of Paul, that the Christian congregation is not destined for wrath (for the Day of the Lord) are proved correct – because we will be raptured after the Great Tribulation, yes, but still before the Day of the Wrath of God.

(See also Chapter 05: "The Day of the Lord.")

The Millennium.

According to the Bible, the Millennium (the thousand years’ kingdom of peace of the Lord Jesus) is the last earthly kingdom before the end of the world, under the dominion of the Son of God. For this period of time we have quite concrete and detailed prophecies in the Bible with reference to the situation for the human race and for the environment. And yet some denominations try to reinterpret these biblical facts in a different sense, or to deny their existence altogether (amillennialism).

(See also Chapter 10:"The Millennium.")

(See also Discourse 63: "Conditions of life in the Millennial Kingdom")

The reasons for this vary, but the main current of this school of Christian thought advocates the view that Israel, having rejected its Messiah two thousand years ago, has completely lost its status as the people of God, and the Christian congregation, as the "New Israel", has replaced it. And seeing that these many prophecies of the Millennium promise a great future to the people of Israel then living, who will be converted once more to their God (as the "chief of nations", Jer 31:7), these prophecies are denied by this school of commentators outright, so that they may be able to uphold their own incorrect point of view.

Another, more politically motivated community also denies the Millennium, though for a completely different reason. The fact that the biblical prophecies relating to the Millennium assign such an outstanding position to the people of Israel has given the Jewish Zionists the idea of asserting that all these prophecies are not waiting for their fulfillment in the Millennium but are already being fulfilled in our time – from the supposed "gathering of Israel" in the foundation of the state in 1948, by way of the violent occupation of Palestine as "an Israeli possession for the last three thousand years" to the fictitious "blessing of the spirit" on the Israelis by God.

And this false doctrine is also being preached by the Zionist Jews to Evangelical and other Christian congregations in Europe (especially in Germany) and in the USA. In view of the fact that the brethren in these congregations are hardly familiar with the biblical background and admire these Zionist Jews as being more or less "sacrosanct", the Zionists have a pretty easy time of it. As the Palestinians still tolerated in Israel already have a higher birth rate than the Israelis themselves, the Zionist state needs more Jewish inhabitants if it is to remain in the majority. And so they preach to the Christians that "God has said" that they should provide financially funding for the purpose of bringing atheist Jews from all over Europe – especially from Russia – in an aliyah or "homecoming".

(See also Discourse 1013: "Report from the camp of the "Israel movement".")

The end of the world.

After the thousand years of the Millennium, the Bible tells us of a last, quite short period of time on this planet. The end of the world will be introduced by the release of Satan, who during the Millennium was bound in the abyss. Now God will set him free again, in order to test humanity – who have had a thousand years in which to experience the peace and blessings, as well as the justice of God’s rule – to see if they have trust in God. But as the Bible says, unfortunately Satan will find people "like the sand of the seashore" (Rev 20:7-10) who will follow him and go to war with him in a last battle against God and Jerusalem.

(See also Chapter 11: "The end of the world – The Last Fight.")

The resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment.

After this last battle has been decided by God with fire from heaven, and Satan has been sent to eternal damnation, there follows the resurrection (rebirth) of all the dead and the Last Judgment. The raised dead will first be judged in accordance with their deeds (books of works) and then on the basis of the spiritual foundations of their actions (the book of life). Anyone who does not measure up will be thrown into eternal damnation, where Satan and his demonic angels already are. All human beings who pass the judgment will pass to eternal life in the light, entering the New Jerusalem with God in the New Creation, while the first creation, the existing cosmos, will disappear.

(See also Chapter 13: "The Last Judgment.")

Seeing that the end of the world is a somewhat oppressive theme, both for biblical commentators and for the general public, few preachers and authors have gone into it in much detail to date. After all, you would hardly suppose that this line of research would be particularly lucrative. Though actually that is not correct – the chapter on "The Last Judgment" at Immanuel.at has one of the highest popularity ratings, in terms of readership figures, on this website – and that in all three languages in which it is published.

In view of the relative unfamiliarity of the subject, when it comes to biblical statements on the end of the world we do not find – fortunately – so many false teachings in circulation, apart from the dogma of "purgatory" which was quite willfully invented by the Catholic church. This goes back to the 15th and 16th centuries, when based on the "indulgence" of the papal bull Unigenitus of 1343, the church tried to extract money from the pockets of the faithful for the construction of St. Peter’s in Rome – claiming that if they paid for an indulgence, they would not have to go to eternal damnation but would only have to spend a few million years (!) in the fires of purgatory.

(See also Chapter 11: "The end of the world")

The New Creation.

After the resurrection and the Last Judgment – both events which no longer take place on earth but in the spiritual dimension – God will replace the present universe, the first creation, with a second one – the New Creation. On the new earth of this second creation the "heavenly Jerusalem" will descend from the heavens of God – a city in the form of a gigantic mountain, half the size of Europe.

(See also Chapter 14: "The New Creation.")

Some commentators, including for example the Jehovah’s Witnesses, try to awaken a special expectation of salvation in their followers and so assert that the New Creation will be established on this earth, the old earth. Clearly they have not read the biblical passages referring to this event – especially those to be found in Rev 21. But other denominations as well have completely misunderstood what the Bible states about the size of this city of the New Jerusalem. In Rev 21,14-16 we read as follows:

The length and width and height of the city are equal: 1500 miles (12.000 stadia).

Rev 21,10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 21,11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 21,12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 21,13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.

21,14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 21,15 The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.

21,16 The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. Rev 21,10-16;

Based on this statement in Rev 21,16 – "its length and width and height are equal" – many commentators have been led astray into asserting that the heavenly Jerusalem will have the form of a die or cube. Here they have failed to consider that these same dimensions could apply equally to a pyramid or a mountain. But we know from the reports of the Millennium that in this era the earthly Jerusalem too will be situated on a high mountain (Mic 4:1-2; Eze 40:2; Ps 48:2-3; Isa 40:9). And the sides of the earthly Jerusalem as well are quadrilateral and equally long, namely 4500 cubits or 2,220 meters (1 cubiz: Ezk 48:16).

And seeing that the Millennium is a preview (a likeness) of the New Creation, the New Jerusalem too must be a mountain – a mountain in the form of a pyramid, with a length, breadth and height of 12,000 stadia, i.e. something like 2220 kilometers (1 Roman stadium: 185.22 m, Lk 24:13). The sides of the heavenly Jerusalem are thus exactly a thousand times as long as the sides of the earthly Jerusalem constructed in the Millennium.

See also Discourse 02: "The earthly and the heavenly Jerusalem.")

See also Table 12: "The earthly and the heavenly Jerusalem.")

So much for a short overview of the happenings of the Last Days, based on the biblical texts, and the different currents of interpretation that one is constantly coming across.

The Old Testament prophecies of the destruction of Damascus.

When we now take a look at those "Christian observers in the USA" referred to in the report quoted earlier, with their pointing to Old Testament prophets in connection with the civil war in Syria, we recognize one of the fundamental weaknesses of this kind of interpretation. They quote, for example, the prophecy from Isa 17,1: "Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin." They seize on this statement to infer "astonishing parallels" with events of the present day, and so give the impression that a prophecy from the Old Testament is being fulfilled in our own time.

But if we read this verse in conjunction with its context, we can see that these statements have a very different meaning:

In that day the glory of Jacob will fade, and the fatness of his flesh will become lean.

Isa 17,1 The oracle concerning Damascus. "Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city And will become a fallen ruin. 17,2 "The cities of Aroer are forsaken; They will be for flocks to lie down in, And there will be no one to frighten them. 17,3 "The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, And sovereignty from Damascus And the remnant of Aram; They will be like the glory of the sons of Israel," Declares the LORD of hosts. 17,4 Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade, And the fatness of his flesh will become lean. 17,5 It will be even like the reaper gathering the standing grain, As his arm harvests the ears, Or it will be like one gleaning ears of grain In the valley of Rephaim. Isa 17, 1- 5;

If here we assign verse 1 to the present, then of course the same must be true of the subsequent context. But in verse 4 we have the prophecy that at the same time in which Damascus will be reduced to a fallen ruin, "the glory of Jacob will fade and the fatness of his flesh will become lean". This means that at the same period Israel (Jacob) will be brought low, and the people will be subjected to affliction. But if we look at the Israel of today, the very opposite is the case.

Israel today stands in the full bloom of prosperity, and gives no reason to doubt that it will defend this prosperity against any possible attackers. Thus the government in Jerusalem is already threatening a bomb attack on Iran, to put a stop to the country’s alleged production of an atom weapon. Here the Israelis appeal to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968, which North Korea repudiated in 2003 and which Israel itself, like Pakistan and India, has not even signed – so that for the last 20 years, like those countries, it has been producing atomic warheads on the sly. Today Israel already has 400 (!) atom bombs ready for use in its arsenal. Of course if it were to come to an attack on Iran, Israel could immediately make use of its own atom bombs – a matter which both Israel and world public opinion pass over in painfully embarrassed silence.

The real fulfillment of this prophecy from the book of Isaiah can be found if we also read (and quote!) the following verses 2 through 4. As well as Damascus, we find in verse 3 a reference to Ephraim (North Israel). So the fortified city will disappear from Ephraim (Israel), and sovereignty from Damascus (Syria). And this is the situation we find in the year 732 BC, when Ephraim-Israel (under King Pekach) and Aram-Damascus (under King Rezin) refused to pay tribute any longer to King Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria and rebelled against the Assyrian yoke. Tiglath-Pileser then went to war against Israel, and conquered Galilee and the land east of the Jordan. After that he conquered Damascus as well in 732 BC, and made the entire Aramean territory into Syrian provinces.

So we can see that this interpretation of Isa 17,1 as a forecast of the situation in Syria today is the same trick so frequently resorted to by superficial authors, who tear a single verse out of its context and take this as the basis for building up a complete Last Days epic.

Likewise the quotation from Jer 49,24-25 has been completely torn out of context. These two verses are part of the "pronouncement concerning Damascus" in Jer 49,23-27. And this prophecy, in turn, forms a part of the prophecies of God against the nations, starting with the pronouncement concerning Egypt in Jer 46,1 and continuing with those concerning the Philistines (Jer 47), Moab (Jer 48), Ammon (Jer 49,1-6), Edom (Jer 49,7-22), Damascus (Jer 49,23-27), Kedar and Hazor (Jer 49,28-33), Elam, (Jer 49, 34-39) and finally Babel (Jer 50 and 51) – thus comprising all the nations of the then known world.

Hamath and Arpad are put to shame, for they have heard bad news;

Jer 49,23 Concerning Damascus. "Hamath and Arpad are put to shame, For they have heard bad news; They are disheartened. There is anxiety by the sea, It cannot be calmed. 49,24 "Damascus has become helpless; She has turned away to flee, And panic has gripped her; Distress and pangs have taken hold of her Like a woman in childbirth. 49,25 "How the city of praise has not been deserted, The town of My joy! 49,26 "Therefore, her young men will fall in her streets, And all the men of war will be silenced in that day," declares the LORD of hosts. 49,27 "I will set fire to the wall of Damascus, And it will devour the fortified towers of Ben-hadad." Jer 49,23-27;

The Book of Jeremiah was written in 605 BC (Jer 36,1-2), and this prophecy concerning Damascus thus refers to the Battle of Carchemish, where Pharaoh Necho of Egypt was heavily defeated by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. The news of this ("bad news", as it says in verse 23) has reached the cities of Damascus, Hamath and Arpad, and has caused consternation, in view of the expectation that Nebuchadnezzar would go on to crush all resistance in Damascus as well (verses 25-27) and that Damascus, in the last resort, would be destroyed. The reference in verse 27 to the destruction of the palaces ("fortified towers") built by Ben-hadad (king of Damascus in the years 890-870 BC) also indicates that this cannot possibly be a prophecy relating to the Damascus of the present day.

(See also Table 03: "The historical world empires and their effects on Israel.")

So there is no direct connection, in the first place, between these two prophecies (one refers to Assyria under Tiglath Pileser, the other to New Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar), nor are there any "astonishing parallels" with contemporary events. And certainly these passages contain no reference to the Last Days, or to civil wars. These are two completely distinct occurrences, separated from one another by more than 120 years, which – by contrast with the assertions of the author, who clearly is not familiar with the historical facts – are actually shown, on the evidence of history, to have been long since fulfilled in their entirety. Reinterpreting these attacks by the Assyrians and Babylonians to refer to the year 2012, where Damascus is being destroyed by its own population, is not just totally absurd, it also proves yet again the recklessness of certain "best-selling Christian authors" who rummage around in the Word of God just in order to get screaming headlines for their books.

The true end-time prophecies of the Bible.

If we now turn to that part of the Bible where we find more concrete statements about the events of the Last Days – namely the New Testament, and in particular the Revelation of John – we find that it no longer gives any more prophecies of this kind touching isolated events in the world of the nations. Whereas in the Old Testament the actions of God can always be understood with reference to Israel, since its rejection of its Messiah Israel has broken its connection with God – the Covenant – and so has lost this central position until its conversion in the Millennium.

My covenant which they broke.

Jer 31,31 "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 31,32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD

Since God has offered forgiveness to all men, through the redeeming sacrifice of his Son for the sins of the whole world, it is now global events which stand at the midpoint of the biblical prophecies. These are no longer individual wars that are forecast as judgments of God against the nations on account of their behavior towards Israel – or for that matter as judgments of God against Israel when Israel has apostasized from its God.

In the New Testament, the prophecies are now concerned with worldwide catastrophes and global judgments – whether these are occasioned by human beings themselves, as with the judgments of the seals in the Great Tribulation (Rev 6,1-17) resulting in something like two billion dead (Rev 6:8), or are actual judgments of God because of the evil of humanity and its unwillingness to repent, as with the trumpets and the judgments of the bowls (Rev 8,8-16,21) on the Day of the Wrath of God (the Day of the Lord) with around 2.5 billion people losing their lives (Rev 9:15).

(See also Table 14: "The Great Tribulation – classified by events.")

But likewise the statements found in the Lord’s discourse on the Last Days in the Gospels (e.g. Mt 24), which commentators often incorrectly limit to the land and people of Israel, also make it perfectly plain, when we look at them more closely, that we have to do here with worldwide events.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

Mt 24,6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 24,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 24,8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Mt 24. 6- 8;

(See also Table 17: "The Chronology of the End-Time Events.)"

We have concrete indications of wars of this kind in Revelation as well, with the judgments of the seals in the Great Tribulation:

And to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another.

Rev 6,3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come." 6,4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. Rev 6, 3- 4;

Here too we can assume that it is not just a matter of local and individual wars, for when "peace is taken from the earth" this must certainly point to a global event. These prophecies here in Revelation, and those in the Lord’s discourse on the Last Days, in Mt 24 above, have the same background, as we realize when we carefully examine and compare the context of the two prophecies.

(See also Discourse 05: "The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.")

The above prophecy of the Lord in Mt 24,7 reads "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" in the NASB, with which the Elberfeld German version is practically identical. Luther’s translation of the passage, on the other hand, reads as follows: "For one people will rise against the other, and one kingdom against the other," which does indeed give the impression that all the peoples of the world would here be fighting against one another – in other words, a world war.

When we take a look at the original Greek text, however, it becomes clear that Luther has been interpreting rather than translating – as is not infrequent in his biblical translations. For in the Nestle-Aland translation of the original Greek text we find, "For people will rise against people and realm against realm" – quite similar, in fact, to the Elberfeld or NASB translation. 

And as we will see shortly, this can completely change the literal meaning of this passage. With his translation "one people (kingdom) against the other" Luther sends us off in the wrong direction, a fact that has hardly been noticed by the commentators.

Civil wars in the Last Days?

When we now look at the statement of the Lord’s in Mt 24,7 (NAS95 translation) above, that "nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom", experienced commentators may actually have their suspicions. There is no doubt that this prophecy has worldwide significance. And yet – or for that very reason – the question suggests itself, why the Lord should here formulate it as "nation against nation" and "kingdom against kingdom". Does that perhaps mean that "nation against kingdom" or "kingdom against nation" should be excluded? And if that should be the case, why then, in a situation of worldwide wars, should such a constellation not be possible?

And here an admittedly somewhat vague supposition makes itself felt: if there are wars worldwide, but it is still a matter of "nation against nation" and "kingdom against kingdom", this cannot be a world war in the traditional sense. But if we assume that the Lord deliberately chose this formulation with the aim of specifically excluding this interpretation of a world war, the only explanation remaining to us is that civil wars are intended. These would be civil wars on a worldwide scale, in which each nation, each state and each kingdom fights against itself. So these would indeed be civil wars, and nothing else.

This idea does not seem altogether too far from reality – and we find it confirmed, first of all, in the current wars in North Africa and the Near East, where peoples have risen against dictators and corrupt politicians. And on the other hand we also have the protests, demonstrations and strikes against the savings policy imposed by the politicians in the various debtor countries of the European Union, such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Here the "bomb", so to speak, seems be in place, only the fuse has not yet been lit. It would take no more than a small spark to bring about a pan-European "explosion", in which the citizens of these countries would actually take up the fight against their own governments – that is, against the police and the military.

The citizens of the restrained donor countries, such as Germany, France, Austria etc., are still at present relatively uninvolved, because they are all at present quite well off. But if it comes to the point where the debtor countries default on their repayments, so that the donor countries are forced to write off hundreds of billions of euros as a bad debt (or "haircut"), here too the situation is going to be exacerbated. 

If, then, in addition the overheated banknote presses of the European Central Bank should bring about an inflation and an increase in prices never seen in the EU before, the citizens of these countries too will not lie down under it without demonstrations and protests. They might even go so far as to storm the banks – not just in order to withdraw their money that has been put at risk (like in Cyprus), but to voice their objections to the ignorance and greed of the bank managers as well.

If some people now claim in this connection – like the former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt – that "Germany has not paid a single penny to the Greeks as yet" 1), this can easily be refuted in the light of a simple example. Imagine a two family house, where the family of one of the house owners has squandered all its money and now needs to take out a mortgage in order to survive at all. 

But this money too goes down the river, and so the improvident guy’s neighbor now declares that he is willing to take out a mortgage on his half of the house as well, in order to help the family who are in debt. If this generous neighbor should now say to his family that they haven’t paid a single penny as yet to their indebted co-occupant, either he is the betrayer of his own family, or he just hasn’t grasped the principle of non-cash payment transactions.

Let us now remember that one of these banks, first of all, with which these "neighbors" (the eurozone) are taking out their "mortgages", namely the European Central Bank, is actually owned and financed by these same neighbors (the national central banks). And on the other hand, the losses of this bank as well – whether actual losses, or losses "earned" as a result of inflation – will also of course have to be covered by these home owners, by the two "neighbors" (we are equating the state with the taxpayer here), then we can see quite plainly that it is a situation of the cat chasing its own tail. Every "mortgage" which today’s decision makers so lightly dispense is a mortgage on the future, an irresponsible burden on the younger generation of today in those states which will have to live with the consequences of such policies.

The progressive impoverishment of the population resulting from all these factors, together with the shortage of foodstuffs and water to be expected in some countries, will lead to the plundering of supermarkets (as happened just recently in Spain) and food depots (as in Greece in 2011) and to robberies directed against the rich in these countries. And this is just the sort of background against which civil wars can develop with relative ease.

"Learn from history"

(Bruno Kreisky, former Federal Chancellor of Austria)

Like the Russian campaign of the Nazis, the foundation of the European Union was a proof that most politicians have learned nothing from history. Whereas Hitler played down Napoleon’s experience of the Russian winter and thought he could do better, in the EU people completely ignored the collapse of big federations of states like the Hapsburg empire, the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia (Lk 11:17).


In Austria just recently, two leading politicians of the governing parties (socialists and conservatives) in the Steiermark (an Austrian Federal State), under the auspices of their "Reform Partnership", came to the joint decision to amalgamate some adjacent neighboring municipalities in order to cut administrative costs.

But there they failed to take their own citizens into account. In the subsequent elections both parties lost votes, so that now the former Social Democrat state governor has voluntarily resigned. People could not forgive him for having tried to amalgamate the citizens of one region with those of another.

And here is the EU still dreaming that it can unite and homogenize European nations with hundreds of years of history behind them by treaties and decrees. The awakening will be catastrophic.

But even if this interpretation of the biblical texts should be correct, this still in no way means that the events of the present day are already to be seen as connected with them. On the one hand these prophecies refer to worldwide events ("to take peace from the earth", Rev 6,4). Even Europe and North Africa could not be an adequate equivalent. Naturally we would have to include the American, Asian and Australian continents as well.

On the other hand, in serious biblical commentary there is a rule for situations of this kind: there must always be at least two "witnesses", to confirm the correctness of such statements. And seeing that in Mt 24,7 the Lord does not just speak of nations and kingdoms, but also mentions famines and earthquakes, these prophecies too must be fulfilled – in the one case, as in the other – if we are assign an unambiguous meaning to these passages.

If then all these things are really fulfilled, we can know with assurance that we are at "the beginning of the birth pangs", as the Lord says in Mt 24,7. Then, only then, can we speak of the beginning of the Last Days – and not before.

(See also Discourse 114: "Brussels sees threat of war in Europe.")

List of wars and armed conflicts 2012

Beginning Classification of 2011
Ethiopia (Ogaden)
Còte d’Ivoire
Congo-Kinshasa (Eastern Congo)
Nigeria (Boko Haram)
Nigeria (Niger Delta)
Senegal (Casamance)
Sudan (Darfur)
Sudan (Sudan – SPLM and Blue Nile)
Sudan/South Sudan
South Sudan
Central African Republic
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
India (Assam)
India (Kashmir)
India (Manipur)
India (naxalites)
India (Tripura)
Pakistan (Balochistan)
Pakistan (Taliban)
Philippines (Mindanao)
Philippines (NPA)
Thailand (southern Thailand)
Thailand / Cambodia
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Front and middle Orient
Iran (Kurdistan)
Israel (Palestine)
Yemen (Al Qaeda)
Yemen (tribal warriors)
Russia (Chechnya)
South Ossetia
Turkey (Kurdistan)
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Armed conflict
Latin America
Colombia (FARC)
Mexico (drug war)

(AKUF Analysis, No. 11, December 2012)


The swarming phenomenon

The animal kingdom of our planet is subject to the universal law of swarming. Anywhere that there is an excess of food and few natural predators we find swarms automatically forming – locusts, vultures, herds of buffalo etc. – which fall upon the area in question and consume everything in sight.

Against the background of these behavioral tendencies, it would be no bad thing to remind the politicians of the EU, and especially governments in Germany and other EU states, that in this respect – as history demonstrates – human beings are also an animal species. So if these countries with high standards of living and social welfare are no longer prepared to control their borders, they and their citizens will also have to face the consequences of this universal law of nature.

(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)

(How near is the Second Coming of our Redeemer? / Commentary, Anonymous 00, 2013-04-04)

I found your observations on the subject of the Pope (Discourse 115: Will the last Pope be the false prophet of the Antichrist? / FH) extremely interesting, and they opened up new points of view for me. Of course there is hardly any purpose in getting into a discussion about the Roman Catholic church. How absolutely incomprehensible is it that people should believe in this construct of so-called "faith" which is a human invention and above all, light years removed from the Bible?! But the way in which this erroneous and easily refutable doctrine (just the change in the Ten Commandments, and the removal of the second one is so blatant) is presented to the public – its marketing, popularity, dissemination etc. – shows how things really are in this world. The broad way that leads to destruction just is very popular... 

In conclusion I would like to ask you a personal question – or to put it very much better, a direct question as from one Christian to another. I know all this necessarily remains on the level of speculation, in view of: "He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority’" (Acts 1,7) and "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, ... but the Father alone" (Mt 24,36). But at the same time, "So you too, when you SEE these things, recognize that he is near, right at the door" (Mt 24,33).

(...) If my information is correct there has been so much war in this world, like 1945 and all the conflagration points that can be observed (North Korea, Iran and of course Israel). My greatest hope – alongside the salvation of my own soul, is this, Jesus, let my children’s names too be written in the Book of Life!! So here is my question to you – how do you SEE all this (Mt 24,33) and how near do you think is the Second Coming of our Redeemer?? Months, years, decades... My estimate is that we won’t have to wait for another 10 years.

The visitor has asked to remain anonymous.

Thank you for your visit to Immanuel.at and for your comments. – Yes, I too am increasingly coming to suspect that many people, whether Catholics or persons of other persuasions, are progressively losing their capacity of intellectual judgment and as a result of their more or less uncritical attitude are falling victim in ever greater numbers to the deceivers of this world – in all walks of life.

In what concerns the suggested time frame of the events of the Last Days, your view is certainly correct. At the same time, it is mostly those people who are too lazy to get to grips with the Bible intensively and in detail who appeal to Mt 24,36, and assert that only the Father knows the day and the hour. For as our Lord Jesus assures us, just three verses earlier, worldly events can indeed show us whether the time has come or not.

So, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.

Mt 24,32 "Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 24,33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 24,34 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 24,35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 24,36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Mt 24,32-36;

Here of course there are many among the "friends of Israel" who are eager to see verse 24,32 as a vindication for the foundation of the state of Israel, interpreting the "fig tree" as Israel and the "green leaves" as the established Israeli state. And precisely this is one of the strongest arguments of those who think Israel is still the People of God.

Israel in the light of the Bible.

Based on the Old Testament

God has completely taken away his compassion from the house of Israel (Hos 1:6). They are no longer his people (Hos 1:9). Only the house of Judah will be saved by the Lord. Not by war, however, but by his Spirit (Hos 1:7). And only in the Millennium, when the Son of God has entered on his thousand years rule on earth (Hos 1:10; 2,18 Eze 34:25; Isa 2:4), will the Lord once more accept Israel as his people (Hos 2:23; Jer 31:27-28).

Based on the New Testament

It is God’s will that we should listen to his Son (Mt 17:5). This same Son of God has told us that anyone who rejects him rejects God as well (1Jn 2:23; Lk 10:16; Jn 5:22-23. 15:23). The people of Israel today deny the Son of God and abuse him as an impostor and blasphemer. As a result of this denial of the Son, Israel has also rejected the Father and so is a God-less people. (Jn 8:24)

The "Friends of Israel" in the Christian congregations are thus selling their birthright as Disciples of Christ for the lentil stew of a vicarious agent of godless impostors. – For Israel there is no spiritual conversion to their God, and no return to their homeland willed by God, unless they convert to Jesus Christ!! (Mt 23:38-39; Gal 5:4) - (See also Discourse 111)

(See also Discourse 1016: "The Foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 prophesied in the Old Testament!")

In actual fact, in referring to the "fig tree" in the above passage (Mt 24,32), the Lord is not speaking of Israel, but rather – as the entire context makes sufficiently plain – of a perfectly normal fig tree, whose blossoming in spring can actually be taken as an indication that the summer is near. Proof that the interpretation advanced by these people is a deliberately distortion may be found in the parallel passage in Lk 21,29-30, where the Lord says, "Behold the fig tree and all the trees". So if the fig tree is supposed to symbolize the state of Israel, all other states too ("all the trees") would have to "blossom". And as you quite correctly observe ("there has been so much war in this world, like 1945..."), today we are notably far from any such a situation. We do not have a world war, certainly, but many of the nations of this world are in a state of war internally.

But now to your question, "How near is the Second Coming of our Redeemer?" This admittedly is not an easy question to answer, but since we should on all occasions interpret the Bible exclusively in the light of the Bible, and since the Lord says here, "When you see all these things", we should first of all take a look at what "all these things" amount to in our Lord’s preceding remarks.

You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars.

Mt 24,6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 24,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 24,8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. 24,9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 24,10 "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 24,11 "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 24,12 "Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 24,13 "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. Mt 24, 6-13; 

Here the Lord starts (in Mt 24,6) by speaking of wars: "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end." And in the light of what has been said above, this could certainly apply to our own times. So this could be the beginning of these developments.

Then again we are told in Mt 24,7: "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes." Although we do have famines and earthquakes in some parts of the world – which one can admittedly see as being equivalent to "in various places" – I personally am of the opinion that there have always been situations of this kind on a global scale in the past, so that in my view the scope of these catastrophic famines and earthquakes would need to be considerably more extensive for these prophecies to be fulfilled.

And it is a similar situation with the wars referred to by the Lord just previously. What strikes us here is that the Lord speaks of "nation against nation" and "kingdom against kingdom", and any attentive reader will be compelled to ask why it is not also a case of "nation against kingdom" or "kingdom against nation". If these variants are deliberately being excluded, then the Lord is patently speaking of civil wars, and that again would place us pretty much in the thick of our own times.

A position from the AT also contributed to the clarification. In Isa 19.2 we have a prophecy on Egypt, where we find exactly this wording with the accompanying explanation:

And they will each fight against his neighbor, City against city and kingdom against kingdom.

Isa 19,2 "So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; And they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor, City against city and kingdom against kingdom. Isa 19,2;

But even if this were to be the case, we might well be – at least in Europe – only at the very start of this development, by contrast with the states of the "Arab spring" in North Africa and the battles for power in the states of Central Africa. In order to answer to the import of this saying of our Lord’s, I think there would have to be civil wars of this kind not only here in Europe (where the present situation indeed suggests that they are imminent) – we should expect to see the peoples rising up against their rulers (the politicians, the police and the military) on other continents ("to take peace from the earth", Rev 6,4) as well.

So it would not be a situation of conflict of all peoples against one another, as with a world war – it would rather be each people fighting against itself: civil war, in other words. And the triggers of civil war are of a widely varying nature, and are generally impossible to recognize when a scenario of this kind is starting to unfold. They may include such factors as popular discontent with political decisions (homosexual marriages in France), with unjust wage levels (general strikes in Germany and Denmark), with disproportionate economic stringency programs (protests in Greece and Spain) and so on and so forth. And this would then have to be the situation all over the world, as by contrast with the "famines and earthquakes", here the Lord does not use the qualifying phrase "in various places".

But as the Lord now also says, in Mt 24,8, "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs". So we really ought to wait a few years if we are to be able to judge these developments and see first of all whether these prophecies really apply to our own time, and secondly whether we must prepare to face "Part 2" of these developments (Mt 24,9 ff), where we as Christians will be the target of persecution under the Great Tribulation/Affliction by the Jewish Antichrist and the Zionists who will then share in his worldwide dominion, and will be hated for the name of the Lord. i.e. for the fact of our being "Christians" (Mt 24,9).

(See also Table 19: "The persecution of the Christians in the Last Days")

For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

Mt 24,21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 24,22 "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 24,23 "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24,24 "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 24,25 "Behold, I have told you in advance. Mt 24,21-25;

In relation to your final question, "How near is the Second Coming of our Redeemer?", we must bear in mind that the Lord is of course only going to appear at the sixth seal, before the day of the wrath of God.

But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of ma coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,.29-31;

For the Christians of those times who suffer affliction and persecution, it will then be the case that their redemption is near. So let us wait to see how things develop and examine, in the light of the prophetic Word, whether or not "the summer is near".

(See also Discourse 16: "Will the Rapture take place before the Great Tribulation?")

(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)

(How near is the Second Coming of our Redeemer? / Commentary, Anonymous 01, 2013-04-21)

I certainly wouldn’t want to harass you, but I think something big is going to happen soon! From my modest point of view, things are really developing very quickly. I am so audacious as to assert (while I remain perfectly clear about God’s warning that we should not seek to determine the day) that the time window is going to close DETECTABLY in five years at the most!

The bomb attack in Boston
Which way is the cat going to jump? It may dodge and weave, but the SPIRITUAL target can be made out: ... A neighbor of Tamerlan’s, Albrecht Ammon, said in an interview that Tsarnaev was very critical of the USA. The United States had used the Bible as an excuse for attacking other countries, he is supposed to have said.

And the USA is so fair, and LOOKS AFTER the perpetrators and the victims (eleven of them lying in the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) in a "completely neutral" way – together with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

How do you assess that?! I would be very grateful for a short statement of your position.

God help us!

The visitor has asked to remain anonymous.

Just to get one thing clear from the start – of course you are not harassing me. Only unnecessary questions can be construed as harassment, and in connection with a matter of this import, that is clearly not the case! As the questions posed in the following visitor’s comments are quite similar to your own, I would like to answer both commentaries together below.

(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)

(Are we already at "the beginning of the birth pangs"? / Commentary, UL 00, 2013-04-21)

It is almost scary how accurately the prophecies of the Last Days apply. I was only just recently looking again into these issues, because I wanted to research the question what the Bible has to say with reference to the financial crash and the planned collapse of the eurozone.

Likewise the efforts of the so-called "power elite" (Bilderberg, Rothschild) to bring about a surveillance state, and to do away with cash with a view to bringing about total financial control (RFID chip), are extremely interesting to observe.

Actually I am only surprised at the apparent velocity of present developments. And along with this, we hear practically every week of new earthquakes and catastrophes. So it seems the "birth pangs" are going full swing.

What do you think of this development? Could 2014, with the two "blood moons" occurring on the two Jewish festivals, perhaps already mark the onset of the next step of the prophecies? Are we close to agreeing a treaty with Israel?

Would this then be the start of the seven years of Tribulation? Can we formulate statements of this kind at all?


Thank you for your visit to Immanuel.at and for your comments. I would like to answer your questions here at the same time as responding to the remarks of the visitor quoted earlier.

What is absolutely correct in both your commentaries is the observation that in recent years we have seen increasingly frequent disaster scenarios worldwide. This applies not just to natural catastrophes, such as floods, massive forest fires, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions – it also includes, with every justification, crises caused by human actions, like wars, environmental pollution, genetic manipulation, pandemics (HIV, bird flu, mad cow disease), the global economic crisis, the financial crash and so on, together with the resulting and progressive demoralization, impoverishment and deracination of the populations concerned.

But quite independently of this – at least, this is how it appears – other tragedies are also happening worldwide on a smaller scale and even in a domestic setting. Children are shot in schools by people who run amok (USA, Russia), Catholic priests abuse and rape the children entrusted to their care, bombings and suicide attacks are happening all the time and we also hear frequent reports of husbands killing their wives and women killing their children.

Women are raped in the most brutal way, so that they die as a result – and only yesterday we read of a five year old (!) girl in India who was kidnapped by two men of a different "sexual orientation" (as these and other classes of perverted individual, including lesbians, homosexuals, sadomasochists etc., are termed by the good-hearted souls of our time) and raped repeatedly for days.

And then there is the global trend to universal dishonesty. Whether it is a matter of tax payers cheating the tax department by salting away their funds in tax havens, of companies cheating their customers by producing equipment with built-in obsolescence ("scheduled breakdown date"), banks cheating their investors by persuading them to acquire dodgy securities, or even the global betrayal of citizens by their governments, who spend more money than they earn and then "balance out" unavoidable bankruptcy with credit and interest payments, robbing the population of their savings by official decree.

(See also Info Info: "When the state becomes a robber: compulsory expropriation and civil unrest.")

So in all areas we are currently experiencing a radicalization of society, which makes the hypocritical utterances of some Sunday preachers about "peace in the world" or for that matter a "Europe on Christian foundations" a complete mockery.

(See also Discourse 114: "The battle with invisible worlds for a Europe on Christian foundations?")

But to see all this as already being the "birth pangs" of the Last Days would amount to a dangerous underestimate of the evil that godless humanity is capable of – not least because biblical prophecy tells us, in this connection, of a different category of terror and tribulation altogether.

In the last century we had a good illustration, in German speaking countries, of the way in which such "kingdoms of evil" develop. As a first step the population must be reduced to poverty and driven to the brink of desperation. This was the situation we had in Germany and Austria after the debacle of the First World War, in the interwar period.

People had no work, and (not least as a result of the financial crash of the time) they had no money either – they were hungry and saw no way out. In this atmosphere, then, the next step unfolds and the Great Savior appears. He creates jobs, reorganizes structures and stabilizes the country. He is successful, people acclaim him and soon he is the absolute ruler.

But this position, which Hitler assumed in that era, still remains unoccupied at the present day. And this is not only in contradiction with the scenario outlined above, it is also at variance with the relevant prophecies of the Bible. The Bible, however, foretells the advent not of the ruler of just any old country, but that of a world ruler – the Antichrist.

(See also Discourse 1122: "Protocols of the Elders of Zion – Protocol No 3")

So if we place the principle of the political assumption of power described earlier alongside the biblical criteria of the Antichrist as a world ruler, first of all the world must be reduced to a crisis situation. The people of this world would have to become impoverished, hunger and hopelessness would have to be widespread. Could this conceivably happen?

If we have drawn the correct conclusions from the financial crisis, we know that today it is not just military force that brings entire nations to their knees – the same result can be produced by the financial industry. We have seen how it is possible for the rating agencies financed by the banks to drive whole countries into bankruptcy, just on the basis of a single report.

And now there are hardly any nations worldwide that are not dependent on credit from the banks. Even those countries which have a secure financial base (as a result of their crude oil reserves, for instance) are of course obliged to invest their money somehow. And for the most part this means resorting to the banks. So again it is global high finance that exercises the real power in this world.

As the commentator UL quite correctly writes above, the Rockefellers and Rothschilds and the national issuing banks that they own already have complete financial control. If they want to, they can print huge quantities of money to trigger a mega-inflation, as a result of which the man in the street will find his savings amount to no more than a few crusts of bread. And this is just what we can already see happening.

Since the global economic crisis unleashed by Lehman Brothers, the American issuing bank, the FED or Federal Reserve Bank – which may call itself "federal" but in fact presents a unique case worldwide, in that it is in private hands, and largely in the hands of nine Jewish banking families (Rothschild London, Paris, Lazard Freres Paris, Warburg Amsterdam, Hamburg, Israel Moses Seif Bank Italy, Lehman Brothers New York, Khun Loeb New York, Goldman Sachs New York,  Rockefeller New York, JP Morgan Bank New York) – has abandoned all restraint and is printing money fit to bust.

(See also Discourse 109: "Babylon the Great – the Global High Finance?")

The EU too is embarked on the same "American" path. Which is hardly surprising, in view of the fact that the former Vice President of Goldman Sachs International, Mario Draghi, is now CEO of the European Central Bank, which makes him the effective manager of the EU’s financial crisis. And so ever since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008, the European Central Bank has accelerated the speed of its money printing equipment in order to cover the financial needs of the ailing states of the eurozone.

This makes it abundantly plain that the Rockefellers of this world – above all through the busy machinations of Goldman Sachs, the giant international banking concern notorious for its corruption and insider dealing – now exercise enormous influence on practically every major western national economy. What is more, the economic takeover of Europe has now been reinforced by the infiltration of Goldman Sachs agents into the most influential positions of the EU – witness the following:

(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)

(Goldman Sachs reinforces its economic takeover of Europe / Kopp Online 00, 2012-11-27)

Belgium – Karel Van Miert:
former EU competition commissioner and an international consultant at Goldman Sachs.

Germany – Otmar Issing:
former member (chief economist) of the directorate of the federal bank and member of the board of the European Central Bank.

Ireland – Peter Sutherland: f
ormer Irish public prosecutor who played an important part in the bailout packages for Ireland, and as "Non-Executive Director" a member of the Goldman Sachs management board.

France – Antonio Borges:
until this week head of the European division of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), former Deputy Head of the Management Board of Goldman Sachs International.

Italy – Mario Monti:
the head of the Italian government belongs to the Goldman Sachs international advisory council and is the European chairman of the David Rockefeller Trilateral Commission.

Mario Draghi:
the newly appointed director of the European Central Bank was previously managing director of Goldman Sachs International.

Greece – Loukas Papadimos:
Prime Minister of Greece until May 2012. It was in his time as head of the Greek Central Bank that the dubious deals in derivatives with Goldman Sachs occurred, whereby Greece was able to conceal the true extent of its debts.

Petros Christodoulou:
head of the Greek debts agency, started his career at Goldman Sachs and is a former member of the directorate (chief economist) of the federal bank as well as a member of the ECB council.

(Source: KOPP Online))

It is a very similar situation in Japan. So we can say that the world has long since gone bankrupt and is now in the hands of the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds – only the various states and their citizens are not yet aware of the fact.

(See also Discourse 112: "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion – the Analysis.")

And when the states are once in the hands of the moneylenders, then in principle the politicians, military, police and secret services are under their control as well and must do as they are told. The national debt of the USA, for example, at present officially amounts to 16.8 trillion (the unofficial figure is 73.2 trillion!) US dollars, and the banks are not urging the American government to economize, for understandable reasons (more credits, more interest payments).

The institutes financing the EU states at present are the European Central Bank, the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They are still dealing with the debtor countries in a relatively civilized manner, and leaving them enough freedom of decision. But although some countries, like Germany for instance, are pursuing a consistent policy of economies, the Commission follows the American model by urging them to save less, which of course leads to further loans and an even greater dependency on the banks.

(See also Discourse 101: "Does the Bible say that the Antichrist will be a Jew?")

Now although an interpretation of all these aspects of the situation as the "beginning of the birth pangs" would hardly appear possible, the worldwide loss of honesty, uprightness, reliability and altruism can certainly be seen as a forerunner of these developments of the Last Days. This was indeed prophesied by Paul, when he gave his favorite pupil Timothy advice on how to live:

Men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

2Tim 3,1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 3,2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3,3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 3,4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 3,5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

3,6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 3,7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 3,8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 3,9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also. 2Tim 3, 1- 9;

Paul’s characterization of the people of the "last days" in the above passage could well be taken as a description of the overwhelming majority of our contemporaries today. In most of them love has grown cold (Mt 24:12), even judges are corruptible and so lawlessness prevails. Envy and greed are widespread. People think themselves entitled to anything, but they won’t even favor their neighbor with a "Good day". Instead they just bark out an impersonal "Hello". But this is only a small indication of the real upheaval in society.

The many murders and suicide attacks in recent years have become so commonplace that they hardly make an impression any longer – we might draw the conclusion that not just the motto "Greed is hot" but even "Murder is hot" has come to be accepted as a watchword and an open invitation. Now that children are already allowed access to pornographic films on the internet, we are even giving girls from the age of 14 (!) responsibility for deciding whether they will abort the child in their womb (have it murdered, in other words), while taking the precaution of referring to them as "young women". And here again the USA has been taken as a model for imitation.

Likewise the ban on crosses in the classroom has been adopted (in 2009) by the EU in imitation of the USA. Whereas in America the law states that the national flag must be displayed in every classroom, as well as being hoisted on houses and buildings and even worn in buttonholes on the most nugatory pretext, you aren’t allowed to hang up a cross in schools, and pupils are not even permitted to wear the cross as a pendant.  

(See also Discourse 110: "The latent hatred of Christians in the USA")

Now that the Swiss immigrants’ association "Secondos Plus" has called for the abolition of the Swiss flag with its cross, because the cross has a Christian background and so is inappropriate for a multicultural country, voices have also been making themselves heard in the EU urging that all EU states which have a cross in their national flag should do away with it. So we can no longer see it as surprising that the EU refused to include a reference to God in the preamble when formulating its constitution.

The Christian preachers and authors of Christian books engage in trade with the Word of God and accept payment for their activities, although they have received their understanding gratis (if it is indeed based on the Bible and comes from the Holy Spirit). In the Christian national churches we not only find homosexual "marriages" being celebrated – in Evangelical congregations homosexuals are not just accepted, they are even put in positions of leadership. So it is hardly surprising to find godless atheists being invited by these congregations as "preachers".

(See also Discourse 99: "Sempach Pastorate, cycle of sermons.")

And so it is a relatively easy matter to answer the questions of the two visitors above. We do not need to wait for a time window to close in five years, or for a blood moon in the year to come. It seems that the last days as Paul describes it above in 2Tim 3,1-9 have already started. What we have not yet seen is "the beginning of the birth pangs". These worldwide catastrophes of the Great Tribulation and the following judgments of God on the Day of the Lord, in each of which almost two billion people will lose their lives (Rev 6:8; Rev 9:18), are then just the natural consequence of the fact that human beings have rejected God, thrown down all barriers and undermined every kind of morality.

The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they broke the everlasting covenant..

Isa 24,3 The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the LORD has spoken this word. 24,4 The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. 24,5 The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. 24,6 Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left. Isa 24, 3- 6;

(See also Discourse 55: "9/11: How could God let such a thing happen? / Interview Anne Graham")

With these few God-fearing believers who remain, God will then make a new beginning on earth in the Thousand Years Kingdom of Peace of his Son. They will be the descendants of the few sincere seekers and persons who recognize the truth in our own times.

(See also Table 14: "The Great Tribulation – classified by events.")

The Great Tribulation – classified by events. (LANDSCAPE)

The tribulation of those days – Seal #1:  The man of lawlessness / 2, 3, 4, 5: The begining of the birth pangs / 6: The Rapture
The day of the LORD
< 1st seal >
(Rev 6:1-2;)

White horse: rider has a bow. A crown is given to him, he goes out conquering and to conquer.
< 2nd seal >
(Rev 6:3-4;)

Red horse: takes peace from the earth. A great sword is given to him, men slay one another
< 3rd seal >
(Rev 6:5-6;)

Black horse: a pair of scales in his hand, wheat and barley expensive but oil and wine not damaged.
< 4th seal >
(Rev 6:7-8;)

Ashen horse: Death, and Hades follow. Authority over 1/4 of the earth, wild beasts, famine, pestilence
< 5th seal >
(Rev 6:9-11;)

Underneath of the altar: martyrs call for judgment. They wear a white robe, rest until their brethren are killed too
< 6th seal >
(Rev 6:12-17;)

Great earthquake: sun is black, moon is like blood, stars fall, sky is rolled up, mountains, islands moved

< 7th> seal >
(Rev 8:1-6;)

Silence in heaven 1/2 hour Incense on the altar 7 angels with 7 trumpets thunder, sounds, lightning
The two witnesses of God prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days clothed in sackcloth (?)

< 1st trumpet >
(Rev 8:7;)

Hail, fire, mixed with blood 1/3 of the earth burned up 1/3 of the trees burned up all green grass burned up
< 2nd trumpet >
(Rev 8:8-9;)

Mountain burning falls into sea, 1/3 of the sea blood 1/3 of sea-creatures died 1/3 of ships destroyed
< 3rd trumpet >
(Rev 8:10-11;)

Torch-star from heaven 1/3 of rivers wormwood 1/3 of springs worm- wood, many men died.
< 4th trumpet >
(Rev 8:12-13;)

Sun, moon, stars: 1/3 of them darkened for 1/3 of the day and 1/3 of the night
< 5th trumpet / 1 woe >
(Rev 9:1-12;)

Star with the key of the pit: smoke darkens the sun, locusts hurt only the men without the seal for 5 months.
< 6th trumpet / 2 woe >
(Rev 9:13-21;)

Angels from Euphrates: fire smoke and brimstone killed 1/3 of mankind, the rest of mankind did not repent.

< 7th trumpet / 3 woe >
(Rev 11:15-19;)

World’s kingdom is God’s. God’s wrath has come. Time for judging the dead. Thunder, sounds, lightning
The day of the wrath of God – The dominion of the demonic Antichrist / Death of the 2 witnesses / The nations tread Jerusalem under foot

<a7th trp>
< 1st bowl >
(Rev 16:1-2;)

Poured out on the earth: a loathsome, malignant sore on people who had the mark of the beast.
< 2nd bowl >
(Rev 16:3;)

Poured out into the sea: becomes blood like that of a dead man, every living thing in the sea died.
< 3rd bowl >
(Rev 16:4-7;)

Into rivers and springs: the waters became blood. They poured out blood of saints: they now have blood to drink
< 4th bowl >
(Rev 16:8-9;)

Poured out upon the sun: men scorched with heath they blasphemed the name of God and did not repent.
< 5th bowl >
(Rev 16:10-11;)

On the throne of the beast: kingdom became darkened, men have pain blasphemed God and did not repent.
< 6th bowl >
(Rev 16:12;)

On the river Euphrates: its water was dried up so the way is prepared for the kings from the east.

< 7th bowl >
(Rev 16:17-21;)

Lightning, sounds, thunder great earthquake as never before, no islands, no mountains


<a7th bwl>

The returned Antichrist: death of the two witnesses

a6th sel
after 6th seal
(Rev 7:1-17;)
No harm to earth, sea trees, until the 144’000 are sealed. Those out of the Great Tribulation before the throne. The Lamb will guide them to springs of water of live God will wipe every tear from their eyes
a6th trp
after 6th trumpet
(Rev 10:1-11; 11:1-14;) A mighty angel in a cloud. At the sound of the 7th trumpet the mystery of God is finished. There will be delay no longer. The two witnesses will be killed by the beast Earthquake in Jerusalem
a7th trp
after 7th trumpet
(Rev 12:1-17; 13:1-18; 14:1-20; 15:1-8;)
The woman and the dragon, the fall of Satan and his angels. The beast out of the sea overcomes the saints. Antichrist and false prophet: the dominion of the two beasts. The Lamb and the 144’000 standing on Mount Zion. Three angels: gospel, judgment has come, Babylon is fallen. Blessed who die Beginning of the judgment, the Son of Man reaps the earth. Those who had been victorious over the beast and its image sing Moses’ song The 7 angels with the 7 bowls of the wrath of God. No one was able to enter the temple until the 7 plagues were finished.
a6th bwl
after 6th bowl
(Rev 16:13-16;)
Satan, Antichrist and false prophet send spirits of demons performing signs to the kings of the whole world to gather them together for the war on the great Day of God to the place which is called Armageddon.

a7th bwl
after 7th bowl
(Rev 17:1-18; 18:1-24;)
The fall of Babylon
(Rev 19:1-21; 20:1-15;)
Battle Armageddon Antichrist
false prophet in lake of fire
Judgment, 1st Resurrection
Last fight, Last Judgment
(Rev 21:1-27; 22:1-21;)
The New Creation

Do the acts of war in Syria have a prophetic background? /    Part 1 Discourse 113

The beginning of birth pangs. /    Discourse 1133

The statement of the present Greek Minister of Finance Dimitris Avramopoulos who had passed on recently to the German government that Germany won’t have any cent of the rescue monies done to Athens returned shows how naive this view is. He said they will retain the 240 billion as a reparations payment for the second World War and makes even further financial demands