Lessons from the Terror in Paris
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Thank you for joining me once again as we start this New Year with another important message from Keep the Faith. I hope you are buckling your spiritual seat belt. You are in for a ride as our world unravels further and as the nations slide ever closer to world war. But you don’t have to fear. If you are in Christ, you need not worry. It is those that are not in Christ that concern me. And that would include most church people.
I would like to encourage you with the thought that in Christ there is no fear. Never forget that when you live for Jesus, He promises that nothing will happen to you that He has not approved. I’m so glad that Christ has made provision for each of us to live in harmony with His law and overcome all our sins through Christ living in us. And that is not an imaginary thing. The Holy Spirit, which is Christ’s personal representative, promises to come into your heart and change your life so that you will be free from the chains and claims of Satan. It is not fiction. It is practical and personal. So, give Him your heart today. Let Him have your heart every day. This New Year, I am resolving to live for Jesus and I will do all I can to help others to come to the Master as well.
Before I begin today’s message, let me thank each of you for your gifts to Keep the Faith Ministry this past month or two. They mean so much to us, as we seek to reach out to hungry souls with the message that will encourage them to prepare for the coming crisis. Most leaders, whether government or church, want you to avoid getting too enthusiastic about prophesies. They will not speak of them from podium or pulpit. They will simply urge you to relax, even when the world is horrified by terrible catastrophes and calamities. Even when sudden destruction comes upon the world, they will say continue as you are. Do not change your life.
But brothers and sisters, it is a change that we need. We must make our calling and election sure. And many of us are not doing that. Many of us continue watching the same old football games or the same old television programs. Many of us are eating the same foods, going to the same movie theaters, country clubs and who knows what else.
Should we not be spending our time in the word and on our knees seeking God with all our hearts? So many of us are caught up in business affairs and other secular, worldly matters that prevent us from reaching for the ultimate, eternal values. I don’t know about you, but I have had to deal honestly with myself. I have had to make sure that I’m not playing games with God. I have had to become more watchful that I enter not into temptation.
As I am preparing this sermon the shocking deaths of 129 innocent people in Paris, France are still fresh in the news, reminding us that we are very near the end of time. We are living on borrowed time, and Satan would love to snuff out the lives of millions and entrap them forever. He knows that as long as there is life, there is the possibility of repentance and a turning to God. This he wishes to prevent and will bend every effort to do so. He stirs up the anger and hostility of some against others. They will retaliate, and then there will be fresh revelations of murder and mayhem. There is no end to it, no hope of reconciliation, and no chance of peace. Remember, we are in a war with the devil. And there is no neutral ground. No spiritual Switzerland. The enemy is on your track and you don’t know where he will strike next. He is like those terrorists that hide until it is time to attack. But that is getting ahead of our message for today.
So, as we begin our study today, let us bow our heads in prayer and ask for the special blessing of the Holy Spirit to lead our study.
Our Father in heaven, thank You for the more sure word of prophecy. We have been told that the time would come when it would not be safe to be anywhere in the last days except under Your shadow. Father in heaven, I want to be under the shadow of the Almighty. I know that many of our listeners today want to be under the protection of Christ too, as we face the greatest chaos and destruction this world has ever seen. Give us Your spirit as we study Your word today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let me begin by reading from 2 Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
Friends, this is certainly a description of our times at this very moment, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but as I watched the unfolding drama in France recently, and as the world was horrified by the carnage in Paris for the second time in 2015, I was reminded of what these scripture verses say. Perilous times have certainly come upon us. And while presidents and prime ministers urge us to live our lives in the normal way, friends, I can’t do that. I cannot live in the normal way. I must get myself under the shadow of the Almighty!
For some time after a terrorist attack most people find themselves paying attention as they go through airports, looking around behind them as they sit in restaurants, and looking over their shoulder as they walk the streets of a busy city. They think about their escape routes. They think about what they would do in the privacy of their own minds should they be caught up in the mayhem of a terrorist attack. They look for short lines and quick access to secure places. Fundamentally, they are afraid of what might happen to them.
But friends, we must not fear. In Christ there is no fear. We are to live our lives unto God. Then, what happens to us is His business. It is His responsibility. We can live without fear in an age of great fear.
Here is a statement from Signs of the Times, October 1, 1894. Listen carefully to this fantastic comment.
“The Bible is to be our guidebook, and instead of consulting the wisdom of men, and accepting as divine truth the assertions of finite mortals, we should search the sure word of prophecy. God has spoken, and his word is reliable, and we must rest our faith upon a ‘Thus saith the Lord.’” Now here is the part I really want you to hear… “God would have us study the events that are taking place around us, and compare them with the predictions of his word, in order that we may understand that we are living in the last days. We want our Bibles, and we want to know what is written therein. The diligent student of prophecy will be rewarded with clear revelations of truth, for Jesus said, ‘Thy word is truth.’”
Friends, we are living in an unprecedented time, it seems. Technology has made killing much more efficient than it used to be. Now a bomb or a machine gun can kill masses of people very quickly. When you were growing up, did you ever think that the world would be as chaotic and as deadly as it is today? I certainly didn’t. The 20th century was the most deadly century so far according to some accounts. And certainly the 21st century, or what is left of it until the Lord comes, is likely to prove to be much worse than that.
Back when I was young, I was naïve. I had no idea that such a thing as terrorism existed, except in the most remote and far flung places where unstable governments left opportunities for disgruntled citizens to organize. But today, terrorism is front and center and will not be overcome. There will always be individuals that act as lone wolves and try to kill innocent victims. There will also be those with grander aims. They will seek to destroy
en masse and use terror to limit freedom and peace.
Today, we are seeing the unfolding of prophecy in extraordinary ways. Some people don’t want to hear about prophecy. They think it is too sensational and counter-productive to do so. While I would agree that it is sensational, I would also say that it is biblical and you’d better learn about it. Prophecy captures our interest like nothing else can. But it is founded in the word of God. And the word of God is our guide, as we read a few moments ago.
We are in a global conflict. Satan is marshalling his hosts, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it. He is bringing men and women steadily to his side in the conflict. When there is a severe terrorist attack, how many people do you think will be locked into the retaliation mode? How many people will feel that it is their mission to do something about it? That brings them to Satan’s side. How many will join the terrorists in an effort to do some project with a so-called “meaningful mission” that brings out the worse savagery in them. That brings them on to Satan’s side too. And many die in the process, captives of Satan’s enmity to the human race.
It seems that western society is coming apart at the seams. New laws recognizing same-sex marriage, financial crises, changing climate, war, terrorism, scandals of all kinds; and the list goes on and on. This shows us that we must get the gospel out to every living human being, and soon. It shows us that we must do all that we can to reach lost souls in bring them to Jesus.
As globalism rises to dominate the geopolitical landscape, Jesus has given us a message for the whole world, a global message to go to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. It is the everlasting gospel found in Revelation 14:6-12. It includes the first, second and third angels’ messages, including the declaration that Babylon is fallen and to separate from her. And as the world gets more violent and less tolerant, we can expect that the weapons of Satan’s warfare will be wielded against the people of God.
Here is a prophetic statement that shows you the times we are living in and why they are getting more chaotic as we near the close of human probation. It is from Desire of Ages, page 636.
“Everything in the world is in agitation. The signs of the times are ominous. Coming events cast their shadows before. The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the earth, and calamity follows calamity by sea and by land. There are tempests, earthquakes, fires, floods, murders of every grade. Who can read the future? Where is security? There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly. Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen. Restlessly are they waiting and watching the movements of their leaders. There are those who are waiting and watching and working for our Lord’s appearing. Another class are falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate. Few believe with heart and soul that we have a hell to shun and a heaven to win.”
Did you hear that about the Spirit of God being withdrawn? That’s pretty serious. It is the Spirit of God that holds the wicked in check. It is the Spirit of God that keeps men from self-destruction. It is the Spirit of God that is constantly drawing men to Christ.
But when men reject the Spirit of God, and they harden their hearts, they soon come to the place where they cannot hear the Spirit of God in their hearts. They come to the place, where He can no longer penetrate their darkened minds. The imaginations of their hearts are only evil continually. They do not want anything to do with God and His law, and they are determined in their rebellion and in their ambition. Some of them work and scheme to control their fellow man, while most are willing to be controlled as long as they have their entertainment and food. So, long as they have enough money to live out their lives, they don’t care what the government does.
And this is the genius of the new world order. The global elites know that if people are entertained and they do not want for basic things, like food, they will not oppose their agenda to take over the world. This is the way it was in Rome before its fall. Games, sports, and in particular violent entertainments of all kinds, such as the gladiator fights, were the norm.
Somewhere in Syria, Abdelhamid Abaaoud and a group of Islamic State jihadists gathered to put together a strategic plan to create a swath of terror across a major city in Europe. Their attention was drawn to France, a mostly godless nation, whose leaders were allied to the United States and were collaborating in attacks of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. They’re intention was to direct the attack, not merely inspire it. They wanted it to be big, and could not trust it to anyone but themselves.
It was an important meeting because there were masses of refugees leaving Syria and heading to Germany and other parts of Europe. This would be a good time to send trained fighters across with the refugees into the European Union. But the timing of the attack may well have been to disrupt the climate change conference in Europe over security issues. With the overwhelming load of refugees, attackers would not likely be noticed, and could slip through security and immigration without raising any concerns. Then they could assemble together with other trained jihadists already in Europe and complete their plan to create chaos, mayhem and terror in Europe, and perhaps other places. It had been suspected for many months, that many of the foreign Islamic State fighters had left the battlefield and returned to their homes in Europe and other places, and were working to build networks of jihadists to prepare for attacks on the west.
As they laid their plans for mass murder, these jihadists determined to create mass confusion in one night around the city of Paris by attacking in at least six different areas. They knew that their plot was dangerous and would need to be kept in utter secrecy, so they used encryption through the encrypted instant messaging service, Telegram, to keep their communications indecipherable to the authorities. They knew they would have to fool some pretty sophisticated intelligence agencies, including the NSA in the United States, the BND in Germany, the French Intelligence Agency, among others, with their massive digital capabilities, infiltrators, and other potential hazards along the way, and prepare their strategy without raising suspicions. After all, the intelligence communities cover global communications quite thoroughly. As it was, all but one of the attackers were known to U.S. authorities and were already on the U.S. no-fly list. U.S. officials stated that the Islamic State has a presence in 30 countries, which is harder to handle than Al Qaeda ever was.
The planning went on for months, as radicalized and trained individuals were carefully positioned in safe houses in Belgium and Paris, and then equipped to carry out their deadly work right under the noses of the French intelligence community. Their training included the use of very sensitive explosives, the use of military grade weaponry, and how to scope out the easiest soft targets and routes of entry.
As strike day drew closer, they put the finishing touches on their plans, prepared their vehicles, clothing, suicide vests, weapons, ammunition and strategy. They planned three teams to work together to time and coordinate their assaults, assigned their routes and targets, and rehearsed their tactics.
Friday evening, the 13th of November, was a quiet Friday night. It was the end of a full week of work, and many people looked forward to a relaxing meal at a restaurant, a few beers at a bar, or perhaps a party or a rock concert with all its excitement. Others decided to attend a soccer match at the cavernous national Stadium of France, just north of the city, between the French and the Germans.
The exhibition soccer match at the stadium was packed with 79,000 fans and was also attended by French President François Hollande. About 9:20pm, not long before half time, an explosion occurred outside the stadium near entrance H. One bystander was killed beside the suicide bomber and dozens injured. Ten minutes later another outside explosion was heard as a second suicide bomber blew himself up near entrance D. But it still did not occur to the cheering crowd that anything was amiss.
Keep in mind my friends, that people don’t really pay attention to themselves. They would rather be entertained oblivious to the warnings of violence and destruction that is about to overwhelm them. This is the way it was in the days of Noah. This is the way it was in the days of the destruction of Jerusalem, and it is the way it was when Rome fell. Now, in our day, people only want safety. They will give up whatever rights or privileges they have, if they can be assured of safety. Of course that assurance is elusive, but they continue on in their round of amusements and distractions, partying, sports, theater, and gluttony. And when the first signs of trouble come along, they are unmindful and insensible to it for all the other “noise” that is going on around them.
And that is exactly how Satan would have it to be. He wants to keep you so distracted that you have no interest in fulfilling prophecy. He keeps you so engaged in worldly pursuits that you don’t have time to consider your eternal destiny. Satan is the greatest terrorist of all, so to speak. He wears you down. He keeps at you. He will not give up until he has you in his control.
Then a third suicide bomber blew himself up at 10:53pm between the stadium and a nearby McDonald’s restaurant. All three explosions were heard by most of the fans and players, though they did not cause panic. All three suicide bombers wore similar explosive vests with batteries, bolts and buttons. This would help tie the 6 attacks together as a highly coordinated assault.
At 9:45pm, as both teams of players went to their locker rooms, their coaches, who would normally be reviewing their strategies received shocking news. French officials told them that the city was experiencing a crisis with violence reported near the stadium as well as around the city. The officials told them that President Hollande had already been rushed from the stadium, but the second half would proceed. The two coaches, Didier Deschamps, the French coach, and Joachim Löw, the German coach had a decision to make. Should they inform the players or not?
Both coaches kept the information to themselves. The stadium has spotty cell phone reception during big games, so few people knew of the developing crisis. The players played and the fans cheered as usual, unaware of what was going on around them. A few coaches, officials and journalist, grimly followed the escalating carnage of the synchronized terror attacks via the Internet. As soon as the match ended, however (around 10:50pm) the gravity of the events quickly became clear. Several German players stopped in the tunnel leading to the locker rooms, rooted in front of televisions that were showing news updates. In the French locker room, Thierry Braillard, France’s secretary of state for sport, gave an impromptu address to the players, informing them of the unfolding tragedy.
One French player frantically tried to find out the whereabouts of his sister who was attending the Bataclan concert. He later discovered that his sister was fortunate enough to escape. Because their safety could not be guaranteed, the players and their coaches along with some family members, remained in the stadium most of the night.
All sporting events in and around Paris were postponed. All cultural institutions were closed. A figure skating event in Bordeaux, about 350 miles southwest of Paris, was cancelled because of the state of emergency imposed by President Hollande.
Security around sporting events had already been heightened following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January. And it will remain high during the climate summit and during the European Soccer championship games in 10 cities around France in June and July of 2016.
Friday evening in France is a time to relax and socialize. People were relaxing at two restaurants in the 10th district near the center of the city. One of them a French cuisine called La Carillion and the other Cambodian cuisine called Le Petit Cambodge. Their patrons were enjoying their Friday evening when, at 9.25pm three masked gunmen arrived in a black vehicle armed with Kalashnikov-style assault rifles and started shooting, killing 15 people in the two restaurants, and seriously wounding 10 more. About 100 shell casings were discovered at the scene.
Seven minutes later at 9:32pm, a bar, called A La Bonne Bierre, and an Italian restaurant called Casa Nostra and a Laundromat in the 11th district of Paris near the city center was attacked killing five people and seriously wounding eight others. These attackers were also driven to the Bar in a second black vehicle. Again, approximately 100 shell casings are found at the scene.
Then at 9:36pm, as people were peacefully eating at La Belle Equipe, a new and popular restaurant, a black vehicle arrived with more attackers who opened fire on people sitting outside the restaurant killing 19 and seriously wounding nine. Again, about 100 casings are found at the scene.
At 9:40pm, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the restaurant Comptoir Voltaire in the 11th district. The bomber used the same type of mechanism as the suicide bombers at the stadium. One person inside the restaurant is seriously injured, while several others were slightly injured.
At the same time, three well-armed terrorists enter the music theater Bataclan from a third black car, a rented VW Polo and open fire with pump rifles during a sold-out concert performed by the U.S. band Eagles of Death Metal. “All ahu Akbar” they shouted, as they threw grenades into the crowd and fanned out throughout the concert hall. The band was playing a song called “Kiss the Devil,” but as the bloodbath began, the band fled the stage.
Just imagine the irony, my friends. The name of the heavy metal group, Eagles of Death Metal is very significant. Eagles eat dead carcasses. These men were singing their favorite death metal songs. I have no idea what death metal is, but it doesn’t sound like something that would attract a Christian.
I looked it up on Wikipedia. Here is what it said. Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low tuned guitars, played with techniques such as… deep growling vocals and screams, aggressive, powerful drumming… minor keys, or atonality, abrupt tempo, key and time signature changes and chromatic chord progressions.
The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion (sometimes Satanism), occultism, lovecraftian horror, nature mysticism, mythology,… and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia (or love of the occult).
Little did the fans of this band, who sold out the concert, realize that the Eagles of Death Metal was going to presage a violent, evil and overwhelming confrontation with death.
The fact that they were singing a song called “Kiss the Devil” which was a song of love of the devil reflects on their utter rejection of God and foolishness of their darkened hearts. The fans in this concert were sure to face their judgment that very night. Satan loves to kill those in places where God has forbidden them to go. Could it be that the Islamists was God’s way of warning those who escaped the carnage. Those who escaped the carnage will, perhaps, never forget the stark and violent warning. They will have another chance to repent and be converted, but those that died have no further opportunity.
Here is a scripture to remind us of the counsel of the Lord. It is found in “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippines 4:8
Friends, how can you attend a death metal concert and think of God? It is impossible. How can you listen to death metal music and still have pure and holy thoughts? How can you have anything to do with that culture and not bear witness to the devil? All of that is impossible.
And perhaps the epitome of hostility to God was the fact that the concert was on the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Friends, think about it. Some of the places where the attacks occurred were places a Christian should not be, such as in the concert hall or at the soccer game. And the other places were not the place to be on the Sabbath. Friends, if we follow the counsel of the Lord, we will be spared many of the scenes of crime and murder that go on in this world. For instance, if you live in the country, you are much less likely to come into conflict with a terrorist attack, since most of them are in cities. If you keep God’s Sabbath holy, and live for Jesus, you will have God’s mercy and protection, until it is time for you to give your testimony.
You are completely unsafe when you venture onto Satan’s ground. The people in the Bataclan looked like normal French people. You would not know that there is anything different about them. But they were targets of the devil as they listened to his music that night.
Some of the fans in the Bataclan climbed into the upper boxes of the hall, others tried to hide from the attackers. Some survivors found exits along the side street, and one woman escaped by dangling from a third story window.
The shooting went on for 15 minutes. Then the gunmen took members of the audience hostage and regrouped them in front of the stage, then began killing them execution style. Most of the 89 victims died there in front of the stage. About 15 patrons found a place to hide and stayed there for more than two hours.
The standoff between the gunmen and the police lasted more than two hours before the elite French police stormed the club at 12:20am Saturday morning after the attackers slaughtered the concert’s patrons. All three terrorists were killed in the police assault. Two of the attackers activated their suicide vests and the third attacker’s vest was activated by police gunfire. The remaining hostages fled the Bataclan at 1:09am Saturday morning. There were 180 injured.
Paris hospitals, which rarely see gunshot wounds, were overwhelmed with them that Friday night, as emergency rooms and surgeries were fully booked by injured victims. In fact, recovery rooms had to be commandeered and made into mass surgery areas.
Medics worked in the makeshift surgeries all night to save lives of the victims. Philippe Juvin, head of emergency services at the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris, said he had only seen injuries this bad in conflict zones. “People were shot in the arms, legs, the thorax and their chest. You cannot imagine the psychological trauma as well. It is difficult to explain but many of the patients were silent when they arrived despite their injuries.”
In the aftermath of the savage and brutal attacks, police searched for suspects, especially the man believed to be the mastermind of the plot, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. They raided an apartment near the stadium in St. Denis, a suburb of Paris north of the city. After a vicious firefight, which began around 4:15am, two suspects were killed (one of them the female cousin of Abaaoud who blew herself up) and Abaaoud himself. His body was so full of bullets that it was hard to identify him. Seven others were arrested. The terror cell had been taken down.
It is believed that Abaaoud had trained terrorists in Syria. He was also involved in previous terror attacks in France, and the Jewish museum attack in Belgium in May of 2014 and the Thalys train attack in August of 2015. Abaaoud was also with ISIS figures targeted in a January 2015 raid in Verviers, and was involved in at least four failed terror attacks since spring of this year. He was also linked to other known terrorists. He had been head of a terrorist cell in Verviers, which police broke up in January of 2014. He was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison. He had combat experience in Syria and was a hardened warrior. He boasted about his exploits, and was a “poster child” of the Islamic State, who promoted him in videos and in Dabiq, the Islamic State magazine. In spite of being one of the most wanted terrorists in Europe, French intelligence agencies are very concerned that they missed the fact that Abaaoud managed to find his way into France and masterminded the coordinated Paris attacks without their knowledge.
During the vociferous and vicious firefight police used 5,000 rounds of ammunition, five police officers were injured, and a police dog was killed. The building was heavily fortified and took the police quite some time to get inside.
The French Parliament extended the state of emergency that President Hollande had imposed for three months to nearly the end of February. They also approved sweeping measures to give the government more power during a state of emergency, among other things, to block social media and websites that incite terrorist attacks. Why this wasn’t done many years ago is unclear.
The world was stunned by the attacks claimed by the Islamic State. “It was a perfect storm of the worst kind of terrorist tactics combined with the most permissive environments,” said Bruce Hoffman, the director of Georgetown University’s security studies program.
He added that “Paris, compared with most cities, is considered well-prepared after putting security measures in place over the past two decades and especially after the much smaller scale Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this year.” The fact that the terror cell could pull it off right under the noses of the French intelligence agencies, in a city that is well prepared, suggests that the Islamic State has capabilities that far outstrip the estimations of global authorities. “They attacked in one of the hardest places to strike,” said Hoffman. “It was like a knife going through butter.” The fact that the attacks were pulled off in Paris, is a strong statement of the viability and reach of the IS.
U.S. President Obama had declared the day before that the Islamic State had been contained. Though the White House clarified his statement as referring to only their territory in Iraq and Syria, the IS has leapfrogged into Europe and probably other places, and are preparing to spread more terror on a global scale. It is nowhere near being contained. Keep in mind that the Islamic State bombed a Russian plane killing 224 people less than two weeks before the attacks in Paris.
The Paris terrorists borrowed from the attacks in Mumbai in 2008 by striking “soft” targets spread over a relatively small urban area. But until the rise of ISIS no one has been capable of carrying out such an attack.
The Paris attackers also borrowed from the London suicide bombings in 2005 by using suicide vests in multiple stand-alone attacks in order to inflict as many casualties as possible.
And lastly, they borrowed from the Moscow theater siege in 2002, using a mass entertainment event to inflict a lot of damage.
But the Paris attacks stood out because of the newfound capabilities of the attackers. A number of them had been fighting in Syria for the Islamic State. About 2,500 foreign fighters from France went to Syria. They are combat hardened, can take orders, can work in units and are completely suicidal.
French President, François Hollande, said it was an “act of war.” He also said, “In these difficult moments, we must — and I’m thinking of the many victims, their families and the injured — show compassion and solidarity. But we must also show unity and calm. Faced with terror, France must be strong, it must be great and the state authorities must be firm. We will be.”
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said “This attack on freedom was aimed not just at Paris. It targeted and it hits all of us. That is why we must all respond together. … We, your German friends, feel very close to you. We cry with you. We will lead this fight together with you against those who did such unimaginable things to you.”
U.S. President Obama said, “Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”
Pope Francis affirmed that the attacks represent part of a piece-meal third world war, which he has often mentioned. Two days after the attack in his Sunday Angelus he said, ““Such barbarity leaves us shocked and we wonder how the human heart can conceive and carry out such horrible events, which have shaken not only France but the whole world.”
Sounding like an end-time preacher, the pope said that Jesus preached about the end of the world and spoke of “apocalyptic elements, like war, famine and cosmic catastrophes.” He said, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.”
“We are called to live the present,” Francis said, “but always ready to meet God whenever he may call.”
The pope also warned against an unhealthy curiosity to know details of the future, with recourse to psychics and horoscopes’, saying they distract us from what is really important in the present.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi called for peace when he said, “Nevertheless, we must go on living by building peace and mutual trust.”
After Paris, Pope Francis Tells Christians to Be Ready for the End of the World
Pope’s Message on Paris Attacks
POPE FRANCIS: ANGELUS
Pope Francis: A Pope Who Sees a WWIII and Pleas for It to Stop
Fr. Lombardi’s Statements on Paris
Pope’s Message on Paris Attacks
Molenbeek mayor received terror suspects list including on-the-run Salah Abdeslam one month before Paris attacks
Instead of encouraging the citizens of Paris to be sober and think about eternal matters in the aftermath of the attack, Parisians are being encouraged to respond to Friday’s attacks by defiantly continuing to eat, drink and be merry. Bar and restaurant owners, fearing the loss of business to the city’s lively nightlife, are urging people to return to their local nightspots, with the slogan “Everyone to the bistro.” Show that “France will not give in to fear.”
Police say that two of the attackers, including Abdelhamid Abaaoud used the “migration route” to enter Europe as Syrian “refugees.” One attacker, Bilal Hadfi, a French national, had returned from the Middle East to Belgium, but had disappeared from the radar of Belgian intelligence and security forces. A third jihadist, Ismael Omar Mostefai, was also a French National of Algerian extraction, went to Syria in 2013, and then returned to France, no doubt to prepare for the terrorist attacks. Samy Amimour, a bus driver, is believed to have spent time in Syria. He returned to France in 2014 or 2015. While there are other attackers and suspects, it is not clear at the time I prepared this message, who they are or their background.
An ISIS video released after the attacks claims that Washington, London and Rome are part of the plans for future attacks. And a further ISIS video warns of an impending attack on New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio said police are taking all necessary precautions” in areas show in the video and throughout the city. “Stoking fear is the goal of terrorist organizations,” he said, “but New York City will not be intimidated.”
But to add to the credibility of the threat, five Syrians that tried to enter Honduras by air, to make their way to the USA by ground a few days after the Paris attacks. They were using fake Greek passports. That corroborated with the news that seven Syrians were arrested at the U.S. border trying to get in to the United States illegally, using stolen Greek passports. It also corroborated with other concerns of U.S. border agents that Syrians have crossed the border with fake or stolen passports.
Friends, we are going to see a lot more of the same kind of thing that happened in Paris, perhaps in the United States and in other countries in the West. The fact that terrorists synchronized their attacks on six different locations at more or less that same time reveals that they have a more sophisticated way of handling their planning, training, and execution than western leaders thought. Also, did you notice that they had explosive vests as well as weapons? They will try to inflict as much death as possible.
Friends, the time has come. You have no time to play with your salvation. You may never be confronted with a terrorist attack. But the fact is that the devil is on your case if you are a faithful follower of Jesus. You cannot delay in preparing for the coming global crisis and for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Global issues have escalated so much now that it should be obvious to anyone with a few neurons to rub together that you only have one place where you can be secure eternally. That place is in the secret place of the most high. If you are living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, you will be following the counsel of Jesus Himself. He told this to the devil, but it is also counsel to every child of God. Live by every inspired statement we have. Cling to them for your life.
And if you surrender to Jesus, the power of God will come into your soul, and He will give you victory over every temptation. You must cooperate with Christ. You have to tell the devil to get lost. You have to tell Satan that you are no longer that way, and that you refuse to live that way. But Christ will give you the power to resist every temptation. In order to survive the coming crisis, we must obey Christ in everything. When world leaders play down the importance of following God’s counsel and they tell you to continue your ways, just like you were before, they are essentially giving you a peace and safety message. When those dedicated to selling you delicacies that are harmful for you and tell you that you should “eat, drink and be merry,” they are trying to keep you in their clutches. They are trying to calm you down and remove and voice of reproof from heaven. When government leaders tell you that you should maintain your pattern of life in defiance of the terrorists, that is the time you should take heed. That is the time you should seek after the Lord your God, and find in Him your safety. Their aim is to keep you in sin. Their purpose is to keep you from even considering reform of your life, and bringing into harmony with a “thus saith the Lord.” Their objective is to keep you from reaching for you Bible and considering the things that are contained in it.
Here is the counsel of the Holy Scriptures, for you and me. Listen carefully. It is from I Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Isn’t that a wonderful promise? It is made to each and every tempted soul there ever was. I need that promise! God is saying that if we trust Him, He will not let any temptation come to us that is too hard for us to bear in Christ. But more than that, He will provide a way out of it. That is a promise worth holding on to. It is a promise worth experiencing. That is a promise that will be fulfilled to every child of God.
And this statement from Desire of Ages, page 668 is amazingly clear. Think what God actually promises to do for you to get you ready for the crisis. If you want to have the mind of Christ this statement is for you.
“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.
Here is a statement from Last Day Events, page 23. “The terrible reports we hear of murders and robberies, of railway accidents and deeds of violence, tell the story that the end of all things is at hand. Now, just now, we need to be preparing for the Lord’s second coming.”
Here is another one from That I May Know Him, page 211. “There is no safety anywhere. Satan has come down with great power and is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. Those who do not follow in Christ’s footsteps will find themselves following another leader. They have listened to strange voices until they cannot distinguish the voice of the True Shepherd. Little by little they ceased to heed the warnings, the reproofs, the instructions. Human wisdom came in, human imaginations were followed. Much reliance is placed upon human exertion and devices, and they imperceptibly go on until they are fully satisfied with their own wisdom, their own inventions, and are filled with their own doings.”
And this last one from Sons and Daughters of God, page 81. “You are safe only as, in perfect submission and obedience, you connect yourselves with Christ. The yoke is easy, for Christ carries the weight. As you lift the burden of the cross, it will become light; and that cross is to you a pledge of eternal life. It is the privilege of each to follow gladly after Christ, exclaiming at every step, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” But if we would travel heavenward, we must take the Word of God as our lesson-book. In the words of inspiration we must read our lessons day by day…”
Friends, as the world becomes more intense in wickedness, and as the Holy Spirit is being withdrawn from the earth, men’s hearts are cold and ruthless. As we enter the time of trouble, we must be prepared for the worse. All around there will be violence. But we must become God’s true witnesses. We must live in the midst of it all, but give a sterling and glorious representation of the peace that passes all understanding.
God bless you. Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, we need Your grace today to understand our duty in light of the times in which we live. Please send Your Holy Spirit to come into our hearts and give us the peace of Jesus. We need His presence in our lives to calm our nerves in the violence of the storm. As the Holy Spirit is being withdrawn from the world, please send Him in greater power to Your people. May we be faithful to you, as you are faithful to Your people. In Jesus name, amen.