Shadows of War
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Once again we are going to study a very important development, which is leading us right into the end times. But before we get into that, I just want to say thank you for your prayers and support for Keep the Faith. Your friendship and partnership is very important to getting God’s message out to thousands every month. So, thank you and God bless you.
As we begin, let us bow our heads in prayer. Our Father in heaven, thank you for Jesus and Bible prophecy that awakens us to the times in which we live and the nearness of the coming of Jesus. We believe we must watch the signs of the times so that we may know that the end is near. This does not scare us if we are in Christ. But it gives us confidence in the Bible and in the power of God as we see its prophecies being fulfilled before our eyes. Now as we look at another sobering development, we pray that You will send Your Holy Spirit to teach us the things of God that we may understand more fully what to expect in the near future. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Please open you Bibles with me to Luke 21. This is Luke’s rendition of the same event that Matthew reveals to us in his gospel. These are the words of Jesus. Beginning with verse 9 we read: “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”
This is saying some very important things, my friends. And it gives us a little different perspective than Matthew’s report. First of all, did you notice that when these things happen, Jesus said the end is not “by and by?” What does “by and by” mean? It is King James English for “soon.” In other words, the end is not soon when you hear of wars and rumors of wars. There is yet to come something even more devastating and terrifying and much more significant than world war.
Notice also that Jesus is actually giving instruction on what to do. He says, “when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified.” This is strong language. “Terrified” is a word that suggests extreme fear. It suggests that in the last days people will be petrified. This means to scare you so much that you almost die, or in other words, you are nearly “scared to death.” In fact, verse 26 says that things will get so bad that Men’s hearts will fail them for fear.
So, in other words we are to have so much faith and so much trust in God that He has us under His watchful care, that nothing will terrify us. Friends, that is real faith, practical faith. To trust that He will spare us from these things, even when it doesn’t seem possible to escape them, is really important. In fact, in these last days, Jesus wants to give you experiences that will prepare you for what is coming and to trust Him completely. That’s why He ordains times in your life when you come to the point where you don’t know what to do, or where to turn. That’s why He ordains trials and conflicts and even mistreatment. He has to purify your soul, and also get you to focus on Him so that you can trust Him instead of yourself. Of course if He is going to protect you, you must be living by the principles He has given you in His word and in the counsel of the Lord. If not, you will not necessarily be protected.
But notice the word “commotions.” Obviously, there will be some very terrifying events that will take place before Jesus comes. What is a commotion? Well, that’s a disorderly event. It is a confused and noisy disturbance, an uproar or tumult. Would a terrorist attack be a commotion? Sure it would. Do terrorist attacks terrify people? Of course they do. As men’s hearts fail them for fear, God’s people are reassured that they are not to be terrified. They are to trust in God’s love and protection.
Please notice that terrorists mainly attack big cities or things that are being done in and around, or that effect big cities. They do this to get maximum exposure and to kill or injure as many people as possible. That suggests that there is a problem in big cities, my friends. Not only is crime and drugs and other evil things concentrated in cities, but there are extremists that are planning to kill or injure people in cities all the time.
But terrorism is not the only commotion. When things get tough, there is rioting in the streets of big cities. When people become so unhappy with their leaders that they cannot take any more of their measures, they trigger a riot to get exposure. These can be very dangerous, especially if rioters take to throwing things at buildings or at others. We’ve seen many riots in the last few years. From Ferguson to Baltimore to Greece, rioters challenge police and other law enforcement agencies and apparatus.
I don’t know about you my friends, but I want to stay as far away from all that as I can. But sometimes you cannot avoid a crisis. Sometimes war and commotion come to you. Then what do you do? That’s when we are to especially trust God. We are to live in complete trust in the God of heaven for our bread and water as well as protection and survival.
Let me remind you of the verses in Psalm 91, starting with verse one. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
Did you hear that? In Him will I trust. When? That’s talking about when horrific things happen all around you. That’s talking about the times when people are dying all around you. Have you ever seen anyone die right next to you when something unexpected happens? No doubt some of you have. It can be terrifying. But when you trust the Lord, you have assurance that whatever happens to you will be divinely ordained for your own good and the good of God’s cause.
Verse three. “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”
Ok, so, this is not only talking about the devices of the enemy to ensnare you in sin, it is talking about the devices of anyone that are designed to entrap you or pin you into a corner. It involves those who want to accuse you and misrepresent you. It involves those who want to fire you, or divorce you, or mistreat you in some way, for Christ’s sake.
Let me read on from verse four. “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
What is a shield? If you are living by God’s truth, it will protect you like a shield protected ancient soldiers from arrows. It is like a Kevlar flack jacket that absorbs bullets and other flying projectiles and protects your chest from injury.
What is a buckler? That’s another type of shield, a small one that is held in the hand or on the forearm. It can be raised to protect the face from flying objects.
With God’s truth in your heart, you will be invincible unless God determines otherwise. If you are living by God’s truth in your life, and not disobeying him in regard to anything, the angels of heaven will protect you. They will become a shield and buckler to you.
When you have that kind of trust, which is confidence in God, verse five goes on to say that, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day.” That’s talking about war and commotion.
Verse six. “Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”
Friends, the Bible tells us in these verses that there will be frightful and horrific things that will happen to this old world before Jesus comes. There will be terrorism, war, disease, natural disasters, fire, flood, danger on every hand. Passage from place to place will become very difficult and dangerous.
Listen to this interesting statement from Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, and page 22. “We have no time to lose. The end is near. The passage from place to place to spread the truth will soon be hedged with dangers on the right hand and on the left. Everything will be placed to obstruct the way of the Lord’s messengers, so that they will not be able to do that which it is possible for them to do now. We must look our work fairly in the face, and advance as fast as possible in aggressive warfare. From the light given me of God I know that the powers of darkness are working with intense energy from beneath, and with stealthy tread Satan is advancing to take those who are now asleep, as a wolf taking his prey. We have warnings now, which we may give, a work now which we may do; but soon it will be more difficult than we can imagine. God help us to keep in the channel of light, to work with our eyes fastened on Jesus our leader, and patiently, perseveringly press on to gain the victory.”
Did you hear that about passage from place to place being hedged up with dangers on the right hand and on the left? You won’t be very safe driving to the grocery store – that’s if there is any food left. Only God can protect you then.
Just imagine what might happen if there is a nuclear bomb that goes off upwind from where you live. You can’t eat the food or drink the water. What then are you going to do? You see, my friends, there will come a time in which it will be impossible to depend on earthly resources. You will have to depend on the angels of God to provide your bread and water when the normal sources are contaminated.
We had better learn to depend on Christ now, so that it will be automatic and natural then. Otherwise, you may be facing fears that you can’t handle. Now is the time to practice for the final exam. Yes, that is what preparation is. It is practice. And you’d better know your Bible. It is the Bible that will give you the confidence to go through that time.
Listen to this statement from Maranatha, page 45. “I have been shown that many who profess to have a knowledge of present truth know not what they believe. They do not understand the evidences of their faith. They have no just appreciation of the work for the present time. When the time of trial shall come, there are men now preaching to others who will find, upon examining the positions they hold, that there are many things for which they can give no satisfactory reason. Until thus tested they know not their great ignorance. And there are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe; but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness. When separated from those of like faith and compelled to stand singly and alone to explain their belief, they will be surprised to see how confused are their ideas of what they had accepted as truth.”
Oh friends, I don’t want that to happen to me, do you? I must know my Bible and make it the “man of my counsel.” The Bible is very relevant today, more relevant than any time in history. Right now, when we are coming up to the end of time and the chaos and perplexity will seize the nations, we need the assurance that the Bible gives us that God has a purpose for us and that he will spare us “as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” Malachi 3:17. We need to understand that the Bible has guidance for every problem in life.
Let’s read the whole section around that verse. This is vital. Malachi 3:16 through 18. “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”
Oh, my friends make sure that you are one of God’s jewels. He will give you discernment. If your mind is stayed on Christ, you will be thinking about his name, which is his character. If you fear the Lord you will not fear anything earthly. If you think upon His character, you will become like Him and He will then bring you into places where He can really use you to witness for Him. He’ll even bring you into dangerous places and use you to reflect His character in your life, even in the most trying circumstances. They are coming, my friends. This is no time to dilly dally with your character training in Christ.
We are up against monsters. The enemy of souls is cultivating monsters to do evil things by feeding them such a diet for the eyes of violence that they learn to crave it. Jesus said that in the last days there would be violence of magnificent proportions. He said that the anti-diluvian world is a prophetic type of what we are to expect in the last days.
Listen carefully to what we are told concerning that time. This is from the book Temperance, page 25. “The evils that are so apparent at the present time are the same that brought destruction to the antediluvian world. ‘In the days that were before the Flood’ one of the prevailing sins was drunkenness. From the record in Genesis we learn that ‘the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.’ Crime reigned supreme; life itself was unsafe. Men whose reason was dethroned by intoxicating drink, thought little of taking the life of a human being. ‘As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ The drunkenness and the crime that now prevail, have been foretold by the Saviour Himself. We are living in the closing days of this earth’s history. It is a most solemn time. Everything betokens the soon return of our Lord.”
Is this the way it is today? Even more so than when this was written, my friends. We have to take stock of this and understand the world we live in. This world is morally worthless. So much crime and violence has developed that whole nations think nothing of killing and taking human life.
The last four presidents of the United States have engaged in unnecessary wars to gain political ends. Bill Clinton twice launched military attacks on Serbia, ordering NATO to bomb the former Yugoslavia both in 1995 and in 1999. The war between the Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo led to the bombing of the Serbians by the Clinton administration.
George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and attacked provinces of Pakistan and Yemen from the air.
Barack Obama used NATO to destroy Libya and sent mercenaries to destroy Syria. And that’s not to mention the attacks on Libya, Somalia, and his efforts to overthrow governments in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Honduras and Ukraine.
Donald Trump has attacked Syria and Afghanistan with US forces, thereby becoming a war president early in his regime.
It does not matter the excuse or reasons for going to war if a situation does not interfere with U.S. security. However, that is almost always the way it is painted as if what happens a world away, has everything to do with the national security of the United States. In reality, there are other issues behind the scenes that we do not know.
The United States is the most militarily engaged nation on the planet, outstripping Russia and China combined. She engages other allies to assist her in her plans and operations, but it is clear that the United States, along with other western powers, has continually engaged is political engineering around the world through its military. And Washington has always partnered with Britain, Canada, Germany, Australia and NATO to accomplish her goals.
According to a 2012 Pentagon report declassified in 2015, the U.S. Obama Administration was fully aware that it was cultivating the rise of the Islamic State. The report reveals that Western governments coordinated with Gulf States and Turkey to intentionally support al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple dictator Bashir al-Assad in Syria despite anticipating that doing so could lead to the emergence of an extremist “Salafist Principality” or an “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria (which is today known as ISIS). The declassified Pentagon document foresaw the likely rise of the Islamic State as a direct consequence of the strategy, but described this outcome as a strategic opportunity to “isolate the Syrian regime.” What was not clear up until the release of the document was how the U.S. predetermined the course of events in the Middle East.
“…There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor),” the declassified document says, “and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime…”
While some media outlets have reported on the U.S. intelligence community’s internal prediction of the rise of ISIS, none of them have accurately acknowledged the details exposing how the West knowingly fostered a sectarian, al-Qaeda-driven rebellion in Syria, with its consequential and massive bloodshed, human suffering and mass migration into Europe.
In spite of being acutely aware of the dire risks of this strategy, the Pentagon went ahead anyway. “The establishment of such a ‘Salafist Principality’ in eastern Syria, it says, would create ‘the ideal atmosphere for AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.’”
Charles Shoebridge, a former British counter-terrorism intelligence officer, said: “Throughout the early years of the Syria crisis, the US and UK governments, and almost universally the West’s mainstream media, promoted Syria’s rebels as moderate, liberal, secular, democratic, and therefore deserving of the West’s support.” None of it was true.
Brad Hoff, a former US Marine affirmed that “US intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a US strategic asset,” and offers a “tool for regime change in Syria.”
No wonder the U.S. was so dilatory in attacking ISIS. Russia saw through it clearly and eventually began its own campaign against ISIS which was much more effective than the half-hearted U.S. campaign.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, at the time, admitted in 2014 that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Islamist rebels in Syria that metamorphosed into ISIS, though he did not admit “that the entire covert strategy was sanctioned and supervised by the U.S., Britain, France, Israel and other Western powers.”
All of this raises troubling questions about the intentions of the U.S., Britain and other allies. Why would they deliberately create so much death, misery and suffering in an effort to destabilize a dictatorial regime in Syria? Democracy doesn’t work with Arabs. They don’t know how to manage themselves in a dictator-less country. They don’t understand the rule of law. And they have their own laws, which are very, very diverse from western laws.
War doesn’t just happen spontaneously. It is cultivated by earthly powers with ambitions under the guidance of their unseen leader. How can a U.S. President, his officials and advisors sleep at night knowing they have created so much bloodshed, misery and chaos?
How could George H. W. Bush, who promoted the attack on Iraq on the theory that there were weapons of mass destruction there, while knowing all the while that it was untrue.
Listen to this statement from the book Lift Him Up, page 364. “Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour’s prophecy of the events to precede His coming: ‘Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars… Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…’”
The scriptures also give us an account of why God allows such terrible things to happen. “Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof… The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word… The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Isaiah 24:1-5.
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Now with the upheaval in Syria, millions of refugees whose homes and lives have been devastated by the war and conflict in Syria are bringing their own set of problems to the European Union.
The dislocation has been enormous, and has brought many problems to Europe including gang rape of European women, terrorism and various social problems and crises. It also creates angst in Europe over the millions of Arabs that don’t have jobs and loiter on the streets, often getting themselves in trouble.
Do you think there is a reason behind this? Would the refugee crisis in Europe have been part of a planned strategy to bring upheaval to Europe as well as Syria and the nations in between? Why destabilize the world order unless there is a plan to change it. If there is enough chaos, people would support a change in world order – which is precisely the goal. To keep the peace, the elites will say, we need an over-ruling regime with real power to enforce their will.
And the Bible tells us there will be a lot of chaos. Let’s have a look at Luke 21:25 and 26. Jesus said, “…and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity: the sea and the waves roaring.” The sea and the waves refer to multitudes of people. Notice that they are roaring… They are distressed and perplexed. They are angry, restive and cause riots and bloodshed. It gets so bad that Jesus added, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming up on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
Is this also referring to natural disasters, like great storms, violent tornadoes, massive earthquakes and Tsunamis?
But notice that Jesus also spoke rather clearly to His followers. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Verse 28.
Now the United States is in a tense relationship with Russia over the violence in Syria. President Trump, who used campaign rhetoric as a powerful weapon, is now using similar tactics to stir up the nations. Relations with Russia are at a seriously low point.
Think about it my friends. It’s actually prophetic. If the president is ever going to make America great again, he will have to address more than just domestic issues. He must also deal with provocations or perceived and spun provocations in North Korea, Syria, Iran and other places. America has to show that it can use its muscle after many years of backtracking and downgrading America’s power, particularly under the Obama regime. But President Obama wasn’t free of the violence of war either. Don’t forget that the Obama administration authorized military activity in Libya, Syria and other places.
The Bible tells us that the United States will get stronger. In fact, it will get so strong that the nations will go along with America’s forceful power and just try to get along with her. Listen to this statement from Revelation 13:12. Speaking of the United States, John the Revelator says, “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”
In other words, America (which is the second beast mentioned in Revelation 13) will become exceedingly strong, strong enough to enforce the worship of the first beast or the Roman Catholic Church on a global scale. They will work together to build up each other’s power.
But what kind of power is this? Friends, the power of the first beast was to rule over the kings of the earth, or earthly rulers. How will the United States become so strong that she will be respected as a global authority?
America’s influence has been declining in recent years, my friends. How will she become strong again? The only real way a nation can become strong on the geopolitical stage these days is by military might and conquest. In other words, the United States, in order to become great again, according to Bible prophecy, must exercise military power in such a way as it will impress the nations of its standing, and bring them to their knees. Making America great, involves international violence and chaos.
For Donald Trump to use the campaign slogan “make America great again,” is prophetic. He, perhaps, has no idea that the slogan has prophetic significance, but he used those words anyway. For America to be able to cause all peoples of the earth to worship in the Roman Catholic way, she is going to have to have some mighty power. She must become great again.
And, true to form, Donald Trump has dropped a super-bomb on Afghanistan, bombed an airbase in Syria in response to the chemical gassing of some of Syria’s citizens, and has threatened North Korea in an effort to stop North Korea’s development of nuclear bombs. And now he is threatening Iran.
“Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said while traveling in Saudi Arabia. Mattis was in Riyadh to discuss a range of issues with the Saudis, including its war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who receive some backing from Iran.
The violence continues, even under Donald Trump. What is it about human nature that loves violence? What is it about governments that have to have conflict to remain relevant? Friends, Jesus could not have been more accurate when He predicted wars and rumors of wars near the end of time.
Notice also that verse 13 tells us that the United States will have the support of supernatural principalities and powers. “And he doeth great wonders so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.”
In other words, the enemy of souls will “verify” God’s support for the United States by exercising supernatural and miraculous powers on its behalf. In other words, the enemy will deceive people by making them think that they had better do what the United States says, or they will suffer the vengeance of God.
Think how this could develop, my friends. With Evangelicals at the helm of power in the United States, it will be made clear that God supports the nation. Evangelicals are consolidating their power right now. Maybe they will lose it again, but at some point they gain unprecedented power over the government. Once there are a few conflicts that are decided by supernatural intervention, America will rise to new heights and impose her will on the nations. While “fire from heaven” could be nuclear war, it is more likely to be something else far more miraculous. Whatever the case, if America is ever going to cause the people of the earth to worship in Rome’s way, she has to exercise her power on Rome’s behalf. And she must have all the power that Rome once had in old Europe. These are very important verses my friends that tell you a lot about the political landscape in the last days.
Now think about this. Steve Bannon is one of the closest advisors to U.S. President Donald Trump. Do you know what he believes? Bannon is an apocalypticist. What is that? This is someone who believes war is inevitable.
Bannon derives his views from William Strauss and Neil Howe who postulated that history operates on four-stage cycles of war followed by awakening, then followed by another war, etc. These crises are called “Fourth Turnings.”
Bannon has referred to this in interviews, speeches and writing. In Bannon’s view, we are in the midst of an existential war and everything is a part of that conflict. Treaties must be torn up, enemies named, culture changed. Global conflagration, should it occur, would only prove the theory correct. For Bannon, the Fourth Turning has arrived. The Grey Champion, a messianic strongman figure, may have already emerged. The apocalypse is now, according to him.
“What we are witnessing,” Bannon said, “is the birth of a new political order.”
According to Strauss and Howe, in their first book Generations (published in 1991) the U.S. was, and still is, going through the most recent cycle’s tail end. In their book, The Fourth Turning, which the authors published in 1997, they focus on the final, apocalyptic part of the cycle.
“Strauss and Howe postulate that during this Fourth Turning crisis, an unexpected leader will emerge from an older generation to lead the nation, and what they call the “Hero” generation (in this case, millennials), to a new order. This person is known as the “Grey Champion.” An election or another event — perhaps a war — will bring this person to power, and their regime will rule throughout the crisis.”
“Regardless of its ideology, that new leadership will assert public authority and demand private sacrifice. Where leaders had once been inclined to alleviate societal pressures, they will now aggravate them to command the nation’s attention.”
Bannon himself has frequently said that we’re about to see another major global war. “This is the fourth great crisis in American history,” Bannon told an audience in 2011. “We had the Revolution. We had the Civil War. We had the Great Depression and World War II. This is the great Fourth Turning in American history…” he said.
Major crises “happen in about 80 or 100-year cycles,” Bannon told another conference. The “Judeo-Christian West is collapsing. It’s imploding. And it’s imploding on our watch. And the blowback of that is going to be tremendous.”
“Against radical Islam, we’re in a 100-year war,” he said in 2011. Then in 2014 Bannon was even invited to speak at a Vatican conference. “We are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism,” he said. “And this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it.”
“You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China,” he said in a 2016 radio appearance. “They are motivated. They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian West is on the retreat.”
“We’re going to war in the South China Seas in the next five to 10 years, aren’t we?” Bannon asked during a 2016 interview.
In a 2015 radio appearance, Bannon described how he ran Breitbart. “It’s war,” he said. “It’s war. Every day, we put up: America’s at war, America’s at war. We’re at war.”
Bannon believes that the Judeo-Christian West must fight back, lest it lose as it did when Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453. “Secularism has sapped the strength of the Judeo-Christian West to defend its ideals,” he argued at the Vatican conference. The “aristocratic Washington class” and the media, he has claimed, are in league with the entire religion of Islam and an expansionist China to undermine Judeo-Christian America.
“We’re gonna have to have some dark days before we get to the blue sky of morning again in America,” Bannon warned in 2010. “We are going to have to take some massive pain. Anybody who thinks we don’t have to take pain is, I believe, fooling you.”
Friends, what are they planning? All this would be one thing for a regular citizen to say. It is another for the man who is now at the right hand of the President of the United States. Bannon’s thinking is influencing the U.S. President. He is looking for a great champion leader. What leader will that be? Could that be the pope? Not really. The pope doesn’t have any tanks, warplanes or bombs. The pope won’t be the one to be the strong man, the enforcer.
Recently, the U.S. President has been using aggressive language against North Korea. North Korea as been stoking the fires of war by “test-launching” missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and threatening to do yet another underground nuclear explosives test.
Even before he became the president, Donald Trump weighed in on the threat of North Korea developing a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the U.S.: “It won’t happen,” he vowed on Twitter. Now planners are contemplating what a U.S. strike to prevent that development might look like and the options are grim.
Analysts estimate North Korea may now possess between 10 and 25 nuclear weapons, with launch vehicles, air force jets, troops and artillery scattered across the country, hidden in caves and massed along the border with South Korea. That’s on top of what the U.S. estimates to be one of the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpiles, a biological weapons research program and an active cyberwarfare capability.
Seoul’s 10 million residents are just 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of the border, well within North Korea’s artillery range. If hostilities erupt, there could be devastating human and economic consequences in South Korea. That’s why North Korea hinges its survival, in part, on warning that any attack could provoke all-out war with South Korea.
“Unless you were in a crisis situation where we thought the North Koreans were getting ready to attack us, a preemptive strike against the North Korean nuclear and missile program is simply not a practical option,” said Gary Samore, a former White House coordinator for weapons of mass destruction, proliferation and terrorism. “This has always been the problem for the U.S. and our allies.”
After President Trump ramped up his rhetoric against North Korea, the Pentagon ordered the USS Carl Vinson to head for Korean waters. Donald Trump has famously tweeted that if China — North Korea’s closest ally — can’t help rein in the regime, the U.S. and its allies will. “North Korea is looking for trouble,” he tweeted. “If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who met with allies in Asia, said he doesn’t see the possibility of direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea “at this time.”
If the United States attacked North Korea with precision-guided missiles launched from ships or submarines, or dropped massive “bunker buster” bombs on North Korea’s underground nuclear facilities with stealth bombers, the North Koreans are likely to respond with a barrage of artillery or shorter-range missiles from artillery it has amassed at the border with South Korea.
In its defense, South Korea would go after the North Korean artillery along the border with its Patriot missiles and anti-missile ships. Seoul is currently installing a missile shield system known as Thaad, which they got from the U.S. But it’s not ready to go yet.
While the U.S. military might want to do something that sends a message but doesn’t start another Korean War, Pyongyang remains strategically unpredictable. North Korea’s unpredictability has only increased under Kim Jong Un, grandson of founder Kim Il Sung, who has had family members and top military aides killed for real or perceived slights. Even a smaller U.S. strike, like the volley of cruise missiles Trump fired at Syria this month, might generate a response that’s far from proportional.
“Some might say, ‘Look, you know they can’t respond because they’re fearful of the consequences,”’ said Bruce Klingner, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. But Kim’s regime could also say, “‘Well guys, game on.’ You can’t guarantee what North Korea will do.”
Klingner was the Central Intelligence Agency’s deputy division chief for Korea from 1996-2001, after President Bill Clinton also considered strikes when North Korea was found to have been developing a nuclear capability. He said contingency scenarios at the time included estimates of hundreds of thousands of casualties, “and that was before they had nuclear weapons.”
The situation facing the U.S. grows more dire as North Korea moves toward its goal of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead that could hit the U.S. mainland. But they probably need until about 2020 to have that capability. They aren’t likely to start with a nuclear option either. They have several levels of escalation to go before they get to nuclear weapons.
In taking on North Korea so directly, Trump confronts a problem that bedeviled his predecessors from both political parties. Six-nation talks, direct bilateral negotiations, food aid and United Nations sanctions have all failed to deter the Kim dynasty. Even China, Pyongyang’s ally, has been snubbed by the Kim regime repeatedly over the years.
More than 30 years after Nixon, the Atlantic magazine ran a war-gaming scenario, assembling experts to come up with what a U.S. response would look like. Run by retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner, the exercise ultimately ended in discord, with little agreement aside from the consensus that the North Korean problem would only grow worse over time.
While it is claimed by some that the Trump administration, like those before it, appears to have no clear objective for North Korea, don’t underestimate what he might do.
When U.S. Vice President Pence visited Japan, he publically assured the Japanese that the United States would stand with them, which presumably means that the United States will consult them and even depend on their concurrence with any war game that might be developed.
Meanwhile whispers in Washington suggest that President Trump could send 50,000 troops to Syria to defeat the Islamic State.
Senior White House and administration officials say President Trump’s national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, has been quietly pressing his colleagues to question the underlying assumptions of a light U.S. ground troop presence in Syria. McMaster’s critics inside the administration say he wants to send tens of thousands of ground troops to the Euphrates River Valley.
While the president has said, “We’re not going into Syria,” the possibility of a wider campaign is being debated. After all, one of the first things Donald Trump did upon taking office was to tell the Pentagon to develop a strategy to defeat the Islamic State. Inside the Pentagon, military leaders favor lifting restrictive rules of engagement for U.S. special operations forces and using more close air support, like attack helicopters, in future operations against the Islamic State capital in Raqqa. At the time I prepared this message, there is no current consensus on how many troops to send to Syria, so it remains to be seen what the administration will decide.
“The president wants to defeat ISIS, he wants to win,” said Jack Keane, a retired four-star Army general. “Handwringing about U.S. ground troops in Syria was a fetish of the Obama administration. Time to look honestly at a winning military strategy,” he added.
My friends, while we don’t know how all of this will unfold, there is no doubt that sooner or later America will go into war again. And so will its allies. The shadows of war are thickening and President Trump is likely to trigger more engagement at some point.
Are you ready, my friends? Here is quite a statement from Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, and page 268. This is a vision given to God’s messenger to the remnant about the end times. Listen carefully.
“I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. War, bloodshed, privation, want, famine, and pestilence were abroad in the land… My attention was then called from the scene. There seemed to be a little time of peace. Once more the inhabitants of the earth were presented before me; and again everything was in the utmost confusion. Strife, war, and bloodshed, with famine and pestilence, raged everywhere. Other nations were engaged in this war and confusion. War caused famine. Want and bloodshed caused pestilence. And then men’s hearts failed them for fear, “and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.”
Notice the little time of peace. Would that be the time for any of God’s faithful people that remain in the cities and in war-torn areas to get themselves out of that?
And notice this one from The Great Controversy, page 589. “Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.”
Here is yet another one that really impacted me when I read it. It is from Selected Messages, Vol. 1, pages 221 and 222.
“We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecies are fulfilling. Strange and eventful history is being recorded in the books of heaven—events which it was declared should shortly precede the great day of God. Everything in the world is in an unsettled state. The nations are angry, and great preparations for war are being made. Nation is plotting against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. The great day of God is hasting greatly. But although the nations are mustering their forces for war and bloodshed, the command to the angels is still in force, that they hold the four winds until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.”
Friends, don’t you think it is time to live completely in line with Christ and His Law so that you can be sealed in your forehead? That means that even in your mind you love the law of God. You keep it with your body, but you live for it in your mind as well. It isn’t just an obedience thing, when you would really rather be doing something else. Friends, in those who stand in the last days, there will be no disconnect between their minds and their bodies. They will be loyal to God with both.
Here is another statement that gives us a clue as to what God is planning. It’s from Maranatha, page 200.
“Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads—it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved—just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land, to give us warning, that we may know what is coming.”
The sealing is the settling into the truth both intellectually and spiritually. What does “Settling into the truth mean? That means that you are so firmly committed to Christ that you have stopped sinning and that He has your total affection. It means that you will fight the enemy’s temptations with all you’ve got. There is no turning back. You have reached your own tipping point in which you no longer have any affection for this world or for the enemy and his enticements.
When something is sealed, it is no longer exposed to oxidants that will corrupt it or make it go off. It will theoretically last forever. Have you ever canned or bottled applesauce. When those lids seal down on the jar, that applesauce will remain good for your lifetime and beyond. I had one jar that lasted me 25 years. It was applesauce that was prepared for my wedding reception when I married Betsy. It was in our pantry for 25 years. When we opened it for our 25th anniversary, it was just as fresh and tasty as on the day of our wedding.
The sealing is like that. Your character will no longer vacillate between good and evil, between carnal and spiritual. You will have overcome all temptation and all sin. Don’t you want that experience? I do. I want my soul to be so sealed that I will be trusted throughout all eternity by all the heavenly hosts. But that takes discipline, my friends, discipline in Christ.
If you are going to go through the coming holocaust against the righteous, you will need a firm stability in Christ, a clear vision of the contrast between evil and righteousness, and a sense of God’s presence in your life.
Though the leftist news media mocks Donald Trump over the confusion and misinformation that may or may not be planned, that does not mean that Mr. Trump will not do what he says he will do.
War and bloodshed are here to stay, my friends. And they are only going to increase and get worse until populous cities are laid in ruin. We don’t know if President Trump will start a new military engagement. But we know that the Bible tells us that it will come. So, it is very important to prepare for serious times, my friends.
Listen to this important statement concerning the end times. It is found in the Book Education, page 179. Listen carefully.
“The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the strained, restless relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place—that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.”
Did you hear that about the stupendous crisis? The whole world is watching. The whole world realizes that something is not right. They cannot fully understand it, but they watch. They see the “strained, restless relations that exist among the nations.” They are not fools. They know there is coming massive change and they watch current events like never before. Yet many of God’s people, who have the answers to their questions are asleep. Many of them aren’t able to articulate the prophetic connections to the current events around them. They are as blind to fulfilling prophecy as the common man out there in the street.
Friends, God has called us to be watchful, make the connections, so that you will know that we are near the end and you won’t be taken by an overwhelming and stupendous crisis.
Friends, we need Jesus. We need His presence in our lives today, tomorrow and everyday. We are living right near the very end. Here is one last comment that will help you see where all this is headed.
“The laws instituted by God for the prevention and punishment of crime were marked by strict and impartial justice. But the sinfulness of man perverts the wisest laws, both human and divine. It is because men in authority can be bribed to excuse sin, and let the guilty pass unpunished that justice has fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter. These evils are causing the earth to become as corrupt as in the days of Noah. The most terrible crimes are becoming so common as hardly to awaken a feeling of horror. Our own nation is guilty before God of permitting the most atrocious crimes to pass unheeded. The accumulating weight of unpunished sin is sinking the nation to destruction. The wrongs they do not condemn and punish are making this people the subjects of God’s retributive justice. Licentiousness, robbery, and murder, continually on the increase, are deluging our world, and preparing it to receive the unmingled wrath of God.” That’s from Signs of the Times, January 20, 1881.
All the way back in 1881 it was explained to us what to expect in the last days. Violence and crime would be everywhere. And we see that today. The potential for world war is casting its shadows long across the nations. Jesus is coming soon, my friends. Look up for your redemption draweth nigh.
Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, thank you for telling us what to expect in the last days. We know Your word is very specific and that we can rely on it to explain what is coming upon the world. But we pray that we will learn to lean on Jesus for all our support. And when chaos breaks out, please show us how to avoid its dangers. Settle us into the truth we pray. May we be so much in love with Jesus that there is nothing that can separate us from Him. Thank you for the victory He provides through His grace. And please, bring us under the shadow of the almighty instead of the shadow of war. In Jesus name, amen.