1. The Catastrophe in the United States
On Tuesday morning, September 11, we were ready to leave the United States, when we were informed that all the airports in the United States had shut down due to a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I could hardly believe it, but it was true.
We listened to the news just as the second tower collapsed, and finally the news came of a fourth airplane that had crashed. A terrorist attack on this scale was something unheard of before. We felt very sorry for the many lives that were wiped out in just a moment. It made us realize something of Satan’s fierce anger. He has seen the success of the past camp meetings, and he wants to disrupt the spreading of the gospel as much as he can.
However, from another aspect this event also reveals the last stages of the great controversy.
40 At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him [the king of the North].
The king of the South is found not only in Communism, but also in Islam. The king of the South does not believe in Christ as God and Saviour, whereas the king of the North professes to do so, though in reality he tries to occupy the place of Christ. In the teaching of the Koran, Christ is recognized as a prophet, but not as God and the Saviour of mankind. Therefore Christianity is heresy according to this doctrine. This is the reason why Christians are called “unbelievers,” even though they believe in God.
The United States of America is not only the leading power in the world, it is also a Christian nation by the profession of its leaders. This makes it the main target of fundamentalist Islam. However, the people who hate America for this reason do not see that the state and the church are still separate. Therefore, their attack did not hit the king of the North, but those who will soon support the king of the North.
Nevertheless, the attack was aimed at the king of the North. This is the spiritual background of this war. Eventually the king of the North will gain the ascendancy over the king of the South, as we read:
40 …and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.
We have seen the partial fulfillment of this Scripture in the fall of Communism. Next we will see how the Islamic nations will also submit themselves to the “Christian” nations as verily as in the past, when…
The Great Controversy, p. 335:
Turkey accepted the protection of the allied powers of Europe, and thus placed herself under the control of Christian nations.
Thus far this struggle does not concern us too much as a people. Our role is described in the next verse.
Daniel 11 [New Jerusalem Bible]
41 He will invade the Land of Splendour, and many will fall.
“The Land of Splendour” is a term for God’s people. We believe that this will be fulfilled in a threefold way:
- Many will fall spiritually to the king of the North by using his methods and adopting his character.
- Many will succumb to the pressure of persecution.
- There will be real martyrs.
In this context the present situation is a very sobering one for God’s people. We have to be ready for the next event. Those who do not experience the message today will not stand against the king of the North tomorrow.
We read those astonishing predictions of the Spirit of Prophecy which foretell exactly what happened on September 11, 2001:
Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, p. 310:
God has not executed His wrath without mercy. His hand is stretched out still. His message must be given in Greater New York. The people must be shown how it is possible for God, by a touch of His hand, to destroy the property they have gathered together against the last great day.
I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only that I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God’s power. From the light given me, I know that destruction is in the world. One word from the Lord, one touch of his mighty power, and these massive structures will fall. Scenes will take place the fearfulness of which we can not imagine.
The Review and Herald, July 5, 1906:
The destroying angels are today executing their commission. Death will come in all places. This is why I am so anxious for our cities to be warned.
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 12-13:
On one occasion, when in New York City, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven. These buildings were warranted to be fireproof, and they were erected to glorify their owners and builders. Higher and still higher these buildings rose, and in them the most costly material was used. Those to whom these buildings belonged were not asking themselves: “How can we best glorify God?” The Lord was not in their thoughts.
As these lofty buildings went up, the owners rejoiced with ambitious pride that they had money to use in gratifying self and provoking the envy of their neighbors. Much of the money that they thus invested had been obtained through exaction, through grinding down the poor. They forgot that in heaven an account of every business transaction is kept; every unjust deal, every fraudulent act, is there recorded. The time is coming when in their fraud and insolence men will reach a point that the Lord will not permit them to pass, and they will learn that there is a limit to the forbearance of Jehovah.
The scene that next passed before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings and said: “They are perfectly safe.” But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines.
I am instructed that when the Lord’s time comes, should no change have taken place in the hearts of proud, ambitious human beings, men will find that the hand that had been strong to save will be strong to destroy. No earthly power can stay the hand of God. No material can be used in the erection of buildings that will preserve them from destruction when God’s appointed time comes to send retribution on men for their disregard of His law and for their selfish ambition.
Even though these predictions have been fulfilled as foretold, this is not yet the end. We read that buildings will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God’s power. In other words, there will be another throwing down of buildings in New York.
What are the consequences of this statement for us? Naturally, we must warn the people. But how is this to be done? We must show cause and effect from the word of God. The deeper cause is not the hatred of the men that scheme and carry out these destructions. The real cause is the sins found in the cities. The Spirit of the Lord is withdrawing because of these, and therefore the powers of nature and human passions are no longer under His merciful control.
Dropping bombs on Afghanistan will not help solve this problem. Rather, it will only increase the pride of men and separate them even more from God. The results of this are foretold in Revelation 16.
How true are the words today:
“God has not executed His wrath without mercy. His hand is stretched out still. His message must be given in Greater New York.”
The gospel is the only means that can bridge the gulf between God and humanity. Only with Him can we find shelter from the coming destruction.
2. When is the Time for the King of the North?
The present events in this world may remind some of you of the text in Daniel 11:
40 At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.
The people of God have long understood that the king of the South is both communism and Islam. The king of the South does not believe in the divinity of Christ, neither will he submit to Him.
The king of the North is an apostate, or false religion that professes submission to God and Christ, but denies the power of God. He also denies that Christ came in the very same humanity that we have.
There is a constant battle waging between these two kings. For example, it was the invasion of Europe by the Mohammedan Turks which brought relative freedom to the Protestant reformation in the 16th century. We understand that this battle which was fought between Islam and Catholicism, was between the kings of the South and of the North.
“In the time of the end,” which began in 1798, we clearly see the king of the South (Atheism) attacking the king of the North (Catholicism, or apostate Christianity) in the French Revolution. The events of September 11, 2001, may also be considered as such an attack.
But, as the prophecy shows, the king of the North hits back. Today he has almost fully conquered atheistic communism, and now he seems to be fighting against Mohammedanism. Islam is another manifestation of the king of the South, who scorns the thought that Christ is God. The descriptions of the battle between both parties are very vivid and seem to point directly to the present war, as it is written,
“the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships.”
But let us take a closer look. The war in Iraq is not the work of the king of the North, even though it will help him, and it might also weaken the king of the South. But the time for the king of the North has not come yet, just as our time has not come either, although it is near. How can I say this so confidently?
In the interpretation of prophecy we must learn to study character! The king of the North is apostate, or false religion. What is the characteristic of a false religion?
The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 976:
Force is the last resort of every false religion.
This means that force is not the first, but the last option of false religion. Only when all other means have failed will force be applied.
Throughout the centuries the king of the North has grown increasingly skilled in his warfare. He is Satan’s masterpiece of deception. He will not need to use force in order to set up his final scheme of rebellion against God’s government, except when it comes to God’s people, who will not be deceived by him. Then he will use force as a last resort.
America does not have the experience that the old king of the North (papal Rome) has accumulated. Some Americans have developed such an admiration and pride for their country’s superior weaponry, that for them force is not just the last option, but also the most expedient. This means they depend less on persuading others to join their position, and depend more on the use of force.
The king of the North (apostate Christianity) knows that this is not a very wise position to take. It will yet be seen that the way of force will actually create even more problems instead of solving them. As a result of this war the world will not become a more secure place, neither will it become more peaceful. It will not become freer and more just, nor will it become more prosperous. Let us not be mistaken, quite the opposite will be the case. Those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind and gather the storm (Hosea 8:7).
It will yet be seen that the king of the North, who wants peace and only uses force as a last resort, is right when he warns that the course America is taking will produce only more problems. By taking this stand, the king of the North will win the hearts of many people. And eventually he will succeed in persuading the king of the South to join him in his great Babylonian scheme.
13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
Another aspect that shows how near we are to the end, is America’s departure from principles that it once held holy. These principles are inseparably connected with civil liberty. They include honesty, reliability in keeping contracts (even those of the past), being fair to its enemies, toleration of divergent ideas, and freedom of trade and speech. There is not yet a total denial of all these principles, but there is a gradual and visible departure from them.
Thoughtful men, such as Jimmy Carter, have ably pointed this out to the public. Remember that civil liberty is symbolized by one of the two horns of the lamb-like beast of Revelation 13:11. The other horn is the symbol for religious liberty. The departure from one will be followed by departure from the other.
All these developments are no surprise to those who are acquainted with A.T. Jones’ book The Two Republics. America is following the same pathway as ancient Rome. Pagan Rome likewise depended on the superiority of its military force. But the time came when it was apparent that they had overestimated themselves. The power of Rome weakened. As Rome became weaker, it also became more intolerant. This was just the right time for the apostate Christian powers to take over. The church seemed to be able to offer something that military might and statecraft alone failed to give the people.
History will be repeated! The people will start to look for alternatives. Two options are available. On the one side, there is the truth of the fourth angel, that clearly unmasks the fallacy of depending on might and power (Zechariah 4:6). On the other side, there is the popular but apostate, or false, religion, which talks of peace and only considers force as a last resort. These two systems will strive for the mastery, and this is what God’s people need to be ready for.
So we need to watch and pray, for the time will come soon enough.
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 11:
Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.