January 16, 2017
When Donald J. Trump is sworn into office on January 20 as the 45th president of the United States, he will be confronted by gigantic problems both domestically and internationally. During the time he has been the president-elect, he has had considerable success in advancing his agenda. If his most recent press conference is any indication, he will indeed keep his word and “drain the swamp” of Washington corruption. Most Americans are hoping that he will be able to revive America from Obama’s disastrous eight-year run.
Trump will be facing widespread lawlessness in nearly 300 sanctuary cities, monumental immigration problems, and radical Islamic terrorism within our borders. He will be confronted by fierce political opposition at home, and he will face weak allies and stronger enemies abroad. Only time will tell how things develop and how he will handle them.
Across the Atlantic, the ongoing refugee problem and Islamic terrorist attacks are edging the European Union toward disintegration. Such an event could cause the complete collapse of the world’s monetary system, bringing about a worldwide depression. Could that in turn initiate a new world currency? Since most banking and business is already conducted with digital money, would a new world currency be all digital? Such a development would no doubt bring us close to the time of the “Mark of the Beast.” The Bible reveals that such a day will surely come—but the timing remains to be seen.
Revelation 13 clearly shows that this “mark” will be imposed upon the whole world: “And he [the Beast power] causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, to receive a mark in their right hands, or in their foreheads; so that no one may have the ability [meaning the impossibility] to buy and sell unless he has the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (verses 16-17). As Jesus instructed, we are to be watchful and aware of how these elements of prophecy unfold.
Three Significant Events: Looking back on 2016, three significant events unexpectedly occurred that will no doubt shed considerable light on biblical prophecy:
- The first event, on June 23, was the unforeseen “Brexit” vote to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union.
- The second event, on November 8, was the stunning election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.
- The third event, on December 23, was the United Nations Security Council’s resolution against the State of Israel concerning new settlements in the West Bank—a resolution the U.S. disgracefully declined to veto.
Plus, there have been nearly three million Middle Eastern and North African refugees that have poured into Europe.
Indeed, within the space of six months, all the modern nations tracing their origins to the “lost” tribes of Israel have become isolated and are now confronted by serious problems from radical Islamic adversaries—both within and beyond their borders.
In fact, it appears that the ancient hate-filled conflicts between Jacob and Esau and Isaac and Ishmael are heating up again. Psalm 83 describes this 3,000-year-old bloody conflict: “Keep not silent, O God; do not be quiet, and do not be still, O God. For lo, Your enemies are in an uproar, and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They take crafty counsel against Your people, and plot together against Your hidden ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, so that the name Israel may be remembered no more.’ For with one heart they have plotted together; they have made a covenant against You—the tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; [those of] of Moab, and the Hagrites; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines, with the people of Tyre; and Assyria has joined with them…” (Psalm 83:1-8).
Except for modern Assyria, these are all Islamic nations of the Middle East. The most prominent and powerful are Ishmael and Esau. The Ishmaelites are the modern nation of Saudi Arabia. Of them, God said: “And he will be a wild man. His hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall live in the presence of all his brothers” (Gen. 16:12).
Esau, identified as Edom in Genesis 36:1, was the twin brother of Jacob and is today the Turkish peoples. Scripture reveals that the two brothers actually began fighting in the womb—thus, the enmity was from conception. Their mother, Rebekah, asked God why this was happening: “And the sons struggled together within her. And she said, ‘If it is well, why am I this way?’ And she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two kinds of people shall be separated from your belly. And the one people shall be stronger than the other people, the older shall serve the younger.’ And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, twins were in her womb! And the first came out red, like a hairy garment all over. And they called his name Esau. And after that his brother came out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel. And his name was called Jacob” (Gen. 25:22-26).
God later renamed Jacob Israel (Gen. 32:28).
Years later, Isaac gave Jacob the birthright blessings God had given to Abraham. But to Esau he said: “[You] shall live by your sword and shall serve your brother. But it shall come to pass that when you shall have the dominion [in the end times], you shall break his yoke from off your neck…. And Esau [Edom] hated Jacob [Israel] because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him. And Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand—then I will kill my brother Jacob’ ” (Gen. 27:40-41).
Amalek, a son of Esau, is today represented by the most fierce and fanatical of all the radical Islamic factions. In fact, God declared that He, through Israel, would fight against Amalek’s descendants in every generation (Ex. 17:16). Thus, throughout history there has always been strife between Israel and the Amalekites (see, for example, I Samuel 15:1-3)—even to today!
The book of Obadiah is a prophecy against Edom for their hatred of Israel—for their rejoicing over God’s yet future punishment of Israel. In the book of Malachi, God said this of Jacob and Esau: “The burden of the Word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. ‘I have loved you,’ says the Lord. ‘But you say, “In what way do You love us?” Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ says the Lord. ‘Yet I loved Jacob. And I hated Esau and made his mountains a desolation, and his inheritance to be for the jackals of the wilderness’ ” (Mal. 1:1-3).
In 630 AD, Mohammed, an Ishmaelite, founded the Islamic religion. Through war and conquest it was imposed upon and accepted by all descendants of Esau and Ishmael. The ensuing Islamic empire stretched from Spain to Greece, from all of North Africa to Palestine, and eastward into ancient Babylon.
History is filled with wars and conflicts between neighboring Muslim nations, as well as wars between Muslim nations and Christian nations—even to this day. With the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI in 1918, the Allies reconfigured the Islamic countries in the Middle East. Today, conflicts between Islam and the West are intertwined with conflicts between Islamic Shiite and Sunni nations. Thus, radical terrorist groups carry out their attacks on western targets as well as on “opposing” Islamic targets.
From WWI to the present time, Turkey has been the largest and most powerful Islamic nation in the region. They presently have the largest army—400,000 strong and well equipped with modern weapons. Moreover, Erdogan, the current leader of Turkey, dreams of restoring the ancient Ottoman Empire.
The western nations, particularly the United States, have exhausted themselves fighting in the Middle East and against terrorism on their own soil. The West would like to disengage itself from these costly wars. Perhaps a likely solution would be for the western nations to encourage Turkey to use their political and military power to bring peace to war-ravaged areas of the Middle East—including choking off terrorist activities. Turkish “police forces” could even remain for a number of years to suppress both terrorism and regional conflicts. They could also act to restrain Iran from spreading its power and influence to other countries.
Scripture indicates that Islamic hatred and lust for violence will play a key role in end time events, including the Great Tribulation and the return of Christ. The prophet Isaiah writes: “Come near, you nations, to hear; and, you people, hearken; let the earth hear, and its fullness; the world, and its offspring, for the anger of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies. He has completely destroyed them, He has delivered them to the slaughter. Also their dead shall be thrown out, and their stink shall come up out of their dead bodies, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.
“And all the host of the heavens shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; and all their host shall fall down, as a leaf falls off from the vine, and as the falling fig from the fig tree [Rev. 6: 12-17]. ‘For My sword is bathed in the heavens. Behold, it shall come down upon Edom, and upon the people of My curse for judgment.’
“The sword of the Lord is filled with blood; it is made fat with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams; for the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. And the wild oxen shall come down with them, and the young bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust shall be greased with their fat. For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year to repay for the fighting against Zion” (Isa. 34:1-8; also see Ezek. 35-36).
The Jews and Jerusalem: Since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 by the United Nations, the Jews have fought against the Islamic world in numerous wars—and they have always won! However, the United Nations Security Council’s vote on December 23 condemning the expansion of West Bank settlements has all but united the entire world against them. Their archenemy, the Palestinians, are now particularly emboldened.
Indeed, the Jews are now all alone, surrounded by the most implacable of enemies—the entire Islamic world! Other nations hate them as well. Their only real ally is America and her incoming president, Donald Trump.
But being surrounded by enemies with Jerusalem as the center of hostilities is exactly what Bible prophecy reveals. The prophet Zechariah shows what will happen: “ ‘Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people all around, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people. All who burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the nations of the earth be gathered together against it. In that day,’ says the Lord, ‘I will strike every horse with terror, and his rider with madness. And I will open My eyes upon the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, “The people of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God.” In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire among the sheaves. And they shall devour all the people all around, on the right hand and on the left hand. And Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her place, even in Jerusalem’ ” (Zech. 12:2-6).
This is not only a perfect description of what has happened since the Jewish nation was established, it also shows what is yet to occur on a much greater scale!
Revelation chapters 16 and 19 show that all the nations of the world will ultimately be gathered together under the power of the Beast and the False Prophet to fight against the return of Christ and the saints as they come back to the earth from the Sea of Glass. This also was foretold by Zechariah: “Behold, the day of the Lord comes, and your spoil shall be divided in your midst, for I will gather all nations to battle against Jerusalem…. And the Lord shall go out and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle…. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall split in two, from the east and to the west, and make a very great valley. And half of the mountain shall move toward the north, and half of it toward the south…. And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with You…. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord, and His name shall be one” (Zech. 14:1-5, 9).
We can be thankful that God the Father and Jesus Christ are fully in charge, and that the peaceful Kingdom of God will be established over all the earth at Jesus’ return as King of kings! As saints, this is why we are the “called, chosen, and faithful”—to rule with Christ and bring salvation to all people!
With these three events, it appears that the “end time” is advancing. Still, with the election of Trump, things may actually get better—for a time. If so, we can assume that God is granting His people more time to preach the Gospel and the warning message of the return of Christ. We all need to respond individually and collectively to every opportunity God provides.
Brethren, we thank God for the blessing of serving you and making it possible for you to have the spiritual means and knowledge to continue to love God and to grow in grace and knowledge. Thank you for reaching out to other brethren and to new people—for directing them to our Web sites, publications, and audio and video messages. And once again, thank you for your prayers for us and all the brethren. We pray for you every day—that God would be with you, strengthen you, and bless you in every way. Thank you for your tithes and offerings so that we can continue to preach the Gospel without cost. God’s method is perfect. We all give so others can know the truth. They, in turn, can then reciprocate with their tithes and offerings. This is God’s way. We all give in order to share the knowledge of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and the love and grace of God.
With love in Christ Jesus,
Fred R. Coulter