The World Tomorrow

7 Times - Punishment

by Herbert W Armstrong


There is tremendous meaning back of what's going on in the world today. Because there is a purpose being worked out here below and God Almighty is doing the working out. These events aren't just happening, these events are not meaningless. Now the very next tremendous world shaking event - conditions are fast building up to it right now - is the most tremendous national punishment that God Almighty has ever meted out to any people. And it is coming on us - unless we repent of our ways and unless we return to God, that punishment is going to come on us. And it's going to come by another power than the Communist power. They're going to strike later, they're going to strike against us, but later, much later. They're slow moving, they're not going to get such a quick start as even they hope. And in the meantime gradually, and faster and faster a new power is being developed from underneath. A new power that the public and the world least suspects right now. Which it doesn't yet see but which is developing just exactly as prophesied over in Europe. A resurrected Roman Empire that'll combine some 350 millions of population. A power so mighty that our western peoples will stand aghast, when it happens and we will not be able to stand up against it. I think it's about time we began to realize that one third of our Bible is prophecy, that it does foretell what's going to happen, and that we begin to blow the dust off our Bibles and look into it and see what is going to happen.

World War III (Play from 2:04)

I've been telling you that the next event prophesied is the famine and the pestilence that is coming. That will merely be preparatory to and actually accompanied by, you might say, what is known as 'The Great Tribulation' and very few people know what 'The Great Tribulation' is. It's not the plagues of God at all, but it is what we will call World War III, unless some other intermediate war comes in the meantime that we label World War III. At least that is the next phase of world war that is foretold in your Bible.

Now it's in Matthew 24: let's get down to these prophecies, let's see what is prophesied, it's in many, many places in your Bible. Matthew twenty four, the next thing is the famines and pestilences as Jesus said in this prophecy here. The prophecy of Jesus Christ Himself, but He said that "All these are the beginning of [tribulation]." (Matthew 24:8)

The pestilence and the famine as it's called here, in other words, there is going to be such a shortage of food and so much drought that disease epidemics will follow, that the physicians - the medical world - will not be able to do anything with, at all. And as we read, I have read it to you back in the sixth chapter, I believe it is of Ezekiel, or the fifth chapter, one third of our people are going to die in this terrible famine and disease epidemic that is coming. One third of our people are going to die. Then, on the heels of that, that is the beginning of the tribulation. And on the heels of that will come this tribulation.

Now, as I've mentioned to you, this Great Tribulation has both a national and an individual religious aspect. It's going to be a time of tremendous persecution and actual martyrdom of real saints. Of those that really believe the Bible, of those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ, and are keeping the commandments of God, and believe in obedience to God. The only reason that there aren't going to be millions upon millions that will be killed at that time is simply that there are not millions upon millions who today believe in keeping the commandments of God. But it's going to be the most terrible martyrdom that has ever happened. It's going to be very intensive. Now you find it in the ninth verse of Matthew twenty four;

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you [now that is speaking of something personal when they deliver you up, that's speaking of individuals, Christian individuals, and the latter half of the same sentence is referring to the national aspect]: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." (Matthew 24:9)

Now, Sam Jones and John Smith or Ted Brown aren't going to be hated by whole nations. Whole nations don't go around hating individual people unless they are Presidents or leaders of great nations. That is speaking nationally. Now the same prophecy of Jesus Christ is recorded in Luke's gospel, in Luke twenty one, and you'll notice here, verses eleven and twelve;

"...great earthquakes shall be in [different] places...famines...pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs... [and so on, that is verse eleven] But before all these, they shall lay hands on you, and persecute..." (Luke 21:11-12)

Well it speaks of the signs from heaven. Now, before the signs from heaven in the sun and the moon and the stars will come the tribulation because the signs in the heaven, the sun, and the moon and the stars are immediately after the Great Tribulation, as you read in Matthew 24 and verse 29.

Now here, "...they shall lay...hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues [that's churches], and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake." (Luke 21:12)

Now, that's speaking privately and individually. Of individuals and that's a religious persecution. Delivering up to synagogues or churches. But then, turn now to verse twenty and on through verse twenty four;

"...when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies [now it's speaking about armies, and great military maneuvers of nations] ...know that the desolation thereof [that is of Jerusalem] is nigh. [for verse 22 says] For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Luke 21:22)

In other words, nearly all of the prophecies, that at least have a dual application, the major application of which belongs to this time, and these prophecies are to be fulfilled at that time.

Duality in Prophecy (Play from 6:53)

Now there is a dual application in many prophecies and many of them did apply specifically to some event that is already happened way back there, some of them 2500 years ago, some of them 1900 years ago and so on. Which event was like a forerunner, but there is going to be the great antitypical event that will happen at this time. And that's when all these things that are written are to be fulfilled. Now, verse twenty four;

"And they [it's speaking of our people here, of our nation] they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. [then after that, comes the] ...signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things [that] are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Luke 21:24-26)

That's when God will intervene immediately after the Great Tribulation, with the powers of heaven and the great tremendous signs, in the sun and the moon and the stars. And so, my friends, the next thing then to happen is the famine, the pestilence, and this Great Tribulation. Now here is the thing that many of us do not realize, the Great Tribulation, the time of the Great Tribulation. You've heard many speak of it in prophecy, but what they don't know is it is the time of our national trouble, of the greatest national trouble on the United States of America that has ever happened. It's coming very, very soon. And it's coming on the United States.

Now let me give it to you again. As I said before, you have to know who the United States is in biblical prophecy. And I have mentioned the last several broadcasts our booklet, 'The United States in Prophecy' that will explain it to you. If you haven't gotten it, write in for that special booklet 'United States in Prophecy'. There's no charge, there's no price on it, we'll be happy to send you a copy. That is the very first kindergarten ABC of prophecy, it's the key that will unlock the prophecies of your Bible. And that is going to show you that the ancient Israelites, the children of Israel, were divided into two nations. That the birthright went to Ephraim and Manasseh that were in the northern nations called the House of Israel. That the Scepter promise, of which Christ came, went to the southern nation called Judah and then they became known as the Jews. And the term Jew has never been applied to any but the nation Judah, never was it applied to the northern kingdom that was called Israel - never. And the northern kingdom - Israel - was driven out in a national captivity back in the year 721 BC. And it was way over a hundred years later, about a 130 years later before Judah was driven into her national captivity.

Keeping the Commandments (Play from 10:00)

Now what God had said to His people, back there in Leviticus 26;

"You shall make you no idols nor graven bow down unto it...I am the [Eternal] your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the [Eternal]. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, the land shall yield her increase..." (Leviticus 26:1-4)

And it goes on to show that it would be crops right around the year in all seasons and great wealth all of which comes out of the ground. And then God said;

"I will give you peace in the land... And five of us will chase a hundred, and a hundred...will put another ten thousand of our enemies to flight... if they should invade or attack us" (Leviticus 26:6,8 paraphrased)

Peace, prosperity - that was the promise that God had made unconditionally to Abraham for his children and yet God said here you can have it if you obey. Well, Abraham had obeyed and it was unconditional to Abraham but it was only conditional to that particular generation of Abraham's children. You turn back to Genesis 26:5, I believe it is, and you will find why Abraham got these very promises that are fulfilled in us today. Listen, my friends, if the Bible was not the inspired word of God, could any man have written that and brought it to pass? It came to pass, every last detail that God promised Abraham has been fulfilled in us. Yes, it's Genesis 26:5, where the promise was being fulfilled here to Isaac again, because it was to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob.

"Because that Abraham obeyed my voice...kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." (Genesis 26:5)

So said God Almighty. They were His laws, His commandments - 430 years before the Old Covenant or before the Mosaic Dispensation or the Levitical Priesthood ever started. Oh my friends, some people need to read their Bibles a little bit and blow the dust off of them. Why the most overwhelming fulfillment of prophecy, my friends, in your Bible is the fulfillment of the promises that God made to Abraham - that are permitting us to have the prosperity that we are have. Well we have things here in the United States that all of our common people have, that the people of other parts of the world have never dreamed of.

My friends, we have all of this because God is faithful to keep His word, His promises - He promised it to Abraham. It didn't come through our merits, or our goodness or anything we have done. God said to His people back here in Leviticus 26, " If you will hearken to my voice, if you... will keep my commandments and do them." (Leviticus 26:3 paraphrased)

Leviticus 26: "Ye shall make you no idols nor graven bow down unto it, for I am the [Eternal] your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the [Eternal]. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field will yield their fruit. Your threshing shall reach unto the vintage... [crops the year around] ...I will give peace in the land, ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid..."(Leviticus 26:1-6 paraphrased)

2520 Years of Punishment (Play from 13:19)

We would be prosperous, we would become wealthy, we would dominate the world. God determines the outcome of wars. God said, He would see, if we obeyed Him, we could always come out victor if we were invaded in a war. Of course, to obey Him we wouldn't invade any other nation. But, listen, He said;

"...if you will not hearken unto me to do all of these commandments [that was in the days of Moses and that generation at that time. He said], I will...appoint over you terror, consumption...the burning ague [and so on. You'll], sow your seed in vain... your enemies [will] eat it. You [will] be slain by your enemies: they that hate you will reign over you; and... I'll punish you seven times for your sins." (Leviticus 26:14-18 paraphrased)

Now that seven times is four times mentioned here in this one chapter. And that is a duration of 2520 years. In other words, these blessings that had been promised unconditionally to Abraham would be withheld for 2520 years unless they would obey them. Otherwise, they would be withheld 2520 years. Now, at the end of this 2520 years, God was absolutely bound to confer those blessings of the greatest national prosperity that had ever come to any people on the face of this earth nationally. That had nothing to do with salvation, it had to do with race, not with grace. It had to do with nations, not with individuals. The nations that grew out of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And that birthright had gone to the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Now, Israel did not obey the birthright went into the Northern Kingdom. And I've shown you, how the first thing their very first King did when they rejected Rehoboam and appointed Jeroboam their king was to set up the two golden calves - idols and go into idol worship - and then to change God's Sabbath. And he changed the annual Sabbaths that had God given His people from the seventh to the eighth month. And the weekly from the seventh to the eighth day. God had only mentioned two commandments here, "You shall make you no idols nor graven images; you shall keep my Sabbaths" (Leviticus 26:1-2). And if they did not obey Him, and those were the two commandments stressed, now that doesn't mean that they could break the other commandments with impunity at all. Those were the two that God knew they would most likely break.

Do you know something, my friends, do know why people will tend to break those two more than any other? In the first place, why do people want to worship an idol? Because no man at anytime has seen God. Why has God hid Himself? God has never made Himself visible. And human beings always want to worship something or somebody that they can see. Why, do you know that many people worship their pastors, their ministers? Sometimes we, here in the United States, have a hard time understanding how people that we have called heathen people could have ever made idols out of wood and stone and brass and gold and various things and worshipped those things. Sometimes they make them look like a man and sometime they make them look like a dragon and sometimes here they were like a calf.

Well my friends, we draw pictures and we say, "This is what your Savior looked like that died for you on the cross." Now, He didn't look anything like those pictures at all. But people say, "Here's the Savior that died." And all of the people get that picture in their mind. And they worship a mental image of that picture. That's idolatry! My friends, most of you have been doing that very thing. And I say, my friends, of course when you don't know what you're doing, God doesn't impute it until the knowledge comes. But once you know, God holds you accountable. And I say you'd better repent of that and ask God to forgive you and see that you don't do it anymore.

You'll find the description of what Christ looks like now, - Christ is now glorified! You'll find the description in the later part of the very first chapter of Revelation in your Bible. Why His face shines like the sun in full strength. His eyes are like flames of fire. He doesn't look like these pictures at all. A man can't draw a picture and make it just shine at you like the sun that would blind your eyes and practically put out your eyesight, if you would look at it. And so we do read too in God's word, that no man could look upon God and live! No wonder God hides Himself. But people want to worship something or somebody that they can see. So, there is always a temptation of one kind or another of idolatry. Only we think of idols as just some image carved out of stone or marble or gold or something like that.

Now, what about the Sabbath? Why is that such a temptation? Well, its the one and only command that God said remember and its the very one that everybody tried to forget. And because people say, "Well, I can't see where it makes any difference whatsoever whether we keep God's Sabbath or a Sabbath that men want to choose." Now, I showed you here, in I Kings, I believe it was, how this King of Israel set up the golden calves and he changed God's annual Sabbaths, well here it is, it's in I Kings 12:33;

"So he offered on the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised in his own heart..." (I Kings 12:33)

And also the eighth day which the pagans had devised in their own heart. That was the day that the pagans always used or since their seven days a week, the eighth would be the one after the seventh or the one that is called the first day, and so it is now.

Sabbaths a Sign (Play from 19:13)

I read to you from Ezekiel 20, how God caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, He says; "Moreover I gave them also my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the [Eternal] that [does] sanctify them [that is, that sets them apart]." (Ezekiel 20:12)

Now a sign identifies and so it identified God so that they would know who God is and not worship idols. That was given to keep them from idolatry and also to identify them, like an identifying tag that you would put right on a trunk or a suitcase or something to identify. And that little identifying tag was God's Sabbath because no other nation, no other people ever kept it. There is only one reason you could see why it would make any difference which day, it's because God said so, and because God commanded it. And because you want to obey God instead of leaning to human reason and doing the thing that seemed right in your sight. Now, once we become obedient we can see why God said so, and why God chose the day He did. Because it is a memorial of creation and creation is the very proof of God, creation points to God. And when you forget who the Creator is, you forget who God is. All the people that have ever worshipped other gods have forgotten the Creator. And when the Apostle Paul wanted to tell the Athenian philosophers of Athens who the true God was and identify God, he said;

" God that made the world, and [that created] all things... And made all men of one blood.. " (Acts 17:24,26 paraphrased). Gives us one breath, the same air that we all breathe. That creator is God.

Now, when we first pick up those ten tribes, that were called the Lost Ten Tribes - why were they called lost? Because they lost - because they gave up - the sign that God had given them to identify them as His people. They quit keeping His Sabbath and consequently, everybody thought they were Gentiles. Now, the Jews were sent to Babylon in their punishment also for the very same reason - that they broke God's Sabbath. They didn't change it to another day - oh no, they kept the right day but they polluted it and they brought the burdens in through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, and they worked on that day. And so, Nehemiah said, when they were doing that in those days, he said;

"I saw in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath..." [now, they had the right day. So he stood up against them. And he said here, verse eighteen in the thirteenth chapter of Nehemiah] "Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us and upon this city? [And] yet you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath" (Nehemiah 13:15,18). So then, they stopped it.

Now, the Jewish people after they had gone back to Palestine, after the captivity in Babylon in the seventy years later when they went back under Ezra and Nehemiah. Well after this rebuke right here, that I just now read to you, they became the most strict Sabbatarians that the world has ever known. And by the time that Jesus came, in Palestine, they had invented about seventy different regulations and laws and rules of their own - man made now - of do's and don'ts to make the Sabbath a straitlaced yoke of bondage. So they accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. Jesus talked to them so much that it requires whole chapters in your New Testament of Gospel preaching to explain how to keep the Sabbath. He took away those traditions of men. The traditions of men is what He labelled the writings of men that put these regulations on that day. He said that;

"The sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath" (Mark 2:27): He didn't change to some other day. He kept that day as His custom was, of course He did. It's about time we wake up, my friends, and read what is in the Bible.

Jews and Israel Different (Play from 23:23)

Now, they have always been identified then, as the people of Israel. And they have always thought themselves Israel. The world has thought them as Israel. Well, they are Israelites, there no question about that. But you know, all Californians are Americans but all Americans are not Californians. I don't think the people of Florida would acknowledge being Californians with all due respect to you people down there in Florida that are listening and people in Illinois and Iowa are not Californians but we're all Americans. And so, my friends, all Jews are Israelites but all Israelites are not Jews. Only those that came from the Kingdom of Judah, the southern kingdom of the two nations or the two kingdoms.

Now, when we pick up the so-called lost ten tribes, we pick up the peoples that became the English and the British people and the Celtic people and the people of northwestern Europe coming from the very place where we lose track of the ten tribes in history and consequently, we have ample proof that we are those very people. Now, as I mentioned before, if you want to get away from a thing, you can't logically refute anything, just try to laugh it out of school, sneer at it, ridicule it, and people then are ashamed to take it up. But, if you want truth, write for this booklet, 'United States in Prophecy'. It is certainly an eye-opener, it's an astonishing thing, it's the most fascinating story you ever read. We are those people. The United States is the one great nation. That 2520 years was up in 1800 AD. From that time we spurted the great wealth and great national wealth.

Now, what have we done? My friends, our land is full of idols only we don't make golden calves. We have a different kind of idol today. And have we turned back to God's Sabbath? Well, some have, and those people are sneered at as having the Jewish Sabbath. My friends, God says my Sabbaths. What did He say here as I was reading it to you from Ezekiel 20;

"...I said to their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the [Eternal] your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; ...hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the [Eternal] your God." (Ezekiel 20:18-20)

When Christ comes, He's going to deliver us from a captivity, from a slavery, that we're going into just as our forefathers went into a captivity and for the same reason. Then, we're going to know that He is the Eternal. But He's going to plead with us like He pleaded with them. He is going to purge out from among us the rebels (Ezekiel 20:38). And then we are going to come to loath ourselves for the very things that they did back there, when they were following their father's ways instead of God's ways (Ezekiel 6:9). They followed their fathers idols instead of the true God, their fathers' Sabbaths instead of God's Sabbath. Oh my friends, how many of us are doing it? My friends, that thing is a national sin. Divorce is a national sin. We have many national sins right here in the United States that God says is sin! And things that even in our religions today we pronounce as right and holy. And I want to tell you there is a way that seems right to a man but it is not the way that is right to God (Jeremiah 10:23). And the way to find God is to forsake our ways.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto [God]... (Isaiah 55:7)

Now, my friends, we're doing the same thing today after God has blessed us. He had to give us the wealth and the prosperity He did. He's had to give us peace in the land, He's had to give us these things. God won World War II and World War I for us. We didn't win it by our own strength. Don't you think we did because we didn't - God Almighty did it. By miracles we won those two wars because God did it for us. God was carrying out His faithful promise to Abraham because Abraham 430 years before the Old Covenant - 430 years before the Law of Moses - Abraham kept God commandments and His statutes and His judgments. And for that reason, we have the prosperity we do. And what have we done with it? Oh, how we profane the holy things of God. And I want to tell you that a captivity is coming to us. Now I want to get into that in the very next broadcast. I want to show you what the prophecies say is going to happen to the United States. What is prophesied to happen to the United States? I'm going to get into that completely and give you every detail and it's prophesied in Jeremiah, it is in Micah, it is in Isaiah, it is in the prophecies all through your Bible.