12. The Collapse of the English-Speaking Nations—The Great Tribulation
Before the glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ to establish His Kingdom, watch for the decline and eventual conquest of the English-speaking nations by their enemies! The biblical terminology for this event is “The Great Tribulation.”
Your Bible reveals that the worst, most indescribably terrifying time in the entire history of this planet is soon to occur. This terrifying time (the Great Tribulation) is also spoken of as the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). It will be such an awful time that the destruction and genocide of World War II will seem like a picnic in comparison!
Let us, therefore, examine the scriptures dealing with this dramatic alteration in the world’s power structure—which, like a powerful steel trap, will suddenly spring upon an unsuspecting world! Most of us will live to see these cataclysmic times, whether we realize it or not. “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people” (Luke 21:23). When you really understand this prophecy, you can see that Jesus was speaking nationally of not only the Jews, but also of the other modern-day descendants of the ancient nation of Israel—among whom are the American and British-descended peoples.
Notice this same prophecy in a parallel account in Matthew: “For then will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [alive]; but for the elect’s sake [for the sake of God’s people] those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21–22).
In the past, it was not possible to exterminate all human life from this earth. You might have had a devastating war in Europe, or in the Middle East, but you would still have millions of people untouched elsewhere in the world in Africa, Asia or Australia, or in North and South America. But Jesus prophesied of a unique time in the history of humanity. No nation can feel secure from the utter annihilation that is now possible by thermonuclear warfare!
In the 1950s, it finally became possible to blast all human life off this planet. During the last half-century, we have now multiplied our ability to assure our destruction many times over. Scientists tell us today that we now can erase all human life from this earth at least 20 times over! Christ is describing our time today! No Roman army of Jesus’ day could ever boast of such murderous power.
Here is what the prophet Jeremiah said about this same time: “Now these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel [whose modern descendants include the United States, Great Britain and other nations of northwestern Europe] and Judah.… ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great [Jeremiah prophesied under inspiration] so that none is like it’” (Jeremiah 30:4–7). There has never been a time of trouble in human history like this one. Whose time of trouble does this terrible tribulation pertain to? It is the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (v. 7).
It will be a time of trouble so great that none is like it. There cannot be two times of trouble like this. This is the same time of trouble described in Matthew 24:21, the same time described in Mark 13 and Luke 21, the same time of trouble described back in Ezekiel 36 and Daniel 12 and elsewhere as the “Great Tribulation.” It is the time of God’s intervention to chastise His chosen people. Nevertheless, speaking of that woeful time of trouble, God says: “I will not make a complete end of you” (Jeremiah 30:11). So he will not utterly destroy us, but He will punish us severely—to shake us to the roots of our very being in order to wake us up. He will correct and humble His people in order to wake them up before it is too late!
This unprecedented time of trouble will be directed primarily against the American and British-descended Commonwealth peoples, though the other modern-day descendants of Israel will also have troubles. But why against these nations? Because the American and British-descended peoples have been recipients of God’s tremendous birthright promises as the descendants of the patriarch Joseph (Genesis 49:22–26). For more information, please request our booklet on this subject, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. In God’s eyes, blessings also impart responsibilities. We are not a favorite or pet people, but we have been chosen by God for a very special purpose. Regrettably, we have failed to fulfill that purpose. Let us understand why and what will happen.
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30)! May God Almighty speed that great day!
The Americans and British-descended Commonwealth peoples have been materially blessed above all nations on the earth for the last 200 years. Beginning a little more than 200 years ago, the English-speaking peoples wielded power that thwarted the belligerent, aggressive nations—the Central Powers in World War I and the Axis Powers in World War II. Twice in the 20th century, the English-speaking peoples have restored a warring world to a measure of peace and security. Yet in spite of that, most Americans and Britons, individually, have turned away from the true God. At most, they continue to praise the Lord hypocritically. “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines’” (Mark 7:6–7, NRSV).
There are numerous end-time prophecies that reveal to the American and British-descended peoples exactly what God Almighty says will happen to them—if they do not turn from their present wayward course of disobedience to Him and His commandments.
The Pivotal Old Testament Prophecy
The pivotal scripture for understanding end-time prophecy is found in the Old Testament, in chapter 26 of the book of Leviticus. When we rightly understand our national identity, this prophetic chapter takes on new, urgent meaning. Here is basic, foundational information for modern Israel—among whom are to be counted the American people, and British-descended peoples of the Commonwealth nations. Those peoples are among the descendants of the so-called “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.” This prophecy is talking about ancient Israel, and it is also speaking of their children and grandchildren at the end of this age!
We should watch for the fulfillment of those prophecies that foretell the downfall of the United States and Great Britain, insofar as their national prestige and power are concerned, even before their cities are totally demolished in a future round of world war—World War III—which will be the most deadly time humanity will ever experience.
Speaking of the coming end-time Great Tribulation, God says: “If you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you. I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you” (Leviticus 26:14–17). God Almighty says He will bring us down very low. If we continue transgressing His commandments, He will discipline us in more ways than we can begin to imagine. He goes on to say: “And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more [or “sevenfold more” as many versions render it] for your sins. I will break the pride of your power” (vv. 18–19).
Our competitors for global power and influence are looking down on us with increasing glee as we stumble in resolving domestic and international problems. These things are happening to us because we have turned aside from God. We have not obeyed the God of our fathers.
In Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are powerful prophetic warnings for us today, because God does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). God promised that if we would obey Him, He would set us “high above all nations of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1). However, if we do not obey God and keep His commandments: “Cursed shall you be in the city” (v. 16). Are we cursed in our cities? Think about it. Millions of Americans are afraid to go out of their own homes at night. Elderly people and women and others all over this land are afraid to venture out in the evening—in this “land of the free, and the home of the brave.” We are locked in our homes like prisoners! No, we are not blessed in our towns and cities.
Further, our disobedience would bring upon us curses in our food supply, curses in sexual relations and curses in whatever policies or programs that we nationally attempt because we have turned aside from the Great God.
The growing effect of our national sins includes escalating crime, violence, marital infidelities, sexual perversions of all sorts, lying, cheating, stealing and every foul thing imaginable that is disgusting in the sight of a just and holy God. The selfishness and decadence of our “modern lifestyle”—which is based on egotistical pride and vanity—are gnawing like voracious termites at the structural frame that holds in place the edifice of our national greatness. How long before our house collapses? Look around you and consider.
In spite of our great material blessings, the American and British-descended peoples have turned away from God. These once-great nations have plummeted in their moral standards and become nations of perverts, liars, thieves and murderers. And God will chastise these nations for their own good, as He rebukes and chastens every son He loves (Hebrews 12:6).
God says: “Therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness” (Deuteronomy 28:48). In other words, these English-speaking nations (including the Jews and others residing in them) will be taken into a terrible captivity. God says we will be “in need of all things; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you” (same verse). Is that plain enough? God will take us into national slavery. The Holocaust of World War II will seem mild in comparison. The English-speaking peoples will not all die, but they will no longer exist as nations, not as the United States of America and the British-descended nations of the Commonwealth, after an awful punishment from God Himself: “‘The Lord will bring a nation from far away, from the end of the earth, to swoop down on you like an eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, a grim-faced nation showing no respect to the old or favor to the young” (Deuteronomy 28:49–50, NRSV). This aggressor will not be Mexico or some other nation nearby, but one from “afar”—from the end of the earth—from way over in Europe. This enemy will be “as swift as the eagle flies.” It is interesting that three major nations on earth use an eagle as their symbol. One is the United States, another is Russia and the third is Germany. This aggressor will be “a nation whose language you will not understand” (v. 49), “a nation of fierce countenance” (v. 50)—meaning a very warlike nation.
God reveals that the American and British-descended peoples will be besieged in their own gates (v. 52), and will be so desperately hungry that they will resort to horrific measures in the times to come—even turning to hideous cannibalism (v. 53).
Finally, these peoples will be taken into slavery by a coming great power that is now beginning to rise up in Europe!
God Promises to Deliver His People!
God says He will humble us and correct us, but He also promises to deliver us from all our troubles—when we truly learn our lesson and turn from our many abominations!
“And at that time your people [all the descendants of the patriarch Israel] shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:1–2).
The time setting is unmistakable. Daniel is talking about the resurrection to immortality of the saints of God, which shall occur at the seventh or “last trump” when Jesus returns to this earth with all His mighty angels, to establish the Kingdom of God to rule for 1,000 years (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4; Revelation 20:4). Daniel is not writing of something that happened way back in the Middle Ages. This prophecy concerning the Great Tribulation period leads right up to the glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the very end of this present evil world (Matthew 24:21–30).
As the foregoing prophecy reveals, God Almighty Himself will order one of His mighty angels, Michael, to stand “watch over” the people of Israel, who at that time will have had their power broken, and will have been scattered into many nations as captive slaves.
God’s miraculous deliverance of His people is clearly revealed: “‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the Lord, ‘nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you… to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished’” (Jeremiah 30:10–11).
God goes on to explain how He will greatly bless His people, once they have truly learned their lesson: “Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small” (v. 19).
What will be the final state of the peoples of Israel, after God delivers them from their captivity at the hands of a cruel oppressor? “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off [includes the British peoples], and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’ For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, streaming to the goodness of the Lord—for wheat and new wine and oil, for the young of the flock and the herd; their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, and they shall sorrow no more at all.
“Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together; for I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow. I will satiate the soul of the priests [God’s servants] with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:10–14).
However, the bad news prophesied in Scripture—of a terrifying time of trouble that will soon spring upon an unsuspecting, heedless world—must come first! What a tragedy that we will not hear and return to our God! That time will be the worst time of trouble this earth will ever experience (Matthew 24:21; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:l)!
But the ultimate in good news is that Scripture also predicts the imminent return of Jesus Christ to this earth. He will deliver the modern-day descendants of Israel (of whom the nations of northwestern Europe, and also the Jewish people, are part) from a horrible time of captivity and trouble. God says He will sweep aside all human governments (Revelation 11:15–18; 19:11–21). Christ will then banish Satan, so that he will no longer be able to mislead the nations (Revelation 20:1–3), and after removing Satan from power over the nations, the Great God will establish the Kingdom of God upon this sin-cursed, war-torn earth (Isaiah 11:1–9; Revelation 20:4).
The prophet Daniel also wrote the good news of the establishment of the glorious Kingdom of God: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
Furthermore, Daniel says: “Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:27).
Finally, the nations shall have passed through the Great Tribulation, and will have arrived at the time the prophets foretold—the establishment of the Kingdom of God to rule all nations—bringing peace, prosperity, health and happiness to all nations!