“Victory In Iraq” – Does Any Credit Go To God?

By Garner Ted Armstrong

Not since the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor had the United States been swept up in such fervent patriotism following the terrorist attack of 9/11. Then, there was not a single “anti-war on terrorism” demonstration to be seen.

Not a single leftist liberal Hollywood “celebrity” spoke out in support of the terrorists! They would not have dared. Still, there were some who offered bizarre, weird opinions: “Bush did it to solidify his power,” “The Jews did it to tilt America more in their favor.” In spite of these satanic, and utterly false views, flags were waving everywhere; “God Bless America” was the standard conclusion of every presidential speech; prayers were being offered in Catholic and Protestant churches, in synagogues — yes, even in some mosques and temples. Memorial services and funerals were held in their thousands, as believers in hundreds of different religions recited prayers to their concept of God. America was, for a short while truly united!

That outburst of patriotism, that fervent, powerful feeling of outrage, that tearful support of our President, gradually waned, however. Eventually, stories were written of how some neighbors, irked that one among them had dared to erect a flagpole in his front yard, got up a petition to force him to take it down. Attacks against the pledge of allegiance to the flag ensued.

Courts moved to force the removal of all mention of “God” from public buildings.

For a time, we were imbued with fervent patriotism. We had been deeply hurt. We had been grievously injured. Thousands of us (along with those from about 80 other countries, including Muslims) had perished in a most horrifying fashion.            

But did America also draw closer to God?

Now with a stunning, breathtaking VICTORY in Iraq, did GOD have anything to do with that victory?

I think the answer is a resounding YES!  In some cases, the victory was almost like some of those mentioned in the Old Testament, when God intervened on behalf of His people, Israel.

Just recently, in response to questions, a top general at “CENTCOM” in Qatar explained how our forces which had entered Tikrit – Saddam’s home town north of Baghdad – and encountered enemy troops or “fedayeen,” “we destroyed them. Then, when we advanced further, and encountered another contingent, we destroyed them.” Almost matter-of-fact statements of the prowess and courage of US troops. No US casualties! Hundreds of enemy soldiers wiped out, and, in these particular engagements, not a single US soldier wounded!

Of course, not all such battles were free from casualties among coalition soldiers. But on balance, the war in Iraq featured the death of uncounted THOUSANDS of Iraqi soldiers and foreign fighters, with much less than 200 (at this writing) US deaths! The ratio may end up being far more than 100 to 1!

Coalition precision bombing destroyed hundreds or thousands of Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles; blasted into rubble, with pinpoint accuracy, hundreds of regime and military buildings! They eclipsed the record of General George Patton, who dashed through France toward Germany during World War II.

In only a few short weeks, coalition forces, the vast majority of which were US combined forces from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, took over an entire country the size of California! To capture its vast oil fields virtually intact? To take all of its major cities? To seize control of all of its bridges; its communications and transportation facilities; its schools, mosques, and hospitals, its government buildings (such as are not so much rubble), and its many splendid palaces in so short a time? Has there ever been such a victory in the annals of war?

Millions of us prayed! Our leaders continually asked that “God bless America.” Families prayed. Soldiers prayed.

So did millions of Arabs and Muslims pray. They prayed to their “Allah” that he would “destroy the infidels;” that he would defeat the “aggressors,” and bring death to the “crusaders” who had dared to trespass on the “holy soil of Iraq.”

Anciently, there were those who, when their gods had failed them, were forced to admit there was but one true God – the God of Israel! The founder of Babylon, of whom Saddam Hussein, in his toadish ego, imagined himself a modern reincarnation, was Nebuchadnezzar.

The occasion came when Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with vanity and ego that he boasted, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30).

David’s greatest sin was not his sin with Bathsheba. It was his sin in numbering Israel, depending upon the size of his army, instead of depending upon God.

Nebuchadnezzar paid for his arrogance. “While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee” (Daniel 4:31). The ensuing verses show how the king became completely insane; rooted around the palace grounds; ate grass; became like a demented animal!

Yet, after seven long years of this, Nebuchadnezzar said, “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:

“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

“At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Daniel 4:34-37). How could his counselors and lords seek unto him for direction when they had seen him rooting around like a crazed animal for seven years? Only through God’s miraculous grace and intervention! Otherwise they would have disparaged him; would have said, “I will never recognize that idiot!”

If you are somewhat like me, you may be having some conflicting emotions. I find myself having moving, profound, often tearful feelings of patriotism; love of country; love of America; love of freedom; and yet, at the same time, sadness at the seeming inability of our nation to confront our personal and national sins.

When God delivers His people, He expects them to repent and acknowledge His Divine hand in their salvation!

Throughout the history of God’s people Israel and Judah, God sent His prophets to WARN the leaders and the people about their two greatest national sins: idolatry and Sabbath-breaking! Time and time again, their warnings fell on deaf ears. The result was death and destruction, invasion from foreign nations, and captivity!

But God did not CAUSE such destruction. The pagan nations did! God simply DID NOT PREVENT it! Jeremiah cried out, “The Lord hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: he hath thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; he hath brought them down to the ground: he hath polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof.

“He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about” (Lamentations 2:2,3).

While Jeremiah lamented that, “The Eternal hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob [Israel],” he goes on to explain that God has simply WITHDRAWN HIS PROTECTION from Israel! He has ALLOWED foreigners to murder, pillage, burn, and destroy! God Himself is in His high heaven, beholding all the petty machinations of men! He was not at the controls of those hijacked jetliners! Insane, murderous, hate-filled Muslims were! But God had “drawn back His right hand” from before America, just as He did in the case of ancient Israel and Judah!

Today there are thousands of those in our midst who are BITTER about our success in Iraq! They had predicted TENS OF THOUSANDS of Iraqi women and children would die! They had predicted THOUSANDS of our young troops would come home in body bags!

Many of them are “actors and actresses,” or, in other words, people who make a living (a fabulous one in most cases) by pretending to be someone they are not, memorizing fiction, and then saying it before cameras. Why should average people pay any attention to them at all?

Just as Judas hoped Jesus Christ would fail; just as Satan used every artifice to cause the death of Christ, there are those who are bitterly against America. Shockingly, they claim to be patriotic Americans!

Of course, in our free society, they have the right to be fools. They have the right to say outrageous falsehoods. They have the right to appear as empty-headed, spoiled children. They have the right to be wrong.

There are those in churches who resort to this same kind of satanic “logic.” A true Christian always hopes for the best, believes the best, is positive, and graciously forgiving. A hypocritical person waits to see if another will stumble – HOPES HE WILL!

This characterizes the attitudes of the anti-war protestors. They are actually ANTI-AMERICAN, not just anti-war!

Now, it is time for America to be not only thankful for the victory God gave us, but to look inward, see our personal and national sins, and REPENT of them! We need to RETURN TO GOD, who GAVE us our national greatness!

God says, “I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.

“The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

“Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children's children will I plead.

“For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing.

“Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.

“Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.

“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:7-13).

The Buddhists continue to revere Buddha. The Confucianists still believe in Confucius. The Muslims still revere Muhammad. The Jews still reject Christ, and look for a different Messiah.

But nominal Christians celebrate pagan holidays; worship on the day of the Sun, trampling on God’s Sabbath Day; pass laws which allow the killing of over SEVENTY THREE MILLION BABIES, then pass laws which seek to erase every mention of God from our schools and government buildings – even demanding we take the name of God from our pledge of allegiance to the flag.

As Jeremiah warns, we should be “astonished” at this! Astonished, and sickened.

Paul, in his testimony before the sun-worshiping pagans in Athens said, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

“Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:24-30).

When Jeremiah said “they that handle the law,” he did not only mean pastors and preachers. They that handle the law includes the U.S. Supreme Court, all the State Supreme Courts; the entire judiciary of our people! God’s laws against divorce, homosexuality, murder, abortion and assorted crimes of all kinds are flagrantly set aside by human legislators.

Those who “prophesy by Baal” are those who preach and predict “in the name of the Lord. The Hebrew word “Baal” means, quite simply, “The Lord.” Jesus Christ said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.

“For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4,5). Men divided the original Greek into verses, and added punctuation marks. The inference here is that many would aver that CHRIST is Christ, and yet deceive many! Only rarely does some crazed would-be “Messiah” claim to BE Christ! But MILLIONS speak His name, and continually say, “Lord, Lord,” in their sermons and emotional songfests. Jesus Christ says to these, “...why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46).

Baal was a PAGAN “god” who never existed! Ancient pagans worshiped their “Lord” or “Baal” in many guises. He was called Baal-Abarin, or “Lord of the mighty ones;” Baal-Aberin, or “The winged one;” Baal-Aph, or “Lord of wrath;” Baal-lashon, or “Lord of the tongue;” Baal-hatzim, or “Lord of Arrows.”

He is referred to in ancient writings and monuments as “Bel, or Belus,” and is found in many societies from ancient Babylon to Scandinavia. He is found in the origin of tree worship, and is called “Baal-bereth” or “Lord of the Fir Tree;” and masquerades as Christ in his title “Baal-Berith,” or “Lord of the Covenant.”

Is it a truthful indictment from God that MODERN preachers “prophesy by Baal?”

Absolutely! Christmas is replete with symbols of Baal worship! The Day of the Sun was deliberately foisted off on apostate nominal Christians over the 2nd and 3rd centuries after Christ!

NONE of the Apostles EVER worshiped on Sunday! God never made Sunday Holy! Jesus Christ NEVER worshiped on Sunday! If you have not yet read my book “Why Would Anyone Keep Saturday for Sunday?” you may access it on our web site, or call or write, and request your free copy. 

Whether we want to accept it or not, whether we believe it or not, the United States of America merely has a FORM OF GODLINESS, mixed in with a tremendous amount of patriotism, mom, and apple pie, but we DENY THE POWER thereof! (See 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Today, America is caught up in a wave of patriotism. The “name” of God is on the lips of millions. More people are going to church. More people are waving the flag. But, in truth, it is “business as usual.” There are NOT more people truly repenting of personal and national sins! There are NOT more people coming OUT of sun worship and spiritual Babylon, and REPENTING in broken-hearted surrender to God and His laws.

God’s prophets were the greatest patriots of all! They, too, no doubt had difficulties when they saw clearly the impending national calamities coming upon their beloved nations! Jeremiah cried, “Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people.

“All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.

“Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction.

Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people [Jeremiah cried many tears – was terribly distressed at the slaughter of his own countrymen!].

“Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission,

“Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven” (Lamentations 3:45-50).

Ezekiel, who was one of God’s WATCHMEN to give warning of impending national calamities, said, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

I know EXACTLY how these great men of God felt!  I know the horrifying punishments which are to befall our great land if we do not repent! I do not WANT to see any further terrorist attacks! I WANT to see America find Saddam Hussein and his two sons either alive or dead, and, if alive, to bring them to justice! I want our forces to find Osama bin Laden and all his “al Quaida” group and bring them to justice! I WANT to see a time of PEACE break out in the Middle East, and all over the world!

But knowing human nature, AND KNOWING BIBLE PROPHECY, I simply WILL NOT join the ranks of the false prophets who cry “peace, peace,” and there IS no peace! I DO NOT WANT to hear of a chemical or NUCLEAR attack against American cities! We have already experienced a small, fairly contained biological attack, which spread FEAR throughout the country when anthrax was mailed to US senators, and killed mail handlers. I share the feelings of all of God’s prophets! Patriots all – men who LOVED their country and their people – they were commissioned to take a very bleak, stern message to the leaders and the people! Yet, it was also a message of LOVE, and of deep compassion!

The great MERCIFUL God promised them protection, peace and safety, prosperity, happiness, JOY, if they would only turn to HIM and His righteous laws which PRODUCE such wonderful benefits! Ezekiel was warned he would be met with “foreheads more adamant than flint”! Jeremiah was lowered into a slime pit, and had to be rescued and be given diplomatic immunity by the conquerors of his people!

I, too, find myself with conflicting emotions! On the one hand, a great love; a vast respect for those who gave their lives from Concord to Gettysburg; from Tripoli to Tarawa, from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima, and from Korea and Vietnam to Kuwait and now in Iraq.  On the other hand, a deep sadness, a kind of desperate anxiety, for what I see coming upon our peoples in the future!

God has given us a great victory. We need to THANK Him for the victory, and then pray daily, “Thy kingdom come,” knowing that the ONLY HOPE FOR MANKIND is the return of Jesus Christ to RULE this world as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!


 

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