HAS IT BEGUN?
Is This the Beginning of theGREAT TRIBULATION OF PROPHECY?
For years, I have foretold the horrors of the "Great Tribulation" to befall our peoples! Will the reverberations, economic, political and military, from the massive terrorist attack against the United States cause a global economic collapse? Is this the first really major act which will lead to WORLD WAR III, with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons being used against large civilian populations?
by Garner Ted Armstrong
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a "day which will live in infamy," I was aboard a McDonnell-Douglas 800, American airlines jet, at 37,000 feet over eastern Arkansas, en route to Norfolk, Virginia, from Dallas/Fort Worth. I was headed to Norfolk to join old shipmates I had not seen in 50 years for our 50th reunion of the USS Antietam (CV-36), and our nine-monthís long cruise off-shore Korea during the Korean War. It was to be my first reunion. Then, I was (and still am, as I write) scheduled to speak at 12:00 Noon on September 15th, near Norfolk and Virginia Beach, in the Quality Suites, as a "Personal Appearance Campaign."
As I was reading a book, looking out now and then at the landscape far below, our plane suddenly slowed down and began a descent. Having been a pilot for decades, I knew something was wrong. The Captain came on the intercom and said: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to have to interrupt your trip to Norfolk, and land at Little Rock. There is nothing wrong with this airplane; the airplane is perfectly safe, but there has been a threat concerning aircraft headed toward the New York area, and since we are en route to the general vicinity, we are being required to land." He then apologized for any inconvenience, and we continued a rapid descent.
A few minutes later, he came back on to say that we were not the only airplane being required to land; that there were "about a thousand aircraft being asked to land immediately." At that point, I knew something big was happening. As we landed, I could see that four or five other large jets had arrived before us. As we taxied in another American Airlines jet landed, and I could see yet another one in the landing pattern.
We had to wait for a ramp, for the airport was rapidly becoming crowded. Eventually, when I exited the plane, I saw people gathered around a TV monitor to my left, beside the entry gate. Many were crying; some with eyes and mouths wide open; some sitting on the floor, faces in their hands. I looked in amazement as I saw the two twin Trade Towers in New York; one of them in flames. It was as I watched that the first huge building began to collapse from the top ó floor after floor smashing into the floor below, slowly disintegrating before my eyes, with huge billowing clouds of smoke and dust rising into the air. Apparently, the camera I was watching had not yet caught the sight of the SECOND airplane smashing into the other tower. I was shocked, stunned; it was a mind-numbing experience! Immediately, I thought "Bin Laden!" Or SOME terrorist group! At the moment, I was sickened, stricken with grief for the awesome sight of mass death before me ó yet, I remembered that only days before, during a sermon in Tyler, I had repeated the statement that I had seen from some of the lesser-known news sources, that "something big was going to happen, which would make the destruction of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City look like a walk in the park."
The airport was a scene of utter chaos. Someone said about 15 to 17 jets had suddenly landed at Little Rock; the gates, ground handlers and baggage crews were overwhelmed.
I knew I needed to get back to Headquarters as soon as possible! But how? I quickly canvassed the rental car agencies, only to find all of them except Hertz completely sold out ó with a line of about 150 people waiting in front of Hertz. The co-pilot of our flight came up to me and asked about cars, and I told him the situation. I then decided to go back to the gate ó a long walk ó and see if they were going to offload the baggage here, or continue on to Norfolk. I was not permitted to pass back through security ó they had closed down the airport. It was later I learned no flights were going to be allowed into the air for perhaps two days!
By the time I finally managed to find a taxi, and go to a nearby motel (the main ones were full), I found a line of about 7 to 10 people waiting at the desk of the "Dayís Inn." The harried young lady was checking them in, with apologies that the rooms were not made up. I found I could obtain a room, and, in about a half hour, did so. I quickly called home; called the office; let them know where I was, gave them my telephone number. Time and again (for it took many calls) all circuits were busy, and it took me quite a while to get through. Meanwhile, the television set was tuned to CNN, and I was watching in horror as I learned that the Pentagon had also been attacked; that another aircraft had plunged into the ground in Pennsylvania!
It was then that a different camera angle showed the second aircraft flying straight into the second building and exploding in a huge orange ball of flames!
Adjectives cannot describe what I saw; what I felt. Outrage. Anger. Rage. Shock. Pity. My mind balked at recreating the scene aboard those aircraft; the screaming, begging, crying, praying people, knowing that their plane was in the hands of a madman who was going to crash it ó the victims who were suddenly crushed as thousands of tons of concrete came collapsing upon them as those gigantic buildings disintegrated into clouds of smoke and rubble. One thing I know: No airline pilot would have been at the controls of those airplanes and flown them straight into those buildings, or into the Pentagon! No, this attack was carried out by persons who knew how to fly those planes. Either they had been airline or military pilots from some Middle Eastern country, or private pilots, who knew enough to steer the aircraft! Any pilot, knowing he was going to die in any event, would refuse, even at the cost of his own life, to do such a thing!
To me, the crash in Pennsylvania was the outcome of just such a scenario. The pilot of that aircraft must have fought the terrorists; managed to plunge the airplane into the ground, instead of proceeding ó (in my opinion) either to the White House or the Capitol building ó most probably the White House. Think about it! These filthy, bestial, insane, hateful terrorists struck at the largest, most imposing symbols of American power, wealth, and military might! For decades, those huge towers amazed millions of visitors from all over the world. the Pentagon, built during the second World War, is known to house the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and is the chief nerve center of Americaís command and control for our military forces all over the world; in communication with all our ships at sea; all overseas bases; all troops, deployed wherever they are. Obviously the airplane sent plunging into the Pentagon was trying to cripple our military, worldwide!
The most significant target left would be the White House! Perhaps we will never know the things that took place in that plane which crashed in Pennsylvania, but I cannot help but think of it as a desperate struggle between a wounded pilot and crew ó either a crash which occurred during that struggle, or a brave, self-sacrificing pilot who determined he would NOT obey those filthy terrorists, and crash his plane into the White House!
Now, what will be the impact of this massive attack? Several times yesterday, as I waited around a TV set in the lobby, I remarked to people that "more people have died today than were killed in the Korean War!" This morning, while it is yet dark outside (I arose at 5:00 a.m., after a very brief, and very restive, disturbed sleep), I called our local minister in the New York City area, whose son works in Manhattan, Mr. Larry Summerfield. I was very relieved to hear that Larry, his wife and son are all right; his son was "about fifty blocks" from the building, and was among those who took to the streets, evacuating the area, as he saw the gigantic clouds of dust and smoke billowing up into the air. I have asked them to contribute their own eyewitness experiences, and will publish them here, for I think they give an eyewitness account:
"Dear Mr. Armstrong:
Shortly after my arrival at work yesterday a co-worker called and said, in a shaken voice, that a plane crashed into one of the Towers. He lives 20-25 short blocks away. She later said that she heard a plane fly over or near her apartment. She then went to the window and saw the first plane crash into the first Tower. She then saw flames and enveloping smoke.
I then called my mother and father. We live in Queens, on the opposite side of the East River, on the fifteenth floor of a building overlooking the east side of Manhattan. We have a clear, unobstructed view of the east side, including downtown and the World Trade Center. I told my mother that a plane just crashed into one of the Towers. She then turned toward the window and saw the smoke and fire. She quickly looked at the TV, remarked to dad that the second plane was flying abnormally low, and then turned toward the window again as the second plane crashed into the second tower. My parents saw the Towers collapse.
I was at work (I work on 46th Street and 3rd Avenue, a few blocks from the U.N. which is about 40-50 short blocks from the WTC). We saw the smoke from our windows on the 8th floor. Manhattan is situated on a grid, so you can see north, south, east and west. As the radio reports confirmed that planes crashed into the WTC, and then the Pentagon, and then into a field in Pennsylvania, we were dumbfounded. We didnít know how to react. We were like zombies, either sitting in our cubicles or walking around and talking to each other in disbelief. I left work at 12:00 Noon. Thousands of other people were walking uptown to a bridge connecting Manhattan to Queens, one of the outer boroughs of NYC. I did not see anyone panic; people were complying with the directions of the many cops, cadets and other city workers. Others, like myself, went to blood banks, where the response was, according to one worker, overwhelming.
As I walked across the bridge, over the East River, with thousands of other people into Queens, I looked toward the carnage. I saw a mountain of smoke, slowing drifting across the river. It was surreal: aside from the thousands walking across the bridge, and aside from the sirens and the occasional F-16s flying above, it was a picture-perfect day. The sun was bright; the air and water were still; it was about 80 degrees. On the north side of Manhattan, from the other side of the bridge, everything looked normal; on the other side, chaos.
I and my brother-in-law work in Manhattan. We donít know of anyone personally affected, at least not yet. My sister works in Queens, in a school. Her co-workers were affected: Amy Driscoll was about to be married by a priest who was killed. Amy Ferstedigís husband was opening the door to one of the Towers as the first plane hit; he lived. Diane Graffís brother worked at the WTC. She was hysterical when she heard the news. She tried to contact her brother but was unsuccessful. She then turned toward the TV and saw her brother, running or walking quickly past one of the cameras stationed nearby.
According to my brother-in-law, who is at work, Manhattan is like a ghost town. This morning I looked out the window of my apartment and saw smoke, shaped like a mountain, over downtown Manhattan. Downtown Manhattan looks a lot shorter. As of this writing, the three buildings comprising WTC have collapsed. Some of the surrounding buildings, like the Millennium Hotel, seem unstable and may collapse.
My father will try to send you two area newspapers; the NY Post and the Daily News. One of the more haunting pictures is that of silhouetted figures jumping from the Towers, from the higher floors, some seemingly sixty to ninety stories high. He will try to Fed Ex them to you, but due to air restrictions, Iím not sure when youíll receive them.
Thank you for your concern. We also appreciate the many telephone calls from other concerned brethren.
For decades, I have been warning that a GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE would occur; that a GREAT DEPRESSION will strike this earth!
This will give rise to the rapid rise of dictatorships! Autocrats; military governors will oust inept civilian rulerships in countries here and there! The United States of Europe will NOT result from a gradual, peaceful, slow-moving coalition, but from NECESSITY, from the result of WARS which give impetus to the need for a super-powerful MILITARY, capable of intervening in world events.
For years, I have emphasized that the flash point for the beginning of the Great Tribulation is JERUSALEM! God has said, "Behold, I will make JERUSALEM a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in siege both against Judah [the Jews] and Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: ALL THAT BURDEN THEMSELVES WITH IT SHALL BE CUT IN PIECES, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it!" (Zechariah 12:2, 3).
Palestinians in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem ó all over Gaza and in the West Bank CELEBRATED!! Their children danced in the streets, waving Palestinian flags, gleefully shouting out their happiness that the United States, which they call "The Great Satan" had received such a massive blow!
What kind of a religion is it which promises "heaven" or their version of it for MASS MURDER? Surely, Satan the devil is pleased and proud over the terror, the shock, the death of tens of thousands of helpless civilians!
It is because of OUR SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL that these bestial, murdering terrorists have mounted such a massive attack against us! The MOTIVES for such hate-filled killing are those of RELIGION! And, behind the scenes, from an economic and political point of view, it is also about OIL!
I knew, the moment I saw those buildings go down, that this would deal a MASSIVE blow to the global economy! Already, stock markets are plunging! Our U.S. market has (wisely) been SHUT DOWN! They knew that PANIC would set in; knew that the hundreds of major corporations and businesses which maintained offices in the World Trade Center would be plunged into chaos! TENS OF BILLIONS of dollars have been lost! Thousands of computers, with their hard drives chock full of financial and corporate data; contracts, insurance documents, legal documents ó all gone in a massive destructive fire and collapse! The shocks will (and are now) reverberate all over the world!
As a symbol of the greed, avarice, and thoughtless, calloused cynicism of mankind, as I was leaving Little Rock, when a kind and thoughtful church member drove all the way from Tyler to Little Rock to pick me up and bring me home on the day of this terrible disaster, we saw that gas stations had taken down their price signs; had pasted a hasty sign on the pump ó ALREADY THREE DOLLARS per gallon! May God reward them according to their works! There are always, like vultures waiting for prey, those who will gouge, and take advantage of the suffering of others! As we left Little Rock, we found some stations within only about 30 miles whose prices were still at the dollar thirty-nine level!
Now, watch oil prices. Watch the stock markets. Watch what happens if and when the U.S. government determines WHO masterminded this huge attack!
IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF WORLD WAR III? Remember, World War II did not begin all at once! It began SLOWLY, with Hitler scrapping the Treaty of Versailles, and marching his troops into the Rhineland. It was two years BEFORE America was bombed at Pearl Harbor that Europe was plunged into war!
IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE PROPHESIED GREAT TRIBULATION?
All of you who are a part of this WORK of the Watchman, are most probably, just like me, SHOCKED at this ó BUT YOU ARE NOT SURPRISED!
Just how important, now, are the little, petty grievances among and between brethren? How important are "hurt feelings" when TENS OF THOUSANDS ARE DEAD AND DYING?
Just as the President has called upon Americans to COME TOGETHER in this time of terrible national tragedy, so I call upon Godís divided people to COME TOGETHER in their most determined, spiritual resolve to DO THE WORK OF GOD; to let the peoples of our country, and nations all over the world, know that these mind-numbing events are but a prelude to GREAT TRIBULATION which is surely coming upon our people!
Christ said the time is ahead when NOT ONE STONE will be left atop another in Jerusalem! Will a massive WAR now break out in the Mideast? Will the U.S. attack Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Iran, or other Gulf states? Will Israel join in? Will Europe respond?
I cannot know each daily event in advance, but I DO KNOW the overall picture, according to the prophecies of the Bible! I know that GREAT EVENTS are now beginning to take place, as I have warned, and warned, and warned! It is time, and past time, for Godís people to JOIN TOGETHER AND DO THE WORK!
The foregoing, with a few additional comments, is what I immediately posted on our web site in the "Word From" section. As I write, our government has not indicated that they know who was the mastermind behind this massive, horrifying attack. However, as many at home and abroad have said, "It has all the earmarks, and carries the signature of Osama Bin Laden." Here is a little insight into the possible arch criminal behind this horrific carnage, how his mind works; who he is, and why he hates the United States.
Many years ago, during the Russian war against Afghanistan, the CIA actually sent money and arms to Bin Laden and the guerrilla fighters who were resisting the Russian Army! This was in the 1980s, as you remember. Afghanistan was the then Soviet Unionís "Vietnam," in the sense that it cost many Russian lives, and ended in an ignominious Soviet retreat. Following that war, Bin Laden went home to his native land of Saudi Arabia. When Saddam Hussein invaded and occupied Kuwait, Bin Laden was furious with then President George Bush, and even more furious with the Saudi royal government for permitting "infidels" on "holy Saudi soil." No non-Muslims are allowed into the so-called "holy cities" of Mecca and Medina, and, to Bin Laden, the entire nation of Saudi Arabia is "holy." Laden began gathering some of his Mujahadeen cohorts from the Afghan struggle, and rallied them around his accusations against the royal house of the Saudis, saying King Fahd had "sold the holy sites of Islam" to the United States!
Eventually, the royal family had enough of Bin Ladenís attacks (he is a multimillionaire with huge business interests), and their intelligence officials arrested him for criticizing the monarchy. He was not imprisoned for any period of time, however, and soon fled to Sudan, where he put together his "Al-Qaida" organization, based upon the most fanatical hard-line Islamic fundamentalist doctrines, and dedicated to waging "Jihad" ("holy war") against the Israelis, and especially against the United States.
From that time, in about 1992, there have been a number of horrifying attacks against U.S. facilities and military. But all of these attacks, except the first attempt on the twin trade towers several years ago, were outside the U.S.
Though this evil, monstrous terrorist has always dodged behind disclaimers, he has rejoiced publicly at each event, from the bombing of American troops in the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, to the attack against the USS Cole. The embassy bombings in Kenya and the Sudan were traced to Bin Laden, and; you will remember the U.S. retaliatory attacks against guerrilla training camps in Afghanistan--which, even though some of the guerillas were killed, missed Bin Laden.
He is protected by the hard-line "Taliban" in Kabul, Afghanistan, who are fanatic Islamic fundamentalists, and he is said to never stay more than one night in one place. He has urged young, fanatical Islamic adherents worldwide to "wage holy war against the United States."
How virile is Bin Ladenís hatred? When the 17 U.S. Sailors aboard the USS Cole were killed, Bin Laden appeared at the wedding of his son in southern Kandahar, in February of this year. He had a poem he had prepared in Arabic. It translates, "The pieces of the bodies of infidels were flying like dust particles. If you would have seen it with your own eyes, you would have been very pleased, and your heart would have been filled with joy."
All over the Middle East on Tuesday, September 11, hundreds of thousands of Arabs celebrated! From the streets of Gaza to Hebron; from Lebanon to Baghdad; from Kabul to Tehran, youthful Arabs shouted, cheered, danced in the streets. Palestinians rejoiced, gave each other sweets and presents, waved Palestinian flags.
While their leaders indoors condemned the attacks, the people in the streets rejoiced!
Incredibly, illogically, a Lebanese Palestinian said, "People are happy. America has always supported terrorism. They see how the innocent Palestinian children are killed and back the Zionist army that does it. America has never been on the side of justice."
Another Palestinian said, "This is the language the United States understands and this is the way to stop America from helping the Zionist terrorists who are killing our children, men and women every day."
How does one cope with such incredible, mindless ignorance, hatred, and blindness? How does one cope with a mind set which has been inserted into these impressionable young people by their parents, by their governmental leaders from their birth? The answer is that it is impossible to reconcile the many different religions of the world; utterly impossible to reconcile human minds poisoned by the lies and deceptions of Satan the devil himself!
As an American, and one who LOVES this great country, and loves the FREEDOMS we enjoy, I simply balk at attempting to get into the mind set of such hate-filled, bitter, vitriolic, vicious people! Any religion that promises its adherents immediate entry into their version of "heaven" by MURDERING helpless men, women and children is a despicable, hateful religion!
Now, WHAT DOES PROPHECY SAY WILL HAPPEN? If you have not read my major book on EUROPE AND AMERICA IN PROPHECY, please return the coupon for them immediately! Those who have access to a computer (available at your Public Library) might want to peruse our web site for other literature.
Notice what God says will happen, eventually to DAMASCUS, the capital of Syria! "The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap" (Isaiah 17:1). This prophecy goes on to describe the time of "Jacobís trouble," and the time of Christís intervention in world affairs!
Remember, Christ warned "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
"Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains, and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter therein to.
"For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
"But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
"And 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.
"And there shall be 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;
"Menís hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.
"And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
"When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
"So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (Luke 21:20-31)
Now, here is what is LIKELY to happen!
OIL prices will be terribly unstable. A shock to the global economy will occur!
The United States may slip deeper into recession ó PERHAPS into the GREAT DEPRESSION I have predicted.
Economic collapse will mean the overthrow of moderate governments; the rise of despots and dictators!
EUROPE will coalesce into TEN POWERFUL NATIONS; a kind of "United States of Europe" which will eventually become the most POWERFUL ENEMY of the U.S. of America!
A KING OF THE SOUTH (Daniel 11:4-45) will emerge, and probably clamp down an OIL EMBARGO against Europe and the U.S.
Europe will react with a swift, massive invasion of the Mideast, probably at the very time that Israel is under an attack by combined Arab armies; featuring chemical and biological, maybe even NUCLEAR weapons! Europeís response will be under the aegis of the pope in Rome, who will give sanction under the guise of "saving the Jews from extinction."
The pope will declare that the "mother church" must return to the "place of her birth," that the ONLY SOLUTION for the protracted struggles over the holy places in Jerusalem is for him to set up a kind of "second Vatican" there.
If a Jewish TEMPLE is built -- and it may be only after HORRIFYING loss of life causes the government in Israel to give in to the religious right, and the famed "Dome of the Rock" and the "Al Aksa" mosques are destroyed, it will so inflame ALL the more than 800 million Muslims of the world that all Arab nations will attack Israel!
The European Army will OCCUPY Palestine AND Egypt!
Jesus Christ will send His "HEAVENLY SIGNS" (Revelation 6 and 7) which will STOP all human activity, unless a gigantic nuclear exchange would destroy all mankind!
The DAY OF THE LORD will commence, with God Himself taking a hand!
When you have seen, with your own startled eyes in these past days -- not this time "special effects" in mindless horror movies, but REAL MASSIVE CRASHES AND HORRIFYING DESTRUCTION, is only the BEGINNING of what is to come on this earth!
Jesus Christ SAID so!
It is time now, for Godís people to COME TOGETHER! It is time to put all petty, insignificant "feelings" of petulance, self-pity, accusations, and a lack of forgiveness BEHIND us, and GET BEHIND THE WORK which must go out!
The nations DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS TO COME UPON THEM -- OUR PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW, THE ISRAELIS DO NOT KNOW!
WHO WILL TELL THEM?
With love, and in haste,