Has It Begun?
Is This the Beginning of the
GREAT 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-month’s 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 —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 — 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
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 —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 — a long walk — 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 — 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 “Day’s 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
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 — 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 — (in my opinion) either to the White House or the Capitol
building —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 America’s 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 — 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
“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
didn’t 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 don’t 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
Ferstedig’s husband was opening the door to one of the Towers as the
first plane hit; he lived. Diane Graff’s 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
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
FedEx them to you, but due to air restrictions, I’m not sure when you’ll receive
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 — 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!
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 —
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 —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 —
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 God’s 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 God’s 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 Union’s
“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 Laden’s 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
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 Laden’s
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, or my booklet entitled MIDEAST STRIFE —WILL IT LEAD TO
ARMAGEDDON? 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 “Jacob’s trouble,” and the time of Christ’s intervention in world
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.
be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be
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
“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;
“Men’s 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.
spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at
“So likewise ye, when ye see
these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand”
Now, here is what is LIKELY to
OIL prices will be terribly
unstable. A shock to the global economy will occur!
The United States may slip
deeper into recession — 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
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! Europe’s 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
Aksa7mosques 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 God’s
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,
Garner Ted Armstrong
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