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Where are We Now In the Panorama of Prophesied World Events?
Pastor’s Report – August 14, 1978
Where are We Now In the Panorama of Prophesied World Events?

by Herbert W. Armstrong

The DEATH of Pope Paul VI may trigger a drastic change in world events.

This change could plunge the world into the most terrifying crisis ever experienced by man.

But I hasten to add that if this catastrophic World War III does explode, that will be the definite ASSURANCE that WORLD PEACE in the utopian WORLD TOMORROW – is imminently to follow.

I would rather picture to our readers a future of WORLD HOPE, than of horrifying world disaster. But we live in a troubled world with unprecedented evils piled mountain-high. And the trend is foreboding – not reassuring. It will get darker before the DAWN. The important thing is that the DAWN is absolutely assured by the living Creator GOD!

Some twenty years ago, before Pope John XXIII was elected, I had wondered if the Pope then being selected by the College of Cardinals would be the one who would propose his good offices to the nations of Europe to achieve political, monetary, and military union. European nations have longed for some sort of UNITY. They want not only economic union, as they have achieved by the “Common Market,” they fear the communist hordes – and especially if the U.S.S.R. and the Peoples Republic of CHINA ever get together.

Until now – since World War II – the Europeans have had to rely on the United States military power to protect them from further encroachments or nuclear attack from the Soviet Union.

Back during the final days of World War II, I was giving a commentary on the war news daily on the World Tomorrow radio program. We came to a point where the final coup de grace was expected hourly to be rendered on Germany by the Allies. But the Western Allies could not inflict that final death-blow until the Russians ended their part of the war in the eastern sector.

Day after day, hour after hour, we waited. But the Russians were in no hurry to END the war. They continued on, until they had taken over Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – and until the Russian boot had been firmly planted on all Eastern Europe – including Eastern Germany. All these became the “satellite countries.” They are spoken of as behind the “Iron Curtain.”

All who know communist beliefs, aims and tactics, know that they are committed to waging this war, by propaganda, by infiltration and fifth-column tactics, by sabotage and guerilla warfare – and, when necessary, finally by open all-out nuclear war. The Soviet Union maintains a very huge standing army. The Soviet Union competes on a virtual parity with the U.S.A., as the world’s two superpowers in military strength.

And the Europeans are right on their border. They know how communism did prove the “domino theory” correct in Viet Nam. They not only continued on from North Viet Nam to conquer South Viet Nam even with full U.S.A. participation with its military force – but then quickly Cambodia and Laos fell. And, next in the “domino fall-down” is to come Thailand, Burma, Malaysia. Singapore a few years ago successfully stopped a threatened communist take-over – but now they are in the “domino” orbit.

The Europeans are far more disturbed about their safety in relying on United States military power to protect them than Americans realize! The United States is not loved in Europe. European confidence in U.S. protection against their next-door communist neighbor has been lessening and lessening.

EUROPEANS WANT THEIR OWN UNITED MILITARY POWER! They know that a political union of Europe would produce a THIRD MAJOR WORLD POWER, as strong as either the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. – possibly stronger!

They have made a real effort toward union, in the Common Market. It has made them economically strong. United they could become stronger economically than the United States. The dollar continues dropping in European and Japanese markets – and especially the German MARK has soared stronger and stronger!

But they well know there is but ONE POSSIBILITY of union in Europe – and that is through the Vatican.

Two leaders in Europe produced, a few years ago, two different plans for union. The former Archduke Otto von Hapsburg of Austria, and the “strong man of Europe,” Dr. Franz-Josef Strauss of Munich. I know the latter well. He has been a dinner guest in my home.

Five years ago I felt, personally, that the more likely plan that might come to fruition was that of the former Archduke of Hapsburg, but the most likely man to HEAD such a union was Franz-Josef Strauss. However, we all become a year older every year, and there has been so much delay that a younger man may now head up such a European union.

As I said before, when Pope John XXIII was in process of election, I felt that the Pope elected might be the one who would make available his good offices to help political leaders of Europe bring about their hoped for union. But at once it became evident that Pope John had other ideas. He started the Ecumenical Movement, to bring about a different kind of union – a Church union between Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Catholics, and the Roman Catholics.

Then fifteen years ago, I thought Pope Paul might be the one to lead in this European political union. But the resurrection of the old “Holy Roman Empire” was again delayed. Pope Paul continued with Pope John’s ecumenical union project. But that was not to be accomplished.

Few realize it, but GOD ALMIGHTY is the one with power to make and unmake nations and kingdoms. God allows many things. He has allowed Satan to continue for the entire 6,000 years during which, on Adam’s choice, God sentenced the whole world – except such as God for special service should call – to be cut off from God.

And sometimes God delays -holds up – impending events which He has foretold. In the seventh chapter of Revelation, in order of time sequence of prophesied events, the time had come for the seven “trumpet” plagues. But, in this “history-in-advance” account, God is shown delaying these plagues until the sealing of the 144,000, and another innumerable multitude.

On the other hand, God reserves the prerogative to speed up events when His purpose requires. And we may well be at the very time of this prophecy now: “For He [God] will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness; because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth” (Rom. 9:28).

It has been, these past fifteen years, appearing that God was holding up world events that are prophesied to come – delaying them – to allow time for CHRIST’S GOSPEL MESSAGE to be delivered over the entire world. As in Matthew 24:14, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end [of the present, evil world] come.”

But during Pope Paul’s reign the Roman Catholic Church ran into unprecedented strife-torn troubles from within. Many priests were starting a liberal movement. Quite a number were marrying, contrary to Catholic law. Many nuns were marrying. Probably 90% to 98% (there are estimates only, and they vary) of the Catholic laity neglected completely to follow the traditional church doctrine that the sexual union, even in marriage, must be solely for procreation – and any other use is decreed sin, even though venial.

Also, Pope Paul faced at the opposite extreme a power group of Cardinals and Bishops and priests, who stood unalterably for traditional conservative Catholic tradition. Pope Paul walked the tightrope, but did manage to hold the church together, though torn within by dissent and opposing power struggles.

What kind of Pope will the College of Cardinals elect now? (This is written prior to that election). Some Cardinals and Bishops are saying they hope it will be another middle-of-the-roader like Paul – but there seems agreement that is not likely.

What does seem more likely to me, as an observer and one who understands what is prophesied, is that in the privacy of the locked-in Sistine Chapel, there will be sharp contention – a heated power struggle from both liberal and conservative camps. It will threaten to split the church right down the middle. Neither side will, in the first few days, give ground.

Then what seems prophetically likely, is that a strong conservative leader will suggest a solution to save the church. Let the Vatican take the lead in uniting the nations of Europe into a political UNION.

Two Popes have failed to achieve ecumenical religious union. Why not now turn to lead in POLITICAL UNION, on condition that the resurrected “Holy Roman Empire” be a UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE!

A political union, with a common monetary currency – in all probability the German MARK – with a common MILITARY FORCE to protect not only political Europe but also Catholicism against encroaching COMMUNISM! Communism is perhaps a bigger threat to Catholicism than to political Europe.

But also, this political union will put the Catholic Church right back in the saddle as it was from 554 to 1814 – with the power of police and military to enforce its decrees!

At one bold stroke, this would solidify the Roman Catholic Church and its strife from within, protect it from communist encroachment, and elevate it to a position of pinnacle POWER, heading what may well become the GREATEST POLITICAL AND MILITARY POWER ON EARTH!

Of course the liberals will object to this enforcement of the Catholic faith, if it is to enforce the traditional conservative doctrines. The conservative Cardinals may give some ground. This meeting of the College of Catholic Cardinals may emerqe with a slightly changed Catholic doctrine – but the traditional conservatism will probably carry the balance of power, in what emerges from this Cardinal Congress.

The meeting of the Catholic College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican may well prove to be a WORLD-SHAKING EVENT – the most important world event since World War II!

In the panorama of prophesied world events, the next prophesied event IS the restoration of the “Holy Roman Empire” as a new “United States of Europe!”

After that – WHAT?

The update of the free booklet “United States and Britain in Prophecy,” contains the eye-opening and supremely TIMELY ANSWER!