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The Plain Truth – January 1979
The Plain Truth – January 1979
Supernatural Forces On A Collision Course!
What Now?

by Herbert W. Armstrong

Two opposing supernatural powers are fast converging toward the supreme crisis of all time. It will drastically affect your life and all humanity! The end of this world is imminent. What’s prophesied to happen next?

It’s back to prophecy, now! We need an immediate updating on events fulfilling biblical prophecy! It’s now urgent that we pinpoint where we are in prophesied world events, especially in view of two month-apart papal elections and a serious new threat from the Soviet Union. Precisely what do these events portend for the immediate future?

It all started millennia ago. Now it is converging rapidly toward the CATACLYSMIC CLIMAX of the ages!

You are living in this supreme CRISIS-TIME of all eternity! It will severely affect YOUR LIFE – and perhaps your eternity!

Origin of the Supernatural Forces

It all began in eternity – farther back than your mind can grasp – and it will lead to a future happy eternity. Yet we live at the very point of supreme CRISIS!

It all began with the existence from eternity of God and the Word. The Word was much later to become – less than two thousand years ago – the Lord Jesus Christ. But He had always existed – “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3). All things were created by Him. God created all things (the UNIVERSE and all therein) by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9).

First to be created were the angels. Angels are spirit beings, composed of spirit, immortal, with life inherent. Three levels of angels were created: ordinary angels who do not have wings, seraphs and cherubs, both of whom do. Angels are on a higher plane than man. And the supreme creation in angel life were cherubs, of which only three are mentioned in the Bible.

One of these was the archangel Lucifer. Long before the creation of man, Lucifer had been set by God on earth’s THRONE, to administer the GOVERNMENT OF GOD over angels which then inhabited the earth.

This Lucifer was the SUPREME MASTERPIECE of God’s creative power – actually next to GOD in superPOWER! But Lucifer turned from God’s government and led his angels in REBELLION against God. As an invading army they swept up to God’s heaven, but were cast back down to earth. Lucifer’s name was changed to Satan the devil. His angels became demons.

Adam’s Rebellion

Then, in His greatest Master Plan of all, God undertook the actual reproduction of Himself, through MAN. God created man in His image – form and shape – for a special relationship with God. But Satan got to Adam through Eve his wife. Adam followed Satan in rejecting the government of God. Adam had been made, as had Lucifer and the angels, a free moral agent – with independent MIND and ability of free choice.

On Adam’s fateful decision and rebellion, Adam’s world, descended from him, was sentenced to being CUT OFF from God for 6,000 years, after which God decreed Christ should come to RESTORE the GOVERNMENT OF GOD to earth, establishing the KINGDOM OF GOD with worldwide RULE.

Satan is an immortal spirit being, next to God in supernatural power. When Adam failed to reject Satan’s WAY, but followed it in defiance of his Maker, it remained for Jesus Christ, the “second Adam,” to reject Satan’s way, defeat him, and qualify to restore God’s government. Those IN Christ, who have received the gift of His Holy Spirit and overcome Satan, shall qualify to sit with Christ on earth’s throne – by a soon-coming resurrection – at Christ’s imminent return as KING of kings.

God, in sentencing Adam and his world, had said, in effect, “Go, form your own governments, your own religions, your own civilization.” Satan has remained to deceive and thus sway all mankind – save only those few whom God has specially called to a unique mission, in preparation for the Kingdom of God.

In this world, soon after the Flood, a human despot, Nimrod, formed the world’s first city-states. His mother-wife, Semiramis, started a pagan, Satan-influenced religion, from which many world religions have sprung – deceived – with Satan the god of this world.

Some six centuries before Christ, one Nebuchadnezzar conquered other nations and established the Chaldean Empire (Babylon) as the world’s first empire.

Meanwhile God had called the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob out of Egyptian slavery, 430 years after Abraham, to become God’s nation on earth. Spiritual salvation was not offered them. Their God-established government was based on God’s spiritual law. But they rebelled, and were successively conquered and taken as captive slaves – first by Assyria, and later Judah was taken by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon.

Through the prophet Daniel, God revealed Himself to Nebuchadnezzar as supreme Ruler over all. Nebuchadnezzar had a chance to come under God’s rule. But as Israel had rejected that, so did Nebuchadnezzar. His empire was following the Babylonian mystery religion.

God gave prophecies of world events from the time of Daniel until our time and immediately beyond. The Persian Empire succeeded the Chaldean, then the Greco-Macedonian of Alexander the Great, followed in 27 B.C. by the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire held world sway during the time of Christ’s ministry.

Jesus Christ founded His Church A.D. 31 at Jerusalem. He had trained His original apostles, whom He sent forth with His GOSPEL MESSAGE of the KINGDOM OF GOD, backed up by the Church of God, imbued with God’s Holy Spirit.

Counterfeit Christianity

By A.D. 33 the Pater - leader of the Babylonian mystery religion, one Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24), falsely claimed Christianity and applied that name to his religion. It entered into fierce opposition and persecution of the Church of God, and by A.D. 58 a counterfeit gospel was being accepted, and the gospel of Christ was suppressed by Roman power by A.D. 70.

The Babylonian mystery religion (Rev. 17:5) became a Rome-based religion, persecuting true Christian believers. The Roman Empire was overthrown by northern barbarians in 476. There was a semi-Roman rule by the Vandals, Ostrogoths and the Heruli for nearly 200 years – but all three disappeared eventually as if the earth had swallowed them.

Meanwhile the Roman Church, still claiming Christianity, now known primarily as the Roman Catholic Church, had gained prominence and power. In 554, its pope brought Justinian, who ruled the Roman Empire of the east at Constantinople, to Rome, for a resurrection of the Roman Empire – then known as the Holy Roman Empire – with the popes claiming infallible divine rule over the state. Church and state were united – the Roman religion was enforced.

There were ups and downs in the continuing Holy Roman Empire - reaching peaks in A.D. 800 under the French King Charlemagne, then later another upsurge under the German Otto the Great, still later the Hapsburg Austrian dynasty rising to a peak under Charles V, and finally the Holy Roman Empire coming to its end under Napoleon, who “met his Waterloo” in 1814. Thus, as prophesied (Rev. 13:5), the medieval Holy Roman Empire continued for 1260 years (a day for a year in prophecy).

In 1935 Mussolini had conquered Ethiopia, with Eritrea, Italian Somaliland and Libya. Mussolini – having arranged a concordat with the Vatican – proclaimed the resurrection of the Roman Empire. It was an insignificant “empire,” hardly making front-page news. This was the kingdom that “was, and is not, and yet is” of Revelation 17:8.

Verse 10 (Rev. 17) says: “And there are seven kings [kingdoms]: five are fallen [as of 1935], and one is, and the other is not yet come.”

Prophesied United Europe

I have been proclaiming and writing, ever since 1935, that the final one of the seven eras of the Holy Roman Empire is coming in our generation – a “United States of Europe,” combining ten nations or groups of nations in Europe – with A UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE!

The nations of Europe have been striving to become reunited. They desire a common currency, a single combined military force, a single united GOVERNMENT. They have made a start in the Common Market. They are now working toward a common currency. Yet, on a purely political basis, they have been totally UNABLE to unite.

In only one way can this resurrected Holy Roman Empire be brought to fruition–by the “good offices” of the Vatican, uniting church and state once again, with the Vatican astride and ruling (Rev. 17:1-5).

This united Europe is pictured in the prophecy of Daniel 2 (the stupendous dream-image) as the ten toes of an image, which image portrayed and foretold the entire Gentile and Babylonian rule from Nebuchadnezzar’s Chaldean Empire, 605 B.C., until the KINGDOM OF GOD (Dan. 2:44). This united Europe will attempt to fight and destroy the glorified Christ, as He returns for WORLD RULE (Rev. 17:13-14).

This new united Europe will be, militarily and economically, as strong, or even more powerful, than either the United States or the U.S.S.R. It will be a third gigantic world power! But it will be exceedingly short-lived (Rev. 17:10, 12) – as iron and miry clay are not adhesive, and will not stick together (Daniel 2:42-43).

Now let me fill in a few pertinent points. Revelation 13:2,4 reveals that Satan gave this religious-political combine its power, and seat, and great authority.

Yet that does not imply that the millions of people within it are in themselves any more evil than the rest of humanity in this world, for THIS WHOLE WORLD – all nations – has been DECEIVED by Satan (Rev. 12:9). A deceived person may be ever so sincere, thinking he is right. Those deceived – all but the very minimal “elect” – are simply natural - or carnal-minded–and the natural mind of MAN is hostile against God, and not subject to the LAW of God, neither indeed can be (Rom. 8:7) and is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9). THAT DESCRIBES ALL OF US, as we were prior to conversion!

Satan has been the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4).

When God SENTENCED the world (all except the very few, comparatively, that He would call) to be CUT OFF from God, He at the same time ALLOWED Satan to remain.

There were two vital reasons for this: 1) The THRONE OF THE EARTH, on which God placed Lucifer, MUST NOT BE VACATED. Even though Lucifer was disqualified and his name changed to Satan, he must occupy the throne UNTIL his successor, Christ, has qualified (which He did in A.D. 31) and been INDUCTED INTO OFFICE (as He shall be at His second coming in supreme POWER AND GLORY). 2) As Jesus had to QUALIFY by rejecting and overcoming Satan, so must all those, from righteous Abel on to now, ALSO reject and overcome Satan in order to QUALIFY to sit with Christ in His throne when He ousts Satan and Himself sits on that THRONE OVERALL THE EARTH!

The REAL CULPRIT to blame for all the world’s evils is Satan – NOT DECEIVED MAN!

The 6,000-Year Battle

World-famous evangelists have said there is a supreme CONTEST or BATTLE going on between Christ and Satan. They believe that NOW is the ONLY day of salvation; that Christ is engaged in a supreme struggle to get everybody “SAVED,” while Satan is fighting savagely to keep everybody “LOST.” THAT IS AN ENTIRELY FALSE AND ERRONEOUS CONCEPT. Those who proclaim it are themselves DECEIVED by Satan.

The only CONTEST is between those few God has called and Satan, not between CHRIST and Satan. Those called must, it is true, overcome Satan, even as Jesus did, to QUALIFY to sit on Christ’s THRONE (a throne NOW OCCUPIED BY SATAN). Therefore, WE – we called-out ones, we who are CHRIST’S – are contending not against other people who persecute, accuse and become hostile against us. We are contending against WICKED SPIRITS IN HIGH PLACES, that is, Satan and his demons (Eph. 6:12). It is Satan working IN people (Eph. 2:2) who really is antagonizing, accusing, trying to destroy us.

But Jesus Christ has already CONQUERED and OVERCOME Satan. The former Lucifer was “perfect in all his ways” from the day of his creation “UNTIL iniquity was found in him” (Ezek. 28:15). GOD created Lucifer BY Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9). Christ is his MAKER! Satan has deceived evangelists of this world into putting Satan on an EQUAL FOOTING in power with God his Creator!

UNDERSTAND THIS, once and for all! Satan cannot do a thing except what GOD ALLOWS him to do! Notice this in the book of Job: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the ETERNAL, and Satan came also among them” (Job 1:6).

Satan contended against one of God’s “CALLED” – Job. Satan wanted PERMISSION from God to destroy all Job possessed. “And the ETERNAL said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand” (Job. 1:12). Satan can do NO MORE THAN GOD ALLOWS! There is NO CONTEST going on between God and Satan!

But the first man, Adam, MADE THE CHOICE to follow Satan’s way. God then sentenced man to be ON HIS OWN, cut off from God. God has ALLOWED Satan to sway and deceive mankind–and GOD HAD A GREAT PURPOSE IN DOING SO!

This world has NOT been God’s world. It has been MAN’S world, but, for a PURPOSE, God has allowed Satan to tempt, deceive and mislead mankind.

The Dilemma of the Papacy

Now, in SUCH A WORLD allowed by God – a world deceived and CUT OFF from Him – consider the situation of the Roman Catholic Church. This church has sat astride the governments of Europe through the Middle Ages and up until 1814. For a time after 1814, the popes had gone into virtual exile.

But now, in this twentieth century, a drastic CHANGE has come over all humanity. The so-called “new morality” has swept over the world. This, more than anything else, was a revolt against the Roman Catholic dictum, generally accepted in the Western world, that sex is in itself SINFUL, shameful.

Probably the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, started this wave of liberalism toward sex. But it led to a liberalism in morality in all forms.

Parental discipline all but disappeared. Women began to take jobs and become self-supporting; family and home life was breaking up; divorces were skyrocketing. Crime was increasingly frightful; violence was becoming general. The motion picture, followed by television after World War II, brought illicit sex and violence into family living rooms.

After 1917, Communism became a vital world factor, spewing out its propaganda of atheism and rebellion against formerly established authority. Communist military might burst into world prominence, making the Soviet Union, with the United States, the two major world military powers.

Communism was making alarming gains in such solidly Catholic countries as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France. Communism had taken over, as “satellite” countries, such former Roman Catholic nations as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary – all Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, within the Catholic Church, morals were relaxing; families were turning to means of birth control forbidden by the church; divorce was increasing; more and more priests and nuns began demanding the right to marry, and indeed many did!

Also meanwhile, once war-torn Europe, now rebuilt and economically prosperous, was dependent upon United States military force to protect them from Communist encroachment – since the Communists were right on their borders! The nations of Europe, especially those in NATO, more and more were losing confidence in the ability of the United States to protect them from the growing might of the Soviet Union. The United States took beatings in the wars in Korea and in South Vietnam. Communist propaganda in the United States turned the mood of America against sending soldiers to fight wars in faraway countries.

The nations of Western Europe had formed the Common Market, solely an economic union. But there was a growing FEAR of Russia; a growing DOUBT of U.S. protection from Communist military might; a growing and desperate desire among European leaders to UNITE politically, to provide their own military force, which would make them a third gigantic world military power, perhaps stronger than either the U.S. or the U.S.S.R.


The new pope is Polish, and he has walked the tightrope for years as a Roman cardinal in a Communist satellite state. He knows the danger of the threat of Soviet military invasion better than any Italian pope could. He knows the desire of Europe to reunite politically and militarily. He knows the problems within the Catholic Church – coming to be divided against itself. There was heated division between conservatives and liberals in the cardinal conclaves which elected the last two popes.

Division from Within

Now consider a few things that have not been widely known about Roman Catholic internal politics.

Here are excerpts from an article in the Los Angeles Times, by Andrew Greeley from Rome. The headline of the story: “The Entrance of Catholicism Back Into the World Is Now Inevitable.” The medieval alliance between the church and the world was virtually destroyed in the 14th century – and finally again in the early 19th. Yet prior to that the Catholic Church had been the leader and guardian of the European world.

Then Greeley listed three crucial points:

1) The world had come to view democracy as human progress – but to the church it was “an assault on Christian truth and ecclesiastical rights.”

2) The ascendancy of modern science and scholarship. The church looked on science as an attack on religious truth and the foundations of religion.

3) It had always been the belief of the church that the pope should RULE With ABSOLUTE POWER, while the world was coming to view papal power as a relic of the Dark Ages.

Many high in the church had continued to urge that the church must REJOIN THE WORLD. In the Second Vatican Council it was decided the time had come “to deal openly with the modern world.”

After the death of Paul VI, as a result of his administration, on the election of John Paul I, “it became clear that the church and the world were in dialogue once again – an historic turning point after centuries” (emphasis added).

Pope Paul had found his “balance of power in a ‘mini-Curia,’” created by the energetic Vatican Secretary of State (virtually a prime minister) Cardinal Giovanni Benelli.

It is my understanding that Cardinal Benelli had been assigned by Paul VI to work on plans toward the resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire to rule Europe.

Now put all these facts together. The Catholic Church is in trouble – coming to be divided from within. They must know that a house divided against itself cannot stand.


How did the Catholic Church settle its internal problems while it ruled supreme? By the PHYSICAL FORCE of the civil government, over which the popes ruled!

Revelation 17

It may not sound pretty, at this point, but I quote from the prophecy of Revelation 17. The time prophesied is now and the immediate future, though this prophecy also records some of the past: “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials [the seven last plagues which are to strike at the time of Christ’s second coming], and talked with me, saying unto me. Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication… The waters … where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues… So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman [church] sit upon a scarlet coloured beast [civil government], full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns” (verses 1-2, 15,3).

This prophecy continues, and ties in with Daniel 2, Daniel 7, and Revelation 13. The seven heads symbolize the seven dynasties or historic peaks of the Holy Roman Empire. The ten horns are ten kings or nations comprising this empire at the time of its seventh stage. Continue the prophecy: “And the woman was arrayed in purple [color symbolic of royalty] and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her [in vision], I wondered with great admiration” (Rev. 17:4-6).

The name might be translated “the BABYLONIAN MYSTERY RELIGION,” HAVING GROWN GREAT, ruling over many nations speaking different languages.

This prophecy, written in the 90s A.D., has since become history. This Babylonian mystery religion became great and ruled over the nations of Europe in the Holy Roman Empire, ruling by the physical force of the state civil governments, causing the martyrdom of saints who did not accept her doctrines and rule, but were loyal to Christ.

The TIME of the events of this prophecy is approximately 1935. The prophecy continues to say that this Holy Roman Empire was, but “is not” (at approximately 1935) – “and yet is.” It was about 1935 that Mussolini boasted of the revival of the Roman Empire – a revival so insignificant that, as I remember, it did not even make front-page news in most American newspapers. At that time “it was not, and yet is” (verse 8).

The prophecy continues to explain that the seven heads are seven mountains (or peaks of the kingdom) on which the church sat. At the time of the prophecy, approximately 1935, this Holy Roman Empire had been in “the bottomless pit” (a condition of virtual nonexistence) out of which it was to ascend in one last seventh peak, and cause WONDERMENT in the world (verse 8).

And when finally resurrected in this seventh phase, this Roman union of church and state will continue ONLY A VERY SHORT TIME.

It is pictured in Daniel 2 as the ten toes – a mixture of iron and clay which will not stick together.

It will become a MILITARY kingdom (Rev. 17:13-14) and will actually fight against Christ at His second coming! But the ten kings that give their power to the head king (symbolized as “the beast”) will hate the church, and shall put an end to her existence (verses 16-17).

Resurrected Holy Roman Empire

This shows 1) that the means the church has used to whip people into line, into professing her religion, has been the physical power of the military and the police of the state. Will she now once again turn to this means? And 2) this forthcoming resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire will last but a VERY SHORT time, and will END with the second coming of Christ to RULE the earth. Therefore, when this union does happen in Europe, we may know we are VERY CLOSE to Christ’s second coming.

However, other prophecies, such as Matthew 24:21-22, Daniel 12:1, and Jeremiah 30:7, show that there will be the “great tribulation” – the most terrible time of trouble in all earth’s history – brought on by this Roman resurrection – to last 3 1/2 years OR LESS; then Communist hordes, with an army of 200 MILLION, will permanently destroy Roman Catholic Europe! Yet certain divisions of the European army will be fighting at Armageddon, as Christ comes.

WILL the new Pope John Paul II launch this world-shaking Holy Roman Empire resurrection? The Catholic Church is IN DANGER OF DESTRUCTION FROM WITHIN, unless it can find a way to restore HARMONY and UNITY in its traditional practices and teachings. John Paul II is 58 years old. It is said he could reign before his death for perhaps the next 30 years.

BUT WITH COMMUNIST ENCROACHMENTS, with European distrust of U.S. military protection and their desire for political union, and with trouble within the Catholic Church, it would seem that John Paul II will act! Cardinal Benelli has prepared the way. Franz Joseph Strauss of Germany, “the strong man of Europe,” has a plan for such a union, as has Prince Otto of Hapsburg (Austria).

Gene H. Hogberg’s article in the November 1978 Plain Truth,“How the Dollar Crisis is Forging a United Europe,” adds another vital factor – the decline of the U.S. dollar – to the forces converging on a COLLISION COURSE!

And the U.S. News & World Report of October 30 adds that the present John Paul II was selected as pope for his “unusual mastery of skills in dealing … with affairs of state,” adding that he will approach the problems “with forcefulness,” “is capable of springing surprises,” and will “take vigorous stands.”

Truly, we are living in THE LAST DAYS, when mighty forces are indeed CONVERGING ON A COLLISION COURSE!

The “Great Tribulation”

Jesus’ prophecy of Matthew 24 shows the whole world being deceived by false religion, claiming to be “Christian” – saying Jesus is Christ – yet deceiving the MANY of the world! Then, verse 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 this age] COME.” After the beginning of the proclamation worldwide of the gospel of the Kingdom shall come the “great tribulation” – more terrible than any time of trouble ever. The supernatural intervention of CHRIST will cut short that tribulation (verses 21-22).

But WHERE will the great tribulation be felt the most – strike hardest? The prophecy of Jeremiah 30 says it will be the time of Britain’s and America’s trouble. (Write for our booklet The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy.)

It’s time for those in America and the British nations to TAKE WARNING! I have forewarned of this very thing for 44 years.

The “Mark of the Beast”

For years I have said little or nothing about “the mark of the beast” of Revelation 13:17, although I spoke and wrote a great deal 30 to 44 years ago on that and other prophecies to occur about the same time.

But it seemed as if God were supernaturally holding up the march of prophesied events. In Revelation 7, the time sequence of the prophecies had come to the phase of the “day of the Lord,” when there were frightening signs in the sun, moon and stars–time for the seven trumpet plagues. Then, in Revelation 7:1, four angels at the four corners of the earth were holding up the winds that they should not loose the trumpet plagues, “till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (verse 3). This shows that, when there is a reason, God will HOLD PROPHESIED EVENTS UP for a while. I have wondered if He were not holding up world events TILL we have completed THE GREAT COMMISSION!

On the other hand, God may suddenly SPEED THINGS UP. He is going to CUT SHORT the great tribulation. Again, “He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth” (Rom. 9:28).

But we MAY now be coming VERY NEAR a sudden CRASH ENDING of things in this world! Right now, so far as God allows world events to take their own course, a lot depends on what Pope John Paul II and the Roman Curia decide to do – and they may be pressured by government leaders in Europe. TIME IS SHORT!