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The Plain Truth – June/July 1979
The Plain Truth – June/July 1979
Part Eight:
The United States And Britain In Prophecy

by Herbert W. Armstrong

America and Britain are going down — but why? Why are these nations losing strength, will, prestige? Is it just due to the natural flow of world history, or is it because they have rejected the source of all the blessings that have been showered down upon them? Bible prophecy foretells what will happen to America and Britain — and humanity in general — unless we repent!

How great, how powerful, and how wealthy did the British and American people become? And what is suddenly happening to us now? Why has Britain already lost most of her colonies – her possessions – her resources, wealth, power and influence in the world? Why is Britain no longer considered Great Britain – a GREAT world power?

Why is the United States now discredited, despised, hated throughout so much of the world? Why could we not win the Korean War? Why couldn’t the United States whip little North Vietnam?

First, realize just how great – how rich and powerful – the American and British people did become.

People are prone to take their status – and that of their country – for granted. Few realize what unprecedented affluence our countries enjoyed. We judge all things by comparison. The average Briton, Australian or Canadian has never traveled through the illiterate, poverty-stricken, disease-infested backward areas of China, India, the Middle East or black Africa. He has not observed the squalor, the stench, the poverty and wretchedness in which the largest part of mankind lives.

Nor has the average American visited those vast underprivileged areas, nor even the countries of Europe – prosperous compared to the teeming illiterate masses, yet poor by comparison to American standards. No, our people generally have not realized. Nor have they been grateful. Nor have they given God thanks, nor accepted the responsibility that accompanies their lavish blessings.

Few realize that every desired, prized possession imposes with it the obligation of responsibility for its use. Does the eight-year-old boy who is given a shiny new bicycle by his parents feel a consciousness for the responsibility imposed on him – unless the fact is impressed on him by his parents – for the care of it, and the carefulness with which he must ride it to avoid injuring himself or others?

When God lavished on our peoples such wealth and power and economic possession as no peoples have ever before enjoyed, did we appreciate what we had or feel the commensurate sense of RESPONSIBILITY for its wise and proper use?

WE DID NOT! We didn’t even recognize HOW GREAT was our blessing, let alone feel a sense of obligation for our custodianship before our Maker! Just HOW GREAT, then, was this birthright blessing?

The Birthright Wealth

Read again the prophetic promises of Genesis 22:17.

To Abraham God said: “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.”

And again, the inspired prophetic parting blessing upon Rebekah, leaving her family to become the wife of Isaac: “And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them” (Gen. 24:60).

Earlier we quoted the correct Fenton translation: “… and your race shall possess the gates [plural] of its enemies.” As explained there, the “gates” of enemy nations are the strategic SEA GATES of entrance to or exit from these nations. Although all wealth comes from the ground, prosperity and affluence on a national scale always have come also by industry and COMMERCE. And commerce between nations has been transacted almost altogether by the SEA-LANES of the world – by SHIPS, and, within a continent, by railroads.

How significant, then, that Robert Fulton operated the first steamboat in 1803 – precisely when Britain and America suddenly began to MULTIPLY in national wealth! And also that it was the nineteenth century that saw the development of the railroads!

As explained before, since the birthright pertains to NATIONS, the “GATE” of our enemies would be such passes as Gibraltar, Suez, Singapore, the Panama Canal, etc.

Britain and America came into possession of every such major “gate” in this world! So we MUST be modern Israel. World War II hinged on these “gates.” They had become not only strategic passes, but the world’s greatest fortifications. But today, we have lost most of them, most recently, the Panama Canal – and it appears that soon Gibraltar, too, will be lost. Why?

Notice Genesis 39:2, 23: “The Eternal was with Joseph, and he was a PROSPEROUS man… the Eternal was with him, and that which he did, the Eternal made it to PROSPER.” And God did prosper Joseph’s descendants, Britain and America, with the fabulous birthright promised Joseph’s sons!

Consider Moses’ dying prophetic blessing, foretelling what would happen to each of the tribes in these latter days.

“And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof … let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph [Ephraim and Manasseh both] … His glory is like the firstling [firstborn – birthright holder] of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns [Great Britain’s national seal today]: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh” (Deut. 33:13-17).

Whoever is Ephraim and Manasseh today must have been in possession of the earth’s choicest agricultural, mineral, and other wealth – the great gold and silver mines; iron, oil, and coal; timber and other resources.

What nations fulfill these prophecies? Why, only Great Britain and America!

More than half of all tillable, cultivatable, temperate-zone lands of this earth came after A.D. 1800 into the possession of our two great powers alone! The rich agricultural lands of the Mississippi Valley; the vast wheat and grain fields of the Midwest, of Canada and Australia; the great forest lands of the Pacific Northwest and many other parts of the world; the gold fields of South Africa, Australia, Alaska and the United States; the great coal mines of the United States and British Isles; the natural waterfalls and means of power and consequent prosperous industrial and manufacturing districts of England and the eastern United States; the choicest fruit lands of our Pacific Coast and Florida. What other nations combined ever possessed such material wealth?

And nearly all this wealth came to us after A.D. 1800!

The Actual Statistics

Just to what extent has Almighty God fulfilled His promises in us to the descendants of Joseph in these latter years since A.D. 1800 – promises of “the precious fruits brought forth by the sun … the chief things of the ancient mountains … and the precious things of the earth”?

Said Charles M. Schwab, steel magnate, before the Massachusetts Bankers Association, January 5, 1921: “Our United States has been endowed by God with everything to make it and keep it the foremost industrial and commercial nation of the world.”

World petroleum output in 1950 was almost 3,800 million barrels. Of this total the United States alone produced more than one-half – nearly 52%. Together, the British Commonwealth and the United States produced 60% of the crude petroleum, not including our vast foreign investments. But by 1966 – the fateful year in which the British Colonial Office in London closed its doors, marking the official death of the British Empire – that 60% of all the world’s crude petroleum output had been reduced to 32%.

Britain and America mined 1 1/2 times as much coal as all other nations combined. But by 1966 our portion had shrunk to less than one-third of the world production – 30.9%!

Together, the British Commonwealth and America produced, in 1950, three-fourths of the world’s steel – the United States alone producing almost 60% or 105,200,000 short tons in 1951. We produced 1 1/3 times as much pig iron as all other nations combined.

By 1966, this basic index of wealth had skidded down to one-third (33.6%) of steel production and only 17.8% (one-sixth) of the pig iron.

We possessed nearly 95% of the world’s nickel (chiefly from Canada); 80% of the world’s aluminum; 75% of the zinc. But where did we rate in 1966? Only 3.6% of the world’s nickel; 40.2% of its aluminum (aluminium); 12.4% of its zinc.

In 1950, the British Commonwealth completely dominated the production of chromite (from South Africa). Together Britain and America produced two-thirds of the world’s rubber, and dominated the world’s copper, lead, tin, bauxite and other precious metal outputs. But by 1966, we produced only 2.3% of the world’s chromite, 23.4% of its copper, 9.9% of its lead, no tin, and 6.3% of its bauxite.

The British Commonwealth produced two-thirds of the world’s gold – about £266,000,000 ($642 million) in 1950 – while the United States had three times as much gold reserve as the total for the rest of the world. But by 1966 the U.S. gold supply had been drained so much that the dollar was in serious jeopardy.

We produced and utilized two-thirds of the world’s output of electricity – the United States producing 283 thousand million kilowatt-hours in 1948, and the United Kingdom and Canada outstripping Russia, Germany and France combined. But by 1966 we produced only 20.1%!

Great Britain and the United States did possess well over half of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage. But by 1966 the figure was only 32.5%. The British Isles constructed more vessels than any other place on earth. But less than two decades later two or three Gentile nations had already outstripped Britain and America. In 1950, we also possessed about one-half of the world’s railroad mileage. By 1966 our combined railway freight shipping was only 26% of the world total.

Whereas the United States alone once produced 73% of the automobiles, by 1966 the U.S. combined with the U.K. produced 55% – 44% from the U.S. alone. Japan, Germany, France, and Italy are making huge gains.

How Did We Get It?

How did we come into possession of all this vast wealth of the earth? Did we acquire it through our own human wisdom, foresight, energy, ability and power?

Let Abraham Lincoln answer: “We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards fertility of soil, extent of territory, and salubrity of climate… We … find ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or the establishment of them.”

Again, in his proclamation of April 30, 1863, for a nationwide day of fasting and prayer, this great President said: “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God … and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord … We have been the recipients of the choicest blessings of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation ever has grown; BUT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD! We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”

And because Lincoln saw a nation who had forgotten God – a nation drunk with a success not due to its own efforts – a nation taking all the credit and glory to itself, this great president called upon the nation for a day of fasting and prayer to confess this national sin before God. The fate of the nation hung in the balance when he issued that proclamation. But God heard and answered that great national prayer offensive – and the nation was then preserved!

But today the threat to our fate is a thousand times more seriously hanging in the balance. And today we do not have a president or a prime minister with the vision, understanding and courage to bring our nations to their knees!

Abraham Lincoln knew these great material blessings had not been earned, but had been given to our people by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel.

And we should face the facts today and know that we were given all this vast unprecedented material wealth because God promised it, unconditionally, to Abraham. And He promised it to Abraham because Abraham obeyed God, kept God’s laws and commandments.

The birthright blessing was denied our forefathers after Moses’ day because they REFUSED to live by God’s laws.

And today God warns us, through many prophecies in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Micah, and many others, that unless we of this generation REPENT of our sins, and turn to Him with fasting, and with weeping, and earnest PRAYER, He will destroy our cities, all our fortresses, with the foreign sword; that He will punish us at the hand of a CRUEL ONE; that we shall be invaded, defeated, reduced to SLAVES! GOD HELP US TO HEED THAT WARNING!

In conclusion, we ask: If we are not national Israel – the so-called “lost” Ten Tribes – prosperous Joseph-Israel – birthright Israel – actual inheritors of the birthright blessings which were to be bestowed beginning A.D. 1803, then who else can be? No other nation or combination of nations possessed these blessings of the birthright – for we held more than two-thirds – nearly three-fourths – of all the raw materials, resources, and wealth of this entire round earth, and all other nations combined shared among them only a small part.

Do you know of stronger proof of the divine inspiration of the Holy Bible as the revealed Word of the living God? Could mortal men have written, without divine inspiration, those prophecies we have considered in this series; made those PROMISES to Joseph-Israel; and, after a lapse of 2520 years, beginning the exact years of 1800-1803, have had power to bring them about in fulfillment? These are no small or trifling promises. They involve possession of the great wealth and vast natural resources of the whole earth.

Present these facts as a challenge to your atheistic and agnostic friends. Ask them to answer, if they can, whether any but the power of the Eternal Creator Himself could have made and had committed to writing such promises thousands of years ago, and, at precisely the promised time thousands of years later, brought about their fulfillment!

How any American – any English-speaking inheritor of God’s choicest material blessings – can, in the face of such stupendous, overwhelming fulfillment of prophecy – such awe-inspiring demonstration of the power and might and faithfulness of Almighty God – accept and partake of these blessings, and then carelessly ignore God’s WARNING that our sins today are INCREASING, or fail to get to his knees before the great Almighty, repent, and INTERCEDE in heartrending PRAYER for all Israelite nations, and HELP in every way he can to warn our people now of their impending PERIL, seems impossible to conceive.

The Prophecies for the Immediate Future

The birthright, once we received it, was stupendous, AWESOME – unequalled among nations or empires! But what have our peoples done with that awesome blessing?

They were still ISRAELITES, even though they themselves knew it not! They were still rebellious, “stiff-necked,” stubborn!

Once the British peoples and the Americans – the “lost” Israelites now supposing they are Gentiles – found themselves basking in the pleasant sunshine of such wealth and power, they were less willing than their ancient forefathers to yield to their GOD and His WAYS. They felt no need of Him, now! It seems few ever turn to God until they find themselves in desperate need or trouble.

But after God had withheld the birthright 2520 years, and then, when our peoples deserved nothing from God, He suddenly bestowed on us national blessings unparalleled in history – the unconditional promise to Abraham was kept! No longer is God obligated by His promise to continue our undeserving peoples in world prestige, wealth and greatness. Once we had been given such unrivaled position, it was up to us whether we should keep it.

So now back to Leviticus 26. We had previously covered verses 1 through 18. God said that IF, for all these previous punishments, the Israelites would not listen to and obey Him, He would punish them the duration of 2520 years. Then what?

If, after that 2520 years of withholding the birthright, our people – with the birthright – still rebel, God continues, verse 19: “And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass.” God has already begun that!

We Had Pride in Our Power!

God could not speak about breaking the pride of our national POWER until after that birthright power had been bestowed! He put our nations in the position of possessing the greatest national power any nation or empire ever possessed. We had great pride in that national power – in our national prestige.

I remember hearing President Theodore Roosevelt tell of HIS PRIDE in that power – and how he used it when he was president. The Germans were sending a battleship steaming toward Manila Bay, threatening to take over the Philippines. The Philippines were then a United States possession. President Roosevelt sent the kaiser a terse note demanding that the German warship be immediately withdrawn.

“The kaiser didn’t know, then, that I meant it!” snapped Mr. Roosevelt. “So I sent another note. Only, I didn’t send this second note to the kaiser. I sent it to Admiral Dewey, in command of the United States Pacific fleet. It ordered the entire fleet to steam full speed toward the German battleship, and if it did not turn around and go back, to SINK IT!” said Mr. Roosevelt with emphatic force! In those days, before World War I, we had pride in our national power!

… But We Lost It!

Today even little nations dare to insult, trample on, or burn the United States flag – and the United States, still having power, does no more than issue a weak protest! What’s happened to the PRIDE of our power?

We have already LOST IT! God said, “I will break the pride of your power!” And HE DID!

Other prophecies reveal we are to have soon such drought and famine that disease epidemics will follow, taking millions of lives. When our heaven is as iron, our earth as brass, we will realize rain does not come down from iron, and an earth hard as brass is not getting rain, not yielding food!

Verse 20: “And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”

But will America and Britain heed? They never have!

Then what? After all that, THEN WHAT?

Verse 21: “And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.”

There again, as in verse 18, is that Hebrew word shibah. Actually, in the Hebrew in which Moses wrote, there are not the two Hebrew words, one meaning “seven” and the other “times.” There is just the one word, shibah.

As explained in the last installment, the word is defined as “seven times,” and also as “sevenfold.” The “seven times” conveys duration of punishment. The “sevenfold” meaning of the same word conveys intensity of punishment.

Now More Intense Punishment

Because of its use and construction in the sentence, and because of what actually happened, it is certain that in verse 18 this Hebrew word shibah refers to DURATION of punishment – seven prophetic times, which, during this punishment, was an actual 2520 YEARS!

But also, because of the very different sentence structure and because there cannot now be another 2520-year WITHHOLDING of what has now been bestowed, it is just as certain that the shibah in verse 21 refers to a sevenfold INTENSITY of punishment.

Notice, the wording in verse 21 is entirely different from verse 18. This time it is not worded “seven times more for your sins,” but “seven times more PLAGUES.” The expression “seven times” in verse 21 is descriptive of PLAGUES to be brought on them.

So now, if twentieth-century Ephraim and Manasseh – Britain and America – refuse to turn to God in obedience – refuse to live the way that causes, retains, and increases blessings, God will punish them in a manner far more INTENSE – and even strip entirely from them this colossal, unprecedented national blessing – returning them to captivity and slavery – as continuing verses of this prophecy show.

Do you think so great a fall could not come to so great powers as Britain and America? Do you say, “It can’t happen HERE?” DO you think the GREAT GOD who was able to GIVE them such unprecedented world leadership and power and wealth is not able to take it away from them and throw them, like their ancient forefathers, back into SLAVERY?

You need to OPEN YOUR EYES to the fact that Britain’s sun already has SET! You need to WAKE UP to the fact that the United States, even still possessing unmatched POWER, is afraid – fears – to use it, just as God said: “I will break the PRIDE of your POWER”; that the United States has stopped winning wars – that America was unable, with all its vast power, to conquer little North Vietnam! The United States is fast riding to the GREATEST FALL that ever befell any nation!

The handwriting is on the wall!

You need, now, to UNDERSTAND the remainder of this prophecy of Leviticus 26 – and also of Deuteronomy 28 – and the many other prophecies relating to them and events soon to VIOLENTLY affect YOUR life!

You need to look at the prophecies of Jesus, of Jeremiah, of Isaiah, and others describing how much more intense is to be the punishment God is going to lay on the British and American people.

For MANY prophecies warn us of a CERTAINTY that it will be trouble such as NEVER happened to any nation or people!

Knowing our identity – knowing how the British and American peoples are identified in the prophecies – you need now to become AWARE of what is said about us in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Hosea, Amos, and the other prophecies – what JESUS foretold – as well as in these prophecies written by Moses!

Why This Intensity of Punishment

And you need, also, to know why a just and loving God is going to punish His chosen people – people He chose for a glorious PURPOSE they have refused to perform.

The very fact of punishment implies CORRECTION. We need to understand that correction is applied to correct WRONG WAYS harmful to us – to turn us around into RIGHT WAYS that will cause desired blessings! Understand! God punishes every son He loves (Heb. 12:6).

Understand also human nature! Human nature wants to be good – to consider itself and be considered good, while it wants only to do evil. It wants the good result. But it wants to receive the good while it sows the evil. It somehow fails to grasp the truth that as we sow, so also shall we reap! It’s all a matter of CAUSE and EFFECT!

God’s punishment only reflects God’s LOVE – turning us from causing evil results to the way that brings happy results! God is now about to STOP US from bringing colossal evils on ourselves! God is not angry because we are harming HIM – but because we are harming ourselves – whom God loves!

Punishment Is Correction

The prophecies do not stop with revealing the unprecedented multiplied intensity of punishment already beginning to descend upon America and Britain. The prophecies record also the RESULT of that intensified punishment. The result will be a corrected people. The result will be an eye-opening realization of what we have done to ourselves. The supreme punishment will teach us, at last, our lesson! The punishment will break our spirit of REBELLION! It will lift us up from the cesspool of rottenness and evil into which we have sunk. It will teach us the way to glorious peace, prosperity, happiness, abundant well-being!

On beyond the frightful national calamities now descending upon us will come a BLESSING inconceivably greater than the national material birthright we have possessed.

We have to learn that material goods are not the SOURCE of happiness. I have often mentioned the many rich men I have known – men whose bank balances were full – but their lives were empty! Material prosperity is indeed desirable – but it is not the source of happiness.

After all, real happiness is a spiritual commodity! The birthright was only one of TWO major promises God made to Abraham. The sceptre promise involved not only a dynasty of human kings. It need not have included them at all – had the Israelites retained and been obedient to GOD as their King. The sceptre pointed primarily to CHRIST and spiritual salvation through Him.

Our peoples have basic lessons yet to learn. The TRUE VALUES are spiritual. Actually, God’s law is a spiritual law. It involves physical acts – but it is based on spiritual principles. And it requires God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in the mind to fulfill!

PUNISHMENT implies CORRECTION. Correction means a change of course. It means REPENTANCE – and repentance means turning around and going the OTHER WAY!

Now, before I give you these sensational prophecies, understand WHY national punishment must come, and who needs the correction! ONLY those who are sowing EVIL need it – who are transgressing God’s right WAYS – God’s law! Those, and only those, who are bringing on themselves the evils that result from transgression.

And UNDERSTAND THIS: Although the NATIONS as a whole are to be put through this unprecedented punishment, yet those individuals who yield to accept God’s correction without the punishment shall be protected from it! No one need suffer this intense tribulation!

Sevenfold More Plagues

Now notice again what is laid down in Leviticus 26.

After the national birthright had been withheld 2520 years and then bestowed; after God gave our peoples that national POWER, and has now, because of our national rebellion against His laws, broken the pride of our power; after He shall have punished us with unprecedented DROUGHT and epidemics of disease in its wake, then IF the British and Americans still continue in their evil ways – still refuse to repent and turn to their God – He warns: “… I will bring seven times more PLAGUES upon you according to your sins.” Read that in the Revised Standard Version: “… I will bring more plagues upon you, sevenfold as many as your sins” (verse 21).

What people do not seem to realize is that SIN does bring upon the sinner the consequences of sin – the plagues of suffering. The Bible defines sin as the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4), and the law of God is a spiritual law (Rom. 7:14).

Material Goods Not Enough

Let’s understand this! I have said that money is not the source of happiness. Money can buy only material things or services. But there must be the spiritual content, as well as the physical, to happiness. Material things alone do not provide satisfying happiness. God’s law is a spiritual law. In other words, it is THE WAY to peace, happiness, abundant well-being. Going that way is what God supplied to CAUSE real happiness.

Conversely, then, can we not see that transgressing that way is to cause unhappiness, pain and suffering, emptiness, heartaches, fears and worries, frustrations? All these evils are caused by transgressing God’s law. The sinner is really plagued with these evils he brings on himself.

Now study again that 21st verse of Leviticus 26. Punishment is CORRECTION. To teach us the lesson we have failed to learn by experience, God is going to plague our peoples SEVENFOLD more than our sins already have plagued us – sevenfold more punishment than we have brought on ourselves!

Or, as the Authorized Version says, “seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.” Sevenfold INTENSITY of punishment – OF CORRECTION!

Slavery Once Again

Notice now verses 23-25 (RSV): “And if by this discipline you are not turned to me, but walk contrary to me, then I also will walk contrary to you, and I myself will smite you sevenfold for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you … and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.”

SLAVERY once again!

Get the real meaning of this! Our SINS have brought punishment. This punishment we have brought on ourselves. If we still refuse to learn the lesson, and be corrected for our own good, God says, “I myself will smite you sevenfold.” We have brought the consequences of SIN on ourselves – now God will Himself bring on us sevenfold more intense punishment – punishment that is CORRECTION!

Now read on to verse 27 (RSV): “And if in spite of this you will not hearken to me, but walk contrary to me, then I will walk contrary to you in fury [the seven last plagues – Rev. 15:1], and chastise you myself sevenfold for your sins… And I will LAY YOUR CITIES WASTE… And I will scatter you among the nations.”

God is going to keep multiplying chastening – correction – upon our peoples until they do turn from their evil ways – until they turn to the ways that cause peace, happiness, prosperity, all the good things!

How UNTHINKABLE! – that our Maker shall have to force our peoples to be happy, to have peace, to be able to enjoy prosperity, to yield, to accept – our own choice – eternal life in abundant well-being and JOY for all eternity!

How UNBELIEVABLE! – that human nature, desiring these blessings, has insisted stubbornly in going the way that cuts them off and causes PUNISHMENT – CORRECTION – and then refuses to be corrected until it is MULTIPLIED in intensity sevenfold! Yes, sevenfold – three successive times!

How GREAT is our God – and WHAT LOVE for our peoples He expresses, in patiently tolerating and correcting us UNTIL we accept His boundless BLESSINGS!

(To Be Continued)