Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] We're going to examine key Bible prophecies that give keys to identify who in today's world hold these fulfilled promises, and we will also show what that means for the future.
[Narrator] Join our presenters from the United Church of God as we bring you help for today and hope for tomorrow directly from your Bible, here on "Beyond Today."
[Darris McNeely] "I am Joseph." These three words struck to the heart of 11 men standing uncomfortably before the world's most powerful prime minister. These men were mere tenders of sheep and cattle herdsman seeking to preserve their families at a time of famine. The room they were in was quiet, save for the sound of this emotional declaration from this man who at that moment held their lives in his hand.
With these three words they were seized with fear, exposed for what they were, men who had held a dark secret that was now exposed after many years of deception. They must have felt that their lives could be at an end. The last time they had seen this man, he was 17 years old, an impetuous and an outspoken youth. They had watched as he disappeared down the road to Egypt, his loud cries of protest fading in the distance. His brothers had sold him as a slave to a caravan of Midianite traders.
Unknown to these 11 was the incredible journey of their younger brother during the last 20 years. Joseph's story is one of the great stories of the Bible. It's as fresh today as it was more than three millennia ago. Transported to Egypt, the world's most powerful nation at the time, twice sold as a slave, Joseph passed through the home of a high-ranking Egyptian official to the dark depths of prison, even there becoming chief assistant to the prison warden. Miraculously though by the hand of God, he rose to second in command to the Pharaoh the one man who would be responsible to save Egypt from the disaster of famine.
Now it all came full circle. His brothers stood before him, not recognizing him, but needing his help to survive. In that cry, "I am Joseph," we have the essence of a remarkable story that stretches across history into our modern world. It's a multifaceted story and it's a very real story. The story foreshadows thousands of years in advance one of the most distinctive and prominent threads of world history and Bible prophecy. Joseph's story is one of betrayal, enslavement, and a providential rise to a position of power and wealth by which he saved many from death.
This great story is a type of the rise of two of the world's greatest nations, Great Britain and the United States of America. Joseph's fascinating tale holds a vital key to discovering the nations that have inherited the fullness of the physical promises made to Abraham and passed from his descendant Jacob to Joseph, and it holds the key to connect the prophecies of Israel at the end of the age before the second coming of Jesus Christ. In this program, we're going to examine key Bible prophecies that give keys to identify who in today's world hold these fulfilled promises. And we will also show what that means for the future.
So let's take a look at these prophecies. In Genesis 49, there's a prophecy given by Jacob to his 12 sons who were gathered around his bed as he lay dying. His words were, "Gather together that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days." "Gather together," he said, "and hear, you sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel, your father." Jacob's words predict marvelous and wonderful things for Joseph's end time descendants. Jacob says to Joseph, "You're a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well. Your branches will run over the wall."
Now what does the idea of a fruitful bough mean? Well, it's a symbol. It's a symbol or a picture of a branch of a fruit tree, or a vine of fruit that's just loaded down and overwhelming. It indicates prosperity. It indicates abundant wealth. Jacob predicted Joseph's descendants would become fabulously wealthy. The phrase, "Blessings of the breast and of the womb" that he uses indicate the sizable population of Joseph's seed at the end of the age, in the last days. Jacob also forecast a time when Joseph's branches would run over the wall, as it says, implying a people that spread by colonization, by expansion, literally to all four corners of the Earth. When Jacob says that, "Joseph's bow remained in strength and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob," what he's doing is showing Jacob's or Joseph's descendants as a people that would have great military power. Combining this to a separate prophecy in the 48th chapter of Genesis where Jacob put his name and blessing on the two sons of Joseph, each named Ephraim and Manasseh, we have the keys to unlock the identity of Joseph in the modern world.
In this critical key prophecy, Jacob prophesied Manasseh would become a great people but his younger brother Ephraim would also be greater and his descendants would become a multitude of nations. Very interesting prophecy there. Moses repeated these same words years later in his farewell address to the Israelites as they prepared to cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land after their long journey. His words, Moses', added another key of understanding to this. Here's what he said. He said, "Let the blessing come on the head of Joseph and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers. His glory is like a firstborn bull, and his horns of the wild ox. Together with them, he shall push the peoples to the ends of the earth. They are the ten thousands of Ephraim and they are the thousands of Manasseh." It's a prophecy given in Deuteronomy 33.
Now, given that Joseph was physically separated from his brothers, can this separation also mean a physical separation of Joseph in the modern world? Taken together, these promises describe what prophecy calls an empire. A people grown large into a nation that dominates all other nations within its sphere. Today we call such nations described with these words in the Bible, we call them superpowers today. And in today's world of the last 350 years, there are only two nations that fit the descriptions that we are seeing here in the Book of Genesis. If what we have here in Genesis 49 is a description of Jacob's descendants and what he says are the last days, meaning today's world, then who among the modern nations would fit the description laid down in these promises of economic greatness and superpower status? Well, we should look for the modern day descendants of Joseph in a setting even where they are separated people, that is insulated from the descendants of other Israelite tribes by some kind of physical or geographic barrier. And indeed this has been the case with the descendants of Joseph during modern history.
If we look at today's world to determine a great multitude of nations acting as one and separated geographically, culturally, and even by language from others, and a single great nation separated from its brother nation, and both of these peoples acting together in a way that fits the description of a fruitful bough, a blessing and a benefit to the world's nations, where would we look? What nations in the modern world would fit all the parts of this identity? There's only two. The United States and Great Britain.
Throughout history, the English Channel has served as a buffer, a very profitable buffer, that separated those living in England from those people living on the northwest corner of the European continent. That separation by water has had very beneficial effects. The first relates to colonization. They had to move out, they had to get out from their land, and the adventuresome Ephraimites went to distant parts such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The other branch of this family of Joseph, the Manassite branch, traveled as well, ultimately building a nation that was insulated from not only their brother Ephraim, Great Britain, but other brothers by the Atlantic Ocean and by the Pacific Ocean. The colonization and settlement process in which these people participated was a dramatic fulfillment of Joseph's branches running over the wall. In fact, separation has allowed the British and American people to live in relative peaceful isolation and it has often done much to spare excessive grief and losses caused by war.
Throughout much of British history, the insulation that's afforded by the English Channel was a barrier that freed them from a lot of heavy military expenses, and that English Channel made England a very peaceful place in relative terms. As well, the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans insulated the United States of America and gave it an unprecedented opportunity in all of history to develop. From the birth of America in 1776, the founding fathers aspired to create a new and a noble nation. The advantage of geographic isolation on a new and largely unpopulated continent gave Americans the ability to create what has become the strongest, most powerful nation in today's world, indeed, in all of history.
America's birth was the separating of the promise and the blessing upon these two sons of Joseph, just as Jacob said would happen. Now this belief in a divine purpose for the English-speaking nations of the world has a very deep foundation among honest observers and historians, and I admit that it's not a popular idea today. Frankly, the idea that any nation is exceptional or has some purpose rooted in an eternal purpose designed by the God of the Bible, ideas like that have been banned from the precincts of government and education and religion for a very, very long time. And unfortunately, even Great Britain has lost its way among the nations, grown old and tired of such notions of duty, honor and a divine mission.
The recent death of Queen Elizabeth II should be seen as an end of a very long era when certain biblical values were respected and they did find and have a place in society. Residents of the United Kingdom today are largely atheistic or non-religious. And America, well, America unfortunately is experiencing some deadly attacks upon its own origins, its history, and the social compact that has held it together for more than 200 years. We've had years of bitter social and political wars that have exposed an inner cancer. Those of us who know a different past where such problems did not dominate, we're sobered when we look around at the present condition.
When we study history, when we study current events with the Bible in one hand and our eyes turned upward to God, we can understand what is happening in our world today, we can understand our times. Fortunately for anyone seeking truth, there are accounts, books, accounts by honest observers, to help us verify and understand what these scriptures tell us. Let me give you a quote from a British politician by the name of Daniel Hannan. He wrote a book called, "Inventing Freedom." Here's what he said in his book about the English-speaking peoples. He said, "It was once uncontroversial to see the spread of liberty as being bound up with the rise of Great Britain and America." What he calls the Anglosphere. "After the time of the Reformation, many English speakers saw the ascendancy of their civilization as providential. Theirs was a new Israel, they would write and say, a chosen nation appointed by God to carry freedom across the world. The opening lines of one of Britain's most famous songs, 'Rule Britannia' says, 'When Britain first at Heaven's command, Heaven's command arose from out the azure main.'" Hannan continues in his book. He says, "The same conviction motivated American settlers. The religious impulse, however, faded with the years but the belief in destiny did not." "British and American historians," he says, "pointed to a series of events that had brought their ancestors toward greatness, enabling the establishment of the common law, Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, even the Scientific Revolution and the abolition of slavery." That's from his book, "Inventing Freedom."
Here in this book is a former member of the European Parliament saying that, "Destiny is behind the rise of Great Britain." You know what that word destiny is? It's a code word for God. Now let's look at another interesting insight by an American social observer, Michael Medved, who wrote a book called, "The Miracle of America: Divine Providence and the Rise of the Republic." He puts forth in that book the idea that a higher power directed the United States to a unique and valuable role in the world. Here's what he writes. Quote, "The evidence for divine providence doesn't prove America's perfect, but it does strongly suggest that America is no accident. An isolated instance of fortunate coincidence may count as an anomaly, but a long chain of seemingly haphazard but consistently beneficial occurrences suggest something else entirely, a pattern, or more accurately, a design." He goes on. "America's founders believed with an unanimous and unwavering confidence in a larger scheme in which they played a part. They couldn't always make out the contours and the details of that master plan, but they never doubted its existence." "An honest examination," he says, "of the nation's origins and development doesn't demonstrate the power of randomness or chance nearly as much as it makes the case for purpose and intent."
So let's be plain about what's being said here. These two writers, one from Great Britain, one from America, are both saying that God had a hand in bringing America and Great Britain to the pinnacle of world power and economic wealth unknown by any other nation or groups of nations in history.
Here's what we're saying. Here's what I'm saying on this program and here on "Beyond Today." We're saying in this series of programs that God did this because He promised faithfully to the biblical prophet Abraham. We're laying the case from scripture that God's promise and covenant with Abraham and his descendants chart a physical and a spiritual story through the Bible and history, leading to spiritual salvation for all people and nations. Let me be clear, the vast reach of the United States and the British Commonwealth of nations in the modern world, it's a marker and we have a living historical witness before us of God's hand in history and His intent to reconcile the entire world ultimately to Him.
God chose a man named Abraham and his descendants, a family and a nation named Israel, to be the physical carrier of a promise and a covenant with physical and spiritual implications. A people carry the promise of physical national greatness and Jesus, born of parents descended from Abraham, gave His life to gather together all things in heaven and earth in Him. And the full gospel of God is this story, both the physical and the spiritual dimension, of how God will use the children of Abraham in His salvation story.
The cynic, skeptic, can throw this out as misguided religious heresy, "Torturously twisting scripture," as one historian put it, but we're still left with inadequate alternatives to explain obvious facts of geography and history for the unprecedented run of good fortune and goodwill and blessing that these nations have been to the world in the past 350 years. To believe in God's hand in the history of Great Britain and America is not to say either nation is without flaws and mistakes in their behavior or their treatment of other peoples. They're not. Nor is it to say that blessings are exclusive of other nation's good fortune. And we're not saying that every nation, every citizen has always participated equally in the blessings. To say the hand of God has been on both is not to claim perfection for either people. We should, however, listen for God's footsteps in history. When we factor in God, then we can have light, wisdom, and understanding.
A British author, Andrew Roberts, wrote a book called, "The History of the English-Speaking Peoples," and he chronicles the story from 1900 forward with a great deal of historical detail. He quotes one British economist at the beginning of his book who says that, "If one reflected on the most important events of the last millennium, the last 1,000 years, compared with the first thousand years, the ascent of the English-speaking peoples to the predominance in the world surely ranked highest." The single biggest event of the last thousand years, in Andrew Roberts' view, "The English-speaking peoples would remain, and are, the best hope, the last best hope for mankind with beliefs and institutions making them great that continue to inspire today." "Indeed," he says, "the beliefs, values and institutions of the English-speaking people are still, are presently, on the march." He records that many life-saving and life-enhancing advances in science, medicine, agriculture, economics, and law have nurtured the lands that are inhabited by the English-speaking nations. More Nobel prizes, beneficial patents, technological advancement have sprung from these nations than from any other group in history. Other nations can pursue their destiny free from tyranny and many people are alive today because of the vast blessings given to the English-speaking nations by the God of Abraham.
I opened this program with a plaintive cry from Joseph to his brothers, saying, "I am Joseph." His brothers didn't recognize their long-lost brother who had been divinely protected through adversity to rise to prominence in Egypt as prime minister to Pharaoh where he oversaw the economic and agricultural program that saved not only the Egyptians, but his own people and others. This is really more than a story of a boy in an amazing technicolor dream coat. It's a story acted out on the stage of history foretelling the same role to the descendants of Joseph in the modern age.
By every measurement in our time, the English-speaking nations have been a blessing like a bough going over the wall. I know that some want to rewrite America's story today through a different lens that highlights its sins and its mistakes. And as I said earlier, neither America nor Great Britain have perfect histories when it comes to the treatment of other people. No nation really does. But when the full story is understood and impartially told, the final story of these nations will tip the arc of history to the conclusion that they have done more to spread biblical values rooted in a long history of God's revelation to mankind. And this, in spite of deep physical and spiritual flaws, spiritual sin, for which God will demand a judgment. Just as they have spread much to be pleased with, they have also spread much that is sin and a stench in the nostrils of Almighty God. The moral and the spiritual condition today is not pleasing to God and will bring a time of trouble.
We lay this important story before you as part of the gospel message to awaken you to the pivotal moment in which we live. The nations are being shaken before the coming Day of the Lord and a time that is called Jacob's Trouble. We're seeing the leading edges of the coming time of judgment now, with efforts to turn the world order inside out and upside down. Here on "Beyond Today," and in our magazine "Beyond Today" as well, we continue to chronicle the world-changing events like sexual revolution. We've warned of the efforts to cancel God from the public arena. We have covered the recent COVID pandemic and put it into a biblical context. We show our readers how to cope through these trying times. You can view them all, these magazines, on our website and we explain the Bible's teaching in ways that you have never received from other churches and religions. And we show you how, in spite of the confusion of our modern world, you can walk with God and you can cope during these troubled times.
On this program today we have a focused study guide on the subject of Bible prophecy that we are offering free of charge. The title is, "You Can Understand Bible Prophecy." It goes into additional topics that connect to the theme that we are bringing in this series of programs about Israel, about Joseph, and about the message to Joseph and Israel in the time of the end. One of these chapters in this booklet deals with the promises and the covenants of scripture and how they fit. Another chapter talks about the international scope of Bible prophecy and shows God's plans for all of the nations, and how God will ultimately bring the good news of salvation to all mankind. That is what is wrapped up in the message of the gospel of God. This booklet, "You Can Understand Bible Prophecy," it's available free. Free copy is waiting for you. You can write to the address on your screen or you can call the phone number. It's a free publication and it will help you open up many other aspects of Bible prophecy.
This is the fourth in a series of five programs that I'm giving on this topic and I will finish this series in the one more program where we are going to look at the unfinished business that God has with Israel and all of the nations. You're going to want to watch that. Stay tuned for that.
[Narrator] Please call for the booklet offered on today's program, "You Can Understand Bible Prophecy." Prophecy is God's inspired revelation to mankind. It shouldn't be a mystery. God shows us who He is and how He has an amazing plan for all people. This free study aid will help you see the true magnitude of prophecy as it places the past, present, and future into clear perspective. You will see how God keeps his promises and covenants,and how those promises explain the news you see every day. Order now. Call toll-free 1-888-886-8632. Or write to the address shown on your screen. When you order this free study aid, we'll also send you a complimentary one-year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine. "Beyond Today" magazine brings you understanding of today's world and hope for the future. Six times a year you'll read about current world events in light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family, and godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call today to receive your free booklet, "You Can Understand Bible Prophecy," and your free one-year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine. 1-888-886-8632. Or go online to beyondtoday.tv.