“Armageddon and ‘the War on Terror’”

John Paulien, Ph. D.,

Chairman, New Testament Department

Andrews University Theological Seminary




“The Ten Commandments Day, May 7th, 2006”

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History

Andrews University


        Greetings from London, where I have spent two delightful weeks speaking at four major rallies! It almost seems that London has become my home away from home. During the past five years I have been invited to speak at rallies in London about 15 times, that is, an average of three engagements each year.


Unusual Warm Reception and Response


        Two things attract me to London in particular and to England in general.  First, it is the unusual warm reception and response I receive from our believers who come from different parts of the world: West Indies, Africa, Latin America, Philippines, Romania, Eastern Europe, Russia, etc. Most of these believers have come to England to improve their socio-economic condition, especially by advancing their education. Their burning desire to learn applies, not only to their academic and professional pursuits, but also to their search for a deeper understanding and experience of Bible truths.


        To illustrate this point, let me share an experience. On Wednesday evening, March 1, I was invited to share the highlights of my latest research on “The Mark and Number of the Beast” at the Croydon SDA church—which is one of the largest churches in London with about 500 members. The sanctuary was practically full for the Wednesday evening prayer meeting with about 400 people in attendance. After the one and half hour lecture, we had a two hours animated discussion which lasted until almost 11:00 p. m.  It was most evident that our members were eager to deepen their understanding of a central prophecy of the book of Revelation, relevant to the end-time in which we live.


        I do not recall a discussion that extended until 11:00 p. m. in an American Adventist church. As a Bible scholar who has devoted the past 30 years to the study of biblical truths, I consider it a real privilege to share my research with fellow-believers who are most eager to deepen their understanding and experience of God’s revealed truths. Though I find eagerness to learn everywhere I speak, I must  confess that in England it is unusual.


Comfortable and Convenient Accommodation


        The second factor that draws me to London is the warm hospitality and comfortable accommodation offered to me by a most congenial professional couple, Gary and Araxi Keshishian.  They are both Armenian and they speak several languages.  In fact, Gary is certified to translate from four different languages people involved in legal, business, and medical matters.


        Their single family home, called “Ararat,”  is conveniently located 20 minutes from Heathrow airport and 5 minuted from the Eastcote subway station. Since their children have grown and gone, they have three lovely rooms available for guests. The room where I stay has a very large window overlooking their small, but manicured garden, with an artistically designed pond, fishes, and all sorts of flowers.


        What I appreciate most of all is the high-speed internet service which make it possible to reply to the volume of messages I receive every day. Very few homes or hotels in England have high-speed internet service. This means that when I am in London, I can spend all my free time in front of my computer, working on various projects, emailing orders to my assistant at home, and talking with my wife free of charge with my SKYPE service. What a blessing instant communications offer us today!


        If your travel plans call for a stop in London, feel free to contact Gary and Araxi by email <gary@advent.plus.com> or by phone (44) 20 8866 8821. I reassure you that you will be treated royally (the monarchy still exists in Britain!). You will enjoy a special Bed & Breakfast service in an Adventist home for a reasonable donation. For more information and  pictures of the home, rooms, and garden, visit my web site at  http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Promotions/BED&BREAKFAST.htm




        A coalition of leading Evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish church leaders have joined hands in co-sponsoring a national affirmation and recognition of the binding moral principles  of the Decalogue on May 7, 2006. The event is widely promoted nationwide as “Ten Commandments Day.”


        This event reflects the concern of religious leaders over the systematic removal from public places of the Ten Commandments and other symbols of the Christian Faith. Such symbols have served as a powerful visual testimony to the fact that the United States of America is “one nation under God.” Their removal from public places shows that secular humanists intend to destroy the Christian heritage of America—a process that has led to the decline of Christianity in Western Europe.


No Ten Commandments Day in Western Europe


        The celebration and affirmation of the Ten Commandments on May 7, is a unique American phenomenon.  Many Americans are eager to reaffirm the Christian roots of their nation. This is hardly true in Western European countries, where most people have embraced humanistic values which are based on personal choices, rather than on the moral imperatives of the Decalogue.


        The other morning while eating breakfast in London, I listened to a TV panel discussion, commenting on  Prime Minister Tony Blair’s remark about seeking God guidance in his decision making process.  Surprisingly the media found  his reference to God objectable. In Western European countries the prevailing assumption seems to be that a politician should leave God out of his decision making process. The reason is because most Europeans live today in what is rightly called “the post Christian era.”  The moral values of the Christian faith, have long been replaced by open-ended values based on personal choices.


        America is fast sliding toward the same moral relativism of Western Europe. Religious leaders of different stripes are concerned over this trend.  With secular humanists waging their attacks at home and the international radical Islam threatening from abroad the security of the American people, the faith of the people becomes the first line of defence.  To strengthen this line of defence, religious leaders want to restore the moral foundation of the nation by reaffirming the Ten Commandments.


The Seventh-day Adventist Response


        Our Seventh-day Adventist Church share the same concern over the inroad of moral relativism in America today. Our message rightly emphasizes  the continuity and validity of the Ten Commandments for Christians today.  Thus, our church has chosen to support the Ten Commandments Day with a variety of programs scheduled for  Saturday, May 6, that is, a day earlier. By anticipating the celebration to Saturday, our Adventist church intends to remind the world that Fourth Commandment calls for the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, not Sunday.


        To avoid the controversy over the display of the Decalogue in State or Federal Buildings, Adventist leaders have renamed the event as “WRITTEN IN THE HEART” Day.  Such title, however, plays into the camp of our enemies who argue that  New Covenant Christians no longer live by the written OT moral laws which were nailed to the Cross, but by the principles of love which are “written in the heart.” We shall come back to this point shortly.


        Many Adventists have urged me to examine this event from a prophetic perspective.  They feel that this unprecedented stand for the Ten Commandments by a broad spectrum of religious leaders, may well represent a tacit endorsement of our Seventh-day Adventist affirmation and proclamation of the binding obligation of God’s moral law for the Christians today. Some feel that this historic event may lead many people to appreciate for the first time the commitment of our Adventist Church to uphold all the Ten Commandments, including the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath mandated by the Fourth Commandment.


A Possible Ploy of the Religious Right


        Personally, I do not share this optimism. On the contrary, I see this rally behind the Ten Commandments as a possible ploy of the Religious Right determined to promote its religious agenda, which is intolerant toward minority dissenters like Adventists. It important to remember  that religious persecution has often been inspired and carried out by religious fanatics. We would call them today “Fundamentalists,” where inspired by Islam or Christianity.


        This leads me to comment on Prof. Jon Paulien’s essay on “Armageddon and ‘The War on Terror.’”  Due to its length I am posting it in two parts, with the first part in this newsletter and the second part in the next. When I first read this essay, I was stunned by Paulien’s endtime scenario, which to me appeared unrealistic. Essentially, he argues that the international war against Moslem fundamentalists, could become a war against Adventist fundamentalist who upholds the binding obligation of God’s moral law, including the Sabbath Commandment.


        You may not agree with Pauline’s scenario which he developed during several years of painstaking study of Revelation 16-18 and Ellen White’s interpretation of these chapters. But before you dismiss what he offers,  I would urge you to read carefully what he has written, especially in his verse by verse commentary of the Book of Revelation, called THE BIBLE EXPLORER SERIES ON REVELATION. The commentary consists of 120 lectures, available in 60 CD-ROM, packaged in 5 albums. For a detailed description, go to:



        Paulien’s endtime scenario was not dreamed overnight.  It is the fruit of 5 years of research on Islam and 20 years of studying  and teaching of the book of Revelation at the Andrews University Theological Seminary.  He is rightly regarding as a leading authority on the Book of Revelation. Thus, I consider it a privilege to share some of the hightlights of his research with the readers of our ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER.


Different Versions of the Ten Commandments


        The religious leaders who are zealously promoting the Ten Commandment Day, give the impression that they all stand for the same Ten Commandments. But this is hardly true. One of the best kept secret is the deep division that exists among Christians and Jews regarding the versions and views of the Ten Commandments.


        For example, Catholics and Lutherans consider all of Exodus 20:1-6, to be one single commandment, which enjoins monotheism and forbids polytheism.  Thus, for them the First Commandment reads: “ I am the Lord thy God.  You shall have no other gods before me.”


        Catholics and Lutherans omits from their listing of the Ten Commandments,  the verses of Exodus 20:4-6. These verses prohibit the making and worshipping of graven images. This is an obvious problem for the Roman Catholic church which is rife with shrines, statues, and images of Mary and saints. To make up for this omission, Catholics and Lutherans  divide Exodus 20:17 into two commandments, by separating the coveting of a wife from the coveting of farm animals. Most Protestant versions of the commandments retain the prohibition against graven images, but it seems to be ignored since statues and other images have proliferated in their churches as well.


        The omission of the Second Commandment, has caused Catholics and Lutherans to advance the Fourth Commandment about seventh day Sabbathkeeping, to the position of Third Commandment. But in order to distance Sundaykeeping from the “Jewish”  Sabbath, the commandment has been renamed “Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.”  By so doing, many Christians are misled into believing that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, rooted in the Decalogue. The truth is, that Sunday is not the Sabbath. The two days, as I have shown in my dissertation From Sabbath to Sunday, have a different origin, meaning, authority, and experience.


Different Views of the Ten Commandments


        Christians and Jews are divided not only in their listing of the Ten Commandment, but also in their view of their relevance for the Christian church. For the Jews, the Ten Commandments are part of the 613 laws of the Torah, which were given specifically to the Jews. Non-Jews are expected to observe the so-called seven Noachian Laws, which forbid idolatry, blasphemy, murder, stealing, sexual immorality, and eating of strangled animals whose flesh has not been properly bled.


        Most Evangelical churches today, under the influence of Dispensationalism,  view the Ten Commandments as part of the package of Jewish laws that were nailed to the Cross. They do contain moral principles which are beneficial to the believer, but in their present form, they are part of the Old Jewish Covenant. Indirectly they support to Jewish contention that the Ten Commandments were given exclusively to the Jewish people, thus, they are not meant for mankind as a whole.


        According to Dispensationalism, New Covenant Christians no longer live by the package of laws of the Old Covenant.  Instead, they live by the Principles of Love of the New Covenant which are written, not in table of stones, but in the human heart.


        One wonders, How can Evangelical church leaders promote in good conscience the affirmation and celebration of Ten Commandments Day on May 7th, when they believe that the Decalogue is part of the package of Jewish laws nailed to the Cross?  Some of them try to “Christianize” the Decalogue by changing the “Jewish” seventh-day Sabbath into the Christian Sunday.


        Adventist leaders who have renamed the Ten Commandments Day, as “Written in the Heart Day,” without realizing it, are supporting dispensationalists. They believe that New Covenant Christians no longer live by the OT Jewish laws which have been nailed to the Cross, but by the NT Principles of love which are written in the heart.  Such teaching ignores that unless what is written in the heart reflects the moral principles that God has written in stone, each human heart becomes a law unto itself.


        Dispensationalism creates a false dichotomy between the Law and Love.  It fails to recognize that in the Bible LAW IS LOVE.  Jesus said:  “If you love me, you keep my commandments”  (John 14:15).


        This so-called “New Covenant Theology” has influenced dozens of Adventist professors and pastors, as well as thousand of members to leave the Adventist Church.  I have spent countless hours dialoguing with these former Adventists.  My book The Sabbath Under Crossfire was written as a response to the popular attacks against the Sabbath, launched especially by our former brethren. Providentially the Lord has used and is using this book to lead many ministers of different churches to accept the Sabbath.


         Somewhat analogously, Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movements typically emphasize the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the freedom of the Christian from the written commandments of the Decalogue. Such popular teaching ignores that the function of the Holy Spirit, is not to replace the written law of God, but to enable believers to live according to its moral principles.   Paul explains that God “sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin . . . in order that the just requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Rom 8:4).


Is There a Hidden Threat Behind the Ten Commandment Day?


        One wonders, How can Christians and Jews join hand on May 7 in taking a stand  for Ten Commandments when they are so divided in their versions and views of the Decalogue?  Could it be that the Ten Commandment Day is a ploy of the Religious Right to promote their political agenda of legislating their morality upon the American People?  Could it be that eventually Adventists will be labelled as dissidents for failing to support the political agenda of the so-called Moral Majority?


        In the second part of his essay to be posted in the next newsletter, Prof. Paulien envisions a similar scenario. He writes: “Overnight the searchlights of ‘homeland security’ in every nation could be turned on those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus. Overnight, the situation portrayed in the book Great Controversy could be set in motion. God’s faithful people could become the object of international scorn and calumny. Intelligence agencies and police forces around the world, goaded on by religious entities that feel threatened by this spiritual movement, move into action against the faithful people of God.”   Wait to read the rest of the story!  You are in for a stimulating Bible study.


        Summing up, our Adventist Church respects God’s law and supports the initiative to celebrate the Ten Commandments on Sunday, May 7th.  We view this event as a wonderful opportunity to let the world know that we uphold the entire law and we seek to live according to its principles by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. But we must not forget that some of the strongest promoters of this event, are also some of our most bitter enemies.  I have spent countless hours responding to some of theirs attacks against our church. They delight in defaming us as some kind of obnoxious legalistic sect.  Let us be vigilant, remembering that such noble celebration of God’s Law, could trigger events threatening in the future our religious liberty.





          Every day I receive numerous requests to subscribe to our ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTERS. Some submit the email addresses of friends or relatives who wish to subscribe. Thank you for sharing these newsletters with your church members and friends.


          The procedure to subscribe or unsubscribe is very simple. Just write in the subject line or in the text of the message SUBSCRIBE ME or UNSUBSCRIBE ME.  We will promptly add or remove your address, in accordance with your instructions. We have no desire to keep in our list the email addresses of people who have no time or interest to read our analysis of current events from a Biblical perspective.




        Many Adventist leaders and members in different parts of the world have responded enthusiastically to the newly released DVD recording of my two hours powerpoint lecture on The Mark and Number of the Beast. In fact, the viewing of the DVD has inspired several pastors to contact me to invite me to speak at their churches.


        The recording was done on Wednesday evening, February 1, by a professional crew that video-taped my powerpoint lecture at the Andrews University Towers Auditorium before a live audience. It was a marathon lecture that lasted two hours and twenty minutes.  I used 175 slides to illustrate the historical interpretations and contemporary relevance of this intriguing Bible prophecy about the end-time battle over worship.


        During the past few weeks I have received many messages of appreciation from Adventist pastors and lay members, who have already received and viewed the DVD recording of the lecture. Some were pleased to learn that the meaning of the central prophecy on the Mark and Number of the Beast,  is to be found not in barcodes, biochips, or the numerical value of a pope’s title, but in the global scope of false worship promoted by a variety of religions and secular ideologies. With dramatic imageries this prophecy portrays the final diabolical attempt of the unholy trinity— represented by a dragon, sea-beast, and land-beast—to lead mankind away from the true worship of God into idolatrous form of worship.


A Few Accusative Messages


        A few subscribers have emailed me accusative messages, condemning me for abandoning what they consider a landmark prophecy of the Adventist church.  One can understand the negative reaction of these fellow believers, because some of them told me that they were influenced to accept the Sabbath and join our church, especially by  evangelistic sermons on The Mark of the Beast.


        It is distressing for some to learn that the meaning of the number 666 of the Beast, is no longer to be found in the pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei—Vicar of the Son of God, allegedly inscribed in the papal tiara. Instead, the number represents Satan’s attempt to place his mark, name, and number upon people, that is, to lead mankind in open rebellion against God by enforcing idolatrous worship.


Our Adventist Church Has Struggled to Define 666


        In response to  the negative messages received, I would like to make two observations. First, the identification of 666 with the pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei, has never been an official teaching of the Adventist church. The truth is that our Adventist church has struggled over the years to understand the meaning of the number 666.  Initially, some of our pioneers (including possibly Ellen White, as shown in the lecture) believed that the number 666 was made up of the number of Protestant sects influenced by Rome.


        Eventually Uriah Smith in the 1980’s popularized the view that the number of beast is to be found in the pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei, alledgedly inscribed in pontifical crown.   He wrote: “The pope wears upon his pontifical crown in jeweled letters, this title, Vicarius Filii Dei, vicegerent of the Son of God. The most plausible supposition we have seen on this point is that here we find the number of the beast [666] in question.  It is the number of the beast, the papacy; it is the number of a man, for he adopts it as his distinctive title; it is the number of a man, for he who bears it is the ‘man of sin’” (Uriah Smith, The United States in the Light of Prophecy, 4th edition, 1884, p. 224).


A Re-examination of the Traditional Interpretation


        This interpretation has been widely accepted until recent years, when critics challenged our Adventist Church to prove that Vicarius Filii Dei  is the official papal title inscribed in the pontifical tiara. Our General Conference leaders took these attacks seriously and at one time they even set up a special study committee to look for sources supporting our claim. Elder LeRoy Froom was sent by the GC to the Vatican on a special mission to find the needed documentation, but his efforts proved to be futile.


        The inability to document our traditional interpretation, has caused our church to re-examine the meaning of the number 666. The conclusion of recent Adventist studies, including the Sabbath School Lesson of June 1-7, 2002, is that the traditional numerical interpretation of the number 666 as representing the numerical value of the letter Vicarius Filii Dei, cannot be legitimately defended exegetically and historically.


         The key phrase “it is a human number —arithmos anthropou” (Rev 13:18),  suggests that the meaning of the number is to be found, not in a name or title whose letters add up to the numerical value of 666, but in a human condition of rebellion against God.   In the context of the false worship promoted by the Beast and its image, the triple six stands for the total false worship, enforced by the endtime Antichrist.


Our Adventist Church is to Be Commended for its Courage to Abandon  an Erroneous Prophetic Interpretation


        My second response to the critical comments received, is that our Adventist Church is to be commended for its courage to abandon an interpretation that proved to be biblically inaccurate. The strength of Adventism is to be found in its commitment to the normative authority of Scripture, not to its blind allegiance to traditional teachings of influential pioneers like Uriah Smith.


        Having grown up in Rome under the shadow of the Vatican and having spend 5 years studying in Rome at the prestigious Jesuit Gregorian University, I am constantly reminded of the blinding effects of tradition.  I recall some of my Jesuit professors at the Gregoriana raising serious questions about such Catholic dogmas as that of Papal Infallibility.  I could sense their feeling of helplessness, because they could not do anything about rectifying erroneous doctrines. The reason is that they had been hallowed by tradition.


        The same problem exists in Protestant churches. I recall the letter I received from Dr. James Kennedy, a TV preacher from Coral Ridge, Florida, whose telecast reaches 25 million viewers every Sunday. He is a strong supporter of Ten Commandment Day but also a bitter critic of our Adventist Church. I spent a month replying to some of his sermons and articles which attack our Adventist church. I sent him a 49 pages response together with my 4 books on the Sabbath. Several weeks later I received a short letter, commending me for the compelling research on the Sabbath, but expressing his regret that he was not prepared to depart from his Calvinistic tradition.


        How sad would it be if our Adventist church would become so paralyzed like Dr. James Kennedy by traditional teachings to prevent any growth in the understanding of biblical teachings!  We have nothing to fear for the future, unless we are blinded by the mistakes of the past.


        The history of the Adventist church reveals the struggle to gradually overcome doctrinal positions that proved to be unbiblical. For example, initially most of our pioneers were anti-Trinitarians. They did NOT believe that Jesus was co-eternal with the Father. They maintained that Christ was created by God.  This is the position of the Jehovah Witnesses and of the Church of God Seven Day, both of which trace their roots to our Adventist Church. The difference is that our Adventist church eventually abandoned the heretical Arian view of Christ, while these churches remained entrenched in the original teachings of our Adventist church.


Enjoy this Timely Study in the Comfort of Your Living Room


        Now that my hard work is over, it is time for you to enjoy this timely study on The Mark and Number of the Beast, in the comfort of your living room. The DVD recording makes it possible for everybody to benefit from this study.  You do not need to know how to operate a computer. You only need  to know how to place the two DVD disks in your DVD player. You will enjoy a two hours passionate presentation of this intriguing prophecy on the mark and number of the beast.


               Your personal effort to share this recording with pastors, teachers, and evangelists, is much appreciated. These church leaders are often so busy, that they do not have time to benefit from the recent Adventist research.  This two hours live lecture offers them an overview of recent Adventist studies on Revelation. Thank you for helping some of our church leaders to benefit from this timely study.


               At the end of this newsletter you will find the information on how to order this new Album on The Mark and Number of the Beast.  For more information, click here:   http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/BeastAD/




        Two SABBATH CONFERENCES are planned for this year 2006 by the Friends of the Sabbath  organization. This organization came into existence about 10 years, when the leadership of the Worldwide Church of God, rejected the Sabbath as an Old Covenant Jewish institution nailed to the Cross. This decision caused a massive exodus of thousand of members, who formed different Sabbathkeeping churches and groups.  From time to time these Sabbatarian groups have organized Friends of the Sabbath Conferences.


        Two Friends of the Sabbath Conferences are planned for this year.  The first one in Glouchester, England, on Sunday and Monday, May 28-29, 2006. You will find detailed information about the conference at these two websites:




        You will notice that I have been feaured as the keynote speaker of the Conference. I plan to address with powerpoint slides some of the significant issues sabbatarian are facing today.  If you live within driving distance from Glouchester (near Bristol), please accept my personal invistation to attend.


        Your Help is Needed for the Australian Conference. The second Friends of the Sabbath Conference in Sydney, Australia, is still in the planning stage. The tentative date is November 2006. The organizer is a dynamic young man, Craig White, who planned a very successful Sabbath Conference in 1996. The convention hall was packed to capacity.


        Craig has asked me to announce the planning of this Sabbath Conference in Sydney, sometimes in November 2006. To make this happen, he needs some financial support. It is quite expensive to fly me from Michigan to Sydney, to rent a convention hall, and to print promotional fliers and posters. If you feel inclined to support financially the initiative, please contact Craig at <surfer11@iprimus.com.au>  Note that at this time he is asking ONLY for pledges, not for money.  If enough pledges come in, Craig will proceed to plan another great Sabbath Conference.  Your prayerful consideration of this request is greatly appreciated. The conference will offer a unique opportunity to fellow with “friends of the Sabbath” belonging to different churches.


        While in Sydney, I would be glad to stay a few extra days in order to present one of my powerpoint seminars on the Sabbath, Second Advent, or Christian Lifestyle, at one of our Adventist Churches. If your church is interested to invite me, feel free to contact me at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>   I will be glad to email you the outline of my seminars and eventually the promotional material.




          A detailed description of the special offers on goods and services is provided at the end of this newsletter. Here is just a brief listing of the announcements placed at the end.


1. CALENDAR OF FORTHCOMING WEEKEND SEMINARS for the months of March and April


2. SPECIAL OFFER ON THE NEW DVD ALBUM  WITH THE LIVE RECORDING of the lecture on The Number and Mark of the Beast.  The regular price for the two disks is $100.00, the introductory offer is only $50.00.  See the details at the end of this newsletter.


3. SPECIAL OFFER ON THE PACKAGE OF ALL MY RECORDINGS CONSISTING OF 5 ALBUMS, including the newly released DVD album on The Mark and the Number of the Beast. The regular price for the package of the 5 albums is $500.00, but the SPECIAL ONE-TIME OFFER IS ONLY $100.00.  See the details at the end of this newsletter.


4. CLEARANCE OF SABBATH AND ADVENT SEMINARS ON VIDEO CASSETTES: If you have a VCR you can order a large, colorful album containing 10 video presentations of my SABBATH and ADVENT SEMINARS for the clearance offer of $30.00, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $150.00. We have discontinued the video version.


5. SPECIAL OFFER ON PROF. JON PAULIEN’S 5 ALBUMS with 60 CD DISKS, containing 120 lectures that explain verse by verse the book of Revelation. See the details at the end of this newsletter.


6. SPECIAL OFFER ON PROF. JON PAULIEN’S NEWLY RELEASED CD-ROM WITH HIS BOOKS AND ARTICLES.  Special introductory offer for $35.00, instead of $50.00.  See the details at the end of this newsletter.


7.  HITACHI PROJECTORS: HITACHI has offered me a special overstock discount on a volume purchase of 50 projectors of 4 different models. For examples, the special offer for  3200 LUMENS PROJECTOR IS ONLY $1995.00. See the details at the end of this newsletter or call me at 269-471-2915


8.  NEW TOSHIBA TECRA A4 LAPTOP: TOSHIBA is offering to our Adventist churches and schools the new TECRA A4  that arrived from China on Febraury 13, at 35% discount.  See the details at the end of this newsletter.


9. REMOTE PRESENTER: The smallest and most powerful REMOTE  powerpoint presenter by Honeywell.  See the details at the end of this newsletter.


10. DA-LITE SCREENS for your church at 30% discount. See the details at the end of this newsletter.




        You will find Prof. Paulien’s essay on “Armageddon and the War on Terror,” a most enlightening study. It will help you understand the origin and development of Islam in general and al Qaeda in particular.  Paulien told me that this essay is the fruit of 5 years of research on Islam. More important still, the second part of this essay to be posted in a couple of weeks, offers some fresh insights on possible connections between the war of terror and Armageddon. Feel free to email your comments directly to Paulien:  <jonp@andrews.edu>


“Armageddon and ‘the War on Terror’”

Jon Paulien, Ph. D.,

Chairman, New Testament Department

Andrews University Theological Seminary

Email:  <jonp@andrews.edu>


        Historic Seventh-day Adventism rests on a fundamental conviction about history. It is the conviction that somewhere in the Nineteenth Century the world entered into the Time of the End.


        Our pioneers, including Ellen White, went so far as to attach dates to that transition, dates like 1798 and 1844 AD. But whether or not you feel that such precision is appropriate, virtually all Adventists share the general conviction that we are living very close to the end of history.1


        Since each Adventist generation since the middle of the Nineteenth Century has felt that it could be the last generation of earth’s history, major wars have inevitably led to speculation whether they represented the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon. The outbreak of World War I, in which Turkey was one of the major combatants, coincided with the conviction of many that Turkey and the Euphrates River (Rev 16:12) would play some role in the final conflict. But Turkey ended up on the losing side of that War, lost control of the key part of the Euphrates River, and yet time went on.


Past Armageddon Scenarios


        The horrific nature of World War II, and the Japanese role in it, likewise attracted the attention of Adventist evangelists. Many suggested that the Japanese were the “Kings of the Rising Sun” (Rev 16:12) and would sweep their way all the way along the southern coast to Asia and insert themselves into the Middle East. Their arrival would precipitate the Battle of Armageddon. But the Japanese never got that far (their attempts to reach India petered out on the “Road to Mandalay” in what was then called Burma and today is Myanmar) and time went on.


        After World War II came the Cold War, thought by some to be the prelude to World War III. For the first time in human history, people had the tools to destroy all life on earth. The nuclear standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union seemed to have all the ingredients of the final battle of earth’s history. It was the bulwark of Christian faith in grave peril from the forces of atheism. Yet the Soviet Union collapsed and a “New World Disorder” took its place.


Is the War on Terror the Beginning of Armageddon?


        There is only one superpower in the world today. But that superpower finds itself almost helpless in the face of a nameless fear, a sense that the very foundation of civilization is in question, not from an “evil empire,” a governmental system of equal power, but from a handful of religious believers, whose faith is so strong that they are willing to blow themselves up if that is what it will take to change the world. As was the case with the early church, once again the blood of martyrs is seed, but this time the seed of what?


        Is the war on terror World War IV? Is it the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon? Have we finally reached the place where the curtain closes and God plays taps over the mangled remains of human history? I am currently researching a book on the biblical evidence for the Battle of Armageddon. But in conjunction with that, I thought it would first be helpful to do a careful analysis of the situation in today’s world. This is not easy to do. History is best written after it is over. While the war on terror is a major part of each day’s news, few analysts have been able to step back from each day’s events to see the larger picture that is developing. But we gain nothing by not trying. The mere attempt at drawing the big picture can stimulate us all to think more carefully and to see more clearly.


The Origin of Al Qaeda


        Where did al Qaeda come from? What is the source of its rage against the West in general and the United States in particular? Is the war on terror destined for success or doomed to failure? Was the War in Iraq a colossal blunder or in some way the key to the whole conflict?


        The broad perspective of history can help us get a handle on these issues. As we apply that history to the perspective of Bible prophecy, I believe that we will be prepared to see the hand of God in developing events. Although we don’t know when Jesus will come, prophecy offers many clues to the events that will surround His return. The book that I plan to write will include several chapters on the biblical evidence. The total picture will clarify these issues and more. But for now, let me share with you the results of five years research into the war on terror.


The Rise of Islam


        To fully understand today’s events you have to go far back into history. The story of al Qaeda begins in the desert sands of the Hijaz, the western part of the Arabian peninsula, in the 7th Century of our era. According to Christian tradition, a conviction shared by the nomadic residents of the Arabian Desert, the twelve disciples of Jesus spread the gospel throughout the then-known world. There was one exception to this nearly universal spread, the Arabian peninsula.


        The Arabs of Arabia did not have an apostle of their own and they did not have a Scripture in their own language, as the Jews and the Christians did. Distressed by the inconsistencies and confusion they2 perceived in the two earlier monotheistic faiths, Arabs of the desert developed the conviction that God would one day give them a Messenger of their own and a Scripture in their own language.


        This expectation was fulfilled in their minds when a man named Muhammad ibn Abdallah went on a spiritual retreat in 610 AD to a cave on Mount Hira, overlooking the city of Mecca (Makkah) in the valley below. Muhammad was one of a handful of Arab seekers who were longing for a restoration of the pure faith of Abraham (Ibrahim).


Muhammad’s Alleged Revelations


        One night in the cave, Muhammad was torn from his sleep by the sense of an overwhelming divine presence. He felt the

powerful embrace of an angel who commanded him to recite what God (Allah) was placing in his mind. After a struggle Muhammad found the words of a new scripture pouring from his mouth.


        This experience was repeated scores of times over the next 22 years. The collection of these “recitations” were collected into a book known as the Qur’an (“recitation”). The teachings of the Qur’an precipitated a powerful spiritual revival that began during Muhammad’s lifetime. The Qur’an affirmed that the God of the Bible was the one true God (the Arabs call Him “Allah”). It affirmed that the prophets of the Old and New Testaments were prophets of the one true God. It called the Arab people to abandon idols and submit fully to this God that the earlier scriptures had proclaimed.


        The Qur’an called for a society that would transcend tribalism and revenge. It called for justice and compassion and forgiveness. It called on everyone to do battle (jihad) with the forces of evil in their own lives. It was a call to restore the pure faith of Abraham (Ibrahim), which in many ways had been distorted by the earlier followers of God (a conviction Adventists share).


The Rise and Fall of the Islamic Dream


        To a people who had felt left out of the divine plan before

this time, this was a message of transforming power. It brought such change into their lives that more and more Arabs became convinced that Muhammad was a true prophet of God, even the pre-eminent prophet of God.


        Whether or not you believe that God had His hand in the rise of Islam, it cannot be denied that Muhammad was one of the most significant change agents in the history of the world. The energy unleashed by his recitations turned the Arab people from idolatrous bandits to one of the greatest civilizations the world had known up until that time. The Islamic Empire was the great superpower of the Middle Ages and played a dominant role in world affairs right up to time of the so-called Enlightenment (18 Century).


        Then something went wrong with the islamic dream. Some scholars trace the beginnings of decline as far back as the islamic reaction to the Crusades, others trace it back to social developments in 13th Century Spain. The energy unleashed by Muhammad’s vision was dissipated by narrow thinking. Scholarship that had transformed the arts, the sciences and literature became focused on maintaining the status quo.


        The Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the rebirth of ancient Greek and Roman ideals created the kind of energy in Europe that had characterized the early islamic empire. The torch of science and learning somehow passed to the West, and the power and wealth of the world went with it. By the 18th Century of our era the islamic world was in serious intellectual, political and economic decline. By the mid-19th Century it was largely “colonized” by the West and has never recovered.


The Rise of Saudi Arabia


        In the face of this long-term decline, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792) founded an islamic “back to the Bible” type of movement. He wanted to restore the pure Islam of the desert, free of all later additions and innovations. He called for careful exegesis (ijtihad) of the sacred texts in order to undo the changes that had led to Islam’s decline. In other words, he taught that all the resources needed to restore the greatness of Islam lay in the past.


        This is the basic conviction shared by today’s Muslim fundamentalists. Much like Fundamentalist Christians and historic Adventists, they seek to restore the faith to its former greatness by careful attention to the teachings of the faith’s pioneer (s). The key to Islam’s salvation lies in replicating her past. The Muslim world has deviated from pure Islam and only a return to its origins would safeguard it from domination and exploitation by the West. This conviction is strongly exhibited in the “Wahabis” of Saudi Arabia and the Taliban of Afghanistan. This is the kind of intellectual atmosphere in which Osama bin Laden and his compatriots were raised.


Steps in the Development of Al Qaeda


        So the first step in the development of al Qaeda was a reaction to the decline in the islamic world, with a call to revival of the original fundamentals of the faith. This “Wahabism” is closely entwined with the Saudi family (the House of Saud) that came to rule the Arabian peninsula in the wake of World War I and the decline of the British Empire (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was established in 1923).4


        The second step in the development of al Qaeda occurred in 1938. The King of Saudi Arabia, Abd-al-Aziz ibn Saud, authorized a team of American engineers to explore the trackless desert bordering the Persian Gulf, an arid landscape marked only by the occasional palm-fringed oasis. He hoped they would find water. A tribal leader with precarious finances, Ibn Saud believed the Americans might discover places where he could refresh his warriors—horses and camels.


The Discovery of Oil Reserves


        But the team, from Standard Oil of California, had something else in mind. Oil had been discovered in other countries in the region, and the engineers thought they would find more in Saudi Arabia. Over several years, they drilled more than half a dozen holes without result. They could easily have given up in frustration. Instead, they decided to see if going deeper than normal might make a difference. So they set up their equipment again at well number 7 and dug deeper than they had ever dug before. They burrowed all the way to a depth of 4727 feet and finally hit the first sign of what would turn out to be the largest supply of crude oil in the world.


        Oddly enough, the King did not appear to appreciate the discovery at first. He ignored the news about the oil for an entire year afterward. Finally, he and his retinue arrived in a caravan of 400 automobiles at the pumping station of Ras Tanura in time to witness the first tanker hauling away its cargo of Saudi crude. This discovery would change everything.


        Up until this time, the primary source of income in the Saudi kingdom came from servicing pilgrims in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city. But even the first shipment of oil produced wealth beyond all expectation. The lives and lifestyles of Arabian bedouin would never be the same. This5  isolated country with no other exportable product now became a major factor in global politics. The Saudi royal family became major players on the world scene. Their wealth became a crucial factor in Middle East politics and the bargaining over global energy supplies. The stage was set for the events of the late 1970s.


The First War in Afghanistan


        The immediate context for the rise of al Qaeda was the war in Afghanistan that began in the late 1970s. To understand the motivation of those involved we need to understand something about the geography of politics. You see, the Eurasian landmass (from Great Britain to Singapore) is the dominant feature in world affairs. Its sheer size and the four billion people who live there make it so. Any power that can completely control the Eurasian landmass will rule the world. That means it is in the interest of all powers based elsewhere (like the United States) to keep the Eurasian landmass divided politically.6


        The closest any power has come (at least since the Mongol Empire around the year 1200 AD) to dominating the entire Eurasian landmass is the Soviet Union. It is no wonder, therefore, that in spite of the inherent weaknesses of the Communist system, Americans rightly feared Soviet power. So a primary focus of American policy in the 1970s was containing Soviet power by encircling it with a system of alliances from the northern shore of Norway, across the continent of Europe, through the Middle East, along the southern coast of Asia all the way north to the Bering Strait. By preventing the Soviets access to warm-water ports, the alliance system limited Soviet power to manageable proportions. The Soviets sought ways to break through this encirclement and the Americans did all they could to keep them boxed in.


America’s Challenge to Contain Russia’s Expansion


        But two events threatened this encirclement. The first was the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979, a key American ally in the encirclement project. If the Soviets could exploit Iran’s suddenweakness and punch through to the Persian Gulf, they would break the encirclement and also probably capture the Saudi Arabian oil fields. This would tip the balance of world power

decisively in their favor. Thus the invasion of Afghanistan less than a year after the fall of the Shah seemed like America’s greatest nightmare. The Russians were on the move and could potentially drive America completely out of the Eastern Hemisphere.


        As the leaders of the American military game-planned for a possible Soviet invasion of Iran, they concluded that they did not have sufficient forces to prevent the conquest of Iran if the Soviets had decided on such a course. So the Soviets must be stopped in Afghanistan. It must somehow be turned into another Vietnam, but this time with the shoe on the other foot. So President Carter authorized the CIA to engage in covert operations in Afghanistan. Agents were to encourage and support Afghan guerillas to harass Soviet troops in Afghanistan and keep them pinned down there. But how could this be accomplished?  Where would the money come from?


        Congress was in no mood to appropriate extra funding for the CIA, whose reputation had recently taken a beating. And anyway, going to Congress to fund a covert war would mean it wasn’t a covert war anymore. But it dawned on President Carter that America was not the only country worried about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia had even more to lose in Iran and Afghanistan than America did. So the Americans approached the Saudis with a proposal. If the Saudis would fund this guerilla war and recruit Islamic fighters to resist Soviet power in Afghanistan, the CIA would provide training, coordination and intelligence.


        But there was one further wrinkle. The Saudis were not comfortable either when it came to funding this war directly from government coffers. Instead they turned to wealthy, private families, asking them to contribute to the cause of Islamic restoration. Here was an opportunity to reverse centuries of islamic decline. So many Saudi families contributed vast sums to the project, and the largest and wealthiest of these families had come to be known as (can you guess it?) The bin Laden family.


President Carter and the Creation of an Islamic Army


        So President Carter presided over the creation of an international army of Islamic7 fundamentalists. So President Carter presided over the creation of an international army of Islamic fundamentalists. As has so often happened in history, an ally in one war becomes the enemy in the next. To be fair to Carter, however, his policy was followed with enthusiasm by the presidents that followed, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. It was a low-cost, low-sacrifice (for Americans) way to keep the Russians bottled up in the vast interior of the Eurasian landmass.


        A major element of this situation was the willingness of the American intelligence and military apparatus to pass on their skills to these islamic fighters. The mujahideen learned about covert and special operations. They learned the skills of stealth and hand to hand combat. They learned what American intelligence knew and how they got such information. They learned both the advantages and limitations of military technology. No doubt the Americans thought their islamic allies ignorant and incapable of using such information against them. But many of Osama bin Laden’s fighters were relatively wealthy and highly educated. They listened and learned, and they learned well, as the West has come to discover, much to its regret.


        The Afghan war was long and brutal. It drained the Soviet Army of strength and credibility and was a decisive factor in the eventual fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. But it also create thousands of hardened and experienced Islamist soldiers, many of them trained by the CIA and American Special Forces. And the fall of the Soviet Union had a powerful impact on those Islamic soldiers. It was the first time in centuries that an Islamic force had defeated non-islamic forces. And this defeated army belonged to a major world superpower which collapsed in the wake of that war. So this was not just an Afghan victory, it was an islamic victory, powered by islamic fighters and fueled by islamic money, the fruit of Saudi oil fields (the gift of Allah). In the minds of islamic fundamentalists, it was an islamic army that gave America its greatest victory over the Soviet menace.


        And was the United States suitably grateful for this islamic sacrifice? To the contrary, America believed that Afghanistan was only a minor factor in the fall of the Soviet Union (no doubt both viewpoints were at least partly right). And America considered itself the driving force behind the resistance. From the American point of view the islamic world owed America a debt of gratitude. So as America pulled out of Afghanistan after the fall of the Soviet Union, the stage was set for a confrontation between a resurgent Islam and the world’s only remaining super power.


America’s Role in the Rise of Al Qaeda


        You see, America never entered the Afghan war out of some altruistic motive of defending Islam against atheistic powers. It used the islamic fervor of Osama bin Laden and others as a tool to keep the Russians encircled in the northern part of the Eurasian landmass. When the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan, the United States completely lost interest in the country. It also pulled out, leaving a devastated and impoverished landscape filled with warring tribes and a highly trained, international islamic army recruited from the entire islamic world.


        What was this army to do now? Just go home? But that was not an option. These skilled fighters were as much of a threat to their secular governments back home as they had been to the Soviets. So no one wanted them back. They were essentially stranded in Afghanistan, without external support and without a purpose. What America and its allies had done in Afghanistan was to train an army of highly diverse people bound together by the common experience of the war against the Soviets, a sense of betrayal by their own governments as well as the Americans, and the awareness that they had the power to change the world. Highly trained people who have lost their purpose in life tend to find a purpose of their own, and that new purpose may not be what the trainers had intended. Al Qaeda was the unintended consequence of short-term American political objectives.


The Gulf War


        The trigger point for the war between America and the Islamic Jihad was Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. America regarded this as the action of an isolated rogue state that needed to be put in its place. George Bush Sr. believed that his decision to intervene in this conflict would be received by all Muslims as an act of American solidarity to save an islamic state from aggression. So the Americans approached the Saudis about basing American troops in the Kingdom.


        The Saudi ruling family knew that welcoming hundreds of thousands of Western soldiers into the Kingdom was a very risky business for them. For many Muslims, the holiness of Mecca and Medina extends over the entire nation in which those cities are located. The Saudis were caught in a hard place. While Saddam Hussein was an unsavory and dangerous character, inviting Western troops into the land of Mecca and Medina was a fundamental violation of islamic law. On the other hand, if they didn’t extend the invitation, it was likely that Hussein himself would occupy the land. In the process the wealth and power of the Saudi leadership would be destroyed. So the Saudi leaders opted for the route that best allowed their own political survival and Desert Storm was the result.


        In the past such “abominations” against Islam would have been greeted with impotent rage. But the war in Afghanistan made it different this time. Those Afghan veterans who were allowed to return to Saudi Arabia did not feel vulnerable and weak the way the Saudi leaders did. They were ready to defend the Kingdom against all comers if need be. They felt no dependance on the United States for the “protection” of the holy places. They saw that the governments in the Arab countries were corrupt and secular and could not possibly lead this fight. So international, militant, anti-American Islam was born in the wake of the Gulf War, an unintended consequence of what Americans had thought of as a noble action.


        Here we see the great philosophical divide between the islamic world and the West. To the West the militant warriors of resurgent Islam are merely “terrorists,” lawless bandits who have no respect for human life and civilized values. They hate everyone, including most fellow Muslims, and everything that does not agree with their hateful rantings. But to many in the Muslim world these agents of terror are true patriots, freedom fighters willing to give their lives in the cause of God. They are the only thing standing between the islamic world and the horrific moral assaults of Hollywood, gay pride and American cruise missiles.


        It is easy in the passion of the moment to overlook that the word “Islam” is closely related to the word “salaam,” which means “peace” in Arabic. A careful reading of the Qur’an will expose far more statements in support of mercy and compassion than in support of jihad. And most of the “jihad” texts are better read in the context of the battle against sin in one’s life than in warfare against others.


        We in the West also tend to forget that Christian history is full of fundamentalist extremists who have committed similar acts of terrorism. Adventists should be at the forefront of those willing to acknowledge the terrorist side of the Crusades and the Inquisition, for example. The Crusader conquest of Jerusalem in 1089 AD resulted in the slaughter of the entire population of the city; man, woman and child. These thousands of civilians included many Muslims and Jews. They also included the Orthodox Christian inhabitants of the city. The Crusaders were as indiscriminate in their slaughters as were the followers of Osama bin Laden on September 11.


        Because of this great philosophical divide and at the risk of offending many in the West, I will refrain from using the word “terrorists” to describe these islamic warriors in the rest of this essay. I will instead follow the lead of George Friedman, who coined the term “jihadists” as a more accurate description.


        It is my desire in this essay to build bridges of understanding rather than give in to popular prejudices, although I will be the first to confess that this is hard to do. For lack of better terminology, I have retained the overall descriptor of “war on terror” to describe the West’s battle to eradicate al Qaeda and all who live by similar principles.


The Case Against America


        Why do these “jihadists” hate America so? What fueled the destruction of the Twin Towers and so many other acts of seemingly mindless aggression? Osama bin Laden and those like him are not insane. They are not fueled by endless, seething emotion. They have thought through what they are doing and their sense of purpose is calculated and clear. Osama has articulated five main grievances as the basis for his case against America. We now have enough background to begin understanding his thinking.


1) The Decline of Islam


        The root grievance is tied to the overall history we have just reviewed. For at least a thousand years the Islamic Empire and its Turkish successor were superpowers in the world. But over the last couple hundred years the Western powers divided up the Muslim world among themselves. Since that time the Muslim world has been a backwater in world affairs; were it not for the fact that much of the world’s oil is located in the Middle East, the major powers might pay no attention at all.


        In a Western-dominated world Muslims seem to be humiliated on every side. The Israelis (Palestine and the regional wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973), the Serbs (in Bosnia and Kosovo), the Russians (in Chechnya and other Muslim republics of central Asia) and the Indians (in Kashmir and various parts of India) have all found ways to marginalize Muslim interests around the world. On top of these slights the West has “imposed” Western law codes on Muslim states, enforced Western economic ideas, including the charging of interest (contrary to Islamic law), and exported alcohol, drugs, pornography and crime. It is frustrating to an Islamic zealot to believe that the Islamic culture is superior, yet to acknowledge that America has vastly superior power and wealth.


2) The Israeli-Palestinian Situation


        While securing a homeland for Jews made a lot of sense in the West after the Holocaust, the original partition of Palestine came at the expense of Arabs whose ancestors had been in the land for centuries. The British had promised, during World War I, to support Arab independence in exchange for Arab support against the Turks (remember the movie Lawrence of Arabia?). Then during World War II President Roosevelt promised at least one Arab leader that the major powers would not do anything about Palestine after the war without consulting the Arabs first.


        Nevertheless, world-wide sympathy for the plight of the Jews during the war resulted in a UN partition which ceded over half of Palestine to the Jews, although only a third of population was Jewish and Jews owned an even smaller percentage of the land. In subsequent fighting the Israelis gained control of the entire land for decades, despite UN resolutions requiring the return of land conquered in 1967. To Arab eyes this looks suspiciously like a revival of the Crusades, with Israel at the forefront and America guiding behind the scenes.


        I do not want to be misunderstood here. I know that the story can be told very differently from the Israeli perspective. But I think it is important for our purpose to see through Osama’s eyes, the eyes of a “terrorist,” as far as that is possible for us to do. Jewish desperation after the Holocaust was real and for many Jews the homeland in the Middle East was the only spark of hope at the time. But the desperation of the Palestinian refugee camps remains to this day. People living in perpetual poverty are dying at the expense of weapons purchased with the billions of dollars in military aid America gives Israel each year. From the Muslim perspective this is a serious injustice that is ongoing and has never been addressed. For bin Laden the injustice was criminal.


3) Secular Corruption in the Middle East


        A further major grievance of Osama bin Laden had to do with the corrupt and secular governments ruling over most Muslim countries. Governments of countries like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq were seen as unelected, oppressive, pandering to the West and soft on Islam. It is not surprising that bin Laden, himself a Saudi, was no longer welcome in Saudi Arabia, he was a greater threat to the sheiks of Saudi Arabia than he was to the United States. He believed that secular Arab leaders are mere tools of the West, using the power of the West to cement their own personal position at the expense of the Muslim masses. While the United States did not set up these governments directly, in the minds of Islamic extremists they would not stand without American support.


        In a real sense islamists like bin Laden see the secular corruption of the Middle East as the primary enemy. Afghanistan proved that the great powers could not stand against the faithful, if the faithful were resolute and patient. Over time the political powers behind Christianity, Judaism, Hinudism and Communism could be dealt with as needed. For Muslim fundamentalists what really holds Islam back is the corruption and inefficiency in the political and economic realm of the Middle East. It is the corruption of the secular governments that allows the West to exploit islamic weakness. It is against these that the decisive battle must be fought. A strategy needed to be developed in order to destroy the corrupt systems of the Middle East which were keeping Islam from taking its rightful place in today’s world. As long as these systems remained in place, Islam would be politically and economically impotent in the larger world.


4) Betrayal in Afghanistan


        While the first three grievances are real, they are of long standing and by themselves would not have created the jihadist movement. As we have seen, there were two trigger points around the year 1990 that lit the fuse of Osama bin Laden’s anger. The first of these was the American betrayal in Afghanistan. When the Russians left Afghanistan in 1989, the Americans immediately lost interest. Bin Laden and his mujahedin were abandoned to their own devices. Afghanistan disintegrated into a multitude of factions. Bin Laden felt abandoned and betrayed. The stage was set.


5) Western militaries in Saudi Arabia


        The final trigger point, as we have seen, was the physical presence of the American military in Saudi Arabia during and after the Gulf War. This has been perhaps the crucial issue for bin Laden. In the 1980s he was not hostile to America, in spite of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. There is even evidence he may have been on the CIA payroll for a time. While bin Laden also opposed the aggression of Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, he was distressed and then infuriated by the decision of the Saudi government to invite the Americans and other Westerners to “occupy” the holy land. The alcoholism, materialism, immorality and relative nudity exhibited by Western troops in Saudi Arabia seemed sacrilegious to even moderate Muslims. To bin Laden it bordered on blasphemy.


Why “Terrorism?” Why September 11?


        For Osama bin Laden the crucial question became how to restore Islam to a dominant place in the world again. Could diplomacy accomplish that? Experience told bin Laden that diplomacy would not work. The West had been Anegotiating@ with the Middle East for more than a century, and what was the result? The establishment of Israel, for one. Another result was the colonial powers dividing the Middle East into artificial nations with no consideration of tribal territories and local interests. Meanwhile the West grew richer and more powerful and the Muslim world became increasingly irrelevant.


Should the Muslim world stand up and fight in military terms then? In its present state of weakness that would be foolish. Anyone unconvinced by the dominance of the Israeli attacks in 1967 and 1982 (in Lebanon) should have no further doubts after the Gulf War and the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. In an age of information technology both the American and Israeli military are overwhelming and incontestable. Any form of direct, frontal assault would be the equivalent of pointless suicide. One would lose thousands of soldiers in exchange for a mere handful of casualties on the stronger side. No one could pursue warfare for long on those terms. So for bin Laden, there was only one alternative to helplessness, and that was what the West calls terrorism.


        In the minds of jihadist leaders, “terrorism” is nothing more than a negotiating tool. It is a way the weaker party in a disagreement is able to project a sense of power greater than its numbers or its military prowess would otherwise allow. The actual physical damage of terror attacks is not significant in political or economic terms. What is significant is the psychological effect, it is far greater than the sum total of the physical damage or loss of life.


        Terrorism puts those who practice it on the political map. It allows the weaker party to go on the offensive. It puts powerful nations on the defensive. There are so many potential targets and it is so costly to defend them all that the jihadist entity can always find a soft spot somewhere.  “If you’re throwing enough darts at a board, eventually you’re going to get something through,” said a Pentagon strategist. “That’s the way al Qaeda looks at it.” The secrecy and seclusion of the jihadist makes the attacks very difficult to anticipate and defend against.


        The only safe defense against what the West calls terrorism is one that anticipates every possible angle of attack, particularly against assets for which adequate defenses are not yet in place, like water supplies and transportation systems. To make matters worse, every mile of the US coastline is a potential entry point for nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. In a sense eradicating this threat is like finding a way to detect and apprehend criminals before they commit their crimes.


        The ability of the jihadists to attack at will and keep powerful enemies on the defensive gradually wears down a powerful nation’s will to resist. As happened in Spain in 2004, people often prefer peace on jihadist terms to the constant stress of watchfulness and defensive measures. In this battle vast amounts of money, intelligence assets and personnel must be expended to track jihadists at home and abroad. In a sense the attempt is being made to surround the United States with a “protective net.” But, as Time pointed out on March 3, 2002, “all nets have holes.” So if the jihadists are patient enough and determined enough, they can wear down and outlast enemies who are more concerned with personal comfort than with ideological purity.


The Strategy of Osama bin Laden


        This gives us some insight into the mindset of bin Laden when he gave the go-ahead for the attack of September 11, 2001. While the actions of the highjackers were gruesome and incomprehensible to Westerners, they are part of a strategic plan to change the balance of power in the world. The leaders of al Qaeda see the Islamic world being occupied by non-Islamic forces. To change the balance of power in the world al Qaeda must find a way to end the Aoccupation@ and re-unite Islam. Since the United States is the leading power in the world and the patron of many Islamic regimes, it is the power behind the “occupation and, therefore, the great enemy that motivates and controls the anti-Islamic agenda.


        Defeating the United States directly is not a realistic option. But the kind of war bin Laden has unleashed burdens America with billions of dollars of expenses to fight “terrorism” at home and abroad. It distracts Americans with the constant fear of unsuspected attacks. It makes Americans feel as insecure as Europeans and Israelis have felt for decades. It makes isolationism look more attractive. If, in the process, the United States can be caused to withdraw from the Islamic world, other anti-Islamic powers such as Russia, India and Israel would be helpless to intervene. Corrupt and secular governments in the Muslim world would then have no base of outside support and would be overthrown by the Islamic masses.


        So al Qaeda does not expect to destroy the United States directly, unless some doomsday weapon comes into its hands. The United States is too powerful and too distant to defeat. Rather, bin Laden’s strategy has been to force the United States into a series of actions that destabilize the governments of those Middle Eastern countries that are dependant on Washington. If the United States could be made to look weak and vulnerable in the eyes of the Arab street, the governments of the Middle East would lose their credibility. If pressure from the United States then forces those governments to join the US in fighting Islamic militants or to remain silent in the face of Israeli aggression, popular uprisings could easily lead to their collapse. The ultimate goal would be the establishment of an Islamic superpower, a vast Islamic state stretching from Morocco to the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, governed by Islamic law.


        Could a bin Laden achieve such goals? He clearly believed the United States does not have the stomach to suppress a mass, popular uprising. Unlike al Qaeda, Americans as a rule do their best not to hurt innocents. The same military that is virtually invincible in battle would have a difficult time handling an army of unarmed women and children. Although the United States has important interests in the Islamic world, they are not on a scale to justify the expense and casualties involved in a long-term occupation. To the degree that further jihadist acts in the US should occur, the American populace could easily sway toward an isolationist stance. If this isolationism should lead to withdrawal from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia and even the partial abandonment of Israel, the political world would have changed considerably in favor of the Islamic agenda.


        So from bin Laden’s perspective war in diplomatic, economic or military terms would only result in the further humiliation of Islam. But this new kind of war has altered the battlefield odds. Since the targets vastly outnumber the defenders, al Qaeda has designed a war strategy in which it has significant advantages. U.S. power is weakened in that defensive action must be widely dispersed. Suicidal fervor creates a low-tech battlefield in which superior technology is neutralized as a weapon.


        The goal of the attacks on September 11, 2001 was not to defeat America. America was too powerful and too distant for that to happen. Osama bin Laden’s goal was a very strange one from the Western perspective. He wanted to provoke America to attack the islamic world. More specifically he wanted to provoke America to attack Saudi Arabia.


        Did you notice that 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were Saudis? While the trained pilots were generally from other countries, the “beef” of the operation (the muscle-men who would take over the plane) were almost all from Saudi Arabia. Osama wanted it to appear that this was a Saudi attack on American. While he anticipated the attack on Afghanistan in 2001, he was sure that President Bush would not stop there. In order to stop al Qaeda he would have to control Saudi Arabia as well.


        Why provoke an attack on Saudi Arabia? Because that is the holy land of Islam, the place where Allah met the prophet Muhammad, the place of pilgrimage, the land of Mecca and Medina. If any action could be calculated to inflame the passion of the islamic masses in the Middle East it would be a Western occupation of the holy places. Osama bin Laden wanted above all else to arouse the fervor of the people to rise up against the invaders and make life so miserable for them that they would be forced to withdraw, as the Soviets were forced to from Afghanistan. Yesterday, Afghanistan. Today, Saudi Arabia. Tomorrow? The world!


        Does it sound like the demented scheme of a madman? To many it does. But when you consider what other options were available to stimulate a rebirth of Islamic power in the world, bin Laden’s scheme doesn’t sound so crazy. It was a shrewd calculation that the only way to get rid of corrupt and secular governments in the Middle East was to find a way to humiliate the sponsor of those governments, the United States. Once the sponsor proved powerless, these Arab governments would fall and the Islamic Empire would be reborn.


        So let me summarize Osama bin Laden’s dream scenario. His goal for September 11 was to do something so horrific that the United States would feel forced to invade the Middle East, preferably Saudi Arabia. Osama and his friends could then label it an attack on Islam itself. A guerilla war against the invaders would provoke the Americans to kill and wound many innocent bystanders. The “Arab street,” the common, everyday man and woman in the Middle East would rise up in righteous anger against the occupiers. The military might of America would prove helpless against an uprising of “people power,” unarmed men, women and children who would be willing to die for their faith.


        In the face of such an enemy, America would have little choice but to pull back into bases and leave the streets in the hands of the insurgents, much as had occurred in Vietnam years before. Eventually, America would grow tired of the conflict. Media and congress would unite to force the president to withdraw and leave the Middle East to its own devices. In the wake of that superpower defeat, the masses in the Middle East would embrace Islam and Sharia law and the stage would be set for an islamic superpower that could extend from Morocco to Indonesia. That was Osama’s dream and it will likely outlive him regardless of the outcome in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.




        The continuation of this essay will appear in the next newsletter scheduled to be posted in two weeks time by the end of March.  The essay continues with an in depth analysis of the American policies and strategies in the war against terror.  At the end Prof. Paulien will pull the study together by discussing  possible connections between the war on terror and the Battle of Armageddon.   You are in for an enlightening study, whether or not you agree with Paulien’s conclusions.  Feel free to email your comments directly to Prof. Paulien <jonp@andrews.edu>






          As a service to our subscribers, I am listing the date and the location of the upcoming seminars for the months of March and April 2006. It is always a privilege and pleasure for me to ministers to our fellow believers in England. The reception and response is always very encouraging. I wish to extend my personal, warm invitation to all who are able to attend one of the followings rallies.



Location: The Reading Whitley SDA Church meets at the Maiden Erlegh School, which is located at Silverdale Road, Earley, Reading, Berks RG6 7HS, England.

For information call Pastor Everett Picart at 01189 755 110



Location: 115 Waldemar Ct. SE, Winter Haven, FL 33884.

For information call Pastor Walter Maier at (863) 324-5161



Location: 11223 Bandera Road, San Antonio, Texas 78250.

For information call church office at (210) 684-8146 or Elder Gene Clapp at (210) 380- 0698.



Location: 1207 Oakland Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30044.

For information call Pastor Adalbert Orban at (770) 995-6448



Location: 99-Moanalua Road, Aiea, HI 96701.

For information call Pastor Lloyd Munson at (808) 455-3484


APRIL 5-11: GUAM-MICRONESIA MISSION                          

Location:  Agana Heights SDA Church

For information call Elder Remenster Jano at (671) 477-9745



Location: 1200 Rainbow Valley Boulevard

For information call Pastor Gerald Jones at (760) 639-1615  or (760) 723-7733



Location: 5350 Haig Avenue, Windsor, Ontario N8T 1K8, Canada

For information call Pastor Ulrich Unruth at (519) 948 3749.




          The newly released DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, consists of two disks. They contain the live recording that was done at the Andrews University Towers Auditorium on Wednesday, February 1, 2006.  The marathon lecture lasted over two hours and was delivered with the help of 175 powerpoint slides. The lecture was introduced by Prof. Jon Paulien and Prof. Ranko Stefanovich,  two foremost Adventist experts on the book of Revelation.


          You will be thrilled by this passionate lecture that will help you understand what the mark and number of the beast are all about. This prophecy is not about external markings, barcodes, biochips, or pope’s titles, but  rather about the internal control of the mind of every human being. It is a battle over who will people worship: the true God or Satan. This battle is already in progress, affecting many people and churches. This visual presentation will encourage you to be faithful to God and to resist the endtime deception of false worship, promoted in subtle ways on a global scale today.


          This project has been a very expensive (about $5000.00) and time consuming. For five months I have worked an average of 15 hours a day on this project, getting up faithfully at 5:00 a. m. every morning. What took a lot of time has been, not only the investigation into the historical interpretations of the mark and number of the beast, but also the search for pictures of the items discussed: documents, inscribed tiaras, books, popes, Reformers, Adventist pioneers, and recent scholars who have examined this subject. I wanted to make this powerpoint presentation as visual as possible, because “seeing is believing.”


          At the end of the second DVD disk, there is a separate powerpoint file with all the 195 slides and accompanying script. This should prove to be a valuable resource for evangelists, pastors, and anyone engaged in sharing the prophetic message of Revelation. They can use some of the stunning pictures for their own presentation.


How to Order the DVD Album


          The special introductory offer on the DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast,  is only $50.00, instead of $100.00. The airmailing expenses to any foreign country are included in the special price.


          You can order this DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast in three different ways:


          (1)  Online: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/BeastAD/


          (2)  Phone:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.


          (3)  Email:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. For security reasons, you can email your credit card number in two separate messages.  In the first message you email me the first 8 digits and in the second message the last 8 digits, plus the expiration date.   Be sure to include your postal address.      


          (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check for $50.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.




           In occasion of the release of the new DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, I am pleased to offer you the complete package of all my DVD and CD recordings, consisting of 5 Albums for only $100.00, instead of the regular price of $500.00. This is a one-time incredible offer.


          You can see the picture of all the FIVE ALBUMS and read a detailed description of them, just by clicking at this URL address:



          The complete package of all the recordings consists of the following FIVE ALBUMS:




          2) The DVD SABBATH/ADVENT ALBUM containing 5 DVD disks with 10 live PowerPoint lectures of the popular SABBATH and ADVENT SEMINARS.


          3) The CD-ROM BOOKS/SEMINARS ALBUM containing 2 CD disks with all my publications and PowerPoint presentations.


          4) The MP3 ALBUM containing 2 CD disks with 22 AUDIO lectures on vital beliefs and practices.


          5) The DVD PASSION ALBUM containing 1 DVD disk with the 2 hours interview on 3ABN on my book The Passion of Christ in Scripture and History.


          The special offer for the complete package of the five albums is only $100.00, instead of the regular price of $500.00. The special price includes the airmail expenses to overseas destinations.  You can order the package in four different ways:


          (1)  Online: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/holidayoffer.htm


          (2)  Phone:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.


          (3)  Email:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. For security reasons, you can email your credit card number in two separate messages.  In the first message you email me the first 8 digits and in the second message the last 8 digits, plus the expiration date.   Be sure to include your postal address.      


          (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check for $100.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.




          We have discontinued duplicating my SABBATH and ADVENT SEMINARS, because most people wants the DVD version. At this time I would like to clear the remaining 30 albums for only $30.00, mailing expenses included. The regular price is $150.00. The large colorful album consists of 10 video powerpoint presentations on the Sabbath and Second Advent. They are identical to the DVD version.


          To order your album, call us at (269) 471-2915 or mail us a check for $30.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.


SPECIAL OFFER ON PROF. JON PAULIEN’S 5 CD-ROM ALBUMS, called The Bible Explorer Series on Revelation.


          The book of Revelation has both delighted and frustrated readers ever since it was written. Sensational but senseless interpretations of the book abound. In this unique package consisting of 120 lectures professionally recorded in 60 CD disks, Prof. Jon Paulien guides you through a verse by verse study of the intriguing messages of Revelation.


          Currently Jon Paulien, Ph. D., is serving as Chairman of the New Testament Department and Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Andrews University Theological Seminary.


          Besides teachings and writing, Prof. Paulien travels extensively throughout the world, presenting seminars with the help of his wife, Pamella.  He has authored over 100 articles and several books, Decoding Revelation’s Trumpets, The Book of Revelation, Too Good to be False, Present Truth in the Real World, What the Bible Says About the End Time,  and The Deep Things of God. These books are available in Adventist Book Centers, by calling 1-800-765-6955.


          Prof. Paulien is rightly regarded inside and outside the Adventist community, as a foremost authority in Johannine literature, especially the book of Revelation. Students have told me that listening to his lectures, is a mind-opening experience. Personally I esteem Prof. Paulien as the leading Adventist authority on the prophetic books of the Bible.


          If you wish that you could go back to school and seat in Prof. Paulien classes, I have good news for you. You do not need to worry about your age or your financial limitations.  You do not even need to enroll at Andrews University and spend thousands of dollars of tuition to benefit from Prof. Paulien’s instruction.


          All what you need to do is simply to order his 120 lectures which have been professionally recorded and packaged in FIVE ALBUMS, EACH CONTAINING 12 CD-ROMs, for a total of 60 CD-ROMs. The set is called The Bible Explorer Series on Revelation and takes you verse by verse through the whole book of Revelation. These lectures are the equivalent of four Seminary courses (about $2000.00 of tuition), yet they are presented in a way that lay people can understand. Each lecture concludes with spiritual lessons for everyday life.


          To express my appreciation for the contribution that Prof. Paulien has made to the understanding of Revelation, I am promoting and distributing his The Bible Explorer Series on Revelation consisting of 5 albums with a total of 60 CD-ROMS, as a free service without any commission. I have offered my service to facilitate the purchase of this timely set of 120 lectures through the shopping cart at my website: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/paulien/


          Your special offer for the complete The Bible Explorer Series on Revelation consisting of 5 albums with a total of 60 CD disks, is only $175.00, airmailing expenses included to any domestic or oversea destination. You can order the package in four ways:


          (1)  Online: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/paulien/


          (2)  Phone:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.


          (3)  Email:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. For security reasons, you can email your credit card number in two separate messages.  In the first message you email me the first 8 digits and in the second message the last 8 digits, plus the expiration date.   Be sure to include your postal address.      


          (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check for $175.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.




          Prof. Jon Paulien is one of the most respected Adventist scholars. Besides serving as the chairman of the New Testament at Andrews University Theological Seminary, he writes and lectures extensively in many parts of the world.


          Until now Prof. Paulien books and articles were available only in a printed form, often unavailable at local ABC stores.  In view of my indebtedness to Prof. Paulien’s scholarship, I have offered to help him to place his books and articles on a CD disk.  This makes it possible with the ACROBAT global search, to locate immediately what he has written on biblical texts or current topics.


          The CD album with Prof. Paulien’s books and articles was released on February 9, 2006. For a picture and a detailed description click here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/PaulienAD/


          The special introductory offer of the newly released CD-ROM ALBUM with Prof. Paulien books and articles is only $35.00 instead of the regular price of $50.00, airmailing expenses included to overseas destinations.


          To order the newly released CD ALBUM with Prof. Paulien books and articles, simply click here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/PaulienAD/ 


          If you have a problem ordering online, simply call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone.


               You can also email us your order at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>, giving us your address, credit card number, and expiration date. For security reasons, you can email your credit card number in two separate messages.  In the first message you email me the first 8 digits and in the second message the last 8 digits, plus the expiration date.   Be sure to include your postal address.




          HITACHI offered me a volume discount on four of their projector models, in order to reduce their inventory. For the first time HITACHI offered me 25 projectors 3200 lumens, high resolution for only $1995.00 each. This is an incredible price.  At the General Conference booth we sold several dozens of this projector for $3295.00.


          If your church is looking for an outstanding projector at a bargain price, this is the golden opportunity. To be brief I will only list the model, the lumens, and the special price.


CP-X250 HIGH RESOLUTION 2000 LUMENS – Only $1195.00

          Previous SDA price for the 2000 lumens was $1900.00.


CP-X440 HIGH RESOLUTION 2500 LUMENS – Only $1795.00

          Previous SDA price for the 2500 lumens was $2900.00.


CP-X444 HIGH RESOLUTION 3200 LUMENS – Only $1995.00

          Previous SDA price for the 3200 lumens was $3295.00.


CP-X1250 HIGH RESOLUTION 4500 LUMENS – Only $4195.00

          Previous SDA price for the 4500 lumens was $4900.00.


          These special offers are not listed at my website, because the prices change all the time, depending on the deal that HITACHI gives us. Feel free to call us at 269-471-2915 or email us a message at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>  I will email you all the details of each projector. Keep in mind that HITACHI offers us a 3 years 24/7 warranty package that is worth about $285.00.




          TOSHIBA has agreed to offer to Adventists the new TECRA A4 for only $1195.00, instead of the regular price of $1650.00. This is a outstanding business model with a very fast processor, extra bright screen, double memory, CD/DVD burner, wireless, etc.  The new model arrived from China on February 13, 2006. If you are looking for an outstanding TOSHIBA laptop at a bargain price, visit my website at http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Toshiba/Notebooks.html


          If you cannot surf the web, feel free to call us at 269-471-2915 or email us a message at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  We will email you immediately all the information about the TECRA laptops. Call me for details at 269-471-2915.




           If your church/school is looking for a screen, the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY, the largest manufacture of screens in the world, has agreed to offer their line of screens to our Adventist churches and schools at a about 30% discount.


          The procedure is very simple. Visit the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY website at http://www.da-lite.com. You will see hundreds of models of screens with their respective prices. Once you find the screen that you need, give us the model number by phone (269) 471-2915 or email your request <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> We will forward your order immediately to DA-LITE that will ship the screen directly to your address. You will receive the screen at about 30% discount.




          If you are looking for an outstanding REMOTE for your PowerPoint presentations, you will be pleased to know HONEYWELL has just come out with the smallest and most powerful remote in the market.


          The size of the transmitter is smaller than a credit card. You can stick it inside the palm of your hand and nobody can see it. I tested the remote in an open environment, and the radio signal can go up to 400 feet of distance. IT IS INCREDIBLE! The transmitter has three button: forward, backward, and laser. For a description of the remote click here. http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Remote/


          You can order online the new POWERPOINT  PRESENTER simply by clicking here:  http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=bookstore&Category_Code=RP


          If you have a problem ordering online, simply call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone.


               You can also email us your order at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>, giving us your address, credit card number, and expiration date. For security reasons, you can email your credit card number in two separate messages.  In the first message you email me the first 8 digits and in the second message the last 8 digits, plus the expiration date.   Be sure to include your postal address.


Christian regards


Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History, Andrews University

4990 Appian Way

Berrien Springs, MI 49103

 Phone (269) 471-2915  Fax (269) 978-6898

 E-mail    sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com


 WWW HOMEPAGE:  http://www.biblicalperspectives.com