The 11th of the 11th - Remembrance Day

On November 11th, 1918, at 11 o'clock in the morning, the end of the First World War took place: Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces. After 4 long years of bloodshed, the final Armistice was signed...

The First World War was known as "The Great War" and the "War To End All Wars". The 'Central Powers', the losers in the war, lost more than 3,500,000 soldiers on the battlefield. The 'Allied Powers', the victors, lost more than 5,100,000 men. On average, more than 5,600 soldiers were killed on every day of the war.

The fact that 20,000 British soldiers were killed on the first day of the 'Battle of the Somme' is often recalled with horror. Over 5 million civilians are also estimated to have perished on the European continent alone, under occupation, bombardment, hunger and disease.

Within 6 weeks of the war starting almost half a million men had volunteered to fight for God, King, and country, and for the freedom of the world. Britain lost one of its finest generations... They came from all walks of society: Men from the Victorian Bible-believing generation who were willing to stand and fight for these noble ideals.

November 11th is known as "Armistice Day" or "Remembrance Day" in Great Britain and its Commonwealth countries, and as "Veterans Day" in the United States. After the Second World War, the nearest Sunday to this day became known as "Remembrance Sunday"; and at 11 a.m. on this day, two minutes of silence are held, to give thanks to God who brought us through the war and gave us the victory, and to remember those who laid down their lives. The Netherlands, Belgium, and France, also stop in silence to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.

"Come, behold the works of the Lord... He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth ... BE STILL and know that I am God ..." PSALM 46:8-10

The Symbolic Importance of the 11th of the 11th

The clock at the Brussels 'Palais de Congrès' shows the world's history over the past 2000 years. The figure at the eleventh hour is the soldier of World War 1.What time is it now? The clock at the Brussels 'Palais de Congrès' shows the world's history over the past 2000 years. The figure at the eleventh hour is the soldier of World War 1. The Bible shows that the return of the Lord will occur at midnight: "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him" (MATTHEW 25:6; read from verses 1-13).

Jesus was asked: "...what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" in MATTHEW 24. He answered:

"...And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (World Wars!) ... So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors" (MATTHEW 24:6-7,33).

It is no coincidence that this "War To End All Wars" came to an end on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.

The circumstances of the war around that time were far too chaotic to even allow the military leaders to carefully consider signing the treaty at exactly 11 o'clock, on the morning of the eleventh of November. Fighting even continued until the last minute.

This timing was a clear 'sign' and warning from God that we have entered The Last Days, and that the 12th hour (midnight), when Jesus returns, is not far off.

"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come... Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (MATTHEW 24:42,44).

The Unknown Soldier

For seven years after the war, the British Imperial War Graves Commission continued with the task of searching for, attempting to identify, and re-burying soldiers who had been killed and lost in the morass of mud, trenches, and bomb craters on the Western Front.

One of these unidentified soldiers was chosen to represent his fallen comrades, to be the focus of the yearning and mourning for so many who would never know what had happened to their sons, or husband, or father.

At 11 a.m. on 11th November, 1920, the funeral and burial of the "Unknown Soldier" took place in London. The funeral procession halted as it passed by the Cenotaph, the newly built national war memorial, which was unveiled by the King who then walked behind the gun-carriage bearing the coffin (see also box: The Cenotaph Ceremony). A Guard of Valour formed entirely of holders of the Victoria Cross was mounted outside Westminster Abbey where the coffin was finally laid to rest, just inside the entrance in the nave.

The stone laid over the tomb was inscribed with these words:

"For God, For King and country, For loved ones, home, and empire, For the sacred cause of justice and the freedom of the world. Beneath this stone rests the body of a British Warrior..."

The Cenotaph Ceremony

The Cenotaph, which is the Greek word for "empty tomb", has continued to be the national focal point for the Armistice Day commemorations. Every year, the Royal family, heads of all the Commonwealth states, the Prime Minister, and leaders of all the political parties, as well as thousands of others join veterans of the Army, Navy and Airforce from both World Wars, in remembrance of those who gave their lives.

The whole nation is led in prayer...

"Heavenly Father, Your Son the Lamb of God has told us that he who loses his life for His sake will find it. You know our hearts and know that no life is worth living without risks. We thank you for that great love in men's hearts that prompted those for whom we remember this day to lay down their lives that we might be free to worship here; teach us so to live as those who are bought at great cost, and as you have called us to your service, make us worthy of our calling, through the all sufficient merits of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

"...We thank you for the brave and faithful dead who have laid down their lives in two World Wars... for the courage and the devotion of soldiers, sailors and airmen fallen in the cause of truth or right. May we follow their example in faithfulness and perseverance, that we too may be found worthy of the crown of victory. Amen."

and then in silence...

1059 hrs The Trumpeter Sounds 'The Last Post'.

The Last Post - "To endure to the end" - symbolising Judgment Day.

1100 hrs Two minutes silence.

1102 hrs Lament is played.

The Trumpeter Sounds 'Réveille', Flags are raised.

Réveille = To awaken - symbolising the resurrection.

1103 hrs Act of Remembrance.

They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old,

Age shall not weary them nor the Years condemn,

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

1105 hrs Wreath laying.

The Queen lays the first wreath on the Cenotaph, followed by all the heads of state and leaders of the Army, Navy and Airforce.

1115 hrs GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

God save our gracious Queen,

Long live our noble Queen,

God save the Queen.

Send her victorious,

Happy and glorious,

Long to reign over us,

God save the Queen.

Parade marches past.

* * *

 The Hand of God in the History of Great Britain

Through all of Great Britain's history one is constantly confronted with events, in which God's moving hand has revealed itself, which are also detailed in books such as 'The Trumpet Sounds for Britain':

  • e.g. heavy storms destroyed Spain's 'Invincible Armada', in its attempt to conquer England in 1588 and bring the nation back to Catholicism.
  • e.g. the German 'Zeppelins' in W.W.I which were to drop bombs on London, were driven off course by a sudden unforeseen cyclonic disturbance.
  • e.g. on account of an inexplicable change of weather conditions in May 1940, 335,000 British soldiers succeeded in getting away from the progressing German army ("The Miracle of Dunkirk"), after the whole nation held a National Day of Prayer on May 26th.
  • e.g. The "Angel of Mons" who appeared in the battle of the same name, in W.W.I, as described in the sheet "Divine Intervention" (See also 2 KINGS 7:6).

And so one could go on and on.1

The famous British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill said in 1942: "I sometimes have a feeling of interference. I want to stress that. I have a feeling sometimes that some Guiding Hand has interfered. I have a feeling that we have a Guardian because we have a great Cause, and we shall have that Guardian so long as we serve that Cause faithfully. And what a Cause it is!"

Churchill, was simply expressing an old truth, which is not only valid for Great Britain, but for all countries:

"If thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments ... the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth ... the Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face ... the Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself ... the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods ... thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail;..." (DEUTERONOMY 28:1-14).

After Victory at the end of W.W.II, Churchill ordered the whole of parliament to assemble at Westminster Abbey to give thanks to Almighty God for His deliverance.

What This Day Means in the 'Germanic' Roman-Catholic Countries

In the Germanic countries, where Roman-Catholicism reigns, November 11th marks the beginning of "carnival", a time of feasting and merry-making. These "festivities" are called "Fasching" or "Fastnacht" in Bavaria and Austria. In the Rhineland and the Romanic countries they are named "Karneval". The main activities pursued are masking, processions, singing, and amusements, with alcoholic and sexual excesses.

The Origins of Carnival

The name is derived from Medieval Latin: "carnelevarium", from "caro; carnis" (meaning 'flesh') and "levare" (meaning 'to lighten' or 'put aside').2 Carnival is the last festival which takes place before the 40 day fast preceding Easter, when Roman Catholics in former times refrained from eating meat.2

The origins of carnival can be found in the oldest excessive festivities of mankind, when the return of spring as a symbol for the rebirth of nature was celebrated in a religious manner.3

In Athens, the processions used ship carriages, the forerunner of today's carnival carriages, in honour of the wine-god Dionysos. The Romans honoured Dionysos (whom they called Bacchus) with the so-called "Saturnalia", the "Bacchanalia" and the "Lupercalia" - festivals which in the later Roman period were marked by wild frivolities and excessive liberty; during these times the civil order was temporarily suspended. Many Romans sent their daughters to the countryside, as there was such high danger of being raped in the city. Carnival is merely the continuation of these Roman festivals. This explains why it still has its special character, and its observance has been retained in areas where Roman culture was predominant.4

The Character of Carnival

Even though for some people carnival is a great pleasure, the Bible states that we will "know them by their fruits" (MATTHEW 7:16). The most popular masks worn by the people on this occasion reveal this very clearly: vampires, whores, devils, ghosts, witches, murderers, pirates... quite aside from the 'fruit' of the alcoholic and sexual abuse.

All this - as said before - starts with the eleventh of November... in complete contrast to the commemorations of the English-speaking world.

God's Curse on Godless Nations

Even though Great Britain has gone downhill rapidly during recent years, there are still many people who do remember God's commandments and prove that Britain truly is God's covenant people (Hebraic "b'rith" = covenant + "ain" = people). By contrast, when Germany (and many other nations) are examined in the light of history and their general national character is observed (indifference and negative attitude towards God), it is clearly seen that these nations are cursed. How people behave during carnival, is just a typical consequence thereof:

"If thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes ... all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: ... The Lord will send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke ... The Lord shall smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart ... because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;..." (DEUTERONOMY 28:15-47).

What Does This Mean For You?

You too, have the choice between being blessed or cursed. Are you one of those, who have an "abundance of all things" - but do not care about God?

Remember - not only on the 11th of November, but every day - that the 12th hour is not far off. Jesus Christ will soon return.

Are you prepared?

Note:
Scenes from the "Remembrance Sunday Commemorations", can be seen in videos in the assembly library, such as "VE50", and the scenes each year are taped by the video department. Those who have never seen these commemorations, or realised what it means, should get a hold of one of these videos to watch.

written by: Jochen W., Ian, Findlay, Chris

  • 1. 'We Have a Guardian' by W. B. Grant
  • 2. a. b. Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • 3. Encyclopaedia 'Delta Larousse'
  • 4. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics