Goodnews Christian Ministry
"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive all the nations in the four quarters of the earth...and mobilize them for war." ---Revelation 20:7-8
"Vast hordes thundering,
with thunder like thundering seas,
the roaring of nations
roaring like the roar of mighty waters.
He rebukes them and far away they flee...
At evening all was terror; before morning comes they are no more."
The Bible makes no bones about the situation ahead. On history's horizon there awaits a vast horde of armies. Preparing to amass in numbers enormous beyond count, they are readying themselves for the order which will permit them to unleash their fury on a world buried in sin.
"...I will let you see how I make Babylon pay for all the wrongs they have done to Zion...Prepare nations to make war on her; summon kingdoms against her: Ararat, Minni, Ashkenaz; call the roll of her enemies, officer! Bring up the cavalry, bristling like locusts. "
"Prepare nations to make war on her: the king of Media with his governors and dignitaries and the whole territory under his rule.
Then the earth trembled and writhed, for God's plan against Babylon was going forward: to change the country of Babylon into an unpopulated desert." (Jer.51:24-29).
Failing to heed the words of Christ which had once spread across Babylon like a spiritual fire and converted the world into the Gospel, the nations began to fall away and unite against Him. His teachings were ignored as the children of the conversion began to mock the precautions that accompanied their prosperity.
Scripture was clear, "On these grounds is the sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds are evil." (John 3:19).
"Prepare nations to make war on her: the king of Media with his governors and dignitaries and the whole territory under his rule..." (Jer.51:28). These armies of the Prince of Persia, his governors and dignitaries -- all the kings of the East (Rv.16:12)-- will appear at God's command -- not because He sent them, but because He will stop holding them back. Sin has formed them.
They could come at any time. But through the power of faith, divine intervention has held them at bay.
God has held them back for a purpose -- but with a forewarning. The purpose is for salvation. The warning is the wrath -- a wrath that is coming. It was always coming, but for awhile God intervened with His Christ to push back into the future the time of the terrible days ahead. So the world is living on borrowed time.
The symbol of God's warning is the cross: "Display the standard throughout the world..." (Jer.51:27). And the message of the approaching apocalypse is the Gospel: "Sound the trumpet among the nations! Prepare nations to make war on her" (Babylon). (Jer.51:27).
So while the nations listened, the terror was held in chains, struggling to break away in the inevitable apostasy which lay ahead and which would transform their bonds from iron to paper.
When that happens, they will pour across Babylon -- all across the world -- bringing every terror that scripture has warned that wickedness employs. And they will come because of apostasy. Wickedness rising up to become its own scourge because the world has abandoned Jesus and his word.
"Sharpen the arrows, take up the shields! The Lord has stirred up the king of the Medes, because his purpose is to destroy Babylon." (Jer.51:51). As we have seen, a key area around which all these prophecies revolve (an area represented today by Iraq and Iran) is known by the ancient names 'Media and Persia'.
It is this section of the world (the land of king of the Medes) which biblical prophecy has designated as the guiding source of the armies that will bring Babylon to ruin at the end of time.
In contemplating this violent rampage decreed for the end of the world, the first question that comes to mind is 'how could God do such a thing?' But God is not ending the world, it is sin that is ending the world.
God does not bring pain and suffering and He does not cause evil. He does allow it, of course, because He has given free will to the people, but that allowance is only for the good of His ultimate purpose. "For the Lord God Almighty says this: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing-floor when it is being trodden: a little while, and there the grain will lie that has been harvested." (Jer.51:33).
Satan is this world's master and Satan is responsible for every catastrophe.
When a baby dies or a traffic accident destroys a family, God is not the cause. He is just as anguished over the disasters that occur in this world as we are. Yet while God is saddened over the tragedies of this world, His anguish is not impotent. He has used this world's mayhem for His own purpose.
God has overcome Satan so that all catastrophes can lead to good, but He has not put a stop to the disasters themselves, because to do so would derail everything He has worked to accomplish -- to find His people and break the bonds that tie them to this world so that He can rescue each one from the captivity of sin.
If the world were pleasant, we would not leave it and follow Christ. "Man in his prosperity forfeits intelligence." (Ps.49:20). Remaining in blindness, we would die in our sins, and Satan would be victorious over us.
When there is no tragedy Satan becomes invisible. In catastrophe his presence is indisputable. Catastrophe and the influence of Satan are identical. Only when Satan and his influence are completely eradicated can calamity end.
While God has it in His power to destroy Satan immediately, He is holding that event back so that we can be saved. In fact, the world should have ended long ago -- at the time of the flood -- but God prevented it from being destroyed by sending it His Christ -- a treaty of peace to hold back the wrath.
In bringing Jesus to the earth, God blocked the world's destruction so that the Holy Spirit could find and rescue all the people of Israel whom Satan had taken captive and hidden within it.
It is for our salvation that God has prevented the world from being destroyed. But once His rescue has been completed, then the end will come, and it will come in cataclysm. Not because God decrees it, but because God stops blocking it.
Man himself, chasing evil, will do the critical damage, but the universe, too, will also play a part.
Jesus has forewarned us that the consequence of sin is disaster and always leads to death. This is a natural law and does not need a special order from God to be carried out. It is built right into the harmonics of creation.
And even if a natural disaster does ring down the final curtain, God will use it only to stop the carnage and end the suffering, not to add to it. The greatest part of the damage will come, not because of nature, but because of God's absence from that nature. The wicked will be devoid of God.
The mechanism of the wrath will be the ten-nation confederacy whose existence was revealed by Daniel (Dn. 7:8; 7:20; 7:24), and elaborated on by the Apostle John (Rv.17:12). Exactly which nations will be involved in the formation of this ten-country coalition cannot be determined at this time. But while some of it will be Middle Eastern, a large part of it, scripture shows, will be Asian.
Jeremiah terms this confederacy, 'Media' (Jer.51:28). Daniel calls its early configuration, 'Persia' (Dn.11:2), and says that it will lie in the 'north' (Dn.11:15; Ez.38:15) -- above the Euphrates river (Rv.9:13-15).
John said that the armies of the beast "will be as many as the sands of the sea" (Rv.20:8). Isaiah said that it will be composed of 'vast hordes' of soldiers. (Is.17:12). The prophet Joel described these minions as "a great and mighty host as has never been seen before and will never be seen again..." (Joel 2:2).
Such descriptions give certain indication that almost the entire Asian continent will mobilize behind the confederacy.
Ezekiel says that its troops will "cover the earth like a cloud." (Ez.38:16). With many nations they will invade Israel, bringing there "a great army of countless troops all mounted." (Ez.38:15).
The size of this confederation will be truly gigantic.
Ezekiel says that associated with it will be Magog, Rosh, Meschech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, Bethtogarmah, and many other nations as well. (Ez.38:4-6). Far more, it seems, than the ten defined by the prophecies. This shows that many satellite nations will gather together to add support to the ten-nation commonwealth.
Such visions conjure up images of an empire that could stretch the length and breadth of Asia, from the Black Sea to the eastern Pacific, encompassing the entire Middle East above Saudi Arabia, and perhaps involving extensions deep into Europe. (See map).
This huge eastern bloc of nations will amalgamate against the West for the purpose of destroying Babylon -- seen by them, a corrupt way of life -- a society of man that the invaders view as hopelessly immoral, secular, materialistic and filled with sin and debauchery.
While we view this terrible eastern force as a disaster for ourselves because it is coming to destroy the countries we live in, scripture says that it is being gathered at the service of God because the hour He has appointed has come. "Be ready, be well prepared, you and all your troops and the others rallying round you, and hold yourself at my service." (Ez. 38:7).
The entire plan behind the tribulation has been orchestrated by the Almighty as the birth process of the new kingdom -- a travail beyond which lies eternal life -- a reward given by God to those who have opened their hearts to the Gospel of Christ.
A large part of the Gospel -- the words of Jesus -- warn about the impending wrath. Its coming is an absolute because wickedness here reigns.
God's peace treaty that blocks this wrath is symbolized by the cross. Therefore it's presence is the signal -- the essence of the warning. Everywhere that it stands it beacons an alarm from God of what is to come to those who ignore its message.
The disasters which follow sin are inevitable. God can give us a way to escape these disasters by following Christ, but outside of Christ there is no escape from the Law.
Jesus went to the cross to keep the Law, not to destroy it. And when He did, He created a treaty of peace whose terms free those who accept it from all the penalties the Law dictates. The wrath comes from those penalties. The only escape is the peace treaty of Christ.
Many times in the Old Testament words attributed to God actually apply to His divine Law. This is the case with Ezekiel's words here. The troops of the end are coming at the service of a divine Law which decrees disaster as a penalty for sin.
The Law and its penalty disappear only when the people remain inside the terms of Christ's treaty. For all who reject God's offer of divine forgiveness, though, the punishment decreed by the Law remains in effect.
This is the awful reality of the collapse of the Christian millenium. With the Church falling out of favor, and the western world embracing its secular replacement, the harsh rules of Old Testament Law take over again and mercy disappears.
The fact that the ten-nations have been put at God's service does not mean that their troops will be holy -- far from it -- but they will serve God's Law, because the Law itself will help create this army. The profligate nature of our own civilization will provide the soil for its genesis.
God has armed creation to destroy itself on account of sin and with grace removed, nothing can stop this process from taking place.
The Eastern forces, then, will be steeped in a type of morality. Not Christ's morality, but their own which they will attribute to God. And in their intense anger they will harbor a deep hostility to the West and to the moral decadence they see there.
Initially, the troops of the East will view themselves the saviors of a world that seems to have gone entirely immoral. As a result, in their first assault they will come sweeping into Babylon under the banner of their own god carrying retribution for sin in their swords.
They will come like the Hebrews came when they descended on the Phillistines. But in this case, they will be fighting, not for the House of Israel, but against it -- fighting to drive the Western way of life out of their countries -- and ultimately, off the earth itself.
What will be the make up of this confederacy?
It will be formed, Daniel shows us, in the aftermath of the second Gulf War. That war will pit the western world, especially the United States and Israel against Media and Persia (Iraq and Iran most likely).
Defeating this eastern coalition, the west will stand at the pinnacle of its power -- a power that Daniel tells us will very quickly disintegrate and evolve into four components. One of these four, the smallest, will initiate the development of the confederacy which will grow into a ten-nation coalition of nations hostile to the western world.
If a religious component exists in this confederacy, it's early composition will be for the most part muslim. Looking at the geography Daniel gives us, there can be little doubt of this. However, unless a religious revival of significant proportions occurs in this area very quickly, a much larger percentage of its population will likely be secular and have no religion at all.
There is every possiblility that such a revival could occur across the broader Asian continent. This would be especially true if, in the second Gulf war these militants set off nuclear weapons of any kind. Such unthinkable circumstances might polarize anti-western emotions in this area, so close to the conflagration, and the radiation floating around their atmosphere would provide an easy focus for fanning a consuming hatred of the West.
Those kind of elements fit perfectly with the expansionist plans of an Islamic fundamentalism currently growing in the Middle East -- militant muslims who, even today, consider the United States 'the Great Satan'.
Considering that it will arise from the ashes of the second Gulf War, the virulent hatred of the west most militant Islamic components voice in that area today can only be expected to accelerate.
Elements of this hostility are already quite measurable, but the ravages of intense war in the Persian and Middle Eastern theatre will deepen the rent considerably.
More than that, Daniel shows us that the ten-nation confederacy will develop in the 'North' in antagonism to another empire to the south of it, the two divided by the Euphrates river. This illustrates a tear that will split the muslim world in two.
Daniel's vision argues a religious civil war, with the Persian muslims (Shiite) on one side and the Arab muslims (Sunni) on the other.
No such division now exists, but the prophecies clearly show that the Arabs and Jews will unite against the forces of the North, solidifying their pact with a treaty of peace.
Such a treaty will enrage the Persian (Shiite) elements of the Islamic world. And it is these elements of Islam that lie to the north of the Euphrates.
Central to the prophecies of the last days is a Jewish-Egyptian peace treaty. It is on this alliance that all the elements of the end-times are contingent. It will fracture the Middle East into polar elements, and that is why the warfare between the two (North and South) will begin, says scripture, at the banks of the Euphrates river.
Given the current composition of these regions today, the prophecies point most strongly to an Islamic civil war -- one pitting Persian muslims against Arab muslims, and one in which the Jews become strategically entangled.
There can be little doubt that a strong Islamic presence has grown all across the Asian continent and now covers much of the territory where the ancestors of the coming hordes of the East now dwell.
This Islamic presence, Shiite as opposed to Sunni, seems certain to underlie the early character of the northern confederacy. Its antagonism to Christianity is well documented. It is much more militant in this regard than the Islamic attitude that permeates much of the South. It is evident in all of these prophecies that the moderate and peaceful muslims now ruling most of Islam are soon to be overwhelmed by the terrors of a militant Shiite fundamentalism building against them.
In days gone by, the early victories of the muslim revolution impacted in a major way the spread and scope of the Christian Church -- especially the Eastern Orthodox branch of the Christian Church. That is because Christianity was seen by these eastern conquerors as a rival that needed to be spiritually exterminated in the areas of their occupation. Followers of the Koran considered Christians to be 'infidels'.
Not only did these Islamic invasions take away Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Christian rule, they effectively snuffed out Christian dominion in places like Antioch, Constantinople, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, and, as we have seen before, all seven of the cities to which the Book of Revelation was addressed.
As we saw in an earlier chapter, the muslim invasion of Christian lands proceeded along the southern Mediterranean coast, reaching up through Spain and finally running out of steam at the battle of Tours in southern France. The Arab attack and conquests, beginning just after the death of Mohammed in 632 A.D., lasted about 200 years.
And two hundred years after that, another attack -- that of the Seljuk Turks -- took out almost all of the remaining territory of the Eastern Christian Church and spread up from Greece through the countries between the Adriatic and Black Seas into Europe, reaching to Vienna, Austria, before being repulsed there by Christian forces.
With major enclaves throughout Europe, Africa, and the Mediterranean, the Islamic dominion on earth now spreads from sea to sea all across Asia. At least 40% of the population of the Phillipines, for instance, belong today to the muslim religion.
The Islamic impact, especially in its deflection of the spread of Christianity across the world, has been profound. While the Christian presence itself has been allowed to remain in place in most areas of muslim occupation, all Christian prosletyzing activities are dissallowed.
And, in the case of the Ottoman empire, the sultans promoted Christian slavery. It is against the Koran for muslim's to enslave other muslims, but no such anti-slavery injunction is to be found in that book concerning infidels (such as Christians).
Taking advantage of this option, the leaders of the Ottoman empire ruled that every fourth-born son of Christian families living in the areas of their control -- in Europe, Greece and Turkey, for instance -- be made a slave of the Islamic state. And, once cleansed of Christian training and re-schooled in the ways of Mohammed, to spend the rest of their lives in service to the sultans -- as their personal property and possession.
Those who were obedient were paid handsomely. The most elite of all the fighting forces of the Ottoman empire were composed of such 'Christian slaves' -- called 'Janissarys'. Not only were they forcibly denied their Christian heritage, they proved a formidable fighting machine for their captors.
It was the Janissarys, for instance, who conquered the city of Constantinople for the muslim forces (the capitol of the Eastern Christian Church), after the regular Islamic forces had failed.
The consequences of this active antagonism to Christ by the Islamic world has had a profoundly negative effect on the development of the eastern Christian Church and severely blocked its passage eastward across the Asian continent.
The focus of this fence between East and West has historically resided at the Euphrates river. It is this area which scripture tells us the gates of which will be widely opened at the sound of the 'sixth trumpet' of the Book of Revelation.
That trumpet, scripture says, will release from God's bondage certain angels at the Euphrates, making a way for the kings of the East to pour in and conquer Babylon. These eastern kings, then, will put together the final great Persian empire forseen by the ancient prophets.
That sixth trumpet seems to be sounding now.
The ascendancy of the East has been one of the major events of the 20th Century. Three enormous empires have grown there in the last 60 years, Japan, the Soviet Union and China. The United States suffered a humiliating defeat in Vietnam, and the Korean conflict is still smouldering. And now a fourth empire there, that of the Medes, is beginning to form.
Scripture indicates that initially, when the great powers of the End prepare to meet each other in combat, they will be divided by the Euphrates river. The North on one side, and the coalition of countries which Daniel calls the kingdom of the South on the other.
The 'kingdom of the South' seems certain to include the three military powers seen there today -- Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt. The second Gulf War when it comes is certain to fuse the alliance between these three countries even further than the processes of the first war have.
As we have seen, according to the book of Daniel the affiliation of these three nations will be cemented in the strength of the west -- a process also well in progress today.
The current Arab boundaries were defined at the Euphrates river during the First World War when the British, under the leadership of one of its officers -- T.E. Lawrence (popularly called Lawrence of Arabia), united with the Arabs to drive the Ottomon Turks out of the Middle East.
In this action, Lawrence helped Arabia gain control of almost all the territory that lay to the west and south of this river. In so doing, he helped structure southern boundaries that now match scripture's battle lines.
At the same time, other Britsh actions secured Jerusalem. This is the conquest that made it possible for the Jews to return to Palestine because it brought the Holy Land under British rule.
In World War I, the British defeated the Ottoman Empire and took control of Palestine. (this occurred at the same time one of Britain's citizens (now called Lawrence of Arabia) led the Arabs (who up to that time had been nomadic tribesmen) to political victories that secured for them virtually the same national boundaries we see in Arabia today, i.e., Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc. The Balfour Treaty at the end of World War I gave Jews the right to live again in the Holy Land, the first time they were allowed to live there legally since the time of Caesar. At the end of World War II, the world, in the form of the United Nations, so shocked by the holocaust, partitioned a section of Palestine and voted to give the Jews a small nation there. They could do this because Palestine at the time was under British (not Ottoman empire) rule.
In retrospect, therefore, we can see many processes being molded by God in this century to bring the world into line with the Bible's predictions.
In order to understand the fanaticism which will drive the eastern confederacy's initial lust for war, we have to look again at the Great Revolt sweeping the West.
We have already seen that it is essential for the freedoms associated with western government to be anchored in the statutes of God in order to work.
But with these governments now declaring their freedom from Christ, His moral code is no longer in force in the West. In the resulting ethical vacuum, where the constraints of Christian conscience have been physically removed, western freedoms have been turned into a license to sin, producing social anarchy and internal chaos.
We can see vast tributaries of that disaray spreading throughout the western world. It may be free, but it is falling apart internally because of sin.
Shunning discipline, western government has been altogether helpless in trying to slow down the proliferation of drugs, weapons, violence, greed and sexual misconduct that has engulfed it.
The revolution against Christ and His Word is occurring at all levels and in all countries of the western world. The politicians and business leaders are often just as wicked as the people they are trying to bring to justice. And the judges and leaders of the society continue adamantly to mandate a civilization devoid of Godly principles.
Their mandates that call for a separation of church and state have proven to be a foil hiding their deep hostilities toward Christian teachings and principles.
The resulting breakdown proves that civilized behavior is not dependent on political processes alone. Human society must be held together by the moral fabric of God as well if it is to be orderly. That moral code must come from the Bible because God has expressed the laws of this world's social order through that one Book, and He has created the whole universe within its rules.
God's Law is Jesus Christ. Wherever Jesus is obeyed, peace prevails and order is maintained. But wherever He is rejected, public anarchy and violence take over.
With the world's commitment to Jesus Christ waning, the rules He promoted in society are being thrown out. That is why we now see a civilization that is falling apart, bringing with it in this century a global anarchy not seen on this planet during Christian times.
The politics have not changed during this period, only the moral base. Western government has evicted Christ from His post at the head of its table, handing His ruling scepter back to the pagans.
This means that the government is on His shoulders no more. Isaiah's song has been silenced. As a result, what the western world has been exporting to the East in recent years is not just its democratic freedoms, but also the decadence associated with its moral collapse.
Watching the immoral and hedonistic processes of modern western civilization enter their own countries has produced in the East a culture shock everywhere that it has happened, but especially where such behavior clashes with strong religious taboos.
This is particularly true in the case of the Middle East where the populations are deeply committed to the moral ethics of the Koran. The same is true in much of Asia as well, not just because many of those populations are also muslim, but also because these nations have lived for such a long time under totalitarian regimes which have tried to block such behavior politically through military repression.
Now virtually all eastern gates have been opened to the West and the music and videotapes and movies and drugs are pouring in -- right alongside the freedoms of democratic government -- all of it seeming to go hand in hand.
Resurrecting Sodom and Gomorrah in a place called Hollywood, the scions of capitalism have packaged all the elements of this misconduct into an endless parade of promotions glorifying sex and violence which they have disseminated to every corner of the earth. Fueling the breakdown, these sinful productions and their dark music, antagonistic to God, have helped immeasurably to intensify Satan's corrosive effect on the societies of the world.
As a result, western culture is being viewed with growing alarm by many government leaders in the East as they begin to see the same kind of social turmoil prevalent in the West start to proliferate through their own cities as well.
Only two avenues exist. The East can either react or acquiesce to the decadence. The Bible predicts the former. It foresees a people coming out of the North and aligned with the East consumed with the idea that they are the servants of God empowered by Him to restore social order to an earth consumed in profligacy. And that is how Babylon will fall.
Very soon then, this collision of values will come to a head in a violent and shattering confrontation. Driving this hostile encounter will be the inflamed passions of the next U.S./Persian war.
In the aftermath of that war, Daniel shows that the United States will lose it's leadership role in the world. This split in the unity of the West will tear apart its military alliances and leave much of western civilization helpless against the hordes of eastern armies amassing against it -- vast hordes whose minds have become obsessed with the notion that the earth can only be cleansed with blood.
These are the last days of Babylon -- the time of the great scourge of the planet earth.
Joel said that the ten nations will launch a campaign of violence that will ultimately denude the globe, leaving the world of the past -- a world of gardens and flowers -- a battlefield of bombed-out craters filled with the ashes and the dust of human civilization.
We are not dealing here with an orderly exchange of governments. These are the days when the world will spin headlong out of control into what the Bible calls "all the devastation decreed". (Dn.9:26).
It is the time the Bible has called 'the Wrath' -- a time that will show that the World Wars of the past were simply preludes to the catastrophic events they heralded.
This monster now stirring in the steppes of Asia will be launching its programs through the barrel of a gun, not at a redi-teller. European monetary systems will have nothing to do with it. There will be no confusing the mark of this beast. His stamp will be clear even to the blind. It will be inked in violence.
Daniel said that this mammoth eastern coalition will have"great iron teeth", (Dn.7:7), and that it will use those teeth to crush the earth as it tramples down its kingdoms.
"The fourth beast is to be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all other kingdoms. It will devour the whole earth, trample it underfoot and crush it." (Dn.7:23).
If this kingdom were able to lock up the world economically, it wouldn't have to resort to burning it down. Economic unity and widespread warfare do not go together. Especially the kind of purging and depopulating warfare all the prophecies predict.
Economies and money markets will all collapse in that kind of environment. Therefore, unity, especially economic unity is never to be. Not in a world where markets are isolated and economic production in vast areas brought to a standstill by fighting.
Listen to what Joel says of these time: "Day of darkness and gloom, day of cloud and blackness. Like the dawn there spreads across the mountains a vast and mighty host...in their van the fire devours, in their rear a flame consumes. "
"The country is like a garden of Eden ahead of them and a desert waste behind them. Nothing escapes them. They look like horses, like chargers they gallop on, with a racket like the clatter of chariots they hurtle over the mountain tops, with a crackling like a blazing fire devouring the stubble, a mighty army in battle array. At the sight of them the peoples are appalled and every face grows pale." (Joel 2:2-5).
All of this fighting (the 'roaring of the nations' that is destined for the last days) will result in the complete ruin of Babylon.
While the scope of Daniel's prophecies seems to demand a significant number of years necessary to allow all these events to transpire (164 years were necessary at the time of Antiochus for instance), such will not be the case in our time.
Since God has cut the years of the end short, the chronology of final events will take place in rapid sequence and with startling speed. History has taught us that immense changes in world politics can occur almost overnight.
In 1923, ten years before the housepainter Adolph Hitler took control of Germany and changed the political structure of the civilized world, there was not the slightest hint of his coming. And twelve years after he came to power, he was dead.
It will be the same at the End with the horde of armies commanded by the Beast and his compatriots. "At evening all was terror; before morning comes they are no more. Such was the lot of our plunderers, such, the fate of our despoilers." (Is.17:14).
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