296 The Race to Armageddon
In 1860, a French Scientist named; Pierre Berchelt predicted…
“Within a hundred years of physical and chemical science, man will know what the ATOM is. It is my belief that when science reaches this stage, God will come down with His big ring of keys and will say to humanity; ‘Gentlemen, it is closing time.’”
The first part of Berchelt’s forecast is history. We live in the perilous atomic and nuclear age. What about the remainder of the prediction? How near is closing time? And, what is closing? Are we to expect the End of the world and Judgement?
Will some power hungry leader plunge the world into a life ending nuclear nightmare? Would experiments in germ warfare or the creation of new life forms bring about scientific suicide? Today’s uncertainties have produced immense interest in the future. Something is in the wind and it has not gone unnoticed! Curiosity about the future is not new. Even the Disciples of Jesus longed for more light on things to come when they asked, “… what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?” Matthew 24:3. The Lord’s answer to their question, along with other Bible prophecies provides a collection of required conditions for what must be a closing time.
Jesus said: “And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars… see that you are not troubled… for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nations shall rise against nations… and kingdoms against kingdoms.” Matthew 24:6–7. Wars seem unthinkable in this age of unparallel education. One would think that enlightened man would have forsaken such a barbaric practice. Yet the twentieth century, more than any other, has demonstrated that foolish heads and empty hearts produce violence. Twice in a span of a generation, Europe’s most scientifically advanced nations plunged the world into bloody conflict.
My Sermon today entitled “The Race to Armageddon” will show us that although wars have been fought throughout history; the Bible says that the end-time battles will be more frequent and more disastrous… the situation is compared to a woman in labour? The pains increase with frequency and severity as the birth draws near. Romans 8:22, 23.
Fifty-two million people were killed in WWII, compared with eight million in WWI. The prospects of casualties in a future conflict are mind boggling! According to Revelation ch9:
a third of mankind will be destroyed (that’s about 2.2 Billion people). Even small nations are assembling arsenals of doomsday proportions. This is another fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy… “Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, and let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say; I am strong“ (Joel 3: 9 &10).
Meanwhile, peace continues to be an illusive dream as it has been throughout the centuries. Though peace talks continue and talks of disarmament claim progress it will be only temporary at best. For the Bible warns that … “when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
1 Thessalonians 5:3
As I hinted a few weeks ago, the Arab alliance in Psalm 83 will be formed before the anti-Christ comes into power. It will be an attempt by Israel’s Islamic neighbours to take back Israel by force. Their “holy war” will end with Israel temporarily weakened. Nevertheless, these attacking forces will seemingly suffer a devastating defeat with the renowned Islamic city of Damascus left in utter ruins (Isaiah 17:12–13). The war will also leave Israel without threatening enemies along her northern and eastern borders. As the Islamic world is likely to retreat from further hostile actions toward Israel and withdraw to deal with its “public disgrace” – that’s exactly what happened after each of the massive Arab invasions of Israel in past wars. The destruction of Damascus, will, however, also unleash a backlash against the Jewish State. Israel’s non-conventional weapons will be replaced by super power guarantees of Israel’s safety.
Israel then stripped of her defences is exactly where Ezekiel’s Gog and Magog begin! The prophesy makes it clear that Russia will invade Israel at a time when war is not expected. When will this war take place? There are four time factors that allow us to arrive at the approximate time of the war between Russia and Israel:
- The war takes place in the “latter years” (Ezekiel 38:8), or the “latter days” (v16).
- The war can only take place when the Jews are in their land. This prophecy could NOT be fulfilled before 1948.
- At the time of the invasion of Israel, Russia must be a major military power.
- The war between Russia and Israel must take place when the Jews are dwelling securely in their land. The threat of Arab invasion will therefore have been removed to the point that the Jews feel safe. Ezekiel 38: 11.
Students of Biblical prophecy have long expected a Russian military move in the Middle East. In the early 1900’s Theology Lecturer Dr. Ironside wrote, “In the last days, the final head of the Russian people will look with covetous eyes upon the great developments in the land called Palestine. They will determine that Russia must have her part of the wealth there produced. Consequently, we have the picture of a vast army, accompanied by warriors from Persia, Cush, & Put, marching towards Palestine“. (And today there are more Russian agents in the Palestine region than in any other part of the world)
So this poses a question in my mind – why have prophetic experts come to this conclusion…? The reasons are found in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. There a devastating war is described that takes place in the Middle East involving Israel, Russia and a number of other nations;
But who is Gog? Where is the land of Magog? Where would one look on a map today to find the cities of Meshech and Tubal?
To what nations did Ezekiel refer to when he wrote of Gomer and Togamah?
To find these answers we need to begin at the beginning! A table of nations is given in Genesis 10. At the beginning of this important chapter, we are confronted with all the key names in Ezekiel’s prophecy. These key verses in Genesis 10… describe the repopulation of the earth after the flood. It was the custom in ancient times for the descendents of a man to adopt his name for their tribe. Understanding this, historians and Bible students have been able to trace the movements of some of these tribes
and know where their descendents can be found today.
“From Magog are descended the ancient Scythians or Tarters, whose descendents live today in modern Russia.”
“Tubal’s descendents populated the region south of the Black Sea from where they spread north and south.”
“The originator of a race mentioned in connection with Tubal, Magog and other northern nations, broadly speaking, Russia, (excluding the conquest of Peter the Great and his successors)
is the modern land of Magog, Tubal and Meshech. (Moscow)”
The Allies of Russia in that fierce conquest against Israel in the end time war of Ezekiel will be; Persia (Iraq and Iran), Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer (Germany & Eastern Europe) and Togamah (Turkey). There is no need to marshal the scholars of the past to confirm the place or purpose of this coming war; it is all explained in Ezekiel 38: 8. And… what a clear and up-to-date description of Israel today! (Incidentally, many are surprised to find Germany there, but remember God has some unfinished business with that nation over the murder of 6 million Jews)
Motivated by a desire to plunder Israels economic resources, Gog’s invasion, is stated to be against those; who live at the centre of the world ? Ezekiel 38:12 and Ezekiel 5:5 employs this expression in reference to the Holy City of Jerusalem. Russia’s attack on Israel will be her greatest military blunder. Though brief, the conflict will be one of the most destructive in history – Ezekiel 38: 19. While details of military action in this war are few, something about the defeat of the northern invaders will make it clear to the Jews that God has protected them: (we read) “thus will I magnify Myself and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations and they shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 38: 23
Recent history has demonstrated that those who become allies of Russia are soon totally controlled by her…
So while the Arabs will join the attack against Israel to take a prey… Russia will be invading to take a spoil and the spoil is her OIL and her GAS. And: In addition the mineral wealth of the Dead Sea valued at trillions of Dollars.
So the Bible specifically tells us that Russia WILL play an important military roll in the last days. Though all the talk these days are about Russia disarming, it is clear that she is still well equipped to play out that final end-times roll scripted for her in prophecy. The Bible also is very clear that there will be a period of time in the last days when the whole world lets down its guard. There will be a brief time of great hope, but it will be a very false hope and a false peace!
We read: “…and GOD gathered them together in a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” Revelation 16: 12-16
“Armageddon” has come to stand for the most terrible of all wars. However, the word actually means “Mount of Megiddo,” a small mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. One expression from the Bible that almost everyone has heard is Armageddon… This will be the final battle between evil and God. Armageddon is not merely a battle between good and evil on earth. It is the battle where God Himself directly intervenes and destroys the largest army in history. Jerusalem means “City of Peace” or “Foundation of Peace.” But, the history of Jerusalem is one of war and destruction. The sound of battle, the clash of arms… has been heard in Jerusalem throughout the centuries!
And this final war WILL be fought over Jerusalem…!
After the defeat of Russia and its confederation, the remaining nations will converge on Israel. God is using Jerusalem as a “LURE,” and the people in rebellion against Him will come literally by the hundred of millions.
The prophet Zechariah also shows that the final battle before the Second Coming of Jesus will be over Jerusalem. All the nations will be drawn to Jerusalem; Zechariah 14:1 and Joel 3:2. All of mans rebellion against God will culminate at this battle over Jerusalem. During the previous battles, there is no indication from Scripture that Jerusalem was overrun. Yet in this final battle, an army of two hundred million invade the Middle East. This huge army is also enhanced from Asia. All of Asia will be at this battle, along with the other nations of the world. Asia will be unified as the army marches to Israel. (Revelation 9:14-18)
What about the ancient dividing line? The Euphrates River is significant! Ancient historians used that river as the dividing line between Asia Minor – what we call the Middle East and the Far East. This army is going to cross the Euphrates River and pour into the Middle East. But some may ask – How is that possible? We read the answer earlier in today’s service. God will dry up the river to make it possible. The Bible says this army is the; “kings of the East” or “Asia,” Revelation 16:12-16.
(Remember that it is GOD who is drawing them, as a moth to a lamp) Like Russia, China too, has an important and terrifying role in the end-time scenario. And, never before has the giant power of the east seemed more prone to assuring its fateful place in history and Biblical prophecy! China has been a real sleeping giant and for centuries had been in decline.
Yet it appears that in the near future Asia will be united under China. Today, China combined with the rest of Asia can field an army of two hundred million people and has been undertaking a huge military build-up in recent times. For the countries of Asia to unite in a massive army that will be present at Armageddon something has to happen to American power in Asia. At the present time the USA is the block preventing this from happening. For all of Asia to be united, America has to cease as an Asian world power.
But the future for the USA looking through Bible prophecy is not good… America has been warned by God, over and over again, about their destabilizing policies against Israel, God’s Covenant Nation. It appears that God is going to remove power from America because of the national sin and rebellion against Him. God in His mercy has warned and warned of the coming judgement but the Church has failed to recognize the warning and lead the nation in repentance before God.
If America’s power is broken in Asia, no country could stand against China! Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and the rest of Asia would quickly fall to Chinese control.
China has nuclear weapons and no country can resist the military might of China and thus it will move freely westward as the Bible says it’s GOING to happen… this move, will move directly to Jerusalem and the battle of Armageddon. The battle will be so awful that the Bible says it will be “the winepress of the wrath of God!” Revelation 14: 19–20
Armageddon will demonstrate man at the height of his pride and folly. Convinced of the power of their weaponry and deceived by a leader energized by Satan, the armies of earth will march to their doom, expecting… to destroy the Christ that they have rejected.
Does this appear to be madness? It did to the Psalmist who looked through the centuries and saw it unfold in prophetic vision. He asked: “Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 Explaining the reason for his question, he wrote: “the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take council together against the Lord, and against His anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” (Vs.2–3)
So there you have it… the power line-up as it stands right now. Doesn’t it sound oh so familiar, we just discussed the way the Bible describes the centres of power in the last days.
We are almost there, on the very brink – right now!
Armageddon will be the perfect picture of how the evil heart of man is apart from God. Man’s evil nature will be unrestrained during this time. The killing will be endless as man is left, abandoned to his base nature. God will use His covenant nation, Israel, as His Anvil to reveal His mighty power. ‘The Day of the Lord’ will be the time when the peoples of the earth will get exactly what they deserve. God is totally just and during this time mankind gets exactly what is just (Obadiah 1:15). And, Armageddon will end the rebellion of man for ever!
The battle of Armageddon will end with the literal Second Coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ. Our world WILL NOT totally be destroyed and everyone killed. God will not let this happen! Nor will He allow man to totally destroy himself. And, Christ’s coming WILL NOT be hidden, but will be supernatural. With this backdrop of complete darkness…
Jesus will appear in the heavens (Matthew 24:29 -30).
From the natural human perspective, man is racing towards Armageddon… but from God’s perspective, He is getting ready for the Second Coming of our Saviour – Jesus. From the natural perspective there will be no hope… but from God’s perspective it will be a beginning or a new era on the earth.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
You may be asking – why such suffering? Why would God allow such destruction? The Bible makes it clear that He would do it for only one reason – so that humanity might finally learn its lesson and turn to God’s free gift of forgiveness in Jesus Christ, Ezekiel 33:11. God does care about us and that’s why He made special preparation for all believers so that we might be spared this misery and torment of the final tribulation.
The Bible speaks about more than Israel. It tells us of a literal heaven and hell and eternal life. It talks about mankind being separated from God by sin. It talks about God’s love for man. It talks about forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with the Holy God of Israel. It talks about God in the person of Jesus Christ the Messiah, dying on the cross to pay the price for sin.
Awesome events lie ahead on the Day of the Lords coming -events which shall shake this world to its very foundation. God has given us a picture of the future and there is no doubt that these things will come to pass just as described by the prophets. The event that is the most important is the Second Coming of our Saviour. Everything else, including Armageddon pales in comparison.
And with this race to Armageddon, and its impending Judgement, – I must ask you how will you stand on that day? On what foundation have you built for the events and the eternity to come? God grant you wisdom today to side with His Son and claim him as your Saviour, your deliverer.
God Bless You