````````PROPHECY IN OUR TIME

Matthew 24:3

 

 

 

New Jersey mentioned in the nightly news more than any other nation except the United States and why is Israel important in prophecy?

 

For answers we must turn not to the evening news or the front page of the newspaper, but to the Bible.

 

Israel's story begins with God's sovereign purpose revealed in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.  Apparently God finds Abraham and his descendents to be of enormous importance.  The very proportion of the coverage tells us something about the importance of Israel.  Only two chapters are given to the whole story of creation.

 

One chapter records the fall of man.  Eight chapters cover the thousands of years from creation to the time of Abraham.  Then we find that fully thirty-eight chapters deal with the life stories of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob-the progenitors of the Jewish race.

 

Israel is important because the fulfillment of God's covenant with its founder Abraham greatly affects every one of us.  The playing out of prophetic events concerning Israel places us in the last days of history's timeline.  The miraculous survival of God's covenant people, the Jews, demonstrates God's providence and His ability to accomplish His purpose in the face of what seems to human minds impossible odds.  The existence of Israel today is exhibit A in the lineup of convincing evidences that the Bible's prophecies concerning the future will be fulfilled.  To this day, the issue of who controls Israel, the Promised Land, is the most volatile in international politics.

 

 Genesis 15:18, Ezekiel 48:1, 48:28

 

The land promised to Abraham covers much more area than what the present nation of Israel occupies.  Genesis 15:18 tells us that it stretches all the way from the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the Euphrates River on the east.  Ezekiel fixes the northern boundary of Israel at Hamath, one hundred miles north of Damacus (Ezekiel 48:1), and the southern boundary at Kadesh, about one hundred miles south of Jerusalem (v. 48:28).

 

Today, Israel is one-nineteenth the size of California and roughly the size of our third smallest state, New Jersey.  It is 260 miles at its longest point, 60 miles at its widest, and three miles at its narrowest.

 

When you look at a map and locate that tiny strip of land that Israel now claims, you can see that she does not now, nor has she ever, fully occupied the land that was described to Abraham in God's covenant promise.  If Israel were currently occupyinmg all the land promised to her, she would control present day Israel, Lebanon, the West Bank of Jordan, and substantial portions of Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.+

 

WILL THE JEWS EVER REALIZE THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S COVENANT TO POSSESS ISRAEL AS AN EVERLASTING POSSESSION?

 

The prophet Isaiah asserted that it would happen.  He prophesied that the Lord would "set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left" (Isaiah 11:11).  God also addressed the issue through Ezekiel when He said, "I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land" (Ezekiel 36:24).

 

The fulfillment of those prophecies was set in motion on May 14, 1948, when the U.S. recognized the new state of Israel.  On the evening of that announcement, popular radio commentator Lowell Thomas said in his broadcast that 
Americans in every part of the country would be turning their Bibles for historical background enabling them to understandi "this day in history."  And indeed, as prophecies found in  Isaiah, Ezekiel, Matthew, and Revelation show, both the Old Testament and the New Testament pointed to this day when the Jews would return to the land promised them and initiate fulfillment of the ancient prophecies.

 

The Israeli government established the State of Israel, thus fulfilling the twenty five hundred year old prophecy recorded in the Bible.

 

IS ISRAEL'S PRESENCE IN HER LAND TODAY THE FINAL FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S PROMISE TO REGATHER HIS PEOPLE?

 

The answer is no!  What is happening in Israel todaay is primarily the result of a secular Zionist movement, whereas Ezekiel wrote about a spiritual return of God's people to Him when he said:

 

For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land......Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;....I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.  You will live in the land that I gave to you forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:24 - 28 ).

 

The return of Jews to the newly reffounded nation of Israel is the first stage of that regathering, but it certainly does not fulfill the requirements of a spiritual return to the Lord.

 

FROM THE MOMENT OF GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM TO THIS PRESENT HOUR, THE PROPHECIES CONCERNING ISRAEL'S TOTAL POSSESSION AND BLESSING IN THE LAND REMAIN UNFULFILLED.  THE MOST DRAMATIC EVENTS LIE AHEAD OF US.

 

 

WHAT EVENTS REGARDING ISRAEL'S TOTAL POSSESSION OF THE LAND REMAIN UNFULFILLED?

 

Israel has been attacked over and over since its founding, sometimes in all-out wars and incessantly by terrorists.  The Jewish people have survived by remaining vigilant, but they long for peace.  According to the Bible, a future leader will fulfill this longing by brokering a seven-year peace deal with Israel's enemies.  But Scripture also tells us that this peace plan will be broken, and Israel will be attacked again, this time as never before.  Countless armies will amass against the boxed-in nation, leaving it with no human hope of victory.  Only Christ's return, His judgment, and His reign will finally bring true peace to Israel.

 

It is then that God's covenant with Abraham will reach its ultimate fulfillment.  The Jews will return to the Lord and, as Ezekiel and Jeremiah prophesied, they will ber His people and He will be their God.  The borders of the land will expand to the dimensions described in Genesis 15 and Ezekiel 48.  Christ return will also fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah that God would gather the Jews: "Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them... I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely.  They shall be My people, and I will be their God" (Jeremiah 32:37 - 38).  

 

Ezekiel makes it clear that this gathering means God will return every single living Jew back to their land.  For he writes that the Lord said He would gather them again to their own land "and...none of them (will be) captive any longer (Ezekiel 39:28).

 

Today we see this prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes.  In 2006, for the first time in nineteen hundred years, Israelbecome home of the largest Jewish community in the world, surpassing the Jewish population in the United States.  From the 650,000 who returned when the Jewish state was found in 1948, the population of Israel has swelled to aproximately 5.4 million, and it is expected to exceed 6 million by 2020. 

 

DOES OIL HOLD A KEY TO THE PROPHETIC EVENTS OF THE FUTURE/

 

Oil explains why the Bible focuses it end-time attention on the Middle East, and, more than any factor other than the nation of Israel oil, holds the key to the prophetic events of the future.

 

Few would question the fact that oil has become the new basis for our world economy.  It is now the stuff of life, the commodity most highly valued by the industrialized and emerging nations of the world, the blood that flows through their economic veins and gives life to prosperity in today's global economy.  The greatest source of that lifeblood is now in the Middle East, and so that is where the eyes of the world are focused.

 

What does this tell us about coming events?  In Luke's gospel, Jesus contrasts our ability to discern weather signs with our inability to understand the more important signs of the time; "You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it that you do not discern this time?" (Luke 12:56).  Surely the world's fascination with oil - a highly valuable commodity with a source in lands hostile or borderline hostile to Israel and to us - qualifies as a "sign."

 

 

WHAT DO OIL AND THE GARDEN OF EDEN HAVE IN COMMON?

 

Oil is found all over the world, even under the ice of the Arctic and Antarctic.  That means forests and abundant vegetation once covered the world until destroyed in a vast global cataclysm (such as a worldwide flood).

 

The geophysicist went on to say that the earth's richest, deepest, and largest deposits of petroleum lie under the sands of countries just to the east of Israel in the location prinpointed in the Bible as the garden of Eden.  Eden was a teeming expanse of forests, foliage, and gardens with rich fertility unparalleled in human history.

 

Barren sand and blazing desert now exist where once grew a garden flourishing with dense, lush flora, the likes of which the world has not seen since.  It was destroyed in some disastrous upheaval and has decayed into the largest deposits of oil in the world.  Just imagine, the gasoline pumped into your car might be the ruined remains of the rich, vast foliage of the garden of Eden.

 

It's ironic to think that Satan may finance the Battle of Armageddon at the end of human history with revenues generated from the garden he spoiled at the beginning of human history.

 

OIL EXPLAINS WHY THE BIBLE FOCUSES ITS END TIME ATTENTION ON THE MIDDLE EAST.

 

 

HOW DOES TODAY'S OIL SITUATION ALIGN WITH PROPHECY?

 

Since there are no substantive oil deposits in Israel today, we must continue to deal with the reality of a world in which oil remains in the possession of countries hostile to us and to Israel.  For example, Ezekiel foretold a time when Russia would attack Israel.  In detailing how the military aggression would take place, the prophet listed a coalition of some of the nations that would join with Russia in the attack.  "Persia, Ethiopia ande Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet (Ezekiel 38:5).

 

Until March 21, 1935, Persia was the official name of the country we now call Iran.  Not once in the past twenty-five hundred years has Russia formed a military connection with Persia/Iran-until now.  But now these two nations have formed a military alliance that continues to be strengthened by the political situation in our world.  Russia recently signed a billion-dollar deal to sell missiles and other weaponry to Iran.  And the connection is even broader, as Joel C. Rosenberg, former aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, points out:  "Over 1000 Iranian nuclear scientists have been trained in Russia by senior Russian scientists."  Here is an endtime alliance that was prophesied twenty-five hundred years ago, and in the last few years it has become a reality.  Obviously, the stage is being set!

 

Oil is the new gold in the world economy and holds the key to the prophetic events of the future.

 

 

WHAT IS AMERICA'S PLACE IN END-TIME PROPHECY?

 

No specific mention of the United States or nay other country in North or South America can be found in the Bible.  One reason may be that in the grand scheme of history, the U.S. is the new kid on the block.  As a nation, it is less than 250 years old-much younger than the nations of Bible times that are featured in biblical prophjecy.  In fact, the Bible makes no mention of most nations in the modern world.  The ancient prophets were primarily concerned with the Hold Land and its immediate neighbors.  Areas remote from Israel do not figure in prophecy and are not mentioned in the Bible.

 

John Walvoord posited one theory that suggests, "America will be in the mix of the political realignments that foreshadow the end of time through our nations of origin.  Most citizens of the United States have come from Europe, and their sympathies would more naturally be with a European alliance...."  And we can see signs of such realignments taking place today.

 

With the usual presidential fanfare in April of 2007, President Bush welcomed European Union Commission President Joe Barroso and the serving President of the European Council, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the Rose Garden of the White House.  These three leaders signed the Framework for Advancing Transatlantic Economic Integration between the United States of America and the European Union.  Less than seven months after its signing,  the Transatlantic Economic Council held its first official meeting in Washington, D.C.  In a joint statement it was announced, "Since April , the United States and the European Union have made substantial progress in removing barriers to trade and investment and in easing regulatory burdens.

 

On the surface there seems to be nothing ominous about such an agreement; it appears to be simply about freeing up economic trade between nations.  But a similar, less publicized meeting was held in March 2008 at the State Department, which focused on linking the U.S., Mexico and Canada in a "North American community with the European Union" in anticipation of the "creation of a 'Transatlantic Economic Union' between the European Union and North America."  One participant-whose identity is protected by the Chatham House Rule, which permits information to be disseminated without attribution to guarantee confidentiality-made this revealing statement:

 

North America should be a premiere platform to establish continental institutions.  That's why we need to move the security perimeters to include the whole continent, especially as we open the borders between North American countries for expanding free trade."

 

Statements such as this reveal an intention toward union that has implications far beyond mere economic trade.  And considering the speed at which leaders are pushing union between nations, it appears that it will not be long before we se such a union instituted.

 

 

IS THE UNIFICATION OF EUROPE FORETOLD IN SCRIPTURE?

 

More than two thousand years ago, God gave His servant Daniel a vision of the future that we recognize as the most comprehensive prophetic insight ever given to man .  Through Daniel, God gave a composite history of the remaining days of the world.  The first kingdom was Babylon, which was followed by the Medes, Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the last world kingdom which would make up from a restored Roman Empire.

 

According to Daniel, there is to be yet another division of the Roman Empire.  He foretells a time when the Roman Empire will consist of ten kingdoms or leaders (Daniel 2:41; 7:7, 24).  We know this ten kingdom prophecy remains in the future because not only has the ten leader form of the Roman Empire never existed in history, but neither has such a kingdom been suddenly crushed as prophecy indicates.  Daniel 2 states that the Roman Empire in its final form will experience sudden destruction.  The Roman Empire of Jesus' day did not end suddenly.  It gradually deteriorated and declined over many centuries until the western part, the Holy Roman Empire, fell in AD 476, and the eastern part  the Byzantine Empire fell in AD 1453.  You can hardly imagine a more gradual slide from glory to oblivion!  We must conclude, then, that some form of the Roman Empire must emerge in the end times, and according to Daniel , it will be in place prior to the coming of Christ to rule and reign over the earth.  The unification of Euurope is really the reunification of the Roman Empire.  Today the concentration of power in the European Union signals the beginning of a new world order. 

 

 

WILL THERE BE A ONE WORLD LEADER?

 

According to Daniel's prophecy, a supreme leader will rise from among the ten leader confederacy in Europe:  "And another shall rise after them; he shall be different fromm the first ones. and shall subdue three kings.  He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend change times and law.  Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time" (Daniel 7:24 - 25).  This leader will become the final world dictator.  We know him as the Antichrist.  The new European Union is one of the conditional preludes to the coming of the Antichrist.  As Arno Froese, executive director of Midnight Call Ministries writes:

 

The new European power structure will fulfill the prophetic predictions which tell us that a one world system will be implemented.  When established, it will fall into the hands of the Antichrist.

 

 

WILL THERE BE A TREATY BETWEEN THE ONE WORLD LEADER AND ISRAEL?

 

In the ninth chapter of Daniel's prophecy, he tells us of a treaty that wil be signed between God's people and the world leader who will head the realigned Roman Empire:  "Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering" (Daniel 9:27).  Daniel tells us here that Israel will sign a treaty with the Antichrist , and that his treaty will be forge to last for a "week", literally in prophetic language, a "week of years," or seven years.  This treaty will be an attempt to settle the Arab-Israeli controversy that today focuses the world's attention on the Middle East.  After three and one-half years, that treaty will be broken, and the countdown to Armageddon will begin.

 

The prophecies of Daniel show us what time it is: the hands on the prophetic clock are moving toward midnight.  The warning has been sounded, and we will do well to heed it.

 

 

WHAT IS THE AXIS OF EVIL?

 

On January 29, 2002, in his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush used the term Axis of Evil for the first time.  He identified Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as "states...(who are) arming to threaten the peace of the world...These regimes, "he said, "pose a grave threat and growing danger.  They could provide these arms to terrorist, giving them the means to match their hatred."  On May 6, 2002, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton gave a speech titled, "Beyond the Axis of Evil" in which he added three more rogue states to the axis: Libya, Syria and Cuba.  Today the Axis of Evil includes all six  states.

 

 

WHY IS ONE PARTICULAR NATION THAT IS ON THE AXIS OF EVIL LIST OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO US?

 

One nation on this Axis of Evil list is of special interest to us because we find tht it is also on God's list.  That nation, Iran, and that list are found in the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel.  These chapters, written some twenty-six hundred years ago, give us one of the most important and dramatic prophecies in all Scripture.  It is commonly referred to as the prophecy against Gog and Magog, and it is the most detailed prophecy concerning war in the entire Bible.  The prophecy predicts an invasion of Israel in the last days -  an invasion comprised of enormous masses of troops from a coalition of nations led by Iran and Russia.

 

This invasion will occur shortly after Israel signs a covenant with the new leader of the European Union.  Because of this agrement,  Israel will be at peace with her Islamic neighbors.  The people of Israel will believe that the European powers will protect them from any outside invader...especially Russia, which will have joined forces with Iran to develop weapons for the purpose of utterly destroying Israel.

 

The events unfolding in today's world are ominously threatening to unsettle institutions, reorder national political alignments, change the balance of world power, and destabliize the equitable distribution of resources.

 

 

WHAT PRESENT DAY NATIONS WILL FORM A COALITION THAT WILL MARCH AGAINST ISRAEL AS PROPHESIED BY EZEKIEL?

 

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying.  "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, "Thus says the Lord God:  "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.  I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops - many people are with you.  Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them" (Ezekiel 38:1 - 7).

 

As you can see, Ezekiel's prophecy begins with a list of proper names.  Many of these names identify certain grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Noah who were the fathers of nations that for a time bore their names (see Genesis 10).  These nations, which today no longer bear their original names, will ultimately form a coalition that will march against Israel.  As we identify these nations by their present names and locate them on today's world map, we can see how the stage is being set for this predicted Russian/Islamic invasion of Israel.

 

Gog is an exception on Ezekiel's list.  Gog is not one of the descendants of Noah listed in Genesis 10.  This name, however, is found eleven times in Ezekiel 38 - 39.  It is not the name of a nation, but rather the title of the ruler of Magog-the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal-the one who leads the invasion against Israel.  In fact Gog is an individual rather than a nation because God addresses him as such several times in this prophecy (Ezekiel 38:14; 39:1).  Furthermore, Gog is explicitlyt called a prince and a ruler in Ezekiel 38:2 and 39:1).

 

 

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF RUSSIA'S JOINING FORCES WITH IRAN AND OTHER MUSLIM NATIONS?

 

In October 2007, during Russian president Vladimir Putin's first ever visit to Iran, and Iranian newspaper reported that he "reassured Iran that the Bushehr nuclear reactor, a billion dollar energy project being built by Russia and dogged by delays would be completed."  The report went on to suggest "maybe the most important result of Putin's trip is to show the independence of Russia toward America and the West."  Putin made other first time ever visits of a Russian leader to the Muslim nations of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and, most recently, Libya.  By all reports, his visits were successful financially, resulting in lucrative agreements and contracts for further joint efforts in the production of oil and the exploration of natural gas reserves.

 

Apparently the Russian president was successful politically as well.  In Libya, President Gadhafi and Putin agreed that the United Nations "needs to be reformed in order to face an "imbalance of forces" internationally, and especially "the Security Council" with which we can work together to resolve problems.  In other words, by working together they could remove the veto power held by the U.S. and be able to advance their mutual causes."

 

AS THE MOTHER BEAR REGAINS HER STRENGTH, SHE IS ACTIVELY SEEKING TO DRAW HER BROOD BACK INTO HER DEN.

 

 

WHEN WILL ISRAEL BE INVADED?

 

Ezekiel does not give a specific date for the invasion, but he does give us ways to identify the time when it will occur:  "After many days...in the latter years...."  (Ezekiel 38:8); "On that day when My people of Israel dwell safely..." (v. 14); "It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against  my land" (v. 16).

 

The prophet tells us that the invasion of Israel will take place sometime in the future "latter years".  It will happen at a time when Israel is dwelling in peace and safety and not invoved in conflict with other nations.

 

Has there ever been such a time in Israel's history?  No, there has not.  Is today such a time?  No!  When will there be such a time?  The only period in Israel's life that meets this requirement is the time immediately following the Rapture of the church when the Antichrist and the European Union make a treaty with Israel to guarantee her peace and security.  When this treaty is signed, the people of Israel will relax the diligence they have been forced to maintain since the founding of their nation in 1948.  They will rely on the treaty and turn their attention away from defense to concentrate on increasing their wealth.  Israel will truly be a land of unwalled villages.  Her defenses will be down, and she will be woefully unprepared for the invasion by the armies of Russia and the coalition.

 

THE NATION OF ISRAEL IS A DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC SURROUNDED BY TWENTY-TWO ARAB/ISLAMIC DICTATORSHIPS THAT ARE 640 TIMES HER SIZE AND 60 TIMES HER POPULATION.

 

 

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE INVASION OF ISRAEL?

 

There are 3 primary goals for the future invasion of Israel.  The first goal will be to seize her land.  As Ezekiel puts it, " to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited" (Ezekiel 38:12).  The second goal of the invaders will be to steal Israel's wealth: "to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand...against a people gathered from the naions, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land...to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder" (vv. 12 - 13).

 

And there is plenty of wealth to be plundered in modern Israel, as we can see by the following quote from a recent article in the Jerusalem Post:  "Despite a population of only slightly more than 7 million people...Israel is now home to more than 7,200 millionaires...Of the 500 wealthest people in the world, six are now Israeli, and all told, Israel's rich had assets in 2007 of more than $35 billion....Israel's GDP is almost double that of any other Middle East country.

 

According to one "prosperity index, "Israel exported goods and services of more than $70 billion in 2008 including $34.2 billion from the technology sector alone.  "Israel is the highest ranking Middle Eastern country in the index.

 

Finally, the invading nations have as their ultimate goal the wholesale slaughter of Israel's people:  "I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates...to stretch out your hand...against a people gathered from the nations...You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land." (Ezekiel 38:11, 12, 16).  The accumulated historical hatred for the Jews will drive these armies forward with the assurance that, this time, the people of Israel will not escape death.

 

 

WHAT IS GOD'S PURPOSE IN THE WAR AND DESTRUCTION DESCRIBED IN EZEKIEL'S PROPHECY?

 

To understand what is going on in the war and destruction dscribed in Ezekiel's prophecy, we must first consider the sovereignty of God's plan.  Even in the most devastating of times.  God is still in control.  In fact, He often orchestrates events to bring about His purposes.  He tells us what He will do to Israel's enemies in no uncertain terms:  "I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen"  (Ezekiel 38:4); "It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against  My land." (v. 16); "I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:2).

 

The Old Testament, especially, is intended to show that God is the sovereign ruler over all.  Even though men try to thwart His plan and wreak great destruction, God's purpose will always win out.  When Ezekiel says that God will bring the enemy against His land, he is simply saying that God will bring these nations to the doom which their wickedness inevitably demands.  Everyone accomplishes God's will in the end.  Those who conform to His will accomplish it willingly; those who do not conform accomplish it inadvertently as an unwitting tool in His hands.

 

God's purpose in the cataclysmic battle of the last days is very clear and very simple.  God intends for people to recognize Him as the Lord God of heaven whose name is holy, whose glory fills the universe, and whom men must recognize as sovereign if they are to find the peace and joy He desires for His people.

 

As Ezekiel shows us so vividly, God's destruction of the Axis of Evil in the last days will accomplish the salvation of His people, the nation of Israel.  By identifying this Axis of Evil as modern nations who are unwittingly bent on fulfilling this devastating prophecy, we can clearly see how present events will lead to the ultimate accomplishment of God's purposes.

 

 

WHAT DOES ISLAM MEAN AND HOW MANY FOLLOWERS DOES IT HAVE?

 

The name Islam literally means "submission."  A Muslim is "one who submits to God."  According to conservative estimates, there are about 1.5 billion Muslims in our world today.  Approximately 1.4 million live in the United States, which is about 6 percent of the U.S. adult population.  While we usually associate Islam with the Middle East, the largest Muslim populations are actually in Asia.

 

While the majority of the world's 1.5 billiion Muslims want no part of the deadly violence and attempt to live in peace with their neighbors, the number of radicals who preach violence and tedrror is mushrooming around the world.

 

 

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF ISLAM?

 

According to Islamic tradition, the found of Islam, Mohammad, was born in Mecca (in present day Saudi Arabia) in AD 570.  Mohammad's father died when he was six years old.  He was raised by his paternal grandfather, grew up to become a camel driver and then a merchant, and, at the age of twenty six, married a wealthy caravan owner named Khadija.

 

Mohammad worked in profgessions that brought him into contact with a number of Christians and Jews who cause him to question the religion of his own people.  He was forty years old and meditating in a cave outside Mecca when he received his first revelation.  From that moment on, according to his testimony, God occasionally revealed messages to him, which he declared to the people.  These messages, which Mohammad received throughout his life, form the verses of the Qu'ran, which Muslims regard as the divine word of God.

 

In the seventh century Arabian world of Mohammad, the people worshiped over 360 different gods, one for each day of the lunar year.  One of these was the moon god, the male counterpart to the female sun god.  The moon god was called by various names, one of which was Allah, and it was the favorite go of Mohammad's family.

 

As Mohammad began to promote his new religion, it was only natural that he would choose to elevate the moon god Allah and declare him to be the one true God.  His devotiion to Allah was single minded and fierce, and in establishing and spreading his religion of Islam, Mohammad slaughtered thousands of people who resisted conversion.  As his instructions to his followers show, there was no subtlety in his evangelistic technique:  "Who relinquishes his faith, kill him...I have been ordered by Allah to fight with people till they testify there is no god but Allah, and Mohammad is his messenger."

 

WHO ARE THE SHI'ITES AND THE SUNNIS, AND WHY ARE THEY A THREAT TO CHRISTIANS?

 

Opposition in Mecca forced Mohammad and his followers to flee to Medina in AD 620, where he became the head of the first Muslim community.  In AD 631 he returned to Mecca, where he died the following year.  At his death the Islamic community became bitterly divided over the question of who would be Mohammad's successor.  Even today that division survives in the two Islamic sects, now known as the Shi'ites and the Sunnis.  Conflict between these sects is one of the major stress points in Iraq and throughout the Islamic world.

 

At the death of Mohammad, the group we know as the Sunni followed the leadership of Abu Bakr, opne of Mohammed's fathers-in-law.  The Sunni now comprise about 90 percent of the Islamic world.  They believe that Mohammad's spiritual gifts died with him and that their only authority today is the Qu'ran.  The Baath party of Saddam Hussein was part of the Sunni sect.

 

The Shi'ites maintained that Mohammed passed on as legacy of personal authority in addition to the Qu'ran as author Winfried Corduan explains:

 

The Shi'ites, on the other hand, identified with Muhammad's son-in-law Ali, whom they saw as possessing a spiritual endowment directly from the prophet.  The Shi'ites believe that thier leaders, the imams, have authority on par with the Qu'ran.  It is the Shi'ites that believe that the 12th imam went into concealment hundreds of years ago and continues to live there until he returns as the Mahdi....the Muslim Messiah!

 

Abu Bakr succeeded Mohammad, and he and his successor launched jihads, or holy wars, that spread the religion of Islam from northern Spain to India and threatened Christian Europe.  Christians resisted the threat, and a series of wars followed that drove the Islamic invaders back into the Middle Easter countries, where they still dominate.  Their zeal to have their religion dominate the world has not diminished, however, and it remains a threat to all who do not maintain vigilance.

 

WHAT DOES JIHAD MEAN?

 

The most frightening word associated with Islam is jihad.  Sometimes called the "sixth pillar" of Islam, jihad actually means "struggle."  The greater jihad is the inner struggle of each Muslim to submit to Allah.  The lesser jihad is the outward struggle to defend the Islamic community.  This is the jihad that strikes fear in the heart of Islamic enemies. Militant Muslim take jihad to mean more than just passive defense of Islam; to them it authorizes the expansion of the Islamic religion even by means of deadly aggression.

 

The overt hatred for the West expressed in jihad has already spawned many deadly attacks, and the fanaticism that produced them has not not diminished.  In her book, completed only days before her assassination, former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto wrote that one of the primary aims of the militants is:

 

to provoke a clash of civilizations between the West and....Islam.  The great hope of the militants is a collision, an explosion between the values of the West and what the extremists claim to be values of Islam.....The attacks on September 11, 2001, heralded the ......dream of bloody confrontation....If the fanatics and extremists prevail....then fitna (disorder through schism or division) would sweep the world.  Here lies their ultimate goal: chaos."

 

The hatred that the Muslim have for the Jews needs no documentation.  But the settlement of Israel into her homeland in 1948 took this hatred to a level of murderous fury.  The militants and radicals refer to Israel as "little Satan" and the United States as "big Satan", and they are determined to wipe both countries off the map.

 

 

WHAT IS FATAH?

 

We can easily see and resist the effects of jihad in militant terrorism, but we have trouble seeing and resisting the more subtle strategy that the Muslims call fatah.  Fatah is infiltration, moving into a country in numbers large enough to affect the culture.  It means taking advantage of tolerant laws and accommodative policies to insert the influence of Islam.  In places where a military invasion will not succeed, the slow, systematic, and unrelenting methods of fatah are conquering whole nations.  An illustration is:

 

A demographic revolution is taking place today in France.  Some experts are projecting that by the year 2040, 80 percent of the population of France will be Muslim.  At that point the Muslim majority will control commerce, industry, eucation, and religion.  They will also control the government, as well, and occupy all the key positions in the French Parliament.  And a Muslim will be president.

 

 

WHAT ARE OTHER TERMS USED TO DESCRIBE THE ISLAMIC GOAL OF WORLD DOMINATION?

 

Other terms used to describe the Islamic goal of world domination are biological jihad or demographic  jihad, which describes the nonviolent strategy of Muslims moving into Europe and the West and having more babies than their hosts.  Within several generations they hope to repopulate traditionally Christian cultures with their own people, and they are certainly on track to reach that goal.  According to a Vatican report issued recently, the Roman Catholic Church understands this:  "For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top:  Muslims have overtaken us."

 

 

DOES ISLAM HOPE TO RETURN ITS MESSIAH?

 

The answer to this is a resounding yes?  This Islamic hope surfaced in a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a disciple of Ayatollah Khomeni, the cleric who launched the successful 1979 revolution that turned Iran into a strict Islamic state.  In 2005, Ahmadinejad was called beforfe the United Nations Security Council to explain his continued determination to develop nuclear weapons.  He began his speech by declaring: "In the Name of the God of Mercy, Compassion, Peace, Freedom, and Justice...," and he ended his speeh with this prayer:  "I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace."  The "promised one" in Ahmadinejad's prayer was a reference to the Twelfth Imam, a figure in Shi'ite teaching that parallels the figure of Al-Mahdi in Sunni teaching.  In essence, both of these titles refer to the Islamic messiah who is yet to come.

 

 

Shi'ia Islam believes that the Twelfth Imam can appear only during a time of worldwide chaos.  This explains many of Ahmadinejad's defiant actions - why he presses forward with his nuclear program in spite olf world censure and why he is adamant about destroying Israel.  In his famous speeh of October 25, 2005, he said, "'Israel must be wiped off the map', and he warned leaders of the Muslim nations who recognized the state of Israel that they would face 'the wrath of their own people.'".  With these defiant and divisive actions, Ahmadinejad is formenting the chaotic environment that he believes will induce the Islamic messiah to come.  In a televised speech in 2008, Ahmadinejad reiterated: "what we have right now is the last chapter.....Accept that the life of Zionists will sooner or later come to an end."  On March 14, Ahmadinejad "swept the nationwide ballot with about 70 percent support."

 

The world as a whole does not seem to be taking Ahmadinejad seriously, but the people of Israel are an exception.  They understand that he is determined to destroy them.  And the words of the prophet Ezekiel back up that understanding.  He tells us that Iran's (Iran is now the name of the biblical Persia) hatred toward the Jewish nation will play an important role in a major end-time battle.

 

 

WHAT IS THE RAPTURE?

 

According to the dictionary, the word rapture means "an expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion" and "being carriede away by overwhelming emotion."  But the Bible tells us it means that millions of people will disappear from the face of the earth in less than a millisecond.  And the purpose of that evacuation is to avoid horrific devastation.  This evaluation will remove God's people from the disastrous effects of coming earthquakes, fire, and global chaos.

 

The word Rapture is the Latin version of a phrase the Bible uses to describe the catching away of all Christians before the end times.  The Lord will descend with a shout and a trumpet of God.  All believers, living and dead, will suddenly meet the Lord in the air.

 

The focus of the Rapture is on looking at the event not from the viewpoint of those who remain, but from that of those who are evacuated.  Before the period of the Tribulation breaks out, all true followers of the Lord will be caught up from the earth and right into the presence of Lord.  The Rapture will fulfill the promise He made to His disciples in John 14:1 - 3:

 

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house there are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you.  I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

 

Followers of Christ who are raptured will be spared the trauma of death and the coming disasters that will occur when the Tribulation breaks out upon the earth.  That is indeed a cause for true rapture on the part of those who love the Lord and long to be with Him.

 

The New Testament indicates that the Rapture of those who have put their trust in Christ is the next major event on the prophetic  calendar.  In other words, the Rapture awaits us on the horizon....it could happen at any moment.  This is the clear message of the Bible, and it is a truth. 

 

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RAPTURE AND THE SECOND COMING?

 

A lot of misunderstanding comes from confusing these two events.  When we talk abou the signs that signal the return of Christ, we speak not of the Rapture, but of the Lord's ultimate return to the earth with all His saints.  According to the book of Revelation, this coming of Christ occurs after the Rapture and differs from it in at least two ways.

 

First, the Rapture will be a "stealth event" in which Christ will be witnessed by believers only.  His Second Coming, on the other hand, will be a public event.  Everyone will see Him: "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him: even they who pierced Him.  And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him" (Revelation 1:7; see also Zechariah 114:1, 3 - 5, Revelation 19:1 - 21).

 

Second, all believers are raptured.  Jesus will immediately take them back into heaven with Him.  But when Christ returns to earth seven years later in the Second Coming.  He is coming to stay.  This return, usually refered to as "the Second Advent," will take place at the end of the Tribulation period and usher in the Millennium - a thousand year reign of Christ on this earth.  So, first, the Rapture will occur seven years before the Second Advent.  At that time Christ will take us to ber with Him in heaven, immediately before the seven-year Tribulation period.  Then, secondly, we will return to earth with Him ast His Second Advent.

 

There is another important difference.  There are no events that must take place before the Rapture occurs.  It's all a matter of God's perfect timing.  

 

 As bad as things are becoming,

we can hardly overstate the

horror that will occur when

society loses the tempering

influence of Christians. 

 

 

WHAT DOES THE APOSTLE PAUL SAY ABOUT THE RAPTURE?

 

In this passage Paul tells us all we need to know about the Rapture:

 

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethern, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

 

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 18).

 

First, Paul wrote: "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope" (Thessalonians 4:13).  In this passage the apostle addresses the ignorance of the Thessalonianbs concerniing the state of those who had died believing in Christ.  The word he used to describe that state has great significance for every believer today.  Paul said that they had fallen asleep.  For the word translated asleep, he used the Greek word koimaw, which has one of its meanings "to sleep in death."  The same word is used to describe the deaths of Lazarus, Stephen, David, and Jesus Christ.

 

Lazarus:  "These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up" (John 11:11).

 

Stephen: "Then he (Stephen) knelt down and cried out with a loud voice 'Lord, do not charge them with this sin.'  And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:60).

 

David:  "For David, after he had served hgis own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption" (Acts 13:36).

 

Jesus Christ: "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:20).

 

This concept of death is emphasized in the wonderful word early Christians adopted for the burying places of their loved ones.  It was the Greek word koimeterion, which means "a rest house for strangers, a sleeping place."  It is the word from which we get our English word cemetery.  In Paul's day this word was used for inns, or what we would call a hotel or motel.  We check in at a Hilton Hotel or a Ramada Inn expecting to spend the night in sleep before we wake up in the morning refreshed and raring to go.  That is exactly the thought Paul expresses in words such as koimaw and koimeterion.  When Christians die, it's as if they are slumbering peacefully in a place of rest, ready to be awakened at the return of the Lord.  The words have great import, for they convey the Christian concept of death not as a tragic finality, but as a temporary sleep.

 

In the next part of the Thessalonians passage, we find Paul affirming their hope that their loved ones will live again.  He does this by tying that hope to the Ressurrection and the Rapture:  "lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).  Here Paul tells the Thessalonians (and us) that God's plan for our future gives us such a new perspective on death that when someone we love dies, we are not overcome with sorrow and despair, for on that day when those who are alive in Christ are raptured, those who died in Christ will be raised to be with Him.

 

 

WILL CHRIST RETURN AT THE RAPTURE?

 

Paul states in 1 Thessalonians, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God" (v. 4:16).  As you read these words, the Lord Jesus Christ is seated in the heavens at the right hand of the Almighty Father.  But when the right moment comes, Jesus will initiate the Rapture by literally and physically rising from the throne, stepping into the corridors of light, and actually descending into the atmosphere of planet earth from which He rose into the heavens over the Mount of Olives two thousands years ago.  It is not the angels or the Holy Spirit, but the Lord Himself who is coming to draw believers into the heavens in the Rapture.

 

 

WHO WILL BE RESURRECTED AT THE RAPTURE?

 

Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, "the dead in Christ will rise first."  As he indicates here, the call to resurrection at the Rapture will not summon all the dead, but believers only.  A time will come much later when all the dead will be raised to stand before the white throne in judgment.  Buit at this first call, our believing loved ones who have already died will arise to take first place in the program of ther Rapture.

 

Paul then explains the next event in the Rapture sequence.  "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up." (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  The words caught up are translated from a Greek word which has as one of its meanings "to snatch out or away speedily."  This word empahsizes the sudden nature of the Rapture.  Paul describes this suddenness in his letter to the Corinthians: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52).

 

Paul continues his explanation of the Rapture:  "Them (the believing dead who have arisen) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  Note that Paul begins here with the word then, which is an adverb indicating sequence.  It connects the previous even ts of the Rapture that we have already considered with this final event in a definite order of sequential reunions as follows:

 

*Dead bodies reunited with their spirits

 

*Resurrected believers reunited with living believers

 

*Resurrected believers and raptured believers meet the Lord

 

As Paul points out, the ultimate consequence of this reunion with the Lord is that there will be no subsequent parting.  After His return, our union and communion with Him will be uninterrupted and eternal.  This glorious fact alone shows us why the word rapture is an altogether appropriate term for this event.

 

 

WILL THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN CREMATED BE A PART OF THE RAPTURE?

 

When the Scriptures says, "The dead in Christ will rise," it is speaking of the bodily resurrection of all believers!  At this time, the spirits of believers will be united with their perfect and complete resurrection bodies.  "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first (no exceptions!).  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1Thessalonians 4:16 - 18).

 

 

 

 WHAT EVENTS WILL TAKE PLACE IN HEAVEN AFTER THE RAPTURE?

 

After the Rapture, we will come before the Judgment Seat of Christ one by one (2 Corinthians 5:10).  The Judgment Seat is not about whether we will enter heaven - we'll already be there.  It will be a time to give an accouynt of the works we have done on earth, and we will be rewarded accordingly.  We'll be assigned places of authority in the coming Millennium based upon  our faithfulness to God when we were on earth, as well as the inflouence we left behind.

 

 

 

"WHY SHOULD I  AVOID DTERMINING A DATE AND TIME FOR THE RAPTURE?"

 

 

The fact is we cannot calculate the day Christ will return because God specifically chose not to reveal it to us.

 

When the apostles asked Jesus about the end times, He replied gently but firmly, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:7 - 8).  Only God knows what time it is, and only God knows when these times will run out.  God's calendar is the only one that matters (1 Thessalonians 5:1 - 2; Matthew 24:36, 42, 44. 50: Matthew 25:13).

 

Future truth impacts present responsibility.  It is the knowledge that His coming is soon that puts urgency into our step and determination into our service.

 

 

 

: "HOW DOES THE HOPE OF THE RAPTURE INFLUENCE US TODAY? "

 

After completing his description of the Rapture to the Thessalonians.  Paul wraps up the passage with this practical admonition:  "Therefore comfort one another with these words"  (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

 

Here the apostle tells both the Thessalonians and believers today that it's not enough simply to passively understand what he has just explained about the Rapture, Christian death, and the Resurrection.  Our understanding should spur us toward a certain action - to "comfort one another."  And in the preceding verses He has given us exactly the kind of information that makes true comfort possible.  When believers suffer the loss of family members or dearly loved friends, we have in Paul's descriptions of Christian death and resurrection all that is needed to comfort one another in these losses.  Christian death is not permanent; it is merely a "sleep."  A time is coming when we and our loved ones will ge reunited in a rapturous meeting, when Christ Himself calls us out of this world or out of our graves to be with Him forever in an ecstatic relationship of eternal love.  That is why Paul tells us we should comfort one another with remindrs that, for Christians, what we call death is nothing more than a temporary sleep before we are called into our uninterrupted relationship with Chhrist forever.

 

Christian death is not permanent; it is merely a sleep.

 

 

THE ENTIRE WORLD WILL HEAR THE GOSPEL BEFORE CHRIST RETURNS..."  "JESUS COULD COME AT ANY TIME..."  HOW CAN BOTH OF THESE STATEMENTS BE TRUE?

 

First of all, Jesus could come tonight!  But you may hear people say that the Rapture cannot occur until the whole world has heard the Gospel; therefore, we need to preach the Gospel to every creature so that the "last person to be saved" is brought into the kingdom, at which time Jesus will return for His Church.  But this cannot be true.

 

If there is anything that has yet to happen before Christ's return, there is no such thing as the "imminent return" of Jesus Christ.  The command to take the Gospel into the whole world is certainly pressing upon every generation, but the condition of the Gospel going to the whole world is a condition not of the Rapture, but of the Second Coming of Christ.

 

 

THE TRIBULATION

 

To Allow Unrestrained Evil

 

The moment after the Rapture, the spirit of God will remove any restraining influence on earth.  As a result, life on earth will be relinquished to flourishing evil.  As the Tribulation progresses, evil will result in a climax of worsening conditions.  God's wrath will be displayed toward the wicked through the signs of His coming judgment.  Thankfully, those who believers at the time of the Rapture will be spared from this terrible time.

 

The hour-hand on God's time clock is wound up and spinning.  We are being swept along the path of history by a swift wind at our backs.  Our individual ability to weather the storm will come from our understanding of the Word of God.  We need only heed what has echoed through the centuries:  "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 3:22).

 

The Tribulation is a seven-year period described in Revelation 11 - 18.  Approximately the first three and a half years of that time, there will be the climax of worsening conditions, the anger of God against the wicked, and the signs of Christ's coming.  During the last three and a half years, the "{lawless one" - the Antichrist - will be empowered to sit at the center of the Tribulation's evil as he personifies Satan.

 

 

 WHAT SIGNS WILL WARN OF THE APPROACHING TRIBULATION PERIOD?

 

These ten events are the things we can expect in embryonic form in the days preceding the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.  These ten things will continue to multiply and progress as the first three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation unfold.

 

* A Time of Deception - "Many will come in My name, saying, "I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:5).

 

* A Time of Dissension - "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars...Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Matthew 24:6 - 7).

 

*A Time of Devastation - "There will be famines ..." (Matthew 24:7).

 

*A Time of Disease - "...pestilences..."  (Matthew 24:7).

 

*A Time of Disasters - "....and earthquakes in various places" (Matthew 24:7).

 

*A Time of Death - "They will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name sake" (Matthew 24:9)

 

*A Time of Disloyalty - "Many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another" (Matthew 24:10).

 

*A Time of Delusion - "Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many" (Matthew 24:11).  It should also be noted that part of the delusion will be an increase in drug use.  One of the characteristics of the end times' false religion will be what the book of Revelation calls "sorceries" (9:21.  The word John uses is pharmakia, from which we get the word pharmacy.  It is an ancient reference to the ingestion of drugs.  The use of mind-altering substances such as narcotics and hallucinogens will be associated with false religions, doubtless with the approval of the government.

 

*A Time of Defection - "Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12).  People will turn away from God and from one another.

 

*A Time of Declaration - "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations" (Matthew 24:14).

 

LIFE ON EARTH WILL BE RELINQUISHED TO FLOURISHING EVIL.

 

 

 

"WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON EARTH DURING THE TRIBULATION?"

  

The Tribulation, some believe will be a natural consequence of the Rapture.  You may think of the world today is degenerating into rampant greed and immorality, and indeed it is.  When all Christians are removed from the earth, the restraining minbistry of the Holy Spirit will be completely absent.  The result will be horrific.  Jesus Himself described what will happen next: "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved" (Matthew 24:21 -   "What Will Happen In Heaven During The Tribulation?"

 

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN HEAVEN DURING THE TRIBULATION?

 

The Christians are in heaven.  God is seated on the throne, which is surrounded by a rainbow of emerald greens.  The twenty-four elders representing the church-age saints sit around the throne.  Before the throne is a sea of glass.  In the midst of the throne are the four living creatures, and giving praise aound the throne are the angels and the Church (Revelation 4:3 - 4, 6, 8).  This is the worship of the glorified Christ, the Creator of the world.  God is just about to dal with the physical earth in judgment, and before He does, the Creator of earth is worshiped by the Church in heaven.  Thunder, lightning, and voices signify the judgment which is about to fall on the earth.

 

 

WILL CHRISTIANS ESCAPE THE TRIBULATION?

 

Christians will escape the seven-year nightmare of the Tribulation.

 

The Bible clearly teaches that one of the coming great events in the fulfillment of prophecy concerns the Church.  This is the personal, bodily return of the Lord in the air to remove His waiting Church from the earth and to reward them according to their works.  This will take place before the Tribulation period during which time the judgments of God will be poured out upon the unbelieving world.

 

There are more Scriptures to support the imminent return of Christ for His Church prior to the Tribulation than during or after it: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 18; 2 Thessalonians 2:8 - 12: 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5 - 9.

 

 

 

WHAT NATURAL DISASTERS WILL OCCUR ON EARTH DURING THE TRIBULATION?

 

The sun will turn black, the moon will turn red, and great earthquakes will be common.

 

Revelation 6:12 says, "Behold, there was a great earthquake."  It also says, "The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood."  When Jesus died on the cross, the whole earth became dark at midday.  When Egypt was judged, there was a blackness of night.  When the Lord came down at Mt. Sinai, the mountain was shrouded in black clouds.  The prophets, as well, said darkness would occur at the beginning of the Tribulation period.

 

The stars will fall out of the sky.

 

"The stars of heaven fell to the earth"  (Revelation 6:13).  the word star here is the Greek word aster and it refers to luminous bodies in the sky other than the sun and moon.  Clearly these stars are not the distant stellar objects we know as stars but like group of asteroids.

 

The mountains and island will move.

 

"Every mountain and island was moved out of its place"  (Revelation 6:14).  When the asteroids hit the earth, the possibility is that the earth's crust will be so disturbed by the impact that great segments of it will actually begin to slip and slide ove the earth's mantle.  According to Dr; Henry Morris, those living in the regions above such shifting will observe the heavens appearing to move in the opposite direction, as if they are being rolled up. 

 

The ocean will become blood.

 

As Revelation 8:8 - 9 explains, a great mountain burning with fire will be cast into the sea.  One-third of the sea will become blood, and one third of all sea life will die.  There will also be the destruction one-third of all the ships.  The far reaching implications of these judgments are beyond our understanding.  Someone has reasoned that the oceans occupy about three-fourths of the earth's surface, so the extent of this judgment will be staggering.  The pollution of the water and the death of so many sea creatures will vastloy affect the balance of life in the ocean.  This will happen to one-third of the saltwater bodies of the world.

 

The water will become poisoned.

 

Then the freshwater supplies will be affected.  They will become bitter, with the result that many people will die (Revelation 8:10 - 11). The instrument of judgment will be a great star that is labeled "Wormwood."  This literal star or meteor hurtling through space will approach the earth.  Sweeping along the surface of the earth, it will turn one-third of the water of the earth into deadly poisonous liquid.  It will affect the rivers, springs, and wells.

 

This is the time of the greatest suffering and persecution the world has ever seen.

 

 

WILL PEOPLE BE SAVED DURING THE TRIBULATION?

 

Yes there will be a great harvest of souls for Christ during the Tribulation.  In this harvest of souls, we see fulfilled the prophecy contained in Matthew 24:14 - "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come," then the Second Coming of Christ!

 

People from every nation, tribe, and language will be part of the great redeemed multitude.  This is a time of the greatest suffering and persecution the world has ever seen, and it will also be a time when the greatest wave of genuine conversion ever takes place.  This multitude of redeemed ones will come from those who were still unsaved at the time of the Rapture.

 

Today there are at least two billion people who have never heard or understood enough of the gospel to accept or reject it.  Those who will be saved during the Tribulation will come from this great number.  Those who are saved during the Tribulation will be savbed on exactly the same basis as those before the Tribulation, which is by faith in the life, death, and justifying resurrection of the Son of God.

 

The condition of the Gospel going to the whole world is a condition not of the Rapture, but of the Second Coming of Christ.

 

 

HOW WILL PEOPLE BE SAVED DURING THE TRIBULATION?

 

If there are no believers on earth at the beginning of the seven years of Tribulation, this is a good question.  As will be  discuss in upcoming pages, there will be two witness and 144,000 sealed Israelites (Revelation 11:3, 7:4).  In addition, Dr. Henry Morris suggests a "silent witness" because "millions upon millions of copies of the Bible and Bible portions.... will not be removed and multitudes will no doubt be constrained to read the Bible in those days... and will turn to their Creator and Savior."  These blood-bought believers will begin to warn others of even more severe judgment to come.  They will preach repentance and judgment and they will be killed for their message.

 

 

 

IF PEOPLE BECOME CHRISTIANS DURING THE TRIBULATION, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THEM WHEN THEY DIE?

 

The Lord sends an angel for their own special blessing: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord? (Revelation 14:13).  Just as the New Testament begins with the Beaitudes of Jesus for the living, it ends with the Beatitude of Jesus for the dying. This is the second of the seven Beatitudes found in the book of Revelation.  Even though these words are particularly written for those who die during the Tribulation, they are also written for the saints of every generation, for the dead in Christ of all ages.  Believers do not die in the sense of death being the end; they are simply waiting for the coming of the Lord.  Blessed are those who have gone to sleep in Jesus.

 

 

 

IF I CAN BE SAVED DURING THE TRIBULATION, WHY SHOULD I CHANGE MY LIFE NOW?

 

Just as death terminates the day of possible salvation for those who rejecdt Christ, so does the Rapture.  Those who have heard the Gospel message and have rejected it will be given a "strong delusion" during the Tribulation.  Second Thessalonians 2:10 - 12 tells us, "they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God shall send them a 'strong delusion,' that they should believe the lie."  Revelation 13 tells us it will be the lies of the Beast and the Antichrist, who counterfeit the life of Christ and bring deception.  Believing these deceptions, the people who have rejected the Gospel before the Tribulation will go to hell without opportunity to receive Christ.  The day of grace will be over for them.  There is no second chance.

 

Be warned:  You had better not wait to become a Christian.  Others have had reason like this before, but I have to wonder about someone's legitimate desire to know God if it is coupled with a desire to beat the system.  Do not let anyone tell you that you can beat the system by waiting to become a Christian until the Tribulation.  It won't happen.  You'll be deceived.  The reason more people aren't saved today is because of deception.  It's amazing, but the more the Tribulation grows in intensity, the more people reject God.  You'd think they would turn to Him and cry for mercy, but instead they curse Him who sends judgment on the earth.  Those who reject the truth now be deceived and will never believe the Gospel when they hear it preached.

 

The Bible says today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).  Don't try to get around God's plan.  Don't think you can beat the system.  One day soon the Lord is coming back, and if you have already rejected Him, the dfay of opportunity will be gone.

 

 

IS IT TRUE THAT IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO KILL THEMSELVES DURING THE TRIBULATION?

 

Even though men will seek to die and suicide will be attempted, appaently death will not be possible: "In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them" (Revelation 9:6).

 

It will be such an awful experience for those who are left endure the result of countless demons from the pit running unchecked throughout the earth.  The only people these demons are allowed to sting are those who do not belong to God (v. 4).  The poison from the sting will literally set the nerve center on fire (v.10).  This evil will be stretched out for 150 days (v. 10), and death cannot provide escape (v. 6).

 

 

WILL PROMISCUUITY BE PREVALENT ON EARTH DURING THE TRIBULATION?

 

When divine restraint is withdrawn during the Triibulation, human passions will break loose, and morality will be discarded in favor of liberty and "sexual immorality" (Revelation 22:15).  The result will be nothing less than rampant immorality.

 

 

WHO ARE THE TWO WITNESSES THAT WILL PREACH THE GOSPEL DURING THE TRIBULATION?

 

It is believed the two witnesses are Elijah and Moses.  In Malachi 4:5 - 6, we are told that Elijah will come before Jesus returns.  In 1 Kings 17, Elijah stopped the rain; and in Revelation 11:6, the witnesses "have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy."  Another reason I believe it to be Elijah is because Elijah didn't die.  Elijah was taken to heaven a whirlwind of fire.

 

It is believed the second witness to be Moses.  In Exodus 7:20 and 21, Moses turned "the water into blood"; and in Revelation 11:6 the two witnesses are said to "have power over waters to turn them to blood."  Moses died, but no one knows where his body is buried (Deuteronomy 34:5 - 6).  The body of Moses was preserved by God so that he might be restored.  Finally, it is also significant that Elijah appeared with Moses in the Transfiguration.

 

It is impossible to prove conclusively who these two witness are.  But if they are not Moses and Elijah, we can know that they are very much like them and have the same kind ministry.

 

 

IN THESE DAYS OF CRISES, OUR TRUST

SHOULD NOT REST IN A NATION THAT

MAY SHORTLY DISAPPEAR, BUT IN

"HIM" WHO WORKS ALL THINGS AFTER 

THE COUNSEL OF "HIS" WILL.

 

Herman A. Hoyt

 

 

WHEN WILL THESE WITNESSES APPEAR?

 

In Revelation 11:3, we are introduced to the two witnesses.  There is much debate as to when these witnesses appear on the sceine.  It is believed they begin begin their ministry at the beginning of the Tribulation, at the time the Antichrist makes his covenant with the Jewish people.  We can assume they will have a great following.

 

 

WHAT SPECIAL POWERS WILL THE TWO WITNESSES POSSESS?

 

Revelation 11:5 says,  "If anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. "  God has provided them with protection.  These witnesses will have power ober death, drought, and disease.

 

They will preach about Christ as Lord of all the earth.  They will shut the heavens so no rain can fall during their ministry, and they will have the power to cause plagues as often as they desire.  They will go about tesifying of the wickedness of the people.  They will tell the people that God is responsible for all the judgments that have been poured out.  If that is not enough, they will tell them of more terrifying judgments to come.  They will preach against the Beast of Revelation 13, and men try to destroy them because their witness exposes the wickededness of the earth.

 

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE WITNESSES?

 

After forty-two months, during which time they cannot be killed, they will be killed by the Beast who ascends from the bottomless pit.  The two witnesses are so hated that the entire world will rejoice at their deaths.  Their bodies will be put on public display.  Their bodies will lie in the street for three and half days (Revelation 11:7 - 10).  In biblical Jewish society this was an abomination.  Their enemies will be ecstatic that someone has finally put an end to these two nemeses.

 

They are already decomposing, and the next action we see is that they stand up!  The whole world will see this because they are looking in on the scene through the news and papers.  While they are the focus of worlod attention, they are not only resurrected, they are raptured (Revelation 11:12).  They go up to heaven in "a cloud."  This cloud is the shekiinah glory of God.  It is the same cloud in which the angel of Revelation 10:1 was clothed.

 

 

 

NEXT WEEK:  AS CIVILIZATION SPEEDS TOWARD ITS FINAL DESTINY, THE APPEARANCE OF A POWERFUL WORLD RULER IS INEVITABLE.

 

IF SATAN WAS DEFEATED AT THE CROSS, WHY DOES HE STILL HAVE SO MUCH POWER, BOTH NOW AND INTO THE FUTURE?

 

The ultimate victory has been won at Calvary, but it will be implemented in the future.  The sentence has been passed now it needs to be enforced.  The enforcement is in the hands of the Church.  The tool that enforces Satan's defeat is the tool of prayer.  "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4 - 5).  One person praying on earth can move angels in heaven.

 

Christians need to learn the power of prayer against Satan and that he will be defeated in his work.  We are not engaged in the warfare if we are not praying against Satan.  The judgment that was effected at the cross, and is enforced through prayer, will be completed.  Satan is doomed.  Once our warfare with Satan is ended by the Rapture, he will be unobstructed in his evil plans.  But, make no mistake, Satan and his henchmen - the Antichrist and the false prophet - will keep their divine appointment with Almighty God.  Satan, already defeated is doomed.

 

 

WHO IS THE ANTICHRIST?

 

The Antichrist is a person who is against Christ.  The prefix anti can also mean "instead of," and both meanings will apply to this coming world leader.  He will overtly oppose Christ and at the same time pass himself off as Christ.

 

The Antichrist will aggressively live up to his terrible name.  He will be Satan's superman who persecutes, tortures, and kills people of Glod and leads the armies of the world into the climactic Battle of Armageddon.  He will be the most powerful dictator the world has ever seen, making Caesar, Hitler, Mao, and Saddam seem weak and tame by comparison.

 

Even though the Antichrist is identified by that name only four times in the Bible, he appears many more times under various aliases.  He is also called:

 

"the prince that shall come" - Daniel 9:26

 

"a fierce king" - Daniel 8:23

 

"a master of intrigue" - Daniel 8:23

 

"a despicable man" - Daniel 11:21

 

"a worthless shepherd" - Zechariah 11:16 - 17

 

"the one who brings destruction" - 2 Thessalonians 2:3

 

"the lawless one" - 2 Thessalonians 2:8

 

"the evil man" - 2 Thessalonians 2:9

 

"the Beast" - Revelation 13:1

 

 

When he comes on the scene, people will flock to him like flies to honey, and they will fall over themselves to do anything he asks.

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE UNHOLY TRINITY?

 

Satan is the first person and the father of the unholy trinity.  The Antichrist is the second person and the son of the unholy trinity.  While the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and His main function is to direct praise to the person of Christ, the False Prophet's major function is to direct the worship and praise of the people back to the Antichrist (Revelation 13:11 - 12.

 

 

WHAT ARE SOME CHARATERISTICS OF THE ANTICHRIST?

 

The prophet Daniel describes the Antichrist in these graphic terms: "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth ...And there...were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words...  He shall  speak  pompous words against the Most High" (Daniel 7:7 - 8,25).

 

As Daniel says, the coming world leader will be renowned for this kind of eloquence, which will capture the attention and admiration of the world.

 

Daniel goes on to tell us that not only will this golden tongued orator speak in high blown terms, but he will also utter pompous wo5rds against the Most High.  The apostle John describes him in a similiar fashion in the book of Revelation: "And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies"  (Revelation 13:5).

 

Daniel continues his description of the antichrist by telling us he is a man "whose appearance was greater than his fellows" (Daniel 7:20).  In terms of his outward appearance, this man will be a strikingly attractive person.  The combination of magnetic personality, speaking ability, and extreme good looks will make him virtually irrestible to the masses.  When he comes on the scene, people will flock to him like flies to honey, and they will fall over themselves to do anything he asks.  The apostle John expands on Daniel's description of the Antichrist's blasphemous acts by telling us that every living person will be required to worship this man.  "He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worshipi the image of the beast to be killed"  (Revelation 13:15).

 

Finally, Revelation 13: 1 - 8 says the Antichrist is represented as a Beast ---an appropriate title for him.  During the last three and a half years of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will personify Satan himself.  Second Thessalonians 2:9 says,  "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders."  Step by step, the Antichrist will promote himself from a European leader, to a world leader, to a tyrannical global dictator and finally to a god.

 

 

 

HOW DOES THE ANTICHRIST GAIN POLITICAL POWER?

 

His rise to power is inconspicuous.  It will not be noticed in the beginning and will hardly raise the attention even of those who are closest to the center of action.  He will rise out of the general population.  John says, "Then I stood on the sand of the sea.  And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, heaving seven heads and ten horns" (Revelation 13:1).  The sea in biblical imagery stands for the general mass of humanity or, more specifically, the Gentile nations.

  

Whatever power the Antichrist has, he only has it by virtue of the fact that he is allowed to have it by Almighty God.  As bad as the Tribulation is, it is never out of God's control.  There is a leash on Satan, and God is holding on to the other end of the leash.  Satan will be able to do only that which God allows him to do in the Tribulation period.

 

The  combination of magnetic personality, speaking ability, and extreme good looks will make him virtually irresitible to the masses. 

 

 

WHO WILL WORSHIP THE ANTICHRIST?

.

According to Revelation 13:8, "all who dwell on the earth will worship him."  Daniel 7:25 tells us that the Antichrist is a cultic leader.  "He shall speak pompous words against the Most High.... and shall intend to change times and law."  He will speak outy against the true God of heaven.  The language suggests that he will try to raise himself to the level of God and make declaration from that position.

 

Second Thessalonians 2:4 says the Antichrist"....opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God,"  He will accept the worship of the peoples of the world.

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST?

 

The mark of the beast is 666.  We can't identify the exact significance of the mark, but there are some general things we can say about it.  The number six is the number of man (Revelation 13:18).  Man was created on the sixth day.  He is to work six out of seven days.  A Hebrew slave could not be enslaved more than six years.  Their fields could not be sown for more than six years running.  The number 666 is man-tripled.  Perhaps the number of the Beast represents the ultimate in human ingenuity and competence.

 

The word used for the mark of the Beast is the Greek word charagma.  In antiquity, this word was always associated with the Roman emperor.  It often contained the Emperor's name, his effigy, and the year of his reign.  It was necessary for buying and selling, and it was required to be affixed to documents to attest to their validity.  The Antichrist will do the same thing.  "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Revelation 13:16 - 17).

 

 

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO REFUSE THE MARK OF THE BEAST?

 

Those who refuse the mark of the Beast will be persecuted and labeled as traitors.  According to the system organized by the Beast, everyone who does not wear the mark will be denied the ability to buy or sell (Revelation 13:16 - 17).  Apparently, this will lead to their death as they will not even be able to get the food and other things necessary to stay alive.

 

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO TAKE THE MARK OF THE BEAST?

 

Revelation 14:19 - 11 warns that all who receive the mark of the Beast will suffer eternal judgment at the hand of God.  In this passage, the angel announces that those who take the mark of the beast we be consigned to eternal fire, damnation, and wrath.  Their torment will last forever since they have chosen to worship and serve the Beast rather than the one true God.

 

 

 HOW WILL THE BEAST BE DEFEATED?

 

Satan allows the Beast to be killed - or at least to appear to be killed.  But the head wound he receives will be healed, and the world will be so astonished they will follow him (Revelation 13:3 - 4, 12).  Once again the imitator is at work.  He will feign the Resurrection.  This is Satan's last fling.  He will use everything at his disposal to take as many peoplke to hell with him as he can.

 

Just when it seems there is no hope, the Lord will return in His Second Coming to dethrone the Beast at the Battle of Armageddon.  The nations and Israel will then be judged, and Christ will institute the Millennium.

 

 

WHO IS THE FALSE PROPHET?

 

The False Prophet is a man who exercises religious and miltary authority in the name of the Antichrist.  He does miraculous things to cause the whole world to bow down and worship the Antichrist and his image.  Jesus says in Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves."  The False Prophet in Revelation is the epitome of every false prophet who has gone before him.  We need to be warned against false prophets who come with the voice and personality and calmness of a lamb, but who speak the words of Satan himself.

 

 

WHAT WILL THE FALSE PROPHET LOOK LIKE?

 

According to Revelation 13:11, he has the voice of a dragon, but he looks like a lamb.  Why would Satan design the False Prophet to look like a lamb?  He is continuing to do everything possible to deceive people by counterfeiting the ministry of Jesus, the Lam of God who was slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). 

 

 

WHAT POWERS WILL THE FALSE PROPHET HAVE?

 

The False Prophet will be the Antichrist's religious leader and will have the power to counterfeit the miracles of God according to Revelation 13:13.  The specific miracle mentioned in the text is the calling down of fire from heaven.  The False Prophet may be trying to imitate Elijah, when he called down fire on Mount Carmel, to make people think he is Elijah who is coming before the great and terrible day of the Lord.  He deceives people into buildingh an image as a central point of worship for the Beast (v. 14).  With his occultic powers, he will enable the image to speak (v. 15).

 

 

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE 144,000 ISRAELITES MENTIONED IN REVELATION?

 

During the Tribulation, God will send His two witnesses into the world to prophesy and perform mighty miracles.  There will also be 144,000 Israelites ":sealed" for God's service during this period (Revelation 7:4).  The 144,000 Israelites - 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel - will become evangelists and shall see a great harvest of souls during these terrible Tribulation days.  They will be preserved so that they cannot be killed, and people will hear their message and be saved.  It is hard to imagine the impact 144,000 Spirit-filled Jews might have on the world.  Their power from the Holy Spirit enables them to have great couraghe andf brtavery as they give witness to the Word and testify to salvation in Jesus Christ.  Twelve Spirit-filled Jews turned their world upside down.  Imagine the magnitude of the revival that will take place during the Tribulation.

 

 

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE MEAN BY 144,000 VIRGINS?

 

In Revelation 14:4 the word virgin is not a physical description.  As we see in 2 Corinthians 11:2, the church must be presented to Jesus Christ as a chaste virgin.  The idea is not about physical virginity but has everything to do with spiritual virginity.  The church must be holy.  Likewise, in Revelation 14:4 the word refers to the fact that the 144,000 will be seperated from the corruption of the world.  They will be virgins unhto God who give themselves in pure devotion to the Lord.  They will be truly separated and sanctified group of people, unsoiled by the pollution of the world.  That's the kind of witness God craves, no matter what generation we live in.  The more holy we are, the more God can use us.  Perhaps the great3est preparation we can make for ministry ius the preparation of our own hearts in righteousness and holiness before God.

 

 

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN THE BIBLE SAYS THE 144,000 ARE SEALED WITH THE MARK OF GOD?

 

Revelation 7:3 - 4 explains that the 144,000 evangelists will be sealed on their foreheads and preserved in their ministry by the Spirit of God.  They will have the Father's name written prominently on their foreheads.

 

It is death not to have the mark of the Beast written on one's head during the time of the Tribulation.  But during the Tribulation, 144,000 people will be walking around without 666 writtdn on them, and they will not be killed.  They will not be neutral; they will be aggressive.  They won't just be walking around without the mark; they'll be walking around with their own mark.  They don't want anyone to be in doubt as to who they belong to.  They have God's mark on them, and it will be evident to everyone.

 

It is death to have the mark of God, but these preachers confess Christ and are u;nashamed of Him.  And they are preserved.  They have come all the way through the Tribulation preaching the gospel.  They are still alive.  God sealed them.  When you are God's person, in God's will, you are immortal until God is finished with you.  God is in control.  That doesn't mean that you should live life recklessly, but it means that God has committed Himself to preserve you throughout your ministry.

 

 

WILL THERE BE CONSEQUENCES ON EARTH FOR THOSE WHO WORSHIP THE BEAST?

 

Revelation 16:2 gives us the record of terrible sores upon those who have taken the mark of the Beast and worshiped his image.  The sores reflected on these rebels symbolize that they worship Satan.

 

Those who have taken the mark of the Beast appear to be religious people.  They identify with the great reliugious regime of their day.  But in this awful moment of judgment when the bowls are turned over on earth, the sores will be another mark of identification to demonstrate that they are rebelling within these people to surface and be manifested in sorews all their bodies.  

 

At this time, God will use six other disasters on earth to carry out His judgment.  The remaining part of the sea will turn to blood, rivers and streams will become blood, the sun will scorch people with fire, the earth will be in darkness, the Euphrates River will completely dry up, and thunder, lightning, abd hailstones weighing nearly one hundred pounds will fall from the sky (Revelation 16:3 - 21).

 

The Antichrist will aggressively live up to his terrible name.  He will be Satan's superman, who persecutes, tortures, and kills the people of God and leads the armies of the world into the climatic battle of Armageddon.

 

 

WILL THOSE WHO WORSHIP THE ANTICHRIST EXPERIENCE ANYTHING LIKE THE OLD TESTAMENT PLAGUES IN EGYPT?

 

The sixth plague God sent upon Egypt was very similar to that which takes place in Revelation 16:2.  The Bible describes the plague as "boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughjout all the land of Egypt" (Exodus 9:9).

 

These sores may be a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.  In Deuteronomy 28:27, 35, and Moses promised that God would judge Israel with boils and other skin diseases if they failed to walk in His covenant.  The penalty for disobedience was that the plagues Glod visited upon Egypt (whicfh included sores and boils (Exodus 9:9) would be visited upon Israel.

 

The judgment mentioned in Revelation 16:10 - 11 is a plague of darkiness.  Once again, it is reminiscent of the plagues of Egypt.  Just as the sores of the first plague are a symbol of the inner infection of those who bear them, this outer darkiness is a reflection of the darkness of heart and soul of those who deny God.

 

The Antichrist will be the most powerful dictator the world has ever seen, making Caesar, Hitler, Mao, and Saddam seem weak and tame by comparison.

 

 

WILL THOSE WHO WORSHIP THE ANTICHRIST EXPERIENCE ANYTHING LIKE THE OLD TESTAMENT PLAGUES IN EGYPT?

 

The sixth plague God sent upon Egypt was very similar to that which takes place in Revelation 16:2.  The Bible describes the plague as "boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt" (Exodus 9:9).

 

These sores may be a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.  In Deuteronomy 28:27, 35, and Moses promised that God would judge Israel with boils and other skin diseases if they failed to walk in His covenant.  The penalty for disobedience was the plagues God visited upon Egypt (which included sores and boils (Exodus 9:9) would be visited upon Israel.

 

The judgment mentioned in Revelation 16:10 - 11 is a plague of darkness.  Once again, it is reminiscent of the plagues of Egypt.  Just as the sores of the first plague are a syumbol of the inner infection of those who bear them, this outer darkness is a reflection of the darkness of heart and soul of those who deny God.

 

The Antichrist will be the most powerful dictator the world has ever seen, making Caesar, Hitler, Mao, and Saddam seem weak and tame by comparison.  

 

 

WHAT IS ARMAGEDDON?

 

Our nation is no stranger to war.  In the less than 250 years of American history, we have been involved in nearly three hundred wars, conflicts, military operations.  

 

The Bible tells us that there is yet another major war to be fought on this earth - sometimes after the Russian led coalition of nations' war against Israel.  This war, called Armageddon, makes all the wars America has fought to date look like minor skirmishes.  This war will draw the final curtain on modern civilization.  In fact, preparations for that war are underway right now throughout the world.  The only thing holding back its rapid approach is the yet-to-occur disappearance of all true believers in Jesus Christ is taken safely into heaven and the Tribulation period begins, the unrestrained satanic persecution of Israel will propel the entire world toward the Battle of Armageddon.  

 

 

WHAT DOES ARMAGEDDON MEAN?

 

Given the enormous attention this word receives, it may surprise you that Armageddon is mentioned only once in the Bible - in the sixteenth chapter of Revelation.  The Hebrew word harmageddon means "the mount of Megiddo."  Har means "mount" and megiddo means "slaughter": so the meaning of Armageddon is "Mount of Slaughter."

 

 

 WHERE WILL ARMAGEDDON TAKE PLACE?

 

Armageddon will take place on the mountain of Megiddo, located in northern Israel.  It includes an extended plain that reaches from the Mediterranean Sea to northern part of the land of Israel.  Megiddo is about eighteen miles southeast of Haifa, fifty-five miles north of Jerusalem, and alittle more than ten miles from Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up.

 

While the word Armageddon is mentioned only once in the Bible, the mountain of Megiddo has a rich biblical history.  It was at Megiddo that Deborah and Barak defeated the Canaanites (Judges 4 and 5).  It was also there that Gideon defeated the Midianites (Judges 7); Saul was slain during a war with the Philistines (1 Samuel 31); Ahaziah was slain by Jehu (2 Kings 9); and Josiah was slain by the invading Egyptians (2 Kings 23).

 

These are not by any means the only battles that have been fought on this bloody ground.  If we had stood on top of Megiddo over past centuries and overlooked the plain of Armageddon, we would have seen a long succession of waged battles of great armies marched across the field one after the other - the Crusaders, the Egyptians, the Persians, the Druze, the Greeks, the Turks, and the Arabs.  During World War I, British general Edmund Allenby led his army against the Turks in a fierce battle on the Plain of Armadgeddon.  According to scholar Alan Johnson, "More than 200 battles have been fought at or near there."  As you can see, Meggido has earned its awfrul name: it is indeed a Mount of Slaughter.

 

 

 

WHY WILL MEGIDDO BE THE LOCATION OF THE WORLD'S FINAL CONFLICT ?

 

One of the world's greatest military figures gives us the answer.  In 1799, Napoleon stood at Megiddo before the battle that ended his quest to conquer the East and rebuild the Roman Empire.  Considering the enormous plain of Armageddon, he declared: "All the armies of the world could maneuver their forces on this vast plain.....  There is no place in the whole world more suited for war than this... (It is) the most natural battleground on the whole earth."

 

While it is no mystery why the earth's final battle will be fought at Armageddon, it is important to understand that the battle will be centralized on that field but not contained there.  All the ancient prophets agree that this war will be fought throughout the entire land of Israel.

 

The words of the prophet Zechariah describes Jerusalem as the center of conflict in the Armageddon war:  "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.  And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all people; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, through all nations of the earth are gather3ed against it" (Zechariah 12:2 - 3).  So, while we use the term Armadgeddon and localize the war to the plain of Megiddo, Scripture teaches that the battle will literally fill the whole land of Israel with war and bloodshed.

 

 

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF ARMAGEDDON IN THE PLAN OF GOD?

 

1.  To finish His judgment upon Israel:  The Tribulation period is a time of divine indignation against the people of Israel, the people who rejected their Messiah and - time and time again after given the chance to return - failed to heed the corrective and punitive judgment of God.  It is no accident that this future period of time is often referred to as "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7).

 

2.  To finalize His judgment upon the nations that have persecuted Israel:  Those nations that have persecuted Israel:  Those nations that have persecuted the Jewish people are finally gathered together in the Battle of Armageddon, in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, giving God the perfect opportunity to deal with them finally and decisively.

 

"I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land" (Joel 3:2).

 

3.  To formally judge all the nations that have rejected Him: "Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.  And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.  He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Revelation 19:15).

 

Notice that last phrase: "He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."  To our time-bound senses God's activity often seems so slow and ponderous that people pursuing ungodly goals tend to dismiss His judgment as a factor to be taken seriously.  Thus the nations do not believe that a time is coming when God's judgment will inevitably descend.  But be assured, He is storing up judghment against a day to come.  The Bible is clear: one of these days God will have had enough, and His judgment will pour down like consuming fire against the world's wicked nations.

 

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BATTLE OF GOG AND THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON?

 

At the beginning of the Tribulation period,  Gog (the Prince of Russia, Magog) assembles a mass of nations against Israel that is thwarted by God's intervention.  Armageddon will end the Tribulation period.  The Battle of Gog and the Battle of Armageddon are separated by  several years and involve diffferent participants.  Here are some of the differences that will help keep the two battles separate in your mind:

 

1.  In the Battle of Gog,  Russia and at least five other nations are involved (Ezekiel 38:2 - 6).  In the Battle of Armageddon,all the nations of the world are involved (Joel 3:2; Zechariah 14:2).

 

2.  In the Battle of Gog, the invaders will attack from the north (Ezekiel 38:6, 15; 39:2).  In the Battle of Armageddon, the armies come from the north, south, east and west (Daniel 11:40 - 45; Zechariah 14:2; Revelation 16:12 - 16).

 

3.  In the Battle of Gog, the purpose of the armies is to "take a spoil, and to take a prey" (Ezekiel 38:12) .  In the Battle of Armageddon, the purpose is to annihilate4 the Jews and to fight Christ and His army (Zechariah 12:2 - 3, 9; 14:2; Revelation 19:19).

 

4.  In the Battle of Gog, Russia will be the leader of nations (Ezekiel 38:13).  In the Battle of Armageddon, the Antichrist will be the leader (Revelation 19:19).

 

5.  In the Battle of Gog, God defeats the northern invade4rs with the convulsions of the earth, the confusion of the troops, the contagion of diseases, and calamities from the sky.  In the Battle of Armageddon, the armies are defeated by the word of Christ - "a sharp sword" (Revelation 19:15, 21).

 

6.  In the Battle of Gog, Israel's enemies will perish upon the mountains of Israel and in the open field (Ezekiel 39:4 - 5).  In the Battle of Armageddon, those slain by the Lord will lie where they fall, from one end of the earth to the other (Jeremiah 25:33).

 

7.  In the Battle of Gog, the dead will be buried (Ezekiel 39:12 - 15).  In the Battle of Armageddon,  the dead will not be buried, but their carcasses will be totally consumed by the birds (Jeremiah 25:33; Revelation 19:17 - 18, 21).

 

8.  After the battle of Gog, war will continue among the nations involved (other than Israel) during the remainder of the Tribulation (Revelation 13:4 - 7).  After the Battle of Armageddon, swords and spears will be beaten into plowshares and prunning hooks (Isaiah 2:4).  And the nations will study war no more.

 

 

 

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE ANTICHRIST AS HE LEADS THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON?

 

During the Battle of Armageddon, the world will become increasingly discontented with the leadership of this global dictator who has gone back on every promise he made>  Major segments of the world will begin to assemble their own military forces and rebel against him.

 

The king of the South and his armies will be the first to come after the Antichrist, followed by the armies of the North.  "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsement, and with many ships" (Daniel 11:40).

 

The Antichrist will put down some of the first attempts at rebellion against him.  But before he can celebrate and move on toward his goal of destroying Israel and Jerusalem, something happens:  "But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many" (Daniel 11:44).  The Bible leaves no doubts as to the source of the news that so disturbs and enrages the Antichrist: "Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and it water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared (Revelation 16:12).

 

The Euphrates is one of the greatest rivers in the world.  It flows from the mountains of western Turkey, through Syria, and continues on right through the heart of Iraq, not far from Baghdad.  It eventually unites with the Tigris to become the Shatt el Arab, and finally empties into the Persian Gulf.  The entirety of the Euphrates flows through Muslim territory.  In Genesis 15 and Deuteronomy 11, the Lord specified that the Euphrates would be the easternmost border of the Promised Land.  It serves both as a border and a barrier between Israel and her enemies.

 

 

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DRYING UP THE EUPHRATES RIVER, AND WHY WILL THAT EVENT HAVE SUCH A DISTURBING EFFECT ON THE ANTICHRIST?

 

Without water in the Euphrates River, there is no longer a barrier between the Antichrist and the vast army crosses the bed of the Euphrates against the Antichrist, the greatest war of all history involving hundreds of millions of people will be set in motion.  The major battleground for that war will be the land of Israel.

 

As if this news is not frightening enough, John tells us that all these events are inspired and directed by the demons of hell:  "For they are the spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty" (Revelation 16:14).

 

No doubt demonism in every shape and form will manifest itself more and more as the end draws near, until at last it all ends in Armageddon......But besides these hosts of human armies, there will also be present at Armageddon an innumerable host of supernatural being.....So Armageddon will truly be a battle of heaven and earth and hell.

 

So just at the moment when the Antichrist is about to attack and destroy Israel and Jerusalem, a diversion occurs in the form of another massive army entering the field of conflict.  Thus the stage is set for the last, stunning movement in the Battle of Armageddon.

 

 

 

THE SECOND COMING

 

AFTER READING ABOUT THE RULE OF THE ANTICHRIST, WE WILL FIND IT REASSURING TO KNOW THAT CHRIST WILL RETURN TO RULE AND REIGN OVER THE EARTH AND TO JUDGE THE WORLD.

 

CHRIST'S RETURN WILL BE AMPLIFIED BY A DEVASTATING SPECTACLE THAT WILL MAKE HOLLYWOOD DISASTER MOVIES LOOK LIKE SATURDAY MORNING CHILD'S FARE.  THE WORLD WILL SEE AND RECOGNIZE ITS RIGHTFUL LORD AND KING.  WHEREAS HE CAME THE FIRST TIME IN HUMILITY AND SIMPLICITY, THIS TIME HIS GLORY AND MAJESTY WILL BE SPECTACULARLY DISPLAYED FOR ALL TO SEE

 

 

 

 

  "WILL THE EARTH BE JUDGED AT THE END OF THE TRIBULATION?"

 

At the close of the Tribulation, Jesus Chriust will come again to judge the earth.  He will rec oncile His chosen people to Himself, and the reign of the King of Kings will begin.  Everlasting righteousness will be brought in during the Millennium.  The Temple will be anointed and the beauty of Jewish worship reestablished in the millennium Temple.

 

Who is the Judge?

 

Matthew 25:31 - 33 tells us clearly that the Son of Man is the Judge presiding over the judgment of nations.  John 5:22 tells us that the Father will not judge anyone; He has committed all judgment to His Son, Jesus Christ.  Not only that, but the Bible says that J3esus will come with His holy angels to pour out His judgment.

 

When is the Judgment?

 

The time of this judgment is well established by premillennial students of the Scriptures.  It takes place when the Soin comes in all His glory,  so this judgment will be at the Second Coming.  This is not the Rapture when Christians will meet Christ in the air, but the Second Advent, when He will come to earth and end the Great Tribulation.

 

Where does the Judment take place?

 

This judgment will take place on earth, not in heaven.  Jesus will have returned to sit on His glorious throne, and ":of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kiingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that itme forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:7).  Jesus Christ will reign over the restored earth for a thousand years (the Millennium) in His kingdom, then over a newly created heaven and earth for all eternity.

 

Who will ber judged?

 

The judgment will be over all the unbelievers on the earth (Revelation 19:15, 20, 21).  At this time, Christ will return to earth with His raptured saints to judge the unsavede and reign over the earth.  Though He will taken the believers into heaven at the Rapture seven years earlier, others will have come to believe in Him during that dreadful time called the Tribulation.  All those who have believed in Christ during the Tribulation will also reign with Him for a thousand years.

 

 

 

 

EXACTLY WHAT DOES "CHRIST WILL RECLAIM THE EARTH" MEAN?

 

 

The book of Revelation is divided into three sections.  At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to the world ruin by man.  As we move to the latter half of the Tribulation period, we witness the world ruled by Satan.  But as we come to Christ's return at the end of the Tribulatrion period, we see the world reclaimed by Christ.

 

Reclaiming the earth, howeve,r is not merely a simple matter of Christ's stepping in and planting His flag.  Before the earth can be reclaimed, it must be cleansed.  You wouldn't move back into a house infested with rats without first exterminating and cleaning it up.  That is what Christ must do before He reclaims the earth.  All rebellion must be rooted out.  He much avenge the damage done to His perfect creation by wiping the rebels from the face of the earth.

 

 

 

 

HOW WILL THE EARTH BE CLEANSED?

 

 

Words are hardly adequate to describe the horror of this appalling scene.  The fowls of the earth's air all gather at Armageddon to feast upon the massive piles of human flesh that will litter the battlefield for miles upon miles.  The word translated fowls or birds is found only three times in the Bible:  twice in Revelation 19 (vv. 17 and 21) and once more in Revelation 18:2.  It is the  Greek word arni9n, which designates a scavanger bird that is best translated into the English as vulture.

 

In John's vision the angel is calling the vultures of the earth to Armageddon to "the supper of the Great God" where they will feast on the fallen carcasses of the enemiesw of the Lord.  The text says that these corpses include both great and small, kings and generals, bond and free.  As Harry Ironside says, "It is an awful picture - the climax of man's audacious resistance to God." 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE COMPARISON OF REFERENCES IN THE BIBLE REGARDING CHRIST'S FIRST AND SECOND ADVENT? 

 

Although Christians are most familiar with the first coming of Christ, it is the Second Coming that gets the most ink in the Bible.  References to the Second Coming outnumber references to the first by a ratio of eight to one.  Scholar count 1,845 biblical references to the Second Coming, including 318 in the New Testament.  Christ's return is emphasized in no less than seventeen Old Testament books and seven out of every ten chapters in the New Testament.  The Lord Himself refers to His return twenty-one times.  The Second Coming is second only to faith as the most dominant subject in the New Testament.

 

 

 

 

GIVEN THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES OF CHRIST'S FIRST AND SECOND ADVENTS, WHY DID THE JEWS REJECT HIM?

 

The Old Testament prophecies of Christ's First and Second Advents are so mingled that Jewish scholars did not clearly see them as separate events.  Their perception of these prophecies was like viewing a mountain range from a distance.  They saw what appeared to be one mountain, failing to see that there was another equally high mountain behind it, obscured from their sight through the perspective of distance.  The prophets saw both comings of Christ either as one event or as very closely related in time.  One Bible scholar has written. "Words spoken in one breath, and written in one sentence, may contain prophetic events millennia apart in their fulfillments."

 

This mixing of two prophetic events into one may partially explain why the Jews as a whole have rejected Christ.  The prohecies speak of the Messiah both enduring great suffering and accomplishing a great conquest.  They thought the suffering Savior would become the conquering Savior in one advent.  They did not realize He would come a first time to suffer and then a second time to conquer.

 

It is evident that even Jesus' followers expected Him to fulfill the glorious promises related to His second coming when He came the first time.  Only after He ascended into heaven did they realize that they were living in the time period between His two appearances, as if on a plain between two mountains.

 

 

WHAT WILL THE SECOND COMING BE LIKE?

 

"For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  For wherever the carcass is there the eagles will be gathered together.

 

Immdediately after the Tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the pow3ers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (MATTHEW 24:27 - 31).

 

The Second Coming will be a glorious event beheld by believers and unbelievers alike.  It is a cataclysmic event that will usher in the Millennium, Christ's thousand year reign on earth (discussed in more detail later in these pages).

 

 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE LORD'S FIRST AND SECOND COMING?

 

** In His first coming He was wrapped in swaddling clothes.  In His second coming He will be clothed royally in a robe dipped in blood.

 

** In His first coming He was surrounded by cattle and common people.  In His second coming He will be accompanied by the massive armies of heaven.

 

** In His first coming the door of the inn was closed to Him.  In His second coming the door of the heavens will be opened to Him.

 

** In His first coming His voice was the tiny cry of a baby.  In His second coming.  His voice will thunder as the sound of many waters.

 

** In His first coming He was the Lamb of God who came bringing salvation.  In His second coming He will be the Lion of the tribe of Judah who comes bringing judgment.

 

 

 

 

WHO WILL COME WITH  CHRIST AT THE SECOND COMING

 

The great Lord Jesus, the Captain of the Lord's Hosra, the King over Kings will descend to defend and protect His chosen people and put once and for all end to the evil of the Antichrist.  But the Lord Jesus will not descend alone, at the following Scriptures make abuntantly clear:

 

1.  "Thus the Lord my God will comej, and all the saints with you" ( Zechariah 14:5).

 

2.  ......trhe coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints"  (1 Thessalonians 3:13)

 

3.  "when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe......" (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

 

4.  "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints....." (Jude v. 14).

 

All those who have died in the Lord, along with those who were raptured before the years of the Tribulation.will join with the Lord and particiipate in the battle to reclaim the world for the rule of  Christ.

 

And the saints are not the only ones who will comprise the army of the Lord.  Both Matthew and Paul tell us that the angels will also descend with Christ: "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory" (Matthew  25:31), "and when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels"  (2 Thessalonians1:7).

 

How many angels are available for conscription into this army?  The Bible shows their numbers to be staggering.  In Matthew 26:52 - 53, Jesus told Peter in the Garden of Gethsemanew, "Put your sword back in its place......Do you think that I cannot call my father and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?"  A Roman legion numbered about forty six thousand soldiers, so Jesus claimed instant access to the protection of 72,000 angelic soldiers who would have rushed to His rescue had He but said the word.  Revelation 5:11 as the very least supports trhatr number saying, "I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders, and the number of them was tren thousand and thousands of thousands."  The Greek says literally, ".....numbering myriads and thousands of thousands."  The New Living  Translation translate the passage as "thousand and millions of angels."

 

CHRIST will return not only to reward His own, but to judge the world.  Between His first appearance and His second, will be a time of trouble, and then will occur the judgment of all these who rejected Him.  This will not be a judgment for believers, for they have already stood before the Judgment Seat.  This will be a judgment with no parole, no lenient sentence, and no pleas of insanity.

 

 

 

 

WHEN CHRIST RETURNS AT THE SECOND COMING, WILL WE KNOW HIM?

 

Because the Rapture takes place before the Second Coming, Christians will be in heaven with Christ during the Tribulation.  At the time of the Second Coming, we will know Him because we will be with Him when He returns.

 

 

 

REVELATION MENTIONS THE SUPPER OF GOD AND THE MARRIAGE SUPPER.  WHICH WILL I ATTEND?

 

There are two suppers mentioned in Revelation 19.  The first is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; the second is the supper of God, in which the flesh of the foe of God is devoured by the scavenging birds.  We are given our choice as to which supper will attend.  If we do not wish to eat the food at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, we can become the food at the Supper of God.  Christians will all be at the Marriage Supper fo the Lamb - they will be the Bride of Christ!

 

 

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE BEAST (ANTICHRIST) AND THE FALSE PROPHET?

 

The Bible tells us that God simply snatches up the leader of the final rebellion - the Roman Antichrist - and flings him along iwth his co-conspirator, the False Prophet, into hell:  "Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.  These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone"  (Revelation 19:20).

 

These two satanic creatures have the unwanted honor of actually getting to hell before Satan himself.  As John tells us,  Satan's confinement occurs much later:  "The devil, who deceived them, was casst into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are.  And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10).  Satan does not join the Beast and the False Prophet in hell until the end of the Millennium, one thousand years after their arrival.

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST AND THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT?

 

At the beginning of the Tribulation, Christians will come before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10).  After seven years and the Millennium (1,007 years later), there will be the Great White Throne Judgment - the judgment of God - when everyone  will give an account.

 

No one can run away from the judgment of God Revelation 20:13, "The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.  And they were judged, each one according to his works."  These dead, those who have rejedted Christ, come before the Great White Throne Judgment.  If their name is not found in the Book of Life, they are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11 - 15).

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN ARE THE HOPELESS SOULS OF THE UNREDEEMED THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE?

 

At the Great Throne Judgment, every unredeemed person who has ever lived will stand before Jesus to receive the sentence of eternal death.  There they will all a face a Judge but no jury, a Prosecutor but no defender, a sentence but no appeal.  It is the final judgment of the world.  There is no hope for those who appear before the Great White Throne.  There is no possibility of redemption, no possibility of a favorable verdict, and no possibility of appeal.  There is only one sentence, and that is to be thrown into the lake of fire.

 

THE BELIEVERS' JUDGMENT

(THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST)

IS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE BEGINNING OF THE TRIBULATION

 

THERE THERE ARE SEVEN YEARS

(TRIBULATION)

 

AND THE MILLENNIUM

 

AND THEN COMES THE 

GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT

 

 

 

IS MY NAME IN THE BOOK OF LIFE?

 

The book of Life is mentioned frequently in Scripture (Exodus 32 - 33;  Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1 Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 21:27; 22:19),  and it is imperative to make sure that your name is contained in it because that is your reservation for your eternal home with God.  When you believe in Jesus Christ, you receive the free gift of eternal life and make your reservation in heaven.  Those who do not receive God's free gift are blotted out.  "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous" Psalm 69:28); "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15) where the souls of the damned will languish for eternity.  There, separated from the glory of God, they will remain in an unending state of hopeless agony.

 

 

 

THE MILLENNIUM

 

TO RULE THE WORLD

 

THE WORD MILLENNIUM IN LATIN MEANS MILLI FOR "ONE THOUSAND" AND ANNUM FOR "YEARS", WHICH TRANSLATES TO "ONE THOUSAND YEARS."  DURING THAT TIME, CHRIST WILL RULE ON EARTH IN PEACE AND JUSTICE FROM THGE CAPITAL IN JERSALEM.  THE MILLENNIUM WILL BE A FORETASTE OF THE HEAVENLY STATE THAT IS TO FOLLOW.  

 

Millennium means "thousand years," and it refers to the period of time referreed tro in Revelation 20:1 - 6 which describes the rule and reign of Christ on earth.  For a thousand years, Christ will rule as king over all the earth from His capital, Jerusalem.  The saints of God, who returned with Him for the Battle of Armageddon, rule with Christ during the Millennium.  We rule from the New Jerusalem and help to oversee a thousand years of peace and righteousness on earth.  Satan will be bound during that period so that peace may flourish and the knowledtge of the Lord may fill the earth.  Everyone entering the Millennium will be a believer, having believed in Christ during the Tribulation.

 

 

 

HOW WILL ALL THE CHRISTIANS FIT INTO ONE CITY - THE NEW JERUSALEM?

 

The city is laid out as a cube in dimensions so enormous it defies the imagination.  The length, width, and height of the cube are each said to measure twelve thousand furlongs or approximately 1,500 miles (Revelation 21:16).  That makes a base alone of 2.25 million square miles!  The ground floor alone would provide enough living space for far more people than have ever lived in the history of the world.

 

 

 

WILL CHRIST REIGN ON EARTH FOR A LITERAL ONE THOUSAND YEARS?

 

The duration of the Millennium is mentioned six times in Scripture and is never described in such a way as to suggest it should be taken symbolically or allegorically.  The text is simple and straightforward:  this earthly kingdom will last for one thousand years (Revelation 20:2 - 3).

 

 

 

WHAT WILL THE MILLENNIUM BE LIKE?

 

There will be no war.  Kingdoms will be unified.  Even the animal kingdom will be at peace (Micah 4:2 - 3; Isaiah 11:6 - 9).  It will be a time of unrestrained prosperity.  All want will be eliminated (Isaiah 35).  Sin will be kept in check, and disobedience will be swiftly dealt with in this timne of great purity.  Christ's kingdom will be a holy kingdom (Isaiah 11:9, 66:23; Zechariah 13:2).  During this time Satan will be bound and sealed so that he cannot go out to deceive the nations.

 

A man who dies at the age of one hundred will be thought accursed!  There will be perpetual health.  It appears that the extraordinary lifespan that characterized the race before the Flood will reappear (Isaiah 65:20).  The Millennium will be an exhilarating era of happiness, contentment, and personal joy.  It will be the answer to many ancient and anguished prayers (Isaiah 9:3 - 4; 12:3; 14:7 - 8; 25:8 - 9; 30:29; 42:1,, 10 - 12).

 

 

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM?

 

During the Millennium, child will be born who will populate the earth.  Some of these children will rebel against the righteous rule of God.  Satan will be loosed for a time at the end of the Millennium as he stirs up a final rebellion on earth among those who haven't believed during the thousand years.  The final judgment of the world, the Great White Throne Judgment, concludes the Millennium and ushers in the New Heaven and Earth (Revelation 20:11 - 15, 21:1).

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POSTMILLENNIALISM, AMILLENNIALISM, AND PREMILLENNIALISM

 

These are three competing views concerning the Millennium.

 

POSTMILLENNIALISM teaches that the Church itself will bring about the Millennium through the preaching of the Gospel.  As more and more people across the globe are converted, the world will gradually be conquered for Christ, and Jesus will at last return to earth to take up the throne won for Him by His Church.

 

AMILLENNIALISM teaches that there is no literal one thousand-year reign of Christ.  Insteadk, the Church inherits the millennial blessing promised to Israel, and Christ reigns through the Church right now in an allegorized millennium.  This view was develped and promoted by Augustine in the fourth century and remains a common view in many Reformed circles.

 

PREMILLENNIALISM is the oldest view of the three and holds that Christ will physically return to earth to put down His enemies and reign over the earth for a literal one thousand-year period.  This view is found in the writings of the earliest church Fathers and remains the most common view among evangelicals.

 

BECAUSE OF THE RULE OF A RIGHTEOUS "KING" WHOSE JUSTICE WILL KEEP LIFE IN BALANCE AROUND THE WORLD, MANY OF THE CAUSES OF HEARTACHE WILL BE REMOVED.  THE MILLENNIUM WILL BE A TIME OF UNPRECEDENTED JOY AS A NATURAL BY-PRODUCT OF PEACE.  ISAIAH 14:7 SAYS, "THE WHOLE EARTH IS AT REST AND QUIET; THEY BREAK FORTH INTO SINGING."

 

 

 

 

WHY SHOULD ONE BELIEVE IN A  LITERAL MILLENNIUM (PREMILLENNIALISM)?

 

There are at least four reasons why Christ must come back to earth to reign personally over the kingdoms of the world.

 

* A literal Millennium is needed to reward the people of God.  Scores of promises are scattered throughout both testaments guaranteeing that God's people will receive bountiful rewards for faithful service.

 

* A literal Millennium is needed to respond to the disciple's prayer recorded in Luke 11 and Matthew 6.  When they prayed "Your kingdom come," they were requesting that the long-awaited kingdom would be established.

 

* A literal Millennium is needed to redeem creation.  Genesis 3 describe the horrors of a world cursed by God because of sin, while Romans 8:19 - 22 describes a coming time when thatr curse will be lifted.  The Millennium is the only period in history where such a lifting of trhe curse can be found.

 

* A literal Millennium is needed to reemphasize man's depravity and the necessity of Christ's death on the cross.  The Millennium will answer once and for all the age-old question of whether man's sin stems from environment or heritage.   The Millennium will feature one thousand years of unbroken peace and prosperity, in which Christ will rule from Jerusalem with an iron rod.  Yet at the end of that age of bliss, Satan will be loosed for a short time to demonstrate that the heart of man is indeed black with sin and that even in a perfect environment, unredeemed men will turn against God and rebel.  The Millennium is proof positive that Christ's death is essential for mankind's salvation.

 

 

 

 

THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH

 

To Create God's Eternal Kingdom

 

GOD HAS ESTABLISHED AN ETERNAL HOME FOR HIS CHILDREN WHERE THERE WILL BE NO SICKNESS OR DYING.  FORMER SORROWS WILL BE REMEMBERED AS HIS CHILDREN SPEND ETERNITY IN HIS PRESENCE, REJOICING IN THE NEW JERUSALEM.

 

Can you imagine a holy city?    It will be a community where no one lied, no shady business deals were ever discussed, no unclean movies or pictures were seen.  The New Jerusalem will be holy because everyone in it will be holy.  Whatever discouraging or dark thoughts enter our minds troday will be erased.

 

 

 

 

 "WHAT WILL WE DO IN HEAVEN?"

 

We will never grow bored!  We will sing (Revelation 15:3 - 5).  Those who could never carry a tune on earth will be able to sing in heaven and never grow weary of exalting the name of the King of Kings.  We'll serve perfectly, enabled by the power that is able to conform all things to the pleasure of His sovereign will (Revelation 1:1; 7:3; 10:7; 11:18; 15:3; 19:5; 22:6).  We'll  share unbroken fellowship (Revelation 19:9, Hebrews 12:22 - 24) with angels, members of the Church, God, Jesus, and the spirits of just men made perfect.  Never again will we have to say good-bye to a loved one or give a farewell party.

 

God has different things for different people to do.  God made each of us unique with a special ministry and responsibility.  Each of us in our own right has a purpose and design for what God has called us to do.  There are many distinct groups in heaven, all unique in their responsibility before God.  For instance, the twenty four elders are crowned, enthroned, and seated (Revelation 4:10; 11:16).  The 144,000 from the Tribulation have no crowns or thrones and are standing up and singing a song that no one else knows (Revelation 14:3).  The song of the 144,000 sounds like great rushing waters and loud peals of thunder.  It is joy filled (v. 14:2).

 

When we get to heaven, we are going to praise God in every conceivable way.  All of heaven is filled with music.  Worship music gives a taste of heaven.  There are more hymns in the book of Revelation than anty other book of the Bible, except for the book of Psalms.  Music needs to be a high priority with us if we want top know how to worship the Lord.

 

 

 

"IS THERE SUCH A THING AS 'SOUL SLEEP'" ?

 

Revelation 6:9 - 11 strikes a deathblow to the idea of soul sleep.  The souls under the altar were martyred during the Tribulation are conscious and speaking:  "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord'"?  We should not be led astray by the use of the word ":sleep" in connection with the death of the body.  This is not "sloul sleep."  We can understand more clearly when we read 1 Thessalonians 4:14 - 16.  Here we are told about the resurrection of the believers:  (1)  they rise from the grave, and (2)  God will bring them with Christ when He returns.  There is only one way to explain how they can both rise and be brought from heaven.  The soul and body are seperated in death.  Sleep is applied only to the believer's body, when goes into the grave and awaits resurrection.  Sleep is never applied to the soul of the believer.

 

 

 

"CAN ANYTHING KEEP THE UNSAVED DEAD FROM HELL?"

 

No.  That is why our primary goal is to teach as many people as possible before it is too late.  There is no second chance, nor is there annihilation after death.  At death the unsaved descend immediately into Hades where they are kept under punishment until their bodily resurrection - resulting in damination (Dan. 12:2; Luke 16:22 - 24; Revelation 20:11 - 15).

 

 

 

"AS A CHRISTIAN, WHY SHOULD NOT FEAR DEATH?"

 

The Bible has a unique view of death for those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ.  It describes death for the believer as precious.  "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" (Psalm 116:15).  The Bible also describe death for the believer as being without sting. ("O death, where is your sting?  O Hades, where is your victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55), and as being with Christ."  ("For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better" (Philippians 1:23).  In heaven you will Jesus face-to-face - "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, nor shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4 ).  This is the wonderful hope with which we live!  
 

 

 

 

"CONCLUSION"

 

THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST is a central theme of much of the Bible, and it is one of the best attested promises in all the scripture.  Christians can rest in the sure conviction trhat just as Jesus came to earth the first time, so He will return at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation.

 

 

 

 

"HOW SHOULD WE PREPARE FOR THE APPROACHING END TIMES?"

 

 

***STAND FAST  (2 Thesssalonians 2:15)  This is not a time to going runniing after new doctrine.  This is not the time to be exploring new ideas about theology.  Stand fast in the truth that you know.  If there has ever been a time for us to be unequivocal about our truth, this is it.  The buzzword today is tolerance.  But be only as tolerant as God is, and God is quite intolerant of what is not true.

 

***HOLD ON  (2 Thessalonians 2:15)  The daily news can discourage us.  But in the midst of it all, there is Jesus and His encouragement.  We need to cultivate our relationship with Him until He is not just one of the things in our life, but He is the one thing in our life - the focus of who we are.

 

***WORK HARD  (2 Thessalonians 2:16 - 17; Luke 19:13)  The objective of Christians is not only to go to heaven, but to take as many people with us as we can.  Share the Gospel teach children, build one another up, strengthen one another, encourage those who are fallen, and reach out to those who are hurting.  In every good work, "occupy till I come," said the Lord.  This is no time for idlenessl.  This is a time for us to seek the truth and live it out every day.

 

 

 

 

AS WE SEE THE SIGNS OF THE END TIMES APPEARING, WHAT SHALL WE DO?

 

In spite of the high value one may place on understanding future events.  Studying prophecy has an even higher and more practical value.  It provides a compelling motivation for living the Christian life.  The immediacy of prophetic events shows the need to live each moment in Christlike readiness.  When we have heard and understood the truth of Christ's promised return, we cannot just keep living our lives in the same old way.  Future events have present implications that we cannot ignore  When we know that Christ is coming again on this earth, we cannot go on being the same people.
 

 

 

 

REFRAIN FROM JUDGING OTHERS

 

"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.  Then each one's praise will come from God" (1 Corinthians 4:5).  

 

 

 

REMEMBER THE LORD'S TABLE

 

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26).

 

 

 

RESPOND TO LIFE SPIRITUALLY

 

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on thingsw on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:1 - 4).

 

 

 

 

RELATE TO ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE

 

"And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints"  (1 Thessalonians 3:12 - 13; Jude v. 21).

 

 

 

RESTORE THE BEREAVED

 

"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

 

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel,k and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.    Anbd thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 18).

 

 

RECOMMIT OURSELVES TO THE MINISTRY

 

"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Timothy 4: 1 - 2).

 

REFUSE TO NEGLECT CHURCH

 

"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrew 10:24 - 25).

 

REMAIN STEADFAST

 

"Therefore be patient, brethren, until ther coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.  You also be patient.  Extablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand" (James 5:7 - 8)

 

 

RENOUNCE SIN IN OUR LIVES

 

"And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before HIm at His coming.  If you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of HIm" (1 John 2:28 - 29).

 

 

REACH THE LOST

 

"Keep yourselves inh the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh" (Jude 21 - 23).

 

 

THE COMING COUNTDOWN BETWEEN IRAN AND ISRAEL

 

THE final battle for Jerusalem is about to begin.  Every day in the media you are watching the gathering storm over the State of Israel.  The winds of war are once again about to sweep through the sacred city of Jerusalem.  The world is about to discover the power of the God of Abraham, Issaac, and Jacob, the Keeper of Israel,  "who....shall neither slumber nor sleep" (Ps. 121:4).  His righteous fury will be evident in the defense of Israel.

 

 

 

"UNVEILING ISLAM"

 

There comes a time in a nation's history - and there comes a time in the church - when spiritual fog and religious deception must be removed by a clear, unbiased, passionate pursuit of truth. 

 

America and the church are now in a spiritual fog over the issue of Islam.  As mosques appear across the nation from city to city, people are asking, "What do I need to know about Islam?"  Islam, once an obscure Middle Eastern religion, has rapidly grown into the second largest religion in the world.  There are now more Muslims in the United States than there are members of the Assemblies of God.  The population of Iran is approximately 99 percent Muslim, of which 89 percent are Shi'a and 10 percent are Sunni.

 

What attraction does Islam hold for its followers?  What part does it play in shaping the attitudes of nearly one billion people around the world?

 

On 9/11, when the Islamic terrorists flew their hijacked airliners into the twin towers and the Pentagon,  Americans discovered we were at war - a world war against fanatical Islamic terrorist who believe in killing Americans and Jews is the will of Muhammed the Prophet - and the will of God, called Allah.  In war, when one side understands that it is at war and the other side thinks that its adversaries are apostle of peace, which side has the advantage?

 

One of the first questions we must answer is this:  are those who follow the teachings of Muhammed, as found in the Quran, peaceful or violent?

 

 

 

" ISLAM,  PEACEFUL OR VIOLENT?"

 

Islam not only condones violence; it commands it.  A tree is known by its fruit!  The fruit of Islam is fourteen hundred years of violence and bloodshed around the world.

 

What are Muslims taught to do to the people who resist Islam?  The Quran teaches:  "Fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratgem (of war)."   SURAH 9:5

 

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.   SURAH 5:33

 

In America, cutting off someone's hand or feet because he would not accept your religion is unthinkable - but the Islamic Bible commands it.  Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini declared:  "The purest joy in Islam is to kill and to be killed for Allah.  Is that fanaticism - or simply being faithful to the Islamic bible?

 

Muhammed, the founder of Islam, slaughtered thousands of people in establishing and spreading Islam.  He told his followers:"Who relinquishes his faith, kill him.  I have been ordered by Allah to fight with people till they testify there is no god but Allah, and Muhammed is his messenger."

 

 

 

 

 "DISPUTE OVER THE CITY OF JERUSALEM"

 

One of the most significant questions being asked in Washington and around the world today is this:  Why is it that the Jews and the Arabs can't get together in their disputing over the city of Jerusalem?  The answers are as follow:

 

The most important reason Jews and Arabs cannot get together is not land, money, or history.  The reason for continual conflict over the city of Jerusalem is theology.

 

Manyu Arabs are Islamic fundamentalists, and they believe that Muhammed is the true prophet of Allah.  Their Quran is the absolute truth - it supercedes the Bible.  Muhammed supercedes Christ.  An infidel (a Christian or Jew) has one choice and only one in the Islamic faith - convert or be killed.

 

Muhammed's life can be divided into two parts - the tolerant years in Mecca and the aggressive years in Medina.  The Quran reflects those two parts, and that is why at times someone will point out a teaching in the Quran that seems to indicate that Islam teaches its adherents to live at peace with their enemies.  Whe Muhammed began to preach his revelations from Allah to the people, he believed that a peaceful religion was a good strategy for attracting people, especially the Jewish people to the teaching of Islam. 

 

When Muhammed saw that his attempts to win over the Jews through peaceful coexistence were not successful, he "launched a new strategy, a strategy based on power.  This is when he declared jihad (holy war) and went out to convert nonbelievers to Islam by the sword."  Muslims today are taught to interpret the Quran through a principle of progressive revelation known as nasikh.  Any contradiction in the Quran is solved by using the newest revelation.  If anyone denies the continuing revelation of Allah to Muhammed, they are denying Islam itself.

 

We have arrived at a defining moment, when truth could conquer deception if the world would recognize that the Islamic terrorists are not fanatics - but devout followers of Muhammed who are followingf his example and doing what their Islamic Bible teaches them to do.

 

One of these devout followers of Muhammed, Indonesian jihad leader Abu Bakar Bashir, told Scott Atran of the First Post this chilling message:  "Islam can't be ruled by others.  Allah's laws must stand above human law.  There is no example of Islam and infidels, the right and the wrong, living together in peace."  When asked what the West could do to make the world more peaceful, Bashir responded by saying, "They have to stop fighting Islam.  That's impossible because it is sunnatullah (destiny, a law of nature), as Allah has said in in the Quran.  If they want to have peace, they have to accept and be governed by Islam.

 

Many people believe today that because the world's three major religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - came from the same roots, there is no reason why the three religions cannot exist side by side today in peace.  But Islam follows a theology of triumphalism - "the dominance of one's nation, idepology, or religious creed over another."  Islam teaches that Muhammad superceded the patriarchs and Christ.  To a Muslim, it is Allah's will for Islam to rule the world.  The word Islam does not mean peace - it means submission.  Their objection is for everyone to be in submission to them.

 

That's the reason the Islamic prayer tower is the highest point in every city.  It must have a position of physical supremacy.  That's the reason for the impasse between Palestinians and Jews over the city of Jerusalem.  Sitting in the throat of Islamic nations is Israel - with an unconditional blood covenant from the throne of God that has given to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the land of Israel forever.  God didn't loan the land of Israel to the Jews; He gave it to them.

 

 

"THE UNTHINKABLE FOR ISLAM"

 

When God gave the land to the Jews, this flew in the face of Islam.  Islam believes the prophet Muhammad taught absolute truth - that it is God's (Allah) will for them to rule the earth.  Therefore, if Islam does not defeat Israel, Muhammad and the Quran were wrong - and that's absolutely unthinkable to them.  Therefore, they must defeat Israel.  Oh, they may agree to sign a peace accord, but if they do, it will be one that is good for only seven years, and it will be for the purpose of redeveloping their army for the destruction of Israel.  If Israel survives, then Islamic theology is not true.

 

The real difference between the two religions, however, lies in their basis for belief.  Judaism is based on the unique historical event of a divine revelation experienced by the entire nation, whereas Islam is based on the prophetic claims of a single individual who subsequently convinced others to follow his ways.

 

Sayyid Qutb, the leading twentieth century theorectician of Islamic fundamentalism, believed, "Humanity is standing at trhe brink of an abyss, not because of the threat of annihilation hanging over its head - for this is just a symptom of the disease and the disease itself - but because humanity is bankrupt in the realm of values, those values which foster true human progress and development.

 

While this is a symptom of modern society that nearly all Christians would agree with, they would not agree with the solution according to Sayyid Qutb.  He believes only the Quran provides for Allah's values, and he believes that Muslims can and should impose those values on the world.  Any society "not dedicated to servitude to Allah alone and does not embody this servitude in its worldview and beliefs, its rituals and in its laws" is, in Qutb's view, illegitiomate.  Thus any society that does not follow Islamic law as he defined it (and he wrote an eight volume exegesis of the Quran) is, according to Outb, morally perverse.

 

In contrast to Islam, the Jewish beliefs and traditions are associated specifically with the Jewish people.  Judaism strongly opposes forced conversions of other nations.  The Old Testament Torah delineates the land of Israel where the Jewish people lived.  Israel does not seerk expansion beyond the land of Israel.  Israel has withdrawn its army from territories captured after each war (for example, giving up all of the Sinai Peninsula).

 

 

 

 "THE USE OF ISLAMIC RELIGION"

 

The use of Islamic religion to encourage suicide bombers with the promise of heavenly life with virgins illustrates the great gap between Islam and Jewish beliefs.  He Hebrew Bible prohibits killing in the Ten Commandments and completely rejects and deplores suicide.  But Judaism also states, "If one comes to slay you, slay him first."  This phrase is a relevant moral guide for dealing with the modern day terrorists.

 

The teaching of the Quran insist that no matter how mighty a nation is, it must be fought until it embraces Islam (Surah 9:5).  Secular America does not understand radical Islam, which is increasingly embraced with the destruction of America in mind.  The growing number of extremist who take the Quran as a declaration of war against America and Israel has become clear and present danger.

 

Islamic fundamentalist beleve the Quran teaches them not to befriend Jews and Christians.  Surah 5:51 reflects:  O you who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for you friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other.  And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship is of them.

 

We have reached a theological impasse between these three religions.  For a Muslim, Muhammed is the only absolute truth.  It is unthinkable that he was wrong, and because Israel would not adhere to the teaching of Muhammed and convert to Islam, Israel must be defeated.  Muhammed is the one who made war against Israel holy!  If Israel survives, then Islam would be wrong, a failure, and that is an unthinkable position.

 

Today, jihad, or holy war, is the world's foremost source of terrorism, inspiring a worldwide campaign of violence by self-proclaimed jihadist groups, including Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network.  Al-Qaeda has published a book.  The 39 Principles of Jihad, through its Web site network that teaches terrorists how to plan and carry out the Islamic holy war of jihad.  Recently exposed in a private study by Israeli researcher Colonel Jonathan D. Halevi, this book contains explicit "how-to" instructions for everything from "Performing Electronic Jihad" to "Expressing Hostility and Hatred Toward Infidels."

 

 

 

 

 "ONE OF THE MOST COMPLEX AND DANGEROUS OF THE ARAB TERRORIST ORGANIZATION"

 

The Islamic Jihad is one of the most complex and dangerous of the Arab terrorist organization.  These groups act on their own inititative without coordination, sometimes even within the same country.  All these groups share a fundamentalist Islamic ideology that expouses hold war......against the infidels, and which is under the powerful ideological-religious influence of the Islamic revolution in Iran.  The Iranian regime and the Islamic Jihad groups collaborate closely at times. Some groups not only recive aid and guidance from Iran but also enjoy generous support from other Arab and Islamic countries such as Libya, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Guld oil states.  They also cooperate extensively with diverse Palestinian organizations.

 

The Islamic Jihad aspires to overthrow secular Arab regimes in order to establish an Islamic pan Arab empire.  The Jihad is unique among the Islamic movements, however, in that it views war against the Jews and Israel  as an initial, essential step toward fulfilling the goals of Islam.  According to the Islamic Jihad, the only way to resolve the conflic t with the Jews in Palestine is by direct violent confrontation.  In 1990, one of the organization's leaders - Sheikh Tamimi (author of a 1982 booklet called "The Obliteration of Israel: A Koranic Imperative") - expressed this principle in the following words: "The Jews have to returen to the countries from which they came.  We shall not accede to a Jewish state on our land, even if it is only one village"....

 

It was the Islamic revolution in Iran that triggered the growth of Islamic Jihad groups in the Arab countries.  In the late 1970s, after establishing their status firmly in Iran itself, the Iranian fundamentalist revolutionaries began "export" the Islamic revolution from their bastion to areas heavily populated by Shiites and to other Arab countries generally.  The Islamic Revolutionary Council was established in Iran with this purpose in mind, and it was instructed to coordinate the activities of pro-Iranian organizations in the various countries.  The Council dispatched activists to Arab countries where, with the help of local supporters and sermons delivered in the mosques, they worked to recruits traveled to Iran to acquire a miltary-terrorist education, and then returned to establish additional cells in their own countries.

 

 

 

"ISLAM AND AMERICA"

 

Historian Daniel Pipes, writing for Commentary magazine's November 2001 issue, recorded the following shocking evidence concdfning Islamic's loyalty to America: "In June 1991, a convert to Islam, Siraj 
Wahaj, a recipient of the American Muslim community's hightest honors, had the privilege of bercoming the first Muslim to deliver the daily prayer in the U.S. House Representatives.  On that occasion he recited from the Quran and appealed to the almighty guide American leaders and to grant them righteousness and wisdoms."

 

But the story about Siraj Wahaj did not end there.  A little over a year later this same Muslim, addressing an audience of New Jersey Muslims, "articulated a completely different message from his mild and moderate prayer given before the U.S. House of Representatives.  He said, 'If only Muslims were more clever poltically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate (Islam leadership body).'  He concluded his remarks with these words: 'If we united and strong, we would elect our own leader and give allegiance to him....Take my word, if the six or eight million Muslims in America unite, the country will come to us."'

 

This is not loyalty -- it is sedition!  Calling for the overthrow of the United States is resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.  In 1995, Siraj Wahaj served as a character witness for Omar Abdel Rahman at the blind Islamic terrorist's trial, which found him guilty of conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States.  More alarming still, the United States Attorney in New York listed Wahaj as one of "the unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirator to blow up the twin towers in New York City in 1993."

 

This is the point.  This Islamic leader, selected by the U.S. House of Representatives as the award-winning model of the Islamic faith in America, is on record calling for the overthrow of the United States government.  Think about that when you hear politicians or talk show host on television jabbering about Islamic loyalty to America.

 

 

 

 "ISLAM VERSUS THE TRUTH OF CHRIST"

 

Islam and Christianity are not "sister faith."  A side-by-side examination of the texts of the Bible and the Quran will quickly identify some of the differences related to Islam's teaching about Christ and the truths of our own Bible about the Son of God.

 

1 - Islam instructs its followers to kill their enemies, but Christianity instructs its followers to love their enemies.

 

The Quran says to "fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them" (Surah 9:5).  But our Holy Bible tells Christ's followers to: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matt. 5:44).

 

2 - Islam denies Christianity's core truth - the death and resurrection of Jesus.

 

That they saiud (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah"' - but they diud not kiill Him, nor crucified Him, but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they did not kill Him.   Surah 4:157

 

Islam says that Jesus did not die on the cross.  The Bible says that Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead.

 

3 - Islam also denies the deity of Jesus Christ

 

The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the Son of Allah....Allah's curse be on them: how they are dluded away from the Truth!   Surah 9:30

 

Not only does the Quran deny Christ's deity - but also, as we see in the verse of the Quran above, it puts a curse on on all who confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  Islam brings Jesus Christ lower than Muhammed, making him no more than a messenger:

 

Christ the Son of Mary was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him.  His mother was a woman of truth.  They had both to eat their (daily) food.  See how Allah makes his signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!          Surah 5:75

 

Since there are such maried differences in these areas between Islam and Christianity, we must be prepared to test the "truth" of each.  Historty has revealed to us that the Islamic Bible, the Quran, is a collection of the revelations Muhammed said he was given by an angel, or from a voice coming down from heaven, or sometimes as a message from a dream.  Christians are commanded to "try the spirits" to see if they are from God:

 

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christy has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.  And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world.  1 John 4:1 - 3

 

Every person who calls himself a prophet must be tested by Scripture.  (1 Cor. 14:29)

 

Every revelation and every prophecy must be judged by the Word of God.  If it is not scriptural - if it denies Jesus Christ as the Son of God - it is the spirit of the Antichrist.  By applying these tests to the teachings of Muhammed, we will quickly discover that this prophet doesn't pass the test.  From Genesis to Revelation, every page of the Bible testifies of the deity of Jesus Christ.  "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

 

 

 

 WHO IS "ALLAH"?

 

 

The name Allah came from an Arabic word that had to do with the worship of the moon god in pre-Islamic Arabia.  "Allah" cannot be found in the Hebrew Old Testament or the Greek New Testament.

 

Allah is not the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  According to the Bible, God is knowable!  Jesus Christ came into the world that we might know God (John 17:3).  God's Word tells us that man can come into a personal relationship with God the Father.  He said, "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jer. 33:3).  God wants to love....today...just as you are.  "For God so loved the world that He gave....." (John 3:16).  "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16).

 

But in Islam, Allah is unknowable.  He is so exalted that no man can ever personally know Allah.  The Allah of the Quran is so distant, so far off, so abstract, that no one can know him.  And Muslimn believers can never know the love of Allah until Judgment Day when they find out if Allah loves them and will invite themn into paradise.  In his book Jesus and Muhammed, Mark Gabriel, a former devout Muslim, says: "If you ask a Muslim, "Do you know how much Allah loves you?' he will respond, 'I don't know how much he loves me.  Only Allah knows.'"

 

He gives this example from his own life:

 

When I was living as a Muslim in Egypt, I was always puzzled by a little saying that the Christians used to put on their cars or frame in their shops.  The phrase was Allah Mahabe, or God is love.  Those two words are never put together in the Quran.  I always thought, I wonder what these people are trying to say.

 

The god of Islam is totally different from the God we know.  The Quran tells us that the god of Islam works with Satan and demons to lead people astray in order to populate the hell he created (Surah 6:39, 126; 32:13; 43:36 - 37).

 

When you turn to the Quran, you discover that Allah told Muhammad ot kill or maim anyone who did not believe in Allah or in Muhammed his prophet.  Jesus Christ never told His disciples to kill anyone.  When Peter attacked the Roman soldier who came to arrest Christ and take Him to the cross, Jesus healed the soldier - a soldier who later nailed Him to the cross.  That's love!

 

The love relationship between Jesus and God the Father was reflected in Jesus' relationship with His followers.  Jesus told His disciples that God love them: "The Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God" (John 16:27).

 

Mark Gabriel describes the difference between our God and the god of Islam with these words: "For Jesus, God is a loving Father; for Muhammed, Allah is a demanding master.  This description sets the tone regarding love for all their other relationships....Allah finds new believers who will serve him better.  In contrast, God the Father searches for the one lost lamb until He finds it and brings it home rejoicing.  This is the difference between Allah and God."

 

 

 

Islam's attitude toward the Jews is found in Surah 9:5: "Fight and slay the Pagans (Christian and Jews) wherever you find them, and seize them, beleague them, and lie in wait for them in every strategem (of war)."  In Surah 5:33 we read: "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger.....is :  execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off o fhands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land.

 

Muhammed taught a doctrine of triumphalism, meaning that it is God's (Allah's) will for the law of Islam to rule the world.  The first step in fulfilling Muhammed's dream is the destruction of Israel.  No peace treaty will ever stop fourteen hundred years of Islamic hatred for the Jews, Israel cannot make peace until it has a partner who wants peace.  God's policy toward the Jewish people is found in Genesis 12:3:

 

I will bless those who bless you,

And I will curse him who curses you;

And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

 

Today, the religious beliefs of Islam and Israel remain in total opposition to each other.  And the front line of this religious war can be identified in the Palestinian/Israel conflict.  What is the rooty, the fulcrum, the cornerstone of the opposition?  It is the land of Israel.

 

For Islam, the land of Israel is "an Islamic Waqf (Holy possession) consecrated for future Moslem generation until Judgment Day.  No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it."

 

In 2000, the Islamic Assembly of North America published a booklet titled No for Normalization, written by a Muslim scholar.  He gave a similar picture of the Muslim view of land rights:

 

The Jews came and attacked this land and stole it, and this will not change the fact that this land is Muslim, and it will remain that way forever.  If we aren't able to liberate this land today from the Jews, this doesn't mean that we can give it up.  We have no work until the time comes, and then we will bring it  back to the Islamic world.

 

This is a religious war that Islam cannot - and must not - win.  It was God Himself who gave the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their descendants forever.  Israel belongs to God and to His chosen people, the Jews.  And God holds the future of Israel in His hands, and it will be a glorious future.

 

 

 

 

 "HOW DID WE REACH THIS POINT?"

 

It is necessary for each reader to take a journey through the pages of world history and sacred Scripture to personally experience Israel's past before you can grasp the magnificent future God has planned for Israel and the Jewish people.

 

Before you can know and understand Israel's future, you must know and understand their past.  Before you can share in Israel's joy at the coming of Messiah, you must understand, to some degree, the pain and suffering of the Jewish people for the past two thousand years.

 

In Section 2, you will be introduced to you what Jerusalem means to God Himself.  The Bible says, "I (God) have chosen Jerusalem, that My name be there ......My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually....In Jerusalem, which I have chosen....I will put my name forever" (2 Chron. 6:6; 7:16; 33:7).  

 

We will walk through ancient battle scenes as invading armies over the centuries have plundered the Holy City and taken its people captive.  We will watch as a Jewish rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, is executed.  We will see the fountains anti-Semitism begin to flow, mixing with the blood of Jewish people, through the Crusades of the Middle Ages and out of the devastation of Hitler's Holocaust.

 

Then we will experience the greatest prophetic miracle of the twentieth century - the rebirth of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948, at 4:32 p.m.  Isaiah 66:8 records it this way:  "Can a country (nation) be born in a day?".  Jerusalem was reunited under Jewish leadership for the first time in two thousand years with Israel's victory in the Six Day War of 1967.  The Bible says, "And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).  If you listen closely you can hear the footsteps of the Messiah walking towards Israel.

 

 

 

 

"JERUSALEM:THE CITY OF GOD"

 

There is no city on the face of the earth like Jerusalem.  Jerusalem - the very word excites and stirs deep emotions, memories of the past, and hopes for the future.

 

The temple.  The chanting of pilgrims.  The palaces and towers.  Wars and conquests.  Religious longings of Jews, Muslims and Christians.  Jews praying at the Western Wall for peace in the Holy City.  Jerusalem is where heaven and earth meet.

 

There are cities famous for their size, their industrial and manufacture capacities, their sports teams, or their unique locations.  But Jerusalem is like no city on the face of the earth.

 

From its earliest times, the history of Jerusalem is the history of war and peace, of greatness and misery, of splendor, of Solomon's widom, and of blood flowing in the gutter like rainwater of spring.

 

The golden thread running through that blood-soaked historical tapestry is unshakable association of the Jewish people with the sacred city.  Jerusalem is sacred to Christians, Muslims, and Jews, but God has given Jerusalem only to the Jews.

 

The Jewish love affair with Jerusalem has been interrupted though the centuries by series of greedy and bloodthirsty conquerors, including the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Seleucids, Romans, Muslim Arabs, Crusaders, Mamelukes, the Ottoman Empire, and the British Empire.  Even today, the roots of anti-Semitism still run deep in the hearts of people thoughout the world - including in our own natiion.  We will take a closer look at the sinful root of anti-Semitism in a later chapter and establish the need for repentance today - nationally, corporately, and individually.  Anti-Semitism is sin, and sin condemns the soul!

 

There is evidence that many Christians around the world are beginning to own up to the role the church has prayed in promoting this hatred of the Jews.  In an article in Charisma magazine in August 1996, David Aikman stated: "After centuries of intolerance, flecked with murder and crude social bigotry, increasing numbers of Christians in recent years have been owning up to the church's historical role in anti-Semitism.  And they have been repenting of it."

 

In spite of the effects of anti-Semitism expressed against them, throughout the three thousand years since David made Jerusalem the capital city, the spiritual attachment of the Jewish people to Jerusalem remains unbroken.  It is a bond created by covenant between God and Abraham, which no amount of suffering or sacrifice can sever.

 

During the Diaspora, wherever the Jews found themselves on the face of the earth, the Jews prayed for the return to Zion, the biblical synonym for Jerusalem.

 

Their synagogues, wherever in the world they are built, were built facing Jerusalem is the heart and soul of Zionism.  Jerusalem is now and will be in the future the center of the universe.  There will be no world peace until there is peace in Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is like no city on the face of the earth because Jerusalem is nothing less than the City of God.

 

 

 

GOD HAS CHOSEN JERUSALEM

 

I (God) have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there.... For now I have chosen and sanctified this house (the temple), that My name may be there perpetually .... In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen....I will put My name forever.

2 Chronicles 6:6; 7:16; 33:7

 

God Himself chose to establish Jerusalem as His dwelling place on earth forever.  Jerusalem is the city where God's presence dwells on the earth.  Jerusalem is the literal presence of the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  That divine presence appeared to Moses in the burning bush, calling him to liberate the Jewish people from the iron grip of Egyptian slavery.

 

That presence caused the crest of Mount Sinai to glow with God's glory as He gave Moses the Ten Commandments.  That divine presence was on Moses' face as he descended the mount.  That powerful presence can be felt at the Western Wall in Jerusalem where legions of prayers pound the gates of heaven day and night for the peace of Jerusalem.

 

That presence was established by God through King David, as we can read in 1 Kings 11:36:  "And to his son (Solomon) I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there."

 

The reality of that presence is validated by King David, who records the following:

 

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised

In the city of our God....

Beautiful in elevation,

The joy of the whole earth,

Is Mount Zion....

The city of the great King...

God will establish it forever.

Walk about Zion (Jerusalem),

And go all around her.

Count her towers;

Mark well her bulwarks;

Consider her palaces;

Ghat you may tell it to the generation following.

For this is God,

Our God forever and ever.

 

- Psalm 48:1 - 2, 8, 12 - 14

 

For the Lord has chosen Zion;

He has desired it for His dwelling place.

 

- Psalm 132:13

 

Jerusalem is the heart of Israel.  There are voices now calling for the sacred city to be shared as a part of the Roadmap for Peace in the Middle East.  Let it be known to all men far and near, the city of Jerusalem is not up for negotiation with anyone at any time for any reason in the future.  It has been and shall always be the eternal and undivided capital of the State of Israel.

 

After the return of Israel from Babylonian captivity, when people from other nations sought to share in the restoration of Jerusalem, Nehemiah, the Jewish governor, said to them: "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem" (Neh. 2:20).  It is important to see this notatiion - the nations of the world have no inheritance in Jerusalem.

 

 

"IF I FORGET THEE, O JERUSALEM" 

 

David, Israel's poet and prophet, recognized the great importance God has placed on His city, Jerusalem.  For David, Jerusalem was a passion of his life, his soul.  He cried out: "If I forget thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy" (Ps. 137:5 - 6).

 

What is King David saying to us in this verse?  Remember, David was a master musician who played with such skill that the demon spirits in King Saul were quieted by the melodious sounds that arose from David's heart.  David was psalmist, a songwriter, who enjoyed singing the songs of Zion.

 

In this verse David was saying, "If I forget Jerusalem,let me never be able to play the harp again, as my right hand will forget its cunning.  If I forget Jerusalem, let me never be able to sign another song as my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth."

 

The message is very clear.  If you takew a master musician's ability to play his instrument away....life has no meaning.  The purpose of life is over!  The passion for life and living is gone.  David was saying, "If I forget Jerusalem, life has lost its meaning. its purpose, and its passion.  Israel without Jerusalem would be like a human body without a heart.

 

 

"JERUSALEM, THE CITY OF PEACE"

 

In Genesis 14:18, the Bible records that "Melchizedek king of Salem" blessed Abraham.  Salem means "peaceful,k" and was an early name for the city of Jerusalem.  Jeru-salem means "the city of peace."

 

Historically, Jerusalem has been anything but peaceful.  As we look in later chapters at the history of  the Jewish people, we will see that Jerusalem's citizens have been led into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians.  Their temples were desecrated and their citizens salughjtered by the Romans.  Even today, Jerusalem is waling out the Roadmap for Peace, a strategy to bring peace to the Middle East develped by the United States in cooperation with Russia, the European Unionk, and the United Nations, which was presented to Israel and the Palestian Authority in April 2003.  This strategy may well prove to be a roadmap to nowhere.

 

Lasting peace will not come to Jerusalem until Messiah comes.  He will usher in the Golden Age of Peace.  At that time every man "shall beat their swords into plowshares" and study war no more (Isa. 2:4).  The lion shall lie down with the lamb, and the river of life shall flow from the Temple Mount to the Dead Sea.  On either side of the river of life will grow a tree of life that will bear 12 fruits, one kind for each month.  The leaves of those trees will produce healing for the nations.  (Rev. 22:1 - 2)

 

Jerusalem is the city where Solomon built the second temple, today considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Jerusalem is the city where Jeremiah and Isaiah uttered moral and spiritual principles that shaped the standard of righteousness for the nations of the world.  Jerusalem is the cith where Jesus Christ, a Jewish rabbi, was crucified by the Romans as a political insurrectionist considere too dangerous to live.

 

Why was Jesus considered too dangerous to live by the Romans?  The answer is quite simple.  Any man who could feed five thousand people with the contents of a boy's sack lunch could feed an army.  Anyone who could heal the injured and raise the dead could marshal legions of zealots to wage war against imperial Rome, which believed its people could not be permanently injured or killed.

 

 "JESUS ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES"

 

Jerusalem is the city where Jesus sat on the side of the Mount of Olives and wept over Jerusalem, saying "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  See!  Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Matt. 23:37 - 39).

 

As Christ carried His cross through the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem, He saw the women weeping for Him as He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.  Jesus stopped, looked into the weeping faces of the daughters of Jerusalem, and said:

 

Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for your-

selves and for your children.  For indeed the days are coming in

which they will say, "Blessed are the barren, wombs that never

bore, and breasts which never nursed!"  

 

Luke 23:28 - 29

 

As Jesus looked into the future, He said, "The days are coming."  And they came.  Just thirty-seven years after Jesus uttered those words, the Romans under Titus laid siege to Jerusalem.  Starvation was so severe that tens of thousands of Jerusalem's inhabitants died.  In a frantic effort to keep from starving to death, some of the people even resorted to cannibalism. 

 

Moses prophesied this in Deuteronomy 28:49 - 57

 

The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away...a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young.  They will devour the young of your livestock and the crops of your land until you are destroyed.  They will leave you no grain, new wine or oil, nor any calves of your herds or lambs of your flocks until you are ruined.  They will lay siege to all the cities throughout your land until the high fortified walls in which you trust fall down.  They will besiege all the cities throughout the land the Lord your God is giving you.

 

Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you ......The most gentle and sensitive woman among you.....will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears.  For she intends to eat them secretly during the siege and in the distress that your enemy will inflict on you in your cities.

 

During the siege by the Romans, Josephus relates one particular terrible incident during the siege of Jerusalem that confirms the accuracy of Moses' prophecy:

 

Mary, the daughter of Eleazar...a Jewish woman from a wealthy

family....became so desperate with hunger that she killed her nursiing

infant son, roasted his flesh, and ate half of it.  Attracted by the smell

of roasting flesh, a group of Jewish fighters burst in on her, intending

to take her food for themselves.  But when the woman defiantly 

exposed the half-eaten body of her son and invited them to help

themselves, even these hardened fighters recoiled in revulsion and

left the woman to finish off her unnatural food for herself.

 

The days of persecution and trouble for God's chosen people have continued through the centuries.  But God had also promised His people that He would bring them back from bondage and persecution around the world and again establish His people in Israel and restore the city of Jerusalem.

 

 

 

 

"THE RESTORATION OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL"

 

The restoration has begun.  On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed by David Ben Gurion.  Beyond question, it was the day of greatest prophetic fulfillment during the twentith century.  It happened just as Jehovah God had declared through His prop0hets.  Let's take a minute to review some of these prophetic declarations:

 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you.....

I am with you; 

I will bring your descendants from the east,

And gather you from the west;

I will say to the north, "Give them up!"

And to the south, "Do not keep them back!"

Bring My sons from afar,

And My daughters from the ends of the earth.

 

                                                  ISAIAH 43:1, 5 - 6

 

I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.....I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them.

 

                                                   EZEKIEL 11:17, 19

 

Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt......

Behold, I will bring them from the north country,

And gather them from the ends of the earth,

Among them the blind and the lame,

The woman with child

And the one who labors with child together;

A great throng shall return there.

 

                                                    JEREMIAH 31:4, 8 

 

 

In anticipation of this great day, King David wrote:

 

When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion,

We were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,

And our tongue with singing.

Then they said among the nations,

"The Lord has done great things for them."

 

                                                      PSALM 126:1 - 2

 

With absolute scriptural authority, it could be said that if Israel had not been brought back to the land.  If the mighty right hand

hand of God did not ransom Jacob, there would be just reason to doubt the validity of the Bible.

 

The regathering of the Jewish people and the rebirth of Israel is no historical aberration-the restoration of Jerusalem is a prelude to the return of the Lord.  The Bible says, "When the Lord shall build up Zion (Jerusalem), he shall appear in His glory" (Ps,. 102:16).  Scripture makes it unmistakably clear that when the Lord returns, it will be to a sovereign Jerusalem controlled by the Jewish people.

 

In the eternal counsel of almighty God, He has determined to take Jerusalem the decisive issue by which He will deal with the nations of the earth.  Those nations who align themselves with God's purposes for Jerusalem will receive His blessing.  But those who follow a policy of opposition to God's purposes will receive the swift and severe judgment opf God without limitation.

 

 

"THE WAR AGAINST THE JEWS"

 

All roads of Jewish history have to lead back to Gensis 17, where God established an everlasting covenant with the father of God's chosen people, Abraham.  As an old man of ninety-nine years, Abram was visited by God and given the honor of establishing with God Himself, one resulting with hs descendants - God's chosen people - inheriting the land of Canaan.  God did more than change Abram's name to Abraham in that visitation - He changed the course of history for all time.  God told Abraham:

 

As for Me, behold, Myu covenant is with you, and you shall be a 

father of many nations.....I will establish My covenant between

Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, 

for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants

after you.  Also I give to you and your descendants after

you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan,

as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

 

Genesis 17:4, 7 - 8

 

 

But God's covenant with Abraham and His chosen people carried responsibility as well as blessing for the Jews.  The4 point is clearly established in the Bible that Israel's response to the blessing of the gift of the Promised Land determined God's response to them.  At the time of the dedication of Solomon's temple, when God's presence came down and tooki up residence in that holy place, God warned His people with these words:

 

If you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments

which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods,

and worship them, then I will uproot them (the Jews) from My

land which I have given them; and this house (temple), which I

have sanctified for My name I will cast our of My sight, and will

make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

 

2 Chronicles 7:19 - 20

 

 

It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.  In no way does this lessen or excuse the mistreatment and sinful atrocities the Jews have endured at the hands of their enemies, but it gives us a framework for understanding what has happened.

 

The words of God in the verses above were a warning.  The verses that follow are no warning - they are the execution of judgment from God Himself for the disobedience of His people:

 

Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but they have waled according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals....I will scatter them also among the Gentiles.

 

Jeremiah 9:13 - 16

 

 

 

"THE JEWS ACTS OF DISOBEDIENCE"

 

How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing the blessings He had showered upon His chosen people.  Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.

 

We are going to look briefly at some of the persecution that has faced the Jews.  Some of it happened during the days in which God's Word was being written, long before the term anti-Semitism had been voiced by anyone.  It has plagued the Jews throughout the ages.  Although it rises from the judgment of God upon His rebellious chosen people, it is sin - and it damns the soul.  Where it raises its ugly head head today, it must be eradicated, and repentance must flow where condemnation has prevailed.

 

Walk through the centuries, and learn from the mistakes of the past.  Those who fail to remember the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them in the future.  History revceals humanity's triumphsd and failures, giving us a compass for the future.

 

Jerusalem has been a strategic site in the Middle East for three thousand years.  The sacred city has been the object of numerous attaks and sieges.  Perched on easily defensible Judean hillsides less than thirty miles from the Mediterranean Sea, Jerusalem controlled the major highways that connected Egypt, Europe, and Africa.  Therefore, whoever controlled Jerusalem had the ability to control the Middle East, economically and militarily.  In addfition to its military significance, the spiritual importance of Jerusalem to the Jews, Christians, and Muslims had made it the object of wars to gain possession of the city like no other city in the world.  Those wars are not over.  The greatest war the world has ever seen will soon envelop Israel and Jersalem.  The fact that it will happen, which nations will fight in that awesome battle, who will win the battle, and how many will die will be revealed later. 

 

Let us review some of the persecution the Jews have faced throughout history.  Beginning next week!

 

 

 

 

 "JERUSALEM AND KING DAVID"

 

After King Saul died in shame and disgrace for consulting the witch of Endor for spiritual guidance, his dynasty continued briefly through his son Ishbosheth's reign over the northern tribes  of Israel.  The souther tribes, the powerful men of Judah, rallied to David, who had moved his headquarters to Hebron.  For the next few years, the Israelites fought each other as much as they fought hostile enemies.  The Israelites grew weary of fighting each other, and, after the violent death of Ishbosheth, they turned to David to lead them.  (2 Samuel 5:3 - 8).

 

At this point in history, Jerusalem was a Jebusite settlement.  David attacked and drove out the Jebusites and ushered in the Golden Era of Israel.  Jerusalem held the northern and southern tribes of Israel together and was the basis of economic and military control of the Middle East.

 

David then brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem as its permanent resting place.  The ark contained the Ten Commandments and was the embodiment of the presence of Jehovah God.  It had been with the Israelites throughout their forty years of wandering in the wilderness.  It had carried them into battle and to victory time and again.  But it had been captured by the Philistines a generation earlier.  The sacred history records:

 

So they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the 

midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it.

                                    2 Samuel 6:17

 

This ark was and is the most sacredc symbol Israel had because it represented the manifest presence of God.  When the ark arrived in Jerusalem, the city was not only the political, economic, and military capital of the country - Jerusalem was now officially the City of God.

 

 

 

 

"JERUSALEM AND THE ASSYRIANS"

 

Approximately two hundred years after the arrival of the ark in Jerusalem and the establishment of Jerusalem as the City of God, the Assyrians, under the leadership of King Sennacherib, conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.  The impact of that conquest was felt dramatically in Jerusalem by King Hezekiah.  As Sennacherib and the Assyrians hammered their way south toward Jerusalem, King Hezekiah knew the battle would be won or lost over who controlled the supply of water.  (2 Chronicles 32:1 - 4)

 

Hezekiah knew he had to secure the source of water for Jerusalem and at the same time deny itr from the enemy.  No army coulod long endure in the searing heat of the summer without water.  He solved the problem by cutting a tunnel through seventeen hundred feet of solid rock under the city from the spring of Gihon outside the city walls to the pool of Siloam within the city, so the water could run freely underground into Jerusalem..

 

The tunneling was completed....While the hewers wielded the ax, each man toward his fellow....there was heard a man's voice calling to his fellow....the hewers hacked each toward the other, ax against ax, and the water flowed from the spring to the pool, a distance of 1200 cubits.

 

Hezekiah's tunnel is a rock that cries out to all who will hear, saying, "The Word of God is the absolute truth."

 

Once Hezekiah had settled the water crisis, he began to build up the broken walls of Jerusalem to use in the coming battle with Sennacherib.  He also made spiritual preparations for the coming war by introducing radical spiritual reforms and repairing and purifying the temple.  He also broke up the idols made by the previous administration and outlawed pagan worship.  He aroused the citizens of Jerusalem, saying:

 

Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him.... With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.

 

2 Chronicles 32:7 - 8

 

 

 

 

 "THE ASSYRIANS ATTACK"

 

Sennacherib and his legions attacked the City of God in 701 B.C.  Known as cold blooded killers who tossed babies into the air and caught them on their swords, raping women and terrorizing their opponents, they surrounded the city with a sea of troops and tents as far as the eye could see.  Hezekiah attempted to purchase peace by sending a letter to the king, saying, "Whatever you impose on me I will pay" (2 King 18:14).

 

Sennacherib demanded silver and gold, and Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was in his house and all that was in the Lord's house.  He even stripped the gold from the doors of the temple to buy off this Assyrian terrorist.  But Sennacherib only demanded more, asking Hezekiah to put two thousand men on horses so his men would have some sport as they slaughtered the Jews.  This was the ultimate in ridicule.

 

But late at night, there was an invasion from outer space.  The angel of the Lord walked through the camp of the godless, cutthroat Assyrians, killing 185,000 Assyrians as they slept.

 

 

 

"JERUSALEM AND THE BABYLONIANS"

 

One hundred years after God defeated the Assyrians, King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians captured Jerusalem in 597 B.C.  (2 Kings 24:8 - 13).  He took seven thousand Jewish captives to Babylon as craftmen, scholars, and intellectuals to elevate the standard of living in Babylon.  Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego were among those taken by Nebuchadnezzar in this first attack on Jerusalem, along with all the treasures of the royal palace and the temple.

 

Not content with his first victoryt over Jerusalem, in 586 B.C. , Nebuchadnezzar returned to Jerusalem, causing the wholesale destruction of the city and another draft of exiles for Babylon.  Jerusalem was the portrait of desolation.  Its walls were torn down, its beautiful temple was destroyed, homes were burnt to the ground, and most of the citizens were in exile in Babylon.

 

The sobs of brokehearted Jews run deeply through the Book of Lamentations (Lamentations 2:5 - 9).  In the hearts of the exiles, Jerusalem continue to live.  In the anguish of their captivity, it haunted their thoughts, and all their hopes were focused on remembering Jerusalem.  In Psalm 137, the poetic pen of King David captures the mood of the exiles who were captives for seventy years:

 

By the rivers of Babylon,

There we sat down, yea we wept

When we remembered Zion.

We hung our harps

Upon th4e willows in the midst of it.

For there those who carried us away captive asked us a song,

And those who plundered us requested mirth,

Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

 

How shall we sing the Lord's song

In a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

Let my right hand forget its skill!

If I do not remember you, 

Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth -

If I do not exalt Jerusalem

Above my chief joy.

 

Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom

The day of Jerusalem

Who said, "Raze it, raze it,

To its very foundation!"

 

O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed,

Happy the one who repays you as you have served us!

Happy the one who takes and dashes

Your little ones against the rock!

 

 

 

 

 "THE RISE OF ANTI-SEMITISM"

 

Since the reemergence of Israel on the world scene when it became a state in 1948, subsequently regaining control of Jerusalem in 1967, there has been a growing change of heart among Christian believers - whether mainstream, evangelical, or charismatic toward the Jews.  In an article in Charisma  in 1996, David Aikman stated:

 

Many Christians have begun to experience a love for the Jews

that has nothing to do with the End Times, but which is almost

certainly the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is thus important for

all Christians....to be respectful of Jewish feelings in light of the 

uglier side of Christian history.

 

In this chapter we are going to take a look at "the uglier side of Christian historty."  Although the Jewish people were persecuted and mistreated before Jesus Christ lived and died on earth, the evil of anti-Semitism had not gripped the world in its grasp.  That evil was birthed to life as Jesus was giving His life on a rugged cross on the lonely hill of Calvary.

 

When God called Abrahm out of his country to a land God would give him, God gave him a promise not only for him....not only for the Jews, God's chosen people...but a promise that would affect every other nation on the earth forever.  God said:

 

I will bless you

And make your name great;

And you shall be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you

And I will curse him who curses you

And in you all the families of the earth 

shall be blessed.

 

Genesis 12:2 - 3

 

It is Jesus Himself who taught us to love, not hate.  In Matthew 19:19, He instructs to "love your neighbor as youself."  As He prepared to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins, He said: "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you....You are my friends if you do whatever I command you" (John 15:12, 14).  He was even more direct in Matt. 5:44 - 45, where He instructed:

 

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, 

do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully

use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father

in heaven.

 

Hatred is simply not an option for people who want to serve God and have His blessing upon their lives.  Yet it was the crucifixion of the Son of God that has given rise to the hatred and persecution of God's own people.

 

For centuries, the Jews have been beaten, murdered, robbed, and raped while fanatics have screamed, "You are the Christ killers!"  This vicious label has been tied about the necks of the Jewish people since shortly after the death of Christ, causing Europe and the Middle East to turn red with Jewish blood.

 

 

 

 

  "EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS OF THE CRUCIFIXION"

 

The Book of Matthew gives us two important facts about the death of Christ:

 

*  There was a crucifixion plot.

 

*  The plot was carried out by the high priest Caiaphas, a political appointee of Rome by Herod the Great, who had conquered Rome before the birth of Christ.  (Matt. 26:3)

 

As a people, the Jews had nothing to do with the political conspiracy against Jesus Christ.  The high priest Caiaphas was appointed by Herod to do the will of Rome.  He was illegitimate priest who was not selected by the Jewish people to do their will.

 

Into this political setting came a Jewish rabbi named Jesus of Nazareth.  The Jews were looking for a deliverer who would lead a revolt to break the oppressive chains of Rome.  The popularity of Jesus spread like chained lightning.  Anyone who could heal and raise people from the dead could heal wounded soldiers and raise dead troops back to life to fight the pagan Romans.

 

Jesus was a very serious threat to Herod and his stooge high priest Caiaphas.  So they entered into a politically inspired plot to have Jesus of Nazareth killed Roman style.....the crucifixion!

 

The high priest and his circle of religious conspirators had no mandate from the Jewish people; rather, they feared the people.  They most certainly did not represent the one million Jews that were living in Israel at the time, much less all the Jews that lived in Egypt or were scattered over the Roman Empire.  These religious rogues were a miniscule handful led by the high priests to do Rome's bidding.

 

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus Himself identifies His killers: "Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, 'Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.  For He will be delivered to the Gentiles (Romans) and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.  They will scourge Him and kill Him.  And the third day He will rise again"  (Luke 18:31 - 33).

 

The Bible text is perfectly clear.  Jesus was crucified by Rome as a political insurrectionist considered too dangerous to live.  He was a threat to Herod's grip on Palestine.  He was a threat to the high priest.  The Calvary plot among Herod's inner circle produced the Roman crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.  It had nothing to do with the will of the Jewish people as a civilization.

 

The historical fact is that three out of our Jews did not live in Israel when Jesus began His ministry.  None out of ten of the Jews in Israel during His ministry lived outside of Jerusalem.

 

The justice of God would never permit judgment for the sins of a handful of people to be passed to a civilization of people.  In the last breath of His earthly life, Jesus forgave even the high priest and his conspirators:  "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do"  (Luke 23:34.)  If God has forgiven....why can't Christianity?

 

 

 

 "JUST HOW JEWISH WAS JESUS?"

 

It is essential for all anti-Semites to separate Jesus from His Jewish roots.  Why?  If you can separate Jesus from the Jewish people, hatred becomes fashionable, and anti-Semitism can masquerade alternately as doing the will of God or political ideology.

 

If Jesus can be separated from His Jewish roots, Christians can continue to praise the dead Jews of the past (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) while hating the Goldbergs across the street.  But when you see the Jewish people as the family of our Lord, they become our extended family whom we are commanded to love unconditionally.

 

Most Christians think of Jesus and His twelve disciples as Christians before their time.  Not so !  Jesus was not a Christian.  He was born to Jewish parents.  He was dedicated in the Jewish tradition, reared studying the words of Moses and the prophets of Israel, and became a Jewish rabbi.  He died with a sign over his head on which was written in three languages, "This is the King of the Jews."

 

It was Jesus of Nazareth, this Jewish rabbi, who, with the following words, instructed His twelve Jewish disciples to take the light of the gospel to the Gentile world:

 

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.   MARK 16:15.

 

Before His death, Jesus agonized in prayer to His Father, God, asking God to protect and guide His disciples as they stepped into the world with the message of peace and salvation.  He prayed for the unity of all who would believe in Him with these words:

 

As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.....I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be ohe, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

 

John 17:18, 20 - 21

 

But the evil of hatred for God's people, the Jews, has hindered this prayer from God's own Son from being fulfilled.

 

The first century Gentiles and Jews who followed Christ met together in unity.  They sang the same songs.  They kept the same festivals.  They had the same rabbi - Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Then came the crucifixion.  Jesus of Nazareth ascended into heaven in the sight of the twelve apostles,  and the church of Jesus Christ was left alone.  One of the first church problems was what to do with the Gentile believers who were worshiping with the Jewish believers.  Should the Gentiles be circumcised?  Should the Gentiles keep the law of Moses?  How strict were the Jews going to be with the new Gentile believers who had just come out of absolute paganism to follow Jesus of Nazareth?

 

This is when the Jerusalem Council, stated that the Gentile followers of Christ had to follow some strict guidelines in order to continue worshiping with their Jewish fellow believers.  It would not be necessary for them to be circumcised, but they must stop committing fornication, and they must stop eating meats that were offered to idols (Acts 15:24 - 29).  

 

For a while, the Jews and Gentile Christians continued to worship together in hearmony.  Then came the Romans under the leadership of Titus, bringing death and famine like none could have possibly imagined.

 

 

 

 "THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM"

 

The siege of Jerusalem by Titus began in April of A.D. 70, during the Passover.  The armies of Romans surrounded the city of Jerusalem, trapping tens of thousands of Jews behind the walls of the sacred city.  The Romans closed all exits from Jerusalem, even the tunnels under the wall, and the siege continued fro months.  All hope for escape was lost, and a horrible famine resulted for those remaining in the city.  The horrors of the famine in the city of Jerusalem during the siege of Titus reached far beyond the imagination of mortals to comprehend.  All human emotions yield to hunger, and thus itr was reported by Josephus:

 

"Wives snatched food from their husbands, children from their fathers, and, most pitiful of all, mothers snatched food out of the very mouths of their infants; while their dearest ones were dying in their arms, they did not hestitate to deprive them of the life-giving morsels."

 

After months of the siege, the brutal power of the Roman army crushed Jerusalem.  Titus and the Roman army set the gates of the temple on fire and ordered the complete destruction of the city of Jerusalem, evern to the tearing down of the walls so that not one stone was left on top of the other.  Jesus had prophesied this event in Matthew 24:2, when He said, "Do you not see all these things?  Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."  It literally came to pass when Titus destroyed Jerusalem.

 

Josephus records,  "The number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collect\ed to be ninety-seven thousand as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege, eleven-hundred thousand."

 

Eleven hundred thousand equals 1.1 million people dead at the hands of the Romans, mostly through brutal starvatiojn.

 

Most of the ninety-seven thousand prisoners were taken to Rome where they were fed to the lions to amuse the bloodthirsty Roman citizens in the Roman coliseum, or forced to become gladiators and fight to the death.  Some, who were believed to be criminals, were burned alive.

 

 

 "GENTILE CHRISTIANS SEPARATE FROM JEWS"

 

Before Titus instructed the Roman army to close the gates and sop any people from escaping from the city of Jerusalem, he had made it known to those behind the walls that anyone desiring to leave the city could do so without harm prior to the commencement of battle.  The Hellenistic Christians of Greek influence, who resided in the city, had no loyalty to the city of Jerusalem.  With tens of thousands of people lying dead in the streets from starvation and thousand more thrown over the walls, causing a putrid smell to cover the city,  the Hellenistic Christians accepted Titus's invitation to leave Jerusalem and went to a town in Transjordan called Pella.  Thus this terrible invasion from Titus had brought about the separation of Gentiles and Jews who were followers of Jesus Christ, and that separation has remained until this day.  With that separation, the seeds of anti-Semitism - begun centuries before when the Jews began to be persecuted by the former inhabitants of the Promised Land, and watered by the controversy of who was responsible for the death of Christ - broke ground and began to bear its ugly fruit of violence.

 

 

 

"THE JEWISH FORTRESS OF MASADA"

 

After the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Masada was the last flickering flame of freedom for the Jewish people.  Masada is located twenty miles south of Sdom on the Dead Sea and rises thirteen hundred feet into the sky with a flat top of one-half mile.

 

Built by Herod the Great in 40 B.C. as a fortress, after the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of Titus it was occupied by a small group of Jewish patriots who escaped from Jerusalem under the leadership of Eleazar.  He was the nephew of Menahem, who had earlier defeated the Romans who occupied it, thus putting it back in Jewish hands.  For nearly three years, Eliazar and the Jewish patriots held out against the Roman legion that had encircled the mountain, trying in vain to storm the mountain fortress.

 

By A.D. 73, the Roman army under the leadership of Hadrian had grown to ten thousand men, bivouacked in eight camps in the valley.  The Romans started to build an assault ramp to the top, using thousands of slaves, many of whom were Jewish.  After nine months the ramp was complete, and the Romans succeeded in moving a battering ram against the wall.  They broke through the stone wall, but the defenders had managed to build a wall of earth and wood that was flexible and hard to break.  Eventually, the Romans managed to destroy it by fire and decided to enter the fortress the next day.

 

That night Eleazar gathered all the defenders, giving an impassioned plea that they should all commit suicide by their own hand rather than allow the Romans to rape their wives and daughters and place their sons in chains of eternal slavery.  When the Romans came in full battle dress the next morning, they were met by the thunderous sound of silence.  They discovered that nearly all of the 960 Jews who had held our for three years had committed  suicide.  Two women and five children, who had hidden in a cave, came out and informed the Romans of this daring act of freedom.  It is a moment in Jewish history that will be remembered for eternity.

 

In the twentieth century, Masada became a symbol of courage for the emerging Jewish state.  In 1949, at the end of the War of Independence, the Israeli flag was hoisted on Masada's summit as a symbol for the Jewish people that they would now be free from any form of tyranny or terrorism.
 

 


 

"CENTURIES OF MISTREATMENT"

 

Three hundred years following Christ's crucifixion in Jerusalem and the slaughter of the Jews by the Romans under the leadership of Titus and Hadrian, the Hellenistic Christians who had fled from Jerusalem and taken up residence in Transjordan were being influenced by the Greeks to blame - not Rome - but the Jewish people for the death of Christ.

 

How did the Gentile and Jewish followers of Christ become separated?  How did a Jewish rabbi named Jesus Christ of Nazareth and twelve disciples begin an organization that three hundred years later adopted a policy to kill Jews?  A brief and greatly oversimplified explanation is as follows.

 

When Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in A.D. 33, the New Testament church consisted of mostly Jews and some Gentile believers.  They were not yet called Christians but were referred to as "God fearers."

 

The first source of contention in the New Testament Church was doctrinal division as recorded in Act 15.  The Jewish believers wanted to know if the Gentiles had to be circumcised in order to be saved.  James, the brother of Jesus and the pastor of the Jerusalem church stood and delivered a powerful message declaring that Gentiles did not need to be circumcised.    James stated that Gentiles must abstain from immorality and meats offered to idols.

 

Thirty-seven years after the crucifixion in A.D. 70, the Roman army of eighty thousand hardened combat veterans under Titus besieged the city of Jerusalem.  No one in....no one out.  According to Josephus, approximately 1.1 million Jews died in the siege.

 

Many Gentile believers fled the city and went to Pella, a city sixty miles northeast of Jerusalem.  The physical separation of Gentile and Jewish followers of Christ had begun and would never be restored.  The Jews the Gentiles' leaving as an act of betrayal.

 

The permanent separation of Jews and Gentiles occurred in one day with one historic document when Constantine signed the Edic of Toleration, also known as the Edict of Milan, in A.D. 313, offically recognizing Christianity as the state religion.  The Roman Church grew in power uintil it ruled most of the known world through Papal States.

 

When the early Jewish Christians began preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, they still clung to their Jewish roots and faith.  But by the second century A.D., the evolving doctrine of replacement theology had begun to permeate the thinking of the early church.  Replacement theology teaches that the church has completely replaced national Israel in God's plan.  Adherents of replacement theology believe that the Jews are no longer God's chosen people and that God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel.  

 

In his book The Crucifixion of the Jews, Franklin Littell writes:

 

"The cornerstone of Christian anti-Semitism is the superseding or displacement myth that the mission of the Jewish people was finished with the coming of Jesus Christ, that "the old Israel" was written off with the appearance of "the new Israel."  To teach that a people's mission in God's providence is finished, that they have been relegated to the limbo of history, has murderous implication which murderers will in time spell out."

 

 

 

 "AN OVERVIEW OF HATE"

 

Anti-Semitism in Christianity began with the statements of the early church fathers, including Eusebius, Cyril, Chjrysostom, Augustine, Origen, Justin, and Jerome.  These men published papers and historical pamphlets, some of which are included in what is known as Adversus Judaeos.

 

This poisonous stream of venom came from the mouths of spiritual leaders to virtually illiterate congregants, sitting benighnly in their pews, listening to their pastors.  They labled the Jews as "the Christ killers, plague carriers, demons, children of the devil, bloodthirsty pagans who look for an innocent child during the Easter week to drink his blood, money hungry Shylocks, who are as deceitful as Judas was relentless."

 

John Chrysostom (A.D. 345 - 407), who was called the "Bishop with the Golden Mouth," was the first to use the term "Christ killers."  It was a vicous label the Jews were never able to escape.  Recorded in his homilies is this description of the Jews:

 

The Jews are the most worthless of all men.  They are lecherous,

greedy and rapacious.  They are perfidious murderers of Christ.

They worshiped the devil; their religion is a sickness.  The Jews

are the odious assassins of Christ, and for killing Glod there is 

no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon.  Christians may

never cease vengeance, and the Jews must live in servitude forever.

Goid always hated the Jews.  It is incumbent upon all Christians

(their duty) to hate the Jews.

 

 

 

 

  "JERUSALEM'S WAR WITH THE CRUSADERS"

 

The Roman Catholic Church, which was supposed to carry the light of the gospel, plunged the world into the Dark Ages.  The Crusaders are often presented as holy men on the road from Europe to Jerusalem and back pursuing a righteous cause with the blessing of the pope.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

The Crusaders were a motley mob of thieves, rapists, robbers, and murderers whose sins had been forgiven by the pope in advance of the Crusade.  Any holy warrior who answered the pope's call of the crusade could consider all his financial debts to any Jewish creditor canceled, which reduced many Jewish communities to poverty.  For a man looking for adventure, it was an instant way to become debt free.

 

What caused the Crusades?

 

Historians dance around this simple question with a myriad of wordy responses that avoid and evade historical reality.  The brutal truth is that the Crusades were military campaigns of the Roman Catholic Church to gain control of Jerusalem from the Muslims and to punish the Jews as the alleged Christ killers on the road to and from Jerusalem.

 

In 1095, Pope Urban II preached the call for Crusade at Clarmont, appealing to the French to recover the Holy Land for Christianity.  This response was immediate and positive.

 

The Crusaders were all too conscious, however, of the great distance between Europe and Jerusalem.  Therefore, before attacking Muslims and the Jews of Jerusalem, they first moved against the Jews of Europe.  "Kill a Jew and save your soul" became the battle cry of the Crusaders.

 

When the first Crusade under Godfrey reached Jerusalem in 1099, the Crusaders invaded the city through the Jewish quarter.  In a desperate attempt to save their lives, Jewish men, women, and children ran to the synagogue for protection, locking the doors behind them.

 

The Crusaders promptly set fire to the synagogue and listened to helpless women and innocent children scream in horror, begging for mercy as they were burned alive.  The Crusaders marched around the synagogue singing triumphantly "Christ We Adore Thee" as 969 members of the family of our Lord were cremated.

 

Jerusalem was captured by the Crusaders on July 15, 1099, with most of the Jewish population, which numbered between twenty and thirty thousands, slaughtered that very day.  The Jews who were not burned alive in the synagogue as the Crusaders marched around it were sold into slavery in Italy.

 

 

 

 "BLOOD LIBEL"

 

During the Dark Ages, the Jews sought to survive in an increasingly hostile and threatening Christian world.  The Dutch humanist Erasmus capture the prevailing mood of the era by saying, "If it is the part of a good Christian to detest the Jews, thenm we all good Christians."

 

It was during this era that Christians fabricated the preposterous story that Jews were kidnapping innocent Christian children, ritually slaughtering them, and using their blood in making unleavened bread for Passover.

 

The first recorded blood libel occurred in Norwich, England in A.D. 1144.  A boy named William had disappeared, and Christians sent out an alarm.  Theobald of Cambridge, an apostate Jew, approached the authorities and charged the Jews with having murdered the boy.  (History records that the Jews have been persecuted most by fellow Jews.)  Theobald told the authorities that the Jews had been following an ancient custom of sacrificing a Christian child during the Passover festival and that representatives of Jews throughou the world had assembled in Narbonne, France, to decide who would carry out the murder.

 

According to his story, the assembly at Narbonne had cast lots, and the honor of carrying out the ritual murder had fallen on the Jews of Norwich.  When the boy's body was found in Norwich, however, it showed no evidence of murder.  Therefore, no one was punished.  Nevertheless, the boy,  William of Norwich, was declared a martyr, and a memorial chapel and shrine were erected in his honor in Norwich.

 

By the thirteenth century, several leaders of the church, as well as Emperior Frederick II, attempted to refute and forbid the blood libel.  In 1245, Pope Innocent IV issued a papal bull forbidding blood libel, which, he said, was groundless.  He declared it was a mockery of Christ's teachings that led only to evil.

 

Pope Gregory X banned the accusation in another bull in 1274.  Other popes also denounced it.  Unfortunately their decrees were ineffective since the blood libel was an easy way for anti-Semitic demagogues to manipulate mobs.  By the seventeenth century, ritual murder accusations had sprewad to Easter Europe and Russia, where they continued until the early years of this century.

 

 

 

 "THE SPANISH INQUISTION (A.D. 1478 - 1808)

 

The Spanish Inquisition was perhaps the most cynical plot in the black history of Catholicism, aimed at expropriating  the property of wealthy Jews and converts in Spain for the benefit of the royal court and the Roman Catholic Church.  Even dead Jews were dug up and put on "trial" so their estates could be confiscated from their heirs.

 

When Tomas Torquemada was appointed by the church as Inquisitor General of Spain in 1483, he printed Manuals of Inquisition, which told the citizens of Spain how to spot a Jew or a maranno (pig), a term used to identify those who converted to Judaism.  Once caught, these people were to be brought to trial by the Roman Catholic Church.

 

The trial was actually a chamber using fire, garrote, rqack, whip, and needle to force those on trial to confess their sin of converting to Judaism, or of bering "closet" Jews.  Inquisitional tortures continued well into the eighteenth century.  During that time, 323,362 people were burned, and 17,659 were burned in effigy.  It is one of the darkest periods in Spanish history.

 

 

 

 "PERSECUTION IN EUROPE"

 

Throughout Europe, during the Crusades and the Dark Ages, and for several following centuries, very few Jewish households escaped without being robbed, tortured, or murdered.  The following list highlights some of the anti-Semitic violence carried out during this time.

 

LONDON, ENGLAND - Four hundred Jews were masscred on Palm Sunday (1263).  Six hundred eighty Jews were imprisoned in the tower, and 290 were hanged (1290).  In A.D. 1290, an expulsion order was given for all Jews to leave England by November 1.  This was the first general expulsion of Jews from any country in the Medieval Period.

 

EDWARD I, ENGLAND - Edward I drove 16,500 Jews from England, and for four hundred years, until Cromwell granted permission for them to return,  England was free of the Jewish people.

 

FRANCE - France drove 1000,000 Jewish people out of France in 1306, and the crown confiscated their possessions.  After ten years, however, they were recalled when the kingdom felt need of their commerical abilities.

 

GERMANY - At the time of the Black Death (1348 - 1350). Jewish people were accused of poisoning wells and springs of Christians.  They were subject to fearfuls, and innocent people were forced into confessions.  One quarter of the population died of the plague, and the Jewish people were blamed.

 

STRASBURY, GERMANY - In Strasburg, 2000 victims were burned on a gigantic scaffold.  Whole communities throughout Germany were destroyed.  Many Jewish people burned their homes and perished in the flames rather than wait to die at the hands of those who carried a cross and professed to serve the loving Christ.

 

 

 

 "MARTIN LUTHER (A.D. 1483 - 1546)

 

It was Martin Luther whose anti-Semitism was deeply appreciated by Adolph Hitler.  "The worst, evil genius of Germany," wrote Dean Inge, "is not Hitler, or Bismarck, or Frederick the Great, but Martin Luther."

 

When Martin Luther introduced the Reformation, he was convinced that the Jewish people would be delighted with his new version of Christianity and would join him in an assault on the Roman Catholic Church.  He was wrong !  In the beginning, Luther made complimentary remarks about the Jewish contribution to Christianity.  When the Jews did not follow him, he turned on them a vulgarity and a vengeance that greatly appealed to the German people.

 

His doctrine provided many suitable texts for Hitler's program of extermination.  The most vicious, Jew-hating statements Luther ever made were to be found in his tract entitled "Concerning the Jews and Their Lies."  In it he stated:

 

Let me give you my honest advice,

 

"First, their synagogues or churches should be set on fire.  And whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it.  And this ought to be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians.....

 

Secondly, their homes should be broken down and destroyed.  Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer books and the Talmud in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blaspheme are taught.  Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under the threat of death to teach anymore.....

 

Fifthly, passport and traveling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to Jews.  Let them stay at home.  Sixthly, they outh to be stopped for usury.  For this reason, as said before, everything they possess they stole and robbed us through their usury, for they have no other means of support.  Seventhly, let the young and strong Jews and Jewesses be given the flail, the axe, the hoe, the spade, the distaff, and spindle, and let them earn their bread by the sweat of their noses as its enjoined upon Adam's children.

 

We ought to drive the lazy bones out of our system.

 

If, however, we are afraid that they might harm us personally, or our wives, children, servants, cattle, et cetera....then let us apply the same cleverness (expulsion) as the other nations, such as France, Spain, Bohemia, et cetera...and settle with them for that which they have extorted from us, and after having it divided up fairly, let us drive them out of the country for all time.

 

To sum up, dear princes and notables who have Jews in you domain, if this advice of mine does not suit you, them find a better one so that you and we may all be free from this inseparable Jewish burden.....the Jews."

 

A couple of years after writing this tract, Martin Luther died!

 

 

 

"NAZI ANTI-SEMITISM"

 

The Bible says, "Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Gal. 6:7).  The law of seedtime and harvest begins at the gates of Genesis and never ends.  If you sow love, you reap love.  If you sow hate, you reap hate.  After hundred of years of Jewish hatred pouring out toward the Jews, the harvest of hate was reaped in a nightmare known as "the Holocaust".

 

Adolf Hitler is perceived by the Jewish people of the twenty-first century as just another crusader who walked across the stage of history, systematically slaughtering six million Jews, claiming that it was "the will of God."

 

It doesn't require a great intellect to deduct that if our Jewish friends believed Hitler was a Christian in good standing, our generation must expose him for who he truly was, denounce him, and conduct ourselves according to the law of Jesus Christ who said, "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

 

Anti-Semitism is sin, and as sin it damns the soul.  Most readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews.  In his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Hitler raved saying, "Hence today, I believe that I am acting in accordance to the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew,  I am fighting for the work of the Lord.

 

One of the largest extermination pits, as Kerch, was examined in 1942 by officials in the Russian army.  This was their report:

 

"It was discovered that this trench - 1 kilometer in length, 4 meters in width, and 2 meters in depth - was filled to overflowing with bodies of women, children, old men, and boys and girls in their teens.  Near the trench were frozen pools of blood.  Children's caps, toys, ribbons, torn-off buttons, gloves, milk bottles, and rubber comforters, small shoes, galoshes, together with torn-off hands and feet, and other parts of human bodies were lying nearby.  Everything was spattered with blood and brains."

 

How could this madness happen at the hands of one of the most civilized and cultured nations on the face of the earth?  How could it be justified in the minds of the Christian-baptized German people?  It was done with the oft-repeated poisonous phrase:  "The Jews are the Christ killers."

 

Dr. James Parks writes:  "In our day...more than six million deliberate murders are the consequences of the teachings about Jews for which the Christian church is ultimately responsible....which has its ultimate resting place in the teaching of the New Testament itself."  Oner of those deadly New Testament myths is that the Jews killed Jesus.  No justification can be found in the New Testamen to support that myth.

 

 

NEXT WEEK:  "HITLER AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Herod Eaten by Worms

Acts 12:18-25

  1. After Peter's deliverance from prison, what did Herod do to the keepers who had let him escape? (12:19)
  2. What did the angel of the Lord immediately do to Herod? (12:23)
  3. What happened with the Word of God in that area? (12:24)