The Battle of Armageddon, Pt. 3

Scripture: Revelation 16:12-16, Revelation 12:17, Revelation 19:11-16
Date: 05/05/2018 
Can we choose sides in the battle of Armageddon? If so how can we know what side we're on and ensure that we're on the right side?
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Once considered the most wicked city on Earth, Port Royal, in Jamaica had more bars and brothels per square foot than any other place on the planet. It was a haunt of thieves and pirates. When Lewis Galdy and his brother arrived there as missionaries in the 17th century, they were shocked at the immorality, violence, and extravagance, but judgment day arrived on June 7, 1692 when a massive earthquake shook the island.

Two-thirds of Port Royal slid into the sea and thousands died in the following tsunami. Lewis Galdy was buried alive and, while underground, expecting to die, he prayed and that's when a volcanic explosion blew him out of the earth far out into the sea where he was eventually picked up by a boat. Lewis Galdy dedicated the remaining 47 years of his life to serving Jesus on the island.

You know, the Bible tells us, just before Jesus comes back, that conditions in the world will be very much like they were in Port Royal. Things are going to be rough, but God's people don't need to be afraid. The same way the Lord took care of Lewis Galdy, He will take care of you. And He has the power to protect you and, yes, even resurrect you.

Some of you may remember that we were involved in a series of messages on the subject of Armageddon and I told you there'd probably be three parts. Today would be the third installment on this subject.

There has been a lot of war in the world. Even Solomon says there's a time of love and a time of hate, a time of war and a time of peace. One historian estimated that since 3,600 B.C. the world has known only four hundred - I’m sorry, two hundred and ninety-two years of peace. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3 billion 640 million people have been killed. The value of destruction would pay for a golden belt around the world 97 miles wide and 33-feet thick. In the last 200 years we've had 13 years of war for every year of peace. In the Bible the word 'war' is found 251 times, 'battle' 192 times, 'peace' is found 401 times.

Now, when we talk about the Battle of Armageddon, some people think that that means that it's just - it all happens at one time and there's this big battle. In reality, some battles can take several days. You read, in 1862, the largest military conflict in North American history began when the Union and Confederate forces collided at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This epic battle lasted three days and it resulted in the retreat of the South and 50,000 were dead.

Now there's two phases to the Battle of Armageddon: part of it takes place just before the Second Coming and part of it takes place at the end of the Second Coming. So, you've got like a thousand years between the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon and the end of the Battle of Armageddon. First, you would call it the pre-millennial battle.

So, let's begin. You go to Revelation 12 - what launches the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon? Now there have been battles between good and evil all through history, but this one is unique. It says, "And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." So the devil is making a war against the woman. And what does that war look like? Revelation 13:15: "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 worship the image of the beast..." - should what? - " killed." So God's people are forced into this battle, and it's a battle where the devil is trying to annihilate the people of God.

Now, at that point in history, where the laws are made and everybody is going to be forced to do what happened in the book of Daniel, we've got to choose: do we obey the laws of man or are we going to obey the laws of God? And it's going to look like God's people are being destroyed, but God will step in at that time. Now this is different because, you see, God hasn't always stepped in to rescue when His people have been persecuted. If you read earlier in Revelation 13, where it talks about the beast power, it says, "It was given him power to make war against the saints and overcome them." During the Dark Ages, people of God are being persecuted - it looks like they've lost.

You know, they say what makes kind of a great story: when it looks like the good guy keeps being overcome and then in the end he finally triumphs. And one reason the triumph, during this battle, was so great is because God's people haven't always won in this battle. There have been a lot of times where it looked like the beast was winning. But now the tables are going to turn and so you've got this picture here where there's a war being launched, in a special way, to get all of God's people to turn from His commandments, otherwise they'll be annihilated.

And, at the key moment, “I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called faithful and true and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. And he was clothed with a robe dipped in blood: and his name is called the word of God. And the armies" - notice the context is all war - "the armies which were in heaven...are clothed in fine linen, white and clean." what does that white and clean linen represent? It says it's the righteousness of saints. "And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword." What is that mouth? That sword, I should say, in his mouth? "The word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword." Ephesians says, "And the word of God, which is the sword of the spirit" - and so, that word, again, is this a symbol? Is Jesus really coming with a big dagger coming out of his mouth? Or it's a picture of the word in his mouth, right? “And he, himself, will rule them with a rod of iron and he treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of almighty God."

You ever sung that song? 'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.' Where do you think that verse comes from? Right here. When the Lord comes and it's talking about the wine of the wrath of God and treading the winepress. "...and on his thigh a name is written: king of kings and Lord of Lords." So Jesus, it's looking like the death decree is about to happen and all the saints are about to be destroyed. And it's one of the great turning points in history, when you think they're outnumbered and the rider on the white horse comes. Notice, Revelation 19:19, "and...the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse" - so they see the one on the horse.

So, when it talks about Jesus coming on a horse and His soldiers on horses and the devil is making war against those that are on the horse, it's really a description of the final battle just before Christ comes and it culminates with the sky splitting. What is our weapon in that battle? It's the sword coming out of His mouth - it's the Word of God is our weapon. It's the Word - the sword that wounded the beast. And at this time, when the Lord descends from heaven He said, 'Behold I come as a thief.' 2 Peter chapter 3. Finally, the Lord breaks out of the heavens, it says, 'The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens pass away with a great noise and the elements melt with fervent heat and the earth and the things that are in it will be burnt up. Since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of people ought we be in all holy conversation and Godliness, looking for and hastening the day of God.'

All through the Bible it talks about the day of God. This is it. At that crucial moment when it looks like we're going to be destroyed, Jesus comes through the clouds. The Bible says, "...and the dead in Christ shall rise first:" There are two resurrections. I remember it surprised me when I heard that. I thought when the Lord comes, everybody's raised. No, no. Jesus said, "For the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice - they that have done good, to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, the resurrection of condemnation." Two different resurrections.

Even if you read in Daniel 12, it separates the two. It says, 'Many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. Some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting condemnation.' And so, the very fact it says, in 1 Thessalonians 4, the dead in Christ rise first, what does that imply? Wherever you've got the first of something, why bother saying first unless there's going to be a what? A second.

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Verse 5, but the rest of the dead do not live until the thousand years are finished. So there's a separation between these two resurrections of the just and of the dead. And so, when the Lord comes, what happens to the righteous who are dead? They're resurrected and given glorified bodies. What if you're alive when the Lord comes? Those of us that are alive and remain will be changed or transformed in the twinkling of an eye. We are given glorified bodies and then we are caught up to meet them in the air. And so, all of the good leave the planet.

What happens to the wicked? It says the wicked are destroyed by the brightness of His coming. This is the first part of the battle, but that's not the end of it. And then, at that point, you can read in Revelation 20, verse 1, “I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;" - and it says, "and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him." You know, the devil usually put Jesus in the tomb and sealed Him. Well, now the devil's going to feel - find out how that feels. He's put in the pit and he's sealed - "so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while."

Now, does that bother you? You think that would be good enough to throw him in the pit and leave him there, but it says he's going to be released from his pit. Now, this idea of the bottomless pit where Satan is bound at the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon, is - it confuses people. That is a word - the word is abussos - it's a Greek word you find other places. You find it in Luke chapter 8 when the devil said to Jesus, 'Do not cast us out into the deep.’ That very word there is 'bottomless pit'. It means, 'Don't cast us into the nothingness where we have nobody to possess and manipulate. If you're going to cast us out of the man, then let us possess the pigs. Cast us into this herd of swine, but don't cast us into the abussos.'

That word is the same word you find in Revelation 20. Why the translators picked 'bottomless pit' there - I just figured the King James translators were getting to the end of the Bible and they wanted to leave their mark and say something colorful and so they came up with bottomless pit. But he's cast into the emptiness, the void, the nothingness.

Now why are - what is that bottomless pit and where is Satan bound during the one thousand years? Well, you can read a few verses about that. Look, for instance, in Jeremiah chapter 25, "...the slain of the Lord shall be in that day from one end of the earth even unto the other. They shall not be lamented nor gathered, nor buried." Why not? The righteous are all gone. The wicked are destroyed. Who's there to bury them? Who's there to mourn them? You can read in Isaiah 24, "behold, the Lord makes the earth empty." What does He make empty?

>>The earth.

>>"And makes it waste, he turns it upside down. The earth is utterly broken down." Jeremiah 4, verse 23, I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without from, and void;" - now if I stop right there - without form and void - what picture do you see?


>>Genesis, right? And you think, going back, he's having a flashback of Genesis - no, he's having a flash forward. Keep watching. "And the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains and, indeed, they trembled and the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and, indeed, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled." - that means they were there but they're gone - I beheld...the fruitful place" - what was once fruitful - "is a wilderness and all the cities are broken down."

Well, what caused this condition where there is no man and the birds are gone and the cities are broken down? "At the presence of the Lord and by his fierce anger." So, from the day of the Lord, and when the Lord comes and His wrath is poured out on the wicked, the earth is empty. It is called a void. Now, you know what that word is there? There's a Greek version of the Old Testament - it's very ancient - and it goes back before Christ. It's called the Septuagint and in the Greek it says, “I beheld the earth and indeed it was without form and it was abussos." So, Satan has been confined to this world. He calls himself the prince of this world. After the righteous are caught up and the dead are raised and we to go the places Christ has prepared, Satan is bound on this planet with his fallen angels. For one thousand years they must wander in the darkness to behold the results of their rebellion. Satan said, ‘I could make a better God than God. If I was in charge of this world I could do a better job.' He's going to look at the result of his philosophy for a thousand years.

And so, here you've got what's happening during the one thousand years, but it said he was cast in the bottomless pit, but he will be loosed for a season. So when does that happen? Go to Revelation 20, verse 5 - we just read - "But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished."

Now, if all the righteous of the dead in Christ rise first, who are the rest of the dead? It says they're like the sand of the sea. How many people in the world now? 7.8 billion - and you wonder how many people lived in the days of Noah before flood - it could have been a billion. If you do the math, they lived hundreds of years - how many people have ever lived? It says they covered the earth. If they were all alive at one time, that's a pretty substantial group. Now Satan, though diminished, he still looks like a great angel. And you know what he says? 'You see this city? That's mine.'

I've left out an important point: at the end of the one thousand years, not only is there a resurrection of the wicked, it says at the end of the one thousand years the New Jerusalem descends from God out of Heaven. And, if you read in Zechariah chapter 14, it says it will come to pass in that day that the Lord's feet will touch the Mount of Olives and there'll be a great earthquake and it will form a great valley. Now that great valley is like 375 miles square and the New Jerusalem ends up sitting down in that valley.

I don't want to belabor this, but this is an important point I don't want you to miss. God made a promise to Abraham. What did God promise Abraham? That you would get a certain territory. But the Bible says that Abraham lived in a tent, because he looked for a city that had foundations, whose builder and maker is God. When does Abraham finally inherit everything God promised? Do you know the borders of the New Jerusalem will be so big they will completely encompass the territory that God promised Abraham? Everything that God promised Abraham will be within the borders of that city, because it says the New Jerusalem sets down - you figure its epicenter is near the Mount of Olives - it sets down in this great valley that's been formed by the Lord's feet touching the mountain.

So, when the New Jerusalem comes down, who's in the New Jerusalem? You read about this in Revelation chapter 21. All the saved who ever lived are in the New Jerusalem. All the lost who ever lived are outside. All of the good angels are on the inside. All of the bad angels are on the outside. Christ is on the inside. Satan is on the outside. Here you have a picture where everybody's who's ever lived in this world is going to be alive on earth at the same time, which means - I don't know if you're visiting today, but we will all meet again someday. We all hope we're on the inside of the city, right?


>>That's what Revelation is telling us is going to happen. So, Satan sees the city and he sees all the righteous in the city, he realizes what he's lost, and now he sees his army and Satan tries to inspire and infuse him with his own spirit and he says, 'That's our city! I am the prince! I’m the king! He took it from me wrongfully! We can take it! Look how many of us there are. We've got them outnumbered a hundred to one.' I made that up. I don't know if it's a hundred to one, but it's going to be - we figure there's more outside the city than inside, right?


>>Narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it, unfortunately. But there's a period of time where Satan gathers all the wicked and they form weapons of destruction. There must be enough happening on the earth where they can use some resources and they try to launch this battle with - they're using nuclear weapons - nothing'll work on God so it doesn't matter - but they try to launch this battle and take it by force, showing that they haven't changed. And just when they're ready to say, 'Ready, aim, fire!' 'Charge!' - it tells us that something interrupts their plan.

Suddenly, above the city, a light begins to shine and the glory of God appears. "and I saw a great white throne, and HHim that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away;" - you know, the wicked cannot endure the face of God - "and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged...according to their works." - by the things that were written in the books - "and the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and the grave gave up the dead which were in them: and they were judged each one according to their works."

So there is this great white throne judgment. When Christ stands above the city, he will make every person's life pass before them. How long this will take, I don't know, but I think there's going to be a lot of interaction that goes on during that time. First of all, there's going to be family members that see each other. We're going to have discernment where we're going to see people that maybe are in the city that are saved that tried to tell us and we didn't listen. We're going to see people that are maybe outside the city and they think, 'You knew these things! Why didn't you tell me?'

I’m just telling you I want to be in the city. I’m just saying that people all around, during the judgment, are going to be having some terrible emotions. Their lives will be made to pass before them. They'll see all the times over the course of their lives that the Lord pleaded with them to turn from their sins - to do it now - they kept putting it off. That's the most famous thing - procrastination - don't do it now - eventually. Don't fully surrender and repent and turn now. And they're going to see the sacrifice of Christ. They're going to see the battle between good and evil. They're going to see Jesus suffering for them and realize that God, Himself, suffered to save them and they counted it as an unclean thing. And every person is going to have a panorama pass before them and this judgment will transpire and it is going to be a very sobering time.

Have you heard the parable where Jesus talks about separating the sheep and the goats? This is that moment when you've got all the saved are there and all the wicked are lost. And so, after this white throne judgment eventually every knee will bow. Have you read where Paul says that every tongue will confess and every knee will bow declaring that Jesus is Lord. Even Satan, at some point, is going to get down on his knees before God. The devil who said, 'Christ, if You worship me I’ll give You the world - if You would just bow down and worship me.' And Satan is now going to have to bow down to God.


>>And, finally, you've got the great white throne. I remember going to Germany one year and they took us to Nuremberg. And Nuremberg is famous for the Nuremberg trials. After World War II, all of the culprits involved in that had to be tried and they were judged and many were hanged for their war crimes. Satan is going to pay for his war crimes. There's going to be a final judgment at that time. It says that he is cast out.

Let me look here - Joel chapter 3, verse 2, “I will 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 and My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations." And then, finally, after God rains hail and fire down upon the wicked - you know, fire purifies.

I heard - someone sent me an amazing fact this week that there was a terrible bubonic plague that had several plagues that had broke out in England and they had trouble controlling it. But England was full - London was full of tenements at that time and they had something called the Great London Fire. I hadn't heard about that, but it was like a quarter of London burned - it's like you've heard of Rome burning? But London burning destroyed the bubonic plague because it killed all the rats.

So God is hailing this fire down to purify the planet because then, on the ashes of this purified world, it says He will create a new heavens and a new earth and there'll be no sign of the former anymore. You can read in Isaiah 2, verse 4 - I love this verse - "He will judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." Have you ever sung that song “Down by the riverside”? Ain't gonna study war no more, ain't gonna study war no more.” It all comes from this verse. They will learn this verse - they'll learn war no more.

And it tells us that "The eyes of the blind" - Isaiah 35 - "will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. The lame man will leap as a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground will become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes." Instead of the desert. Revelation 21:1 - a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth are passed away. "and I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and...God himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain," - no more war - "for the former things have passed away." They said that World War I was going to be the war to end all wars. You know what the war is? Armageddon is the war that ends all wars. There'll be war no more, amen? For these words are faithful and true.

So, Pastor Doug, are we just talking about a battle off in the future? No, the Battle of Armageddon is really going on in our lives every day. There's a war. I’ll close with these words. 1 Peter 2, "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul," - have you ever felt that war? James 4:1, "Where do wars and fightings come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?" You've got the spirit and the flesh that are at war. You've got Christ and Satan at war in our hearts. Romans 7:23, "But I see another law in my members, warring" - there's a battle - "against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

So you and I are all experiencing little foretastes of the battle of Armageddon every day, because there are two masters who are at war, Christ and Satan, and they're fighting for our love and our allegiance. And Jesus, of course, He's given His life. He's shown us His love. You know, I want to be on the winning team, don't you?

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