Israel in Prophecy, Pt. 5

Scripture: Romans 2:28, Revelation 16:12-16
Should all eyes be focused on literal Israel today in preparation for the end of time? The Bible teaches that the focus of our eyes should be on Jesus in the temple which is in heaven, not the Middle East. Satan has created a deception to draw our eyes away from the place of the real battle. What is the battle of Armageddon?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our host Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry as they now open the bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi friend, and welcome to Bible Talk where we tackle the subjects that affect you. I'm John Bradshaw. Glad to have you with me and Gary Gibbs. Hi Gary.

Gary Gibbs: John, it is good to be here and we are tackling some of the tough top because we are talking about Israel and that we actually have said in our programs that Israel and the Middle East is not the Israel that the bible is talking about in the book of Revelation.

John: Not to say that Israelites, Jews in the Middle East cannot be save or cannot receive the benefits of the Gospel. Anybody can by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But there is a spiritual Israel being spoken about in the bible and by the grace of God, you and I can be part of that through faith in Jesus.

Gary: But John, if we were to take what the bible really says and we read there in Galatians 3:29 that if we are Christ, we are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise. Roman 2:28 that it's not the he who is circumcised that is the true Jew. But it is the one who has been converted in heart had a circumcision of heart, a change of life. Well, if that is the real Israel of the New Testament, the spiritually converted person, Jew or Gentile, then all of these books, all of these movies, all of these prophetic expositors talking about the literal Middle East Israel playing a key role in last day events. It might as well turn them off.

John: Wouldn't hurt. Good idea.

Gary: It might even help.

John: It might even help. I tell you why. What the devil wants to do is this. He wants to get people off the track. In the book of Revelation, there is a very, very seriously spiritual book. So, if you will lead to think that the issues in Revelation all deal with oil wells and Arabs and Jews in another part of the world. They had nothing to do with your hard experience with Jesus. But when you find out that the mark of the beast has got something to do with your hard relationship with God, when you discover that God's temple is spiritual, when you discovered that the Antichrist is not a single wicked individual man operating somewhere else but a certain entity operating within the confines of Christianity. Now, that is going to impact your spiritual life, you see.

Gary: Oh, really. Well, we keep referring John into this Antichrist and we are being very careful not to say on the air what the bible really identifies as the Antichrist. But it is really clear on the scriptures. The Bible and Daniel 7, Revelation 13 gives you 13 identifying characteristics that pinpoint the geographical location where the Antichrist will arise. The time he will arise. Everything about him. And we have a bible study guide on that if our listeners will call in at the end of the program with a free 800 number we give or write us. We won't roll them in the bible study series and they can learn a lot that we can't even say here on the air.

John: Something that we mention that program or two ago and I think it is important to restate the current prophetic view held by most Christians today, many Christians today. It is really a bleak one if you are a Jew.

Gary: Yeah, because the Antichrist is going to set up his throne right there in the temple in Jerusalem and he is basically going to wipe out and deceive all the Jews. It's not a real pleasant future for the Jews.

John: Not a terribly nice scenario to contemplate and it is funny that the people teaching this. Many of them saying how wonderful a relationship they have with the Jews and how they have friends and brothers and so on. They say man, we love you but, boy, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes.

Gary: That's right. In fact, the Jews less than they are Christian programs of course. And they realize that the friends like this, they don't need.

John: That is exactly right. Not doing them any favors at all. Now listen, there is something we need to tackle before we are done with our series of studies on Israel. And that is the big one. The battle of Armageddon.

Gary: Well, isn't there going to be a battle of Armageddon?

John: Sure. The bible says there is but let us try to find out something about what that battle is going to be and where it would be and so on.

Gary: John, I became a Christian in 1979 at the height of the oil crisis here in our country, in the United States where we are speaking at. And why I still remember those lines. They were long. You were probably over New Zealand at that time.

John: Same thing. In fact, in New Zealand, we struggled how to figure out this oil crisis. We had something called Calice days. You had to nominate a day out of the week that you could not drive your car. That is something.

Gary: That is.

John: Not everybody had two cars either. There was a lot of walking going on.

Gary: Well, they were probably healthier. But we just got us through the last ten years. We have seen several wars take place in the Middle East. Of course there is the ongoing war and conflict between the Palestinians and the Israel but we have also seen the United States involved in a couple wars. And the last Gulf War was a significant war because we were right there where Babylon, Egypt - Babylon was located. Revelation talks about Babylon. You've got the river Euphrates. The bible says the river Euphrates is going to be dried up and it says this is going to be Armageddon. You have Russia was opposing this war.

You had China. They didn't really like it that we were over there either. And we thought maybe the Kings of the North are going to come down and they are going to fight us because we were coming from the South, from Kuwait. Now, everybody thought. A lot of people at least thought maybe this is Armageddon.

John: And every last one of them was a 100% wrong because we try to understand this in an incorrect way. Look, the bible says that the river Euphrates is going to be dried up. A lot of people say well, there is going to be a warrior scene and so the river is going to dry up and the tanks can drive across. In the recent or the last battle n Iraq, they used steam rolled right across the Euphrates. They got from Kuwait to Baghdad and just a few days, that river might as well not have been there. It didn't cause them too many problems.

Gary: Yeah, the river Euphrates is not much of an impediment in today's world. Today with fighter jets and everything else that we have. So, let's read those text, can we, John? They are in Revelation chapter 16 about Armageddon and if it is not a literal battle right there in the Middle East fighting over the geography there, what is Armageddon?

John: OK. Gary, take it away and read these verses for us in Revelation chapter 16.

Gary: OK. So we are looking here at verse 12 and this is talking about the seven last plagues and the battle of Armageddon comes during the sixth plague. The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates.

John: Here it is.

Gary: And the water there was dried up that the way of the kings of the East might be prepared.

John: Now, we are going to look at this spiritually and understand that in this context, Jesus in Verse 15 says, "Behold, I come as a thief." So the way is being prepared for the kings of the East. Jesus said, "I am coming. Blessed is he that watches and keeps his garments lest he walked naked and they see the shame." In other word, I am on my way now. Now, hang in there. OK, hold on. You go back to a long time ago now when God's people were captive in Babylon. Beyond the river Euphrates. The river was dried up when Cyrus, the general, diverted its course. He marched right into Babylon.

Gary: And Cyrus came from East. Yes, he did. He did.

John: He came from the East. Babylon fell. What happened anciently is going to be repeated down here in the close of time.

Gary: And so, God gives us in the New Testament especially in Revelation word pictures. And what he is doing is he is conserving words here. He is saying "Just like Babylon in the Old Testament..."

John: That's right.

Gary: "... Fell when the river Euphrates was dried out and Cyrus, the king of the East, was able to come in and deliver God's people, and helped them return to the promised land, so in the last days, I am going to dry up the spiritual river Euphrates supporting spiritual Babylon so that my people can return to the promise land, the heavenly Jerusalem.

John: And instead of sending Cyrus from the East, I think many people who have read the bible are familiar with Matthew 24 when it says that as lightning shines out at the East and comes out of the East and shines the West. So the coming of the son of man shall be... Who is going to come from the East to liberate God's people right at the end? That's Jesus, you understand. The angels of heaven will be coming with him. So, we are not looking for the armies of Japan or China or anybody else to invade the patch of Palestine. The bible makes clear that Christ is coming back and he is going to deliver his people.

Gary: Well, that is good news. So what we are saying here then is this river drying up is what? What are we looking for?

John: Well, just as a river supported ancient Babylon, that which gives its support, those in bible prophecy. Now, what symbolize multitude of people?

Gary: OK.

John: Those people who are supporting sustain spiritual Babylon. Religious confusion will innocents dry up. They no longer give their support to modern Babylon, a spiritual system down here in the close of time.

Gary: OK. And then the kings of the East, that represents Jesus.

John: Christ and the angels of heaven. No problem.

Gary: Because in the Old Testament, Cyrus in Isaiah, Chapter 44, he is called my shepherd. And he said, "I will dry up thy rivers," and then he is called the Anointed.

John: Isn't that interesting?

Gary: So he is a type or an example of what Jesus would do as our shepherd and as the Anointed. He is going to come and he is going to deliver us.

John: Amen to that. Absolutely right.

Gary: Then we look at Verse 13 here in Revelations 16. "For they are the spirits, and I saw three uncleaned spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet." They are the spirits of devils working miracles which go forth to the kings of the whore and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. And then we'll skip down a verse, "And he gathers them together into a place called in Hebrew tongue Armageddon."

John: That is where the bible says spiritualistic manifestations are going to take place to deceive people to get to this place that the bible calls Armageddon.

Gary: OK. So, if we are seeing miracles and all these, we are talking about a spiritual deception to deceive people to worship the false Christ, the anti-Christ, instead of the true Christ.

John: That is exactly right.

Gary: So we are not talking about a literal political war over oil fields here?

John: No, there is no need in the world.

Gary: Like I don't see any oil here except in the ink on the page.

John: That's about the only oil you are going to find. The armies of the whole world are going to get down there on the plane of Armageddon. Man, how are you going to get them there? They are not going to fit. We don't fight those kinds of battles anymore anyhow. Seen the bombs flying through the air from a thousand miles away. That is what we do it now. Missiles and stealth bombers and all of these things.

Gary: So then John, what... He saw specific John, so specific here. The John the Revelator not you.

John: All right. I'll be specific too if you want me.

Gary: This is into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. Where is that place? When I was in Israel, we stood on this great plane and the tour guide said this is the place.

John: This is the...

Gary: Armageddon.

John: The plane of Megiddo?

Gary: Yeah. The plane of Megiddo.

John: Yeah. Armageddon doesn't mean plane of anything.

Gary: What does it mean?

John: It means mountain of Megiddo.

Gary: Well, there was no mountain there.

John: No mountain?

Gary: Just a low hill, low rise there but no mountain.

John: But look in the Hebrew, you are looking for a mountain. A mountain. And Megiddo was the place of great, great slaughter. Now, there is a couple of ways that you can understand this. As slaughter took place in Megiddo back in the old times. I don't have time to go back and reference and read the Old Testament scriptures right now. Again this battle is going to culminate in a great defeat and great slaughter. But listen, this isn't a literal battle. We are dealing with a spiritual battle that is taking place in the last days. The issue between the seal of God and the mark of the beast. Satan is seeking to put his mark on every person in the world. And ultimately those who won't took the mark of the beast. He wants to eradicate, you understand. But what does the bible say? Christ is going to come back.

God will roar out of Zion. You got a picture of it in Revelation, Chapter 19, Jesus coming back and putting an end to this spiritual battle where the devil seeks to get everybody away from Christ and on to his side.

Gary: So on the very end, we are going to see a battle. It is a spiritual battle between good and evil.

John: That is what is going on.

Gary: And Jesus will literally come through the clouds, won't he?

John: He absolutely will.

Gary: And those who have not prepared for his coming haven't surrendered. They will be destroyed by the brightness of his coming.

John: Absolutely.

Gary: And then those who have given their life to Jesus, they will go back to reign with him in heaven.

John: That is a 100 percent correct; and friend, the good news is that you can reign with Christ in heaven. You can live in the reign with him eternally when you accept the free gift of salvation he offers. What a great subject and we've got more where that came from. Thanks for being with us today. Be sure friend to join us for more next time here on Bible Talk. [music]

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