We continue our study of the coming battle of Armageddon.
3. THE IMPACT OF THE DEFEAT OF RUSSIA
The deliverance of the Jews from the Russian invaders will cause many of them to turn to Christ, claiming Him as their Messiah and Lord: “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward” (Ezekiel 39:22).
This desertion of the dictator by numbers of Jews will intensify his hatred of both Jews and Christians, especially Jews who have been converted to Christ. A wave of anti-Semitism will sweep the earth, motivated by Satan and promoted by the Antichrist: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman [Israel], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).
4. THE TWO WITNESSES
THE ANTICHRIST AND HIS KINGDOM WILL BRING GREAT TROUBLE TO THE EARTH.
But he will also be troubled. Irritations will increase with the message of Christ’s imminent return preached throughout the world. Every tribe and nation will be made aware of the timetable of the end, the eventual fall of the Antichrist, and the coming kingdom of Christ. To add to his miseries, two powerful prophets will appear in Jerusalem and will witness there for three and one-half years, guaranteeing the truth of the kingdom message of the 144,000 servants of God.
The identity of the two witnesses has caused great speculation, with general agreement that one of them will be Elijah: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5).
The other witness is usually thought to be either Enoch or Moses.
Those who choose Enoch do so because like Elijah he did not die (Hebrews 11:5), and it is thought that his exemption from death was in view of his coming martyrdom during the great Tribulation. His message must also be considered. Evidently this prophet had been given a revelation of the second coming of Christ and had announced it to his generation:
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 14,15).
Some build a strong case for Moses, citing his appearance with Elijah on the mount of Transfiguration as an association with that prophet in God’s plan of the ages. They also point to the similarity of many of the plagues of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble to those brought by Moses in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.
These two witnesses will be miraculously protected for “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (forty-two prophetic months of thirty days each). Their power to bring plagues will draw the attention of the world to their ministry and message: “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will” (Revelation 11:6).
They will undoubtedly herald the countdown of the Tribulation timetable, pointing to the time of the Lord’s return to set up His kingdom. It seems likely that many of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the kingdom of Christ will be repeated by these men of God. Perhaps they will cry that the great stone of Daniel’s vision is about to fall from heaven, bringing the downfall of all earthly rule and establishing the millennium kingdom (Daniel 2:44, 45).
When the two witnesses have concluded their work they will be slain, and television cameras will beam the sight of their dead bodies lying in the street of Jerusalem to the entire world. The news of their death will cause a celebration among the ungodly of all nations: “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth” (Revelation 11:10).
After three and a half days they will be resurrected and will ascend to heaven in a cloud while their enemies watch, paralyzed with fear.
5. THE CALL TO ARMAGEDDON
The world dictator and his associates will have seen and heard enough. Furious over the success of the 144,000 evangelists and bitter because many Jews have rejected his rule and have turned to Jesus Christ, this dictator will announce a campaign to destroy the Jewish race once and for all. He will blame them for every ill on earth. Every problem in his kingdom will be laid at their door. Every wrong on earth, economic and political, will be charged to them. The hatred and animosity of all the Hamans and Hitlers of history will culminate in this end-time evil ruler.
Having been warned of the time when Christ will return to set up His kingdom, the Antichrist will summon the armies of the earth to the Middle East to destroy the Jews and defeat their Messiah at His coming.
DEMONIC POWER WILL BE UNLEASHED.
Miracles performed through satanic power will convince the leaders of the earth who are subservient to the Antichrist to move all their military might to the Middle East to do battle with Christ at His return to the mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God almighty” (Revelation 16:14).
JOEL’S ANCIENT PROPHECY OF THE GREATEST MILITARY EFFORT OF ALL TIME WILL BE FULFILLED:
Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, 0 Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision (Joel 3:9-14).
ARMAGEDDON WILL DEMONSTRATE MAN AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS PRIDE AND FOLLY.
Convinced of the power of their weaponry and deceived by a leader energized by Satan, the armies of earth will march to their doom, expecting to destroy the Christ they have rejected.
Does this appear to be madness? It did to the psalmist who looked through the centuries and saw it unfold in prophetic vision. He asked: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1).
Explaining the reason for his question, he wrote: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:2,3).
: Here is the rebellion of man at its logical end. : And Armageddon will end the rebellion of man.
: Here is the rebellion of man at its logical end.
: And Armageddon will end the rebellion of man.
6. THE KING IS COMING
Tribulation chronology will have allowed the Antichrist and others to know the time of the return of Christ. The armies of earth under the direction of the Antichrist will have gathered to destroy the Jews and to battle the Lord Himself. Armageddon will have arrived: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16).
The enemies of the Lord will not be disappointed: Christ will come.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11 — 16).
At Armageddon, the most awesome array of deadly weapons ever assembled will be waiting to destroy the returning Christ. In effect, the world’s end-time inhabitants will echo the cry of those who rejected the Savior at His first coming: “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).
BUT THE ENEMIES OF THE LORD WILL BE DEFEATED:
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh (Revelation 19:19-21).
IN THE WAKE OF THE DESTRUCTION OF ARMAGEDDON THERE WILL BE WORK TO DO.
The church, having returned with the King, will share in these responsibilities. The kingdom of Christ will be established, and the violent drama of the ages will end. There will be peace at last.
We will delve into this coming peace in our next newsletter.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE