We have lived to see the most dramatic social, political, and economic advances of any century in history. The 1900s began with a limited use of electricity – without radio, television, planes, and missiles; without electronic computers, modern weapons, and atomic bombs. Technology has now moved man into a modern era, which witnesses more change in the course of a year than formerly took place in a century.
Gigantic manufacturing complexes have arisen. Millions of people have moved from the rural areas to the city. Modern travel has shrunk the world so that everyone is everyone else’s neighbor.
Luxuries, comforts, and pleasure unknown in previous generations have become commonplace. The electronic media has brought wars and disasters, world leaders and propagandists directly into our living rooms. Television transmission via satellite now makes it possible for the entire world to experience swiftly changing events simultaneously.
The shock of rapid change in turn has produced family and social crises, tension between nations, fear of atomic war, and struggle for survival in the world threatened by pollution, starvation, and moral disintegration. The rapidly increasing tempo of change in modern life has given the entire world the sense of impending crisis.
Civilization is moving at a rapidly acceleration rate like a gigantic machine which will ultimately tear itself apart. How long can a world exist with atomic bombs unused? With increasing population and decreasing food supply? With growing moral degeneracy threatening to destroy our civilization? How long can world tensions be kept in check? How long can a world struggling for survival be kept from a bloodbath?
The ingenuity of man has devised means of human destruction, which would seem incredible to a previous generation. The world is moving toward a gigantic crisis. Can it be that the prophets of doom are right? Is the world racing toward Armageddon, a divine judgment on a wicked world – the end of human history?
Prophecy has never been the sole domain of astrologers, mystics, and crystal ball gazers. For centuries, Christians have considered the message of true prophets to be God’s revelation of His plan for human history. The Old Testament records the lives and works of many great prophets – Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Micah, and others. These men predicted future events in vivid detail, including the rise and fall of every major world empire, which left its mark on the Middle East. Some of their predictions came true within their lifetimes, and many of their astounding predictions seem to be coming to pass today.
Jesus Himself assumed the role of a prophet as He quoted from Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and Micah – many times adding interpretive comments and detailed predictions of His own. His words have been confirmed by the test of time. Jesus’ prediction of the fall of Jerusalem in Luke 21 is so vivid that the early church in Jerusalem was able to escape almost certain destruction by fleeing the city before Titus destroyed it in AD 70.
As it was then, even so it is today. Crucial predictions about Jerusalem and the nation of Israel are, in fact, necessary to understand the carefully predicted chain of events, which will mark the last days of our civilization. Jesus predicted the persecution of the church, the fall of Jerusalem with the destruction of the Temple, the shattering and scattering of the Jews to all the nations of the world, and He predicted the amazing survival and growth of churches. Along with the Old Testament prophets, He saw a time with Israel would be re-established as a nation. All this has been realized in history.
However, He also warned those who understood the Old Testament prophets to watch Jerusalem and the Middle East for signs of the approaching end of world civilization, the end of the times of the Gentiles. Jesus said that the Jews”…shall fall be the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
The Jewish people are now back in the land. Jerusalem, the city of dispute or negotiation, was won in 1967 only to become the object of a diplomatic tug-of-war. What is the future of the holy city? If the times of the Gentiles are, in fact, nearing an end, what will happen next? Is there a sure word about tomorrow? Is it a word of hope or a word of doom? People are asking questions today about the future as never before, and they are solemn questions, and they are searching questions. Only the Bible has clear answers. For this reason, biblical prophecy is being probed for clues today as to where we are in God’s program and what great events may be shortly coming to pass.
Prophecies formerly brushed aside as being incredible are now being studied again. Students of the Bible are becoming increasingly aware of a remarkable correspondence between the obvious trend of world events and what the Scripture predicted centuries ago. People in all walks of life and of all religious faiths are asking the same question: What does the future hold?
Unlike the self-proclaimed prophets of today, the prophets of the Bible did not peddle vague and general predictions that could be adjusted to any situation. The prophecies recorded in the Bible are detailed and intricately interwoven. Although interpretation of minor points may vary, the overall picture is frighteningly clear. The Bible does not simply speak of a final destructive world war, but of a series of carefully timed events on a doomsday calendar leading to Armageddon.
Armageddon has come to describe anyone’s worst fear of the end of the world. The prophets have described it more specifically as the final suicidal battle of a desperate world struggle centered in the Middle East. This is the final act in a terrifying series of events, which are very much related to today’s headlines. This final history-shattering battle will occur on schedule at a specific time and in its predicted location.
The name Armageddon actually comes from a Hebrew word meaning the Mount of Megiddo, a small mountain located in northern Palestine at the end of a broad valley.
This valley has been the scene of many military conflicts in the past and will be the focal point of this great future conflict. The final countdown involves years rather than days.
Even before the countdown, several preliminary moves, which are predicted in the Bible, will shake the political, economic, and religious climate necessary for end time events. These preliminary moves are now falling into place in rapid succession. As these moves are completed, a more specific timetable of events can begin. The final countdown involves a brief period of preparation, plus seven more years – possibly three and a half years of comparative peace and three and a half years of unparalleled disaster and war climaxing at Armageddon.
A careful study of history and the Bible is necessary to put the Armageddon calendar together. The re-establishment of the nation of Israel in the Middle East was the necessary start. Then came the series of Israeli-Arab wars threatening to bring the United States and Russia into direct clash over the Middle East. Prophecy seems to indicate that Israel will not be destroyed by war. Instead, Israel will eventually be betrayed and forced to accept an outside settlement at the peace table.
One factor, which will have a traumatic effect on the world, will be the fulfillment of what theologians call the Rapture of the Church, the sudden removal of every Christian from the world. This will fulfill the promise of Christ to His disciples when He said:
“…I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also: (John 14:3).
At this time, Christians who have died will be resurrected, and every true Christian living in the world will suddenly be removed into heaven without experiencing death. The disappearance of millions in a moment of time will deepen the religious confusion. The organized church with every Christian removed will fall into the hands of political opportunists.
Witchcraft, satan worship, and demonism will become increasingly prevalent throughout the world. World leaders will seek alliance with religious leaders to consolidate their powers in a modern culture as strange and mystical as the Dark Ages. World events during these days are setting the stage, but the precise countdown of seven years will begin with the confirmation of some kind of a covenant in Jerusalem.
Centralization of Power
During the preliminary moves, the international balance of power will become more and more concentrated in a confederacy of Mediterranean and European nations. Someday, there will arise an international leader, one man who will eventually emerge to superimpose a peace settlement on the Middle East and the more militant Arabs. This will bring an era of false peace, a move toward disarmament, and a major push for a new world economic system. In the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation, I think the picture will be as a calm before the storm as this new world leader consolidates his power. The last three and one-half years will contain a series of almost inconceivable catastrophes.
Somewhere during this menagerie of prophetic events, Russia will attempt a final bid for power in the Middle East, and her armies will be supernaturally destroyed. The balance of political power will then swing decisively to the new strongman controlling the world confederacy.
As satan’s man of the hour he will attempt to destroy Israel, who will then be disarmed and at peace.
In the fashion of the Babylonian and Roman emperors, he will deify himself and demand the worship of the world. Jews, professing Christians and minorities of all kinds will be caught in the worldwide persecution that will exceed Hitler’s methodical massacre of the Jews during World War II.
The world will begin to come apart at the seams worse than any ecologist’s nightmare. Acts of man and acts of God will combine to cause great disturbances in the world and in the solar system.
Meteors will plummet to earth wreaking destruction, and planets will run off their courses causing chaotic changes in climate.
Unnatural heat and cold, flooding and other disasters will wipe out much of the food production of the world. Great famines will cause millions to perish. Strange new epidemics will sweep the world killing missions in spite of all that modern medicine can do.
As the period draws to a close, earthquakes will level the great cities of the world, and geographic upheavals will cause mountains and islands to disappear into the sea.
Disaster after disaster will reduce world population in the course of a few years to a fraction of its present billions. Topping even these disasters will come a world war of unprecedented proportions. Hundreds of millions of men will pour into the Middle East in a gigantic world power struggle.
The Middle East will become the scene of the greatest war of history. Great armies from the south representing the millions of Africa will pour into the battle arena. Other great armies from the north will descend on Palestine. Climaxing the struggle will be millions of men from the Orient led by Red China who will cross the Euphrates River and join the fray. Locked in this deadly struggle, millions of men will perish in the greatest war of history. This is what the Bible describes as…
However, before the war is finally resolved and a victor determined, I am happy to say that the Lord Jesus Christ will come back in power and great glory from heaven. His coming, accompanied by millions of angels and saints, is described in graphic terms in Revelation 19. He will destroy the armies of the world, set up His own kingdom, and rule the earth as King of kings. Changes necessary to make the present situation conform to the prophetic anticipation of Daniel could take place rapidly in today’s world. Certain conditions, however, are absolutely necessary before the final peace settlement can occur.
First, Israel has to be back in the land before such a peace treaty would be possible. Israel’s return to the land in 1948 and her recognition as a political state constitute an important first step. The military conflict and constant turmoil ever since have set the stage for just such a peace treaty.
What form will the future peace settlement take? In view of the many surprises in the Middle East, it is hazardous to predict the precise form of such an agreement. Whatever its preliminary form, ultimately it must give Israel security from attack and freedom from the constant state of military defense. A general disarmament in the area may also be a part of the agreement.
The key issue in the negotiations will be the city of Jerusalem itself, which Israel prizes more than any other possession. Undoubtedly, there will be a strong attempt to make Jerusalem an international city with free access not only for Jews, but for Christians and Muslims as well.
How soon will such a future settlement come? No one can hazard a guess, but come it must. Armageddon is only a matter of time, and the world is rapidly moving toward that conclusion. But first, I see a Russian invasion to kick off the 7 years of tribulation.
Ezekiel called it the battle of…Gog and Magog.
Following the destruction, political power will shift to Europe, and a peace settlement between Israel and the Arabs will be imposed by the emerging antichrist.
When the peace is finally made, it will be observed for only three and a half years. It is destined to be broken bringing devastating consequences for the world and terrible persecution for Israel. The breaking of the covenant will mark what Christ called the Great Tribulation, a time, which Jeremiah referred to in Jeremiah 37 as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.”
The final persecution of Jews during the time of Jacob’s trouble will awaken Israel and awaken their understanding to what has taken place. All the hopes and illusions of the past will be stripped away. This clear fulfillment of prophecy will lead to the startling realization that the First coming of the Messiah is past and that His Second Coming is near. In the horror of the last three and a half years of the Tribulation, these new believers will cling to the hope of Christ’s Second Coming.
Jesus prophesied that He would not come again until Israel would say, “Blessed is He that Cometh in the Name of the Lord.” Therefore, there will be no permanent peace until the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, returns in power and great glory to reign over the earth.
Are you ready?
Come to know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior!