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The Battle of Armageddon - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
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February 19, 2024 5:00 am

The Battle of Armageddon - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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February 19, 2024 5:00 am

Pastor Skip examines how, out of the time of great distress, one will arise who will seem to be the solution—the Antichrist.

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Now let me give you a quick snapshot of the tribulation period.

When the seven-year tribulation period begins, it begins pretty peacefully. The Antichrist comes on the scene, the world will have experienced great upheaval. Jesus said distress of nations with perplexity, they won't see a way out of their problems. The Antichrist will emerge as the problem solver, the man of peace, they'll probably even get a Nobel Peace Prize. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzel, Pastor Skip examines how out of the time of great distress, one will arise who will seem at first to be the solution, the Antichrist.

But first, here's a resource that will help you understand that God's plan for Israel is already unfolding and it will not fail. How have conflicts and wars in the Middle East set the stage for a future apocalypse? That's the question Ron Rhodes takes head on in his new book.

Listen to this. What do you see coming in the next five or six years that might do injury to the church? And without hesitation, I said, I really feel like we're going to see an explosion of subjectivism, experientialism, and mysticism, along with occultism and some paganism. How conflicts and wars in the Middle East have set the stage for the end times. This new book by Ron Rhodes addresses issues such as understanding Islam, rebuilding the temple, and the annihilation campaign from the Antichrist.

Here's Ron Rhodes commenting on Middle East events. Did you know that in Revelation 2 and 3, we read about the church 19 times, and then in the discussion on the tribulation in chapters 4 through 18, you don't see the church a single time. It is gone. In 1 Thessalonians 1 verse 10, we are told that the church is to be delivered from the wrath to come. That word delivered literally means snatched, snatched away from.

We are to be snatched away from the wrath to come, which is a reference to the tribulation period. With your gift of $50 or more to connect with Skip Heitzig, you'll receive a copy of this new book from Ron Rhodes. Your gift will support the production and expansion of the Connect with Skip broadcast. Call 1-800-922-1888 or go online to connectwithskip.com with your donation, and we'll thank you with a copy of Ron Rhodes' new book, How Conflicts and Wars in the Middle East Have Set the Stage for the End Times.

That's 1-800-922-1888 or connectwithskip.com. Now let's turn to Revelation 16 as we join Skip today. The Antichrist comes on the scene. The world will have experienced great upheaval. Jesus said distress of nations with perplexity.

They won't see a way out of their problems. The Antichrist will emerge as the problem solver, the man of peace. He'll probably even get a Nobel Peace Prize. Other people have that I don't think deserved it, and they'll probably give him the Nobel Peace Prize, but he is not a peacemaker.

He's a troublemaker. He comes, Revelation 6, on a white horse, but he's followed quickly by death, destruction, despair. So the first three and a half more peaceful years, tensions will be eased. He's probably going to solve the Middle East crisis that's been going on for generations. He's going to build a temple for the Jews, Daniel 9, verse 27 tells us. And during this time, the first three and a half years, the good part of the tribulation, if there is a good part, two witnesses will preach, and the result of their preaching will be 144,000 Jewish people saved.

Just imagine 144,000 Billy Grahams mixed with Paul the Apostle running around the globe. It'll be very, very evangelistically dramatic. But then, in the middle of that seven-year period, at the three and a half year mark, somewhere around there comes what is called the abomination of desolation. That's where Antichrist will say, I am God, worship me, places an image of himself in the temple, and all hell breaks loose. The last three and a half years, also called the Great Tribulation period, the Antichrist goes on a rampage.

He kills two-thirds of the entire Jewish population living in Israel. That's Zechariah chapter 13. The other third are protected by God in a special place out in the desert southeast of Jerusalem. That's Revelation chapter 12. So the placement of this battle, then, is right at the end of the Tribulation period, just before Jesus comes back.

This is the last major event before the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom. Again, it's best to see what we call the Battle of Armageddon as one campaign of many campaigns. If you were to take Daniel 11, if you were to take Joel and Zechariah and Revelation, put it together, you kind of find out there are several different campaigns. In fact, in verse 14, notice the word battle. It says, to gather them to the battle.

The word is palamas in Greek, and it means a campaign or an offensive, one of many battles in a war. Now, I'd like to give you a disclaimer about all this. One of the great difficulties in studying eschatology, studying end times theology, one of the greatest challenges and difficulties is to put together the accurate sequence of Armageddon and its events in chronological order. Now, some people have done that. There are several books written on this, quite thick books.

For us to do a study on that would take weeks and months, and it would be very difficult. So we're just grazing the surface. But we have the place, we have the purpose, and we have the placement at the end of the tribulation. The next question is who?

Who's involved? And that is the people. So look at verse 14. It says, there are spirits of demons performing signs which go out, here it is, to the kings or leaders of the earth and of the whole world.

This is important. It's not some local conflict. It's not just Israel against Palestinians or Jewish people against some of the Arab countries. This is an international conflict. It includes the kings of the east, verse 12.

I'll get to them in a minute, but it includes many more. It talks about the kings of the earth and of the whole world. So what we piece together is that this leader, this antichrist, will be very persuasive, very powerful.

He will be able to essentially dominate the world, convincing leaders to yield their power and authority to him. In Revelation chapter 17, in verse 12, it says, the ten horns which you saw, we've been talking a lot about seven heads and ten horns, the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.

Now watch this. These will make war with the lamb. Who's the lamb?

It's Jesus. They think, I'm going to fight Jesus. And the lamb will overcome them, for he is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, and those who are with him are called chosen and faithful. You see, Satan is the king of kings.

And faithful. You see, Satan knows that the second coming is right around the corner, so he gathers the world's military might to resist him. Can you imagine that? We're going to fight God. Did you know the Bible anticipates this? Not just here, but I know you've read the Psalms. You love the Psalms. Have you ever considered Psalm 2 in light of Bible prophecy? In Psalm 2, it says this, the kings of the earth set themselves, the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his Christ, saying, let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us. The Bible anticipates leaders, kings of the earth saying, let's fight God.

I love the next verse in Psalm 2. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh. Here's God watching this scenario play out. Kings saying this, busying themselves and fighting God. God just goes, really? He who sits in the heavens shall laugh.

He will hold them in derision. Which brings up a question. How could they possibly be persuaded to fight God? First of all, you have to acknowledge there is God, and then you have to think, I could win this battle.

How is that even possible? Let me offer an explanation. Go look at our text again. Look at verse 13. Then I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the mouth of the beast, the mouth of the false prophet, the satanic trinity, the devil, the antichrist, the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons.

I'm not going to explain frogs and get into all that. I could. I have. But can you picture it? You know, John's seeing the visual. These ugly, cold-blooded, Jabba the Hutt things coming out of the mouth of the satanic trinity. Satanic trinity. But it says these are 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 that great day of God Almighty. There's your answer. There's your explanation. Demons will be inciting world leaders to come to this battle. Now look up here.

This is very important. Many governments today are controlled by demons. That's the only explanation for some of the evil we see in our world. Many governments today are controlled by demonic spirits. All you got to do is read Daniel chapter 10 where the angel who comes to help him has to contend with the spirit prince of Persia and another country. So this doesn't surprise us. The devil is certainly behind wars in the world, but at that time, the tribulation time, the church is gone and all hell literally breaks loose on earth as demons are let loose.

Speaking of that, we read over it a couple times. Let's kind of dig into verse 12. The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates. The water was dried up so that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. The river Euphrates, one of the major rivers on earth, 1,800 miles long. It begins in Turkey at the foot of Mount Ararat. Anybody remember about Mount Ararat? Some boat landed there once. The ark, Noah's ark, landed on Mount Ararat. It's so far up there. It's so inaccessible, though some believe they have found remains of Noah's ark.

You just can't get to it. So the ark rested there, but the headwaters of the Euphrates begins there, flows through Turkey, flows through Syria, flows through Iraq, and dumps into the Persian Gulf. What's interesting about the Euphrates River is that the entire Euphrates River today flows through Muslim territory. And the kings of the east, at least in part, could include nations that have long had deep-seated antipathy, hatred for the nation of Israel, and will come against them. So the drying up of this river Euphrates is a prelude to this battle and enables a massive army to move from the east.

Now, people always ask me this. It says the kings of the east. Who are the kings of the east? Literally, it reads kings of the rising sun.

Kings of the rising sun. So because of that, some people have speculated this is China. It could be. Kings of the east could be China. People say, well, it's China.

That's a pretty big country. Are they in prophecy? Perhaps. Perhaps the kings of the east would include China. There perhaps may even be a reference to them, to the size of this army in Revelation chapter 9. We read, release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.

So the four angels were released to kill a third of mankind. Now, the number of the army was 200 million. 200 million. You realize when that was written, there was no army on earth that could even come close to that. In fact, that's an impossible number to reach until modern times. What's interesting about this is in the 1970s, Chairman Mao Tse-tung of China said, and I quote, in the battle for the world, China will field an army of 200 million. Then in 1997, China boasted that they could field an army of 352 million. You get a chance to get 200 million on the battlefield and 152 million protecting the homeland. That's if indeed it is China. I'm not going to say for sure.

That text in Revelation 9 that I just mentioned, the 200 million, could be the number of demons that are released to incite the kings of the earth to do this. Now, here's where it gets complicated. I'm smiling because you're thinking, really? Here's where it gets complicated?

It's been complicated since you started. Well, here's really where it gets complicated because it would seem, if I am piecing all of the texts that I know to be about Antichrist and this battle together, it would seem that the Antichrist grip on the world won't last long. Oh, he'll have it.

It will be absolute. But the world will become increasingly discontent with the leadership of this dictator. After all, he's promised peace.

It's very short-lived. He brought in disaster. His life was filled with broken promises.

He made a covenant with Israel, broke that. So the world becomes discontent. And just write this down and look at it later.

Okay, look at it later. Daniel chapter 11, verses 36 through 45, gives you extra details that there will be an offensive that attacks from the south and from the north against this Antichrist. But as he is fighting these battles and getting victory over these battles, it says he hears distressing news from the east. What possibly could that distressing news from the east be?

Perhaps the drying up the Euphrates River, allowing a more massive army to attack from the east. So nations will converge. They will be perhaps attacking Antichrist, also Israel.

Why? Because that's the headquarters of the Antichrist. He sets his reign up in Jerusalem. He's made a covenant with the Jews, even though he's broken it.

They just think, let's get him and let's just destroy Israel. So that's the place, purpose, placement, and the people. The best part is the pause. And that's the fifth aspect, the pause. Because in the midst of all this comes an interruption and the announcement of Jesus Christ in verse 15.

Look at it again. Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. What is this all about?

Right in the midst of this final wrath being poured out comes an encouraging word by Jesus to the tribulation believers saying, it's almost over. Hold on. Watch. Be ready. Why? Because he's coming back.

He's coming to the earth and his coming will be soon and sudden. This is like a thief. That's how thieves come.

They do not set an appointment with the homeowner. Hi, is this Skip? Listen, I'm the local neighborhood thief. I'm going to be at your house in the middle of the morning at 3 52 a.m.

Okay. They just show up unannounced and unsuspecting to a world that did not expect this to happen. This is 1 Thessalonians 5. Paul says, you yourselves know perfectly. I love the fact that he writes a young church whom he has already taught on the depths of eschatology on the coming of Christ and antichrist. So he says, you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

When they say peace and safety, then comes sudden destruction upon them. Now I'm giving you a little bit of a sneak peek into next week's study on the second coming, but since you have your Bible open to chapter 16, just go a couple chapters to the right and look at chapter 19 and sort of give away the plot of next week's message. But look at Revelation chapter 19. This is how the battle ends. Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse and he who sat on him was called faithful and true. And in righteousness, watch this, he judges and makes war. Really, who is like the beast who's able to to make war with him?

Okay, hello, here I am. His eyes were like a flame of fire, on his head were many crowns. He has a name written that no one knew except himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the word of God. The armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed him on white horses.

You know who that is? You. You and I, coming back to this earth with him. We have been with him in heaven for seven years. After the rapture, we come back with him. Now out of his mouth, out of Jesus' mouth, goes a sharp sword, that with it he should strike the nations, and he himself will rule them with a rod of iron, that's the kingdom age, and he treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of almighty God.

He has on his robe and on his thigh a name written king of kings and Lord of Lords. That's how it ends. That's how the battle comes to an end. This is superhero Jesus. This is not gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon this little child. This is giant Jesus, mighty and riled, coming back to end the havoc worked on earth by the dragon and the beast and the false prophet, and God haters he will put an end to it. I love how one little boy described Jesus to his buddy. He said, Jesus is greater than Superman, Batman, and the Power Rangers put together.

That's an understatement. He will descend from heaven to the earth, will descend with him. His foot will touch on the Mount of Olives, Acts chapter 1, Zechariah chapter 14. It'll split in two. That's probably part of the earthquake described in the rest of this chapter of Revelation. He'll conquer his enemies.

He'll cast the beast and the false prophet into the lake of fire, and remaining Jews who had been protected will receive Jesus as their Messiah, and as Paul writes in Romans, Israel will be saved. Now these are terrifying events. This is no lightweight message. But back to that picture. Look at that picture once again. So that's the valley of Armageddon, right? And you look at it, and you think, wow, it's a beautiful little place.

Look at all the crops that are growing in that valley, and it's so peaceful and serene. But you're looking down at the bottom of the picture. Look at the top of the picture. What do you see? There's a storm brewing.

That's why I took the picture. A storm was coming in over the valley of Armageddon. Soon there would be thunder and lightning and rain. There's a storm coming.

And really, that's my announcement today. There's a storm that is coming, and Jesus says in the text, blessed is he who watches, who has his garments ready. That is, his bags are packed. He's ready to go. When Christ comes back, he comes back as a thief to the unsuspecting.

He comes back as a friend to those who are waiting and watching for him. So it's time to get ready, be ready, as Jesus said, look up for your redemption draws near. But not just to look up, not just to study prophecy, but to live our lives in a manner that says, I'm ready to go. That's Skip Heitzig's message, The Battle of Armageddon, from his series, The End is Near. Find full messages, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at ConnectWithSkip.com. Right now, listen as Skip shares how you can share life-changing teaching from God's unchanging Word with more people around the world.

The Lord truly is slow to anger, and he desires that all people come to repentance and trust in Jesus. Our goal is to send God's Word out into a world that needs to hear the life-changing news of the gospel. And I want to invite you to take an active role in that exciting mission. Please consider giving a gift today to keep these teachings coming your way and going out to encourage a world in need. Here's how you can give right now.

Thank you for your generosity. We hope you'll be back tomorrow to hear Skip's message, The Second Coming, about the triumphant return of Jesus. In the New Testament, Jesus himself predicted his second coming, Matthew 24. Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from heaven, the powers of the heavens will be shaken, then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-19 06:24:35 / 2024-02-19 06:33:31 / 9

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