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The King Destroys Nations – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 19, 2024 1:00 am

The King Destroys Nations – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 19, 2024 1:00 am

The book of Ezekiel prophesies that many nations will come to destroy Israel, led by a nation from the north. God will neutralize this attempt and pour out his judgment on the attackers. In this message, Pastor Lutzer ponders the sovereignty, the terror, and the mercy of God. When the King destroys the nations, the stage is set for the return of Christ.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Ezekiel prophesies that many nations will come to destroy Israel, led by a nation from the north. God will neutralize this attempt. This great battle will prepare Israel for the climactic events leading to the return of Jesus to the earth. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, where does the Ezekiel battle fit into the overall timeline of prophecy? Well, you know, Dave, I think that you actually answered your own question when you said that this will happen before the glorious return of Jesus Christ. And even though we do not have a chart in the Bible that lists the sequence of events, we can put a number of different events together, even as we look at various passages of scripture. But today I want to emphasize and give thanks to God that because of people just like you, Running to Win is now in English, Arabic, Spanish, Romanian, Russian and Portuguese.

How is this possible? Well, people just like you investing in this ministry. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. You can go to RTWOfferer.com.

When you're there, you click on the endurance partner button, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Even as we think about the future, help us to live in such a way that we know that the future gives meaning to today. Let's live for Christ. What they want to do is finally crush Israel. And they are going to come together in hordes.

Now if you ask the question, where are nuclear weapons in this, I'll comment on the weapons issue in just a few moments. But notice that the Bible says that you will come from the uttermost parts of the north, verse 15, and you and many people with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army, written of course in the language that Ezekiel would have understood. That may be symbolic. But nonetheless, this group of armies comes together.

If we read the text correctly, we're talking about millions of people, of soldiers, coming against Israel to finally overrun the place, to finally crush the place, and do everything that this coalition has always wanted to do in its hatred of the Jews, and to finally take care of the issue. Now you say, well, Pastor Loser, when would this happen? Well, you know, scholars differ on that point. I always say that when it comes to prophecy, we might not be accurate in terms of the timeline.

We do the best we can to fit this in with this, and ask where would this make more sense. But we wish that there'd be a whole book just devoted to the sequence, and there isn't. The book of Revelation helps us, but we need to insert these events within it. But let me say that it's a time when Israel is at peace. If you read the text, it says that they will be in unwalled villages. They will be secure in their land.

That certainly isn't true today, most assuredly. So it refers to some future time when Israel is at peace. Now here's a possibility that is widely held.

Could be wrong, but I'll give it to you. If you have the rapture of the church, after that, Antichrist begins to arise in Europe. He begins to get a coalition together. He will have a secure covenant with Israel. Daniel 9 says that he makes a secure covenant. He is so powerful.

Nations are unified behind him. He becomes so strong that actually even the temple may be built next to the Dome of the Rock, if you can imagine that, which may be another reason, by the way, why this coalition wants to wipe Israel out. So Antichrist does that, and the covenant is firm, and at last, peace comes to Israel. It could be that it's during that period of time that all of these nations gather together over a period of months or over the period of a year or two or whatever it takes to finally say, we're going to resolve the Middle East crisis in our way, maybe also going against the forces of Antichrist. Well, just imagine this. When God destroys this coalition, as we'll discover, wouldn't that be a good time for Antichrist to go into the temple of God and declare himself to be God in Jerusalem? Virtually all of his opposition is wiped out. But I'm ahead of the story, aren't I? So let's look at the text. What happens? Well, you'll notice that this coalition comes against Israel, and God doesn't like it.

That's to put it mildly. You will read here things that will just make your head spin. Notice you'll come out from the north riding on horses, a great host. You'll come up against my people, Israel. I'm in verse 16 like a cloud covering the land in the latter days.

Another reason why we know this has never happened. I will bring you against my land that the nations may know me when through you, oh God, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. Verse 18, but on that day, the day that God shall come out against the land of Israel, declares the Lord, my wrath will be roused in my anger for in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath, I declare on that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.

The fish of the sea and the birds of the heaven and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground and all the people who are on the face of the earth shall quake at my presence. The mountain shall be thrown down. The cliff shall fall. Every wall shall tumble to the ground. I will summon a sword against God on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man's sword will be against his brother with pestilence and bloodshed. I will enter into judgment with him and I will rain on him and his hordes and the many people who are with him, torrential rains, hailstones, fire and sulfur. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations.

Then they will know that I am the Lord. And we want to say, wow. God says, I'm going to cause problems from the earth below, huge earthquake. It's going to disrupt everything. I'm going to cause a judgment also not only from the earth below, but confusion within. When the earthquake happens, they're going to start to kill one another. And then if that isn't enough, God says, I'm going to rain down from heaven and I'm going to rain judgment on this army and they will be wiped out.

Unbelievable because we're talking really I think if you put it together about hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. If you were to read chapter 39, which I'm sure you'll do after this message, you'll discover some more details about what happened. For one thing, it'll take seven months just to bury the dead. In fact, there's going to be a whole valley and that valley is going to be filled with people, dead bodies. And it would even take longer than seven months were it not for the fact that the fowls of the air come and they take care of the people and they eat and the vultures come and eat human flesh. It's a gory story.

It's a story of awesome judgment. There's something else though in the text that has puzzled us for a long time and this leads me to the whole issue of weapons. You'll notice in 39 verse 9, it says, then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears, and they will make fires for them for seven years so that they will not need any wood.

What in the world is going on there? How are you going to burn a spear or a club? I think that when it comes to the way in which Ezekiel got the vision, we need to understand something. That this vision came to him in a way that he was able to understand. All the vision came with horses and spears and so forth. Now there are those who say that as a result of the fact that some judgments will have already happened on the earth, they'll have to revert to primitive methods of warfare because all of the modern methods may be paralyzed by huge attacks and by bombs and what have you.

And the infrastructure needed to run modern weaponry could be wiped out. That's a possibility. The other possibility is that Ezekiel was seeing this in ways that were meaningful to him 2,500 years ago, meaningful to his own people. There is no way that God could have revealed to Ezekiel jet planes, bombs, missiles. So it's been suggested and again, you know, we're only facing a text here and it's only a suggestion that maybe these are unexploded bombs that take place and they can get the uranium and the titanium from some of these weapons and use them for fuel. I don't know. All that I know is this, that God is talking here about a battle that clearly has never happened and that God is winning a huge victory and is going to wipe out certainly many of the countries that have sponsored terrorism, many of the countries that have officially proclaimed that there is no God such as Russia and those who have insulted Jesus Christ by claiming that he is not the son of God, by claiming that he is not deity, by rejecting him and Jesus said that if you don't know me, you don't know my father.

So I'd like to give you a couple of things to think about. First of all, I want you to look at the text and see very clearly the sovereignty of God, the sovereignty of God. You know, God says regarding this coalition, he says, I'm going to put my hooks in your jaws and I'm going to bring you into my land, the mountains of Israel. What's that all about? God is able to work in such a way that people will voluntarily do what he wants them to do.

I choose those words very carefully. If this were a classroom in theology, I'd expound on them for a long time. But God is able to direct the nations in such a way that they do it voluntarily. They have hatred for Israel.

They want to finally wipe Israel off the map. And they do this, but ultimately God says, I'm doing it. And he explains why in just a moment. We see here that God is sovereign. At the end of the day, we must always know that God is the one who has the nations in his hand. Isaiah said, the nations of the earth are like the drop in a bucket. God looks at the nations, it says, as fine dust.

That's all that they are. And when God has had enough, he can judge them in whatever way he wishes, the sovereignty of God. Secondly, as I look at this text, I see also very clearly the terror of God, the terror of God. You'll notice that God says in chapter 38, I am against you, O Gog.

He's talking about the leader of the coalition. I am against you. And here we see God just reigning judgment. Now, this judgment may offend our sensibilities, but it is interesting that when you read the book of Revelation, you see similar judgments. When we talk about the return of Christ, and I will be giving a message on the glorious return of Christ to be distinguished from the rapture, we're indicating that it comes in two stages. It says, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wow. You know that Jesus that is often presented, that Jesus that is so meek and mild, all that he talked about is love. That is true. Jesus is loving. But have we forgotten that God is a God of severe justice when finally he's had enough.

And that's exactly what he says. This is what he says in chapter 39 verse 7. And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel. I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. Tired of the atheism? I'm tired of being neglected.

I'm tired of being denied. I am tired of being rejected in favor of another God who does not recognize my son. And so the nations will know I am the Lord. You can be sure that when this happens, people are going to say, you know, I think the Lord, I think he is a God. You can be sure that's going to happen. Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about declares the Lord.

That is the day of which I have spoken. So we have, first of all, the sovereignty of God. We have also the terror of God. You say, well, Pastor Lutzer for us, what is really the bottom line here?

What's the bottom line? I think we have to also see in all of this judgment, we also have to see the mercy of God. God is merciful.

You say, well, where's the mercy? First of all, in the countries that we have listed, there are many believers and their place in heaven, of course, will be secured despite what happens here on earth. They will know that they belong to God. When we talk about these armies being destroyed, always understand that there are many people who are also worshippers of the true God. Some of them may even be in these armies.

Certainly many of them may be left behind in their countries. God will show mercy to them. God will also show mercy to Israel.

Do you know why this battle takes place? It's because God is preparing Israel to accept Jesus as the Messiah, and that will happen. And God is bringing the nation into the land as indicated. God is bringing them to the point where they see his glory, preparing them for the glorious return of Christ. Actually, Israel deserves the same kind of judgment that these other people received.

In fact, all of us do. But God is showing them mercy. When we talk about grace and God's grace, God's grace means that you and I are actually receiving forgiveness that we don't deserve. When we talk about mercy, we're speaking about God actually withholding judgment that we do deserve, and you and I deserve judgment.

But the good news is that in Jesus we are exempt. Mercy has been shown. There is a story that a woman came to Napoleon and said to Napoleon, would you pardon my son?

You have the ability to do that. Napoleon said he is not worthy to be pardoned. She said, I know he isn't worthy, but I'm appealing to your mercy. And Napoleon says he doesn't deserve mercy.

And she accurately said if he deserved mercy, he wouldn't need it. I'm asking for mercy. Today I want to ask you, have you received the mercy of God?

What good is this message unless those of you who have never trusted Christ as Savior may do so? Unless you flee to him to receive mercy. Mercy, there was great and grace was free.

Pardon, there was multiplied for me. There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary. The prophet prayed in wrath, and we see that here, remember mercy. And today we stand with a prophet and we call on God for mercy for ourselves and for others. Father, we ask in Jesus' name that as we have attempted to expound these awesome chapters that you might help us be able to anticipate what shall take place, but also to cry to you in the midst of a world that has lost its way. We ask in Jesus' name, amen.

I want to have a personal word with you. There are so many people that when it comes to religion are brought up in a church that says basically this. We are actually saved by grace, but we have to make ourselves worthy of the grace. And they never know whether or not they are worthy of the grace. Well, the good news of the gospel is this. Grace comes to those who are unworthy, who recognize their unworthiness, their sinfulness. Nothing in my hand I bring simply to thy cross I cling. Messages like the one that you have just heard are going around the world thanks to people just like you. I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone from South Africa. I'm enjoying and finding great spiritual fulfillment from your teaching, straightforward, no-nonsense truth from God's word.

Your app is great too. My friend, we do this with one desire in mind, and that is that more and more people will come to know Christ as Savior, and those who know him will be built up in the faith and make it all the way to the finish line. Would you consider helping us? Here's what you can do to become an endurance partner.

That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course, you need more info. I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com, and when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. Thank you for your partnership.

Once again, rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Help us to get the gospel of Jesus Christ around in What are some ways I can reach out to my hostile family? What's your opinion of binding scripture to the doorposts by putting verses on clothing, walls, and windows? Elizabeth, very good question. First of all, let me extend my heartfelt sympathy toward you and to your hostile family.

I hope that you will be able to bridge that gap. However, I think the idea of putting verses on clothing and walls and so forth will only turn your family further away from you. I know that in the Old Testament, Israel was asked to do that, but that was a theocracy.

It was a different set of arrangements. Today when people do this, they are looked on by others as, if I might use the word, as being somewhat weird. And so I encourage you to not do it that way. I think the best way for you to do it is by acts of love. Do little things, but don't preach to them, because it seems clear from your question that they are not interested in what you have to say anyway. So if you live the life, that's the best you can do. You live the life and you pray. Don't live self-righteously, don't live in such a way that you are judging them, but serve them in humility and trust God to do the rest.

Thanks so much for your question, and even as I'm answering, I'm praying in my heart that God will help you to bridge that chasm. Thank you Elizabeth, and thank you Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. The return of Jesus in glory will rivet the attention of every eye on earth. History will culminate in one spectacular appearance that ends millennia of wrongs and ushers in a thousand years of peace after all the enemies of Christ have been vanquished. Next time on Running to Win, don't miss The King Returns to Conquer. Thanks for listening to our series on the return of Christ. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-19 02:21:46 / 2024-02-19 02:30:15 / 8

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