A look at the astounding end-time story of the Middle East and the future of this crucial region that was laid out thousands of years ago in the Bible. We need to understand what's prophesied to happen in the Middle East because events there are destined to affect the lives of everyone around the world including us here.
To say the least, events of this year so far in Egypt and the Middle East have heightened the general public's awareness of the fragile peace in this world. The Middle East is often catapulted to the forefront of news programs around the world and Egypt is now front page news. Nations around the globe are affected by what happens in this volatile region. We need to understand what's prophesied to happen in that part of the world because events there are destined to effect the lives of everyone around the world including us here.
Before World War I, the Middle East was dominated by the Ottoman Empire – the empire of the Turks. The countries that are now Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel and others were all ruled by a declining Islamic empire that had also presided over vast lands in North Africa and Southeastern Europe – the Ottoman Empire. It might have continued this way if it wasn't for World War I. The countries and the names that I just mentioned to you, many of them didn't even exist by those names before World War I, they were known by other names. At the onset of the war, World War I, it was not clear which side the Ottoman Empire would support. Both the British and the Germans sought after the Turks. Finally the Sultan opted to support the German Kaiser, a fatal decision that ultimately led to the birth of many new nations and then wars seemingly without end.
Let's look at the astounding end time story of the future of this crucial region which was laid out thousands of years ago for us to understand. And I've titled this sermon, 'A Monumental Battle for Control of the World'. A monumental battle for control of the world and as we move through the sermon, you will see the crescendo of war building as we go through the scriptures.
First a little historical background for you. On Sunday, January 16th, on location in Vienna, Austria, Beyond Today presented Darris McNeely and me as we recorded a fascinating program titled 'Europe on the Threshold'. Mr. McNeely and I traveled over to Europe to record two Beyond Today programs on site. And this one recorded in Vienna covers the history of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe. It shows how an end time revival of the empire will soon emerge on the world scene. You can look for this program to air in April on WGN America and I believe you will find it to be a very important part of our prophetic lineup – our television lineup and it will offer a vital understanding of what's to happen in that part of the world.
Let me give you a brief history of Vienna itself. Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. It lies in the east of Austria close to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. We'll talk about Hungary in a moment. Evidence of continuous habitation is being found in Vienna since 500 B.C. And the site of Vienna on the Danube River was settled by the Celts. In 15 B.C., the Romans fortified the frontier city they called Vindobona to guard the empire against Germanic tribes to the north. And the history of Vienna has been long and varied beginning when the Roman Empire created a military camp in the area - and that covered by Vienna's city center. And while in Vienna, Darris McNeely and I saw excavations uncovering part of that ancient Roman city.
From that humble beginning, Vienna grew from the Roman settlement to being an important trading site in the 11th century. In 1440, Vienna became the resident city of the Hapsburg family dynasties. It eventually grew to become the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a cultural center for arts and science, music, and even fine cuisine.
The House of Hapsburg was one of the most import royal houses of Europe and is best known for being the origin of all of the formerly elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740 as well as rulers of the Austrian and Spanish empires and several other countries. If you spend any time reading our church literature over the years, you know that the Hapsburg family has significant prophetic implications because of its alliances with the Roman Empire and the Roman church – the Holy Roman Empire.
While in Vienna, we visited the Hofburg, location of the Schatzkammer, which is the treasury holding the imperial jewels of the Hapsburg dynasty. And on display there is the crown used by several popes to crown Holy Roman emperors. And you will see this very crown in our Beyond Today program that airs in April and that crown is very significant. In 1804 during the Napoleonic wars, Vienna became the capital of the Austrian Empire and by 1867 Vienna remained the capital of what was then the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Vienna is also the world capital of music. The city played host to composers such as Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, and Richard Strauss. And at the Museum of Music, I heard the only surviving recording of Strauss leading his orchestra. It was recorded on an Edison phonograph on a wax cylinder and they have taken that music off the wax cylinder and made a little MP3 of it that you can listen to. But it is of Strauss conducting the Strauss orchestra – a fascinating recording to listen to.
Vienna may yet again play an important role in end time prophecy. It is the seat of a number of United Nations offices and various international institutions and companies including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, that's where their headquarters is; United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO; also it's the headquarters for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC – it's where their headquarters is; United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and many others. And currently Vienna is the world's fourth UN city after New York, Geneva and the Hague in Belgium.
For us in God's Church, we pray daily for His kingdom to come, to be established on this earth – a wonderful new age for mankind. But as we stand on the threshold of that new age, we see other prophesied events that must first take place before Christ returns. And in this Beyond Today program we recorded in Vienna, we're focusing on a area of the world that claims a unique place in history, one that is playing a major and growing role in the world today which is prophesied to be the religious and political power center of the globe as events unfold before the return of Jesus Christ. And that area where Vienna is, that is Europe. Events in Europe will affect the entire world. And God's people vividly understand that we are on the cusp of a new age for mankind, a final attempt by mankind to rule the world himself without God, before the kingdom of God is established. Before Christ returns His government will be preceded by a powerful kingdom of men. It will be a superpower that has its roots in antiquity, the Holy Roman Empire. The bad news of this kingdom is also one of prophetic continuity, a message through which God has continually warned those that have eyes to see so that they will not be deceived. This rise of a final mighty kingdom of man will be the last resurrection of a long successive series of kingdoms and will be the ultimate deceitful rebellious and futile effort to establish peace on earth without God.
Jerusalem remains the most contested city on earth. Jerusalem has fallen to invading armies twenty times throughout its recorded history. The land to which God sent Abraham to 4,000 years ago lies at the very crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. It's also holy to three religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And more than 2,500 years ago, God revealed to the prophet Daniel that the land of His people would be fought over throughout the centuries.
To understand this, let's turn to Daniel, chapter 11. We are not going to read all of Daniel 11, it's the longest continuous prophecy in the Bible, but as background, the first 35 verses of Daniel 11 are an accurate, detailed account of what would befall the people of Judah caught up in a conflict between the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt to the south and the Seleucids of Syria to the north. The rulers of these kingdoms were descended from four generals of Alexander the Great who also were foretold in the book of Daniel. Two of the generals were the original kings of the north and south – two of Alexander's generals. And you can read about this in these first 35 verses in detail if you wish and in our full color booklet entitled 'The Middle East in Bible Prophecy' if you haven't read it recently. You can even read 'The Middle East in Bible Prophecy' in Arabic if you wish.
The four verses that follow in Daniel 11, verses 36-39, appear to jump forward in time. These verses are not historical, but prophetic to our time today, the time of the end. If you will notice Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×, we see that it jumps to the time of the end.
Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×- "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him...
Who was the king of the north during the period from just before Jesus was born until our time before verse 40? In 65 B.C., Seleucid Syria was swallowed up by the Roman Empire and thus that empire then became the kingdom of the north. It wasn't Syria any longer. It was the Roman Empire that became the king of the north.
In verses 36-38 it appears to describe the actions of the Roman emperors and their successors leading all the way up to the final leader of the end time, as we will see.
So Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version× continues - "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.
Clearly at the time of the end another round of great turmoil will engulf the Middle East. That's what we are reading here, only this time it will be far worse than anything seen before. As I mentioned, the expression king of the north applied anciently to the Seleucid dynasty of Syria, while the king of the south referred to the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. The historical key to note is that Rome swallowed up Syria and became the kingdom of the north thereafter. Part of the key to understanding this passage is to realize that the center of the prophecy is the Holy Land in Jerusalem, the historical land given to the children of Israel. The kings referred to – the king of the north and the king of the south – are powerful leaders who have come from regions to the north and to the south of Jerusalem and vie for control of the area trampling all over Judah in the process. And we read in the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation that a global superpower will arise at the end of this age.
We find further details of this end time power in Revelation 17. Turn to Revelation 17 for a moment with me. Just as Daniel saw various beasts that represented the dominant powers to come, so did the apostle John. He saw a vision of another beast that would dominate the world at the very time of the end. And in Revelation 17, notice verse 3. John says,
Revelation 17:3 Revelation 17:3So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit on a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
American King James Version×- So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
And I'm not going to go through and explain who the seven heads and ten horns were throughout history, but that can be done.
Notice verse 5 - On her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. So this ends up not being a good ruler, this beast.
Verse 6 - I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
So this is a beast that attacks the true Church of God. The ten horns referred to here as an angel explained to John, represent ten rulers who receive power for one hour, for a short time with a single ruler who is also called the beast.
Notice Revelation 17, then, verse 12.
Verse 12 - 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.
Verse 13 - These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
The question is when is this? When does this beast reign with these ten rulers? Notice verse 14.
Verse 14 - These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called chosen and faithful.
So this beast is at the time of Christ's return when He comes to become Lord of all the lords of the earth, King of all the kings of the earth. This beast is on the scene at the end of time. So this prophecy, then, is for the future and leads right into the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.
But these are not the only significant end time players. A religious leader, not just a political leader, but a religious leader symbolized as having two horns like a lamb, but who speaks like a dragon, will play a prominent role in this end time union of nations. Go back to Revelation 13, verse 11 and you will see that.
Revelation 13:11 Revelation 13:11And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.
American King James Version×– John records - Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb but spoke like a dragon.
Jesus Christ is the true Lamb of God so this religious leader apparently will claim to be Christian, but he really is of Satan, of the dragon. The beast referred to in Revelation 17 is a continuation of the four beasts in Daniel, chapter 7. And, as you can study on your own, Daniel, while in captivity in Babylon recorded a vision of four great beasts. Daniel 7:3 Daniel 7:3And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
American King James Version×. These will be gentile empires that will dominate the Middle East and have a major impact on the people of God. And the empires were, in chronological order, the Babylonian empire of which Daniel was a part, the Medo-Persian empire, then the Greek empire of Alexander the Great, which then broke into the kings of the North and South, and then the Roman empire which has had several revivals over the centuries. And attempts to revive the Roman empire are to succeed dramatically at the time of the end. And at that time a successor empire is prophesied to restore the European unity that Rome first achieved more than two thousand years ago. And this empire is to lead right into Christ's return and the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. It will once again be a powerful governmental Babylonian system and aligns with the dragon or a great false church, a holy Roman empire.
And I wonder if they will pull out the old crown from the Schatzkammer treasury holding the Hapsburg crown there when they crown the final Roman emperor, the final leader of Europe, but probably not. But it's just interesting when you are in Vienna that – when I was a kid growing up in the Church I thought 'Who are these Hapsburgs? It must be some, you know, obscure piece of history that Mr. Armstrong found somewhere in an encyclopedia.' Oh, no, over there in Vienna it's the talk of the town. It's everywhere. There's Hapsburg this, Hapsburg that. They've got hundreds and hundreds of years of history. They've got entire huge castles built by the Hapsburgs all over Europe, but particularly in Vienna. The Hapsburgs are big time in that part of the world and very well known and understood by the Europeans themselves.
Let's take a look in Daniel 7 at this final confrontation between God and this evil empire. So you've got the four beasts here in Daniel 7, but towards the end starting in verse 9, we see a confrontation between God and this final beast, the fourth beast, which came to be known as the Roman Empire.
Daniel 7:9 Daniel 7:9I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
American King James Version×- "I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated... so here is a description of God, the Father. ...the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;
Verse 10 - A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened. I used to imagine this scene in heaven going on at this point with millions of people before the throne of the Ancient of Days.
Verse 11 - "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking... of course that's the false religious leader that is mentioned in Revelation and here in Daniel. ...I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.
Verse 13 - "I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.
So at the end of time, the Father sends the Son back to establish His kingdom here on earth and the beast and the pompous words of the false prophet, the false religious leader, are destroyed.
Verse 14 – Then to the Son was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
You see the first four kingdoms, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman, eventually their time runs out and Christ returns and His kingdom does not end. His kingdom lasts forever. It will not pass away. And since the fourth beast described in Daniel 7 exists at this time of Jesus Christ's return, the same is true of the beast John saw here in Revelation 17 as well. Both prophesies speak of the same end time resurrection of a world ruling empire, the Roman empire. The kingdoms of the North and South concern successive powers. Rome took over Syria and Rome did, indeed, fall. But the Roman empire has been revived in numerous forms over the centuries and one final revival remains. And, as you know, there were alliances over the centuries between the church at Rome and the emperors of Europe so that they tied themselves together and they called themselves the Holy Roman Empire.
While in Vienna we saw so many signs and notes and placards about this or that about the Holy Roman Empire. Of course, they are very proud of it. The final resurrection of the Roman Empire, like the original empire, will be centered in Europe. It appears that it could be seen today in its embryonic form in the European Union. That's not to say that all the current EU nations will be part of the final configuration, but those that choose to participate will combine to form a powerful military force that will involve itself in the Middle East. Even Germany today now has become a very powerful nation economically. This end time king of the North spoken of in Daniel 11 then appears to be the final ruler of this end time, European centered superpower – the same one called the beast in Revelation 17.
Well after being in Vienna with its connections to the Hapsburgs and the crowning of the Holy Roman Emperors, Darris McNeely and I then headed to Budapest in Hungary to record a second TV program. In the Hungarian language, the 's' sounds like an 'sh' – they call it 'Budapesht'. To say 'bus', they put a 'z' on the end – 'busz'. But otherwise, the 's' has the 'sh' sound – so they call it 'Budapesht'. I get used to saying that after a while, so if I say it now, you will know I am saying Budapest. So we headed to Budapest to record a second TV program. It was on Tuesday, January 18, and it was another program about end time prophecy. We titled it “The Coming King of the South”. It was recorded above the Danube River overlooking this ancient city and the program covers the end time revival of the king of the South, this time as it does battle with the king of the North as described by the prophet, Daniel. This program will air in April as well.
But Islam in Hungary and the Biblical king of the South has a long history that dates back to the 12th century, predating the Ottoman Empire. But the influence of Muslims was especially pronounced in the 16th century during the time of Ottoman Hungary when the Turks ruled the area. The Ottomans pillage Buda in 1526, besieged it in 1529 and finally occupied it in 1541. The Turkish occupation lasted for more than one hundred and forty years and under Ottoman rule almost all of the Christians left the city and it became a truly Muslim town. And by 1547 the number of Christians had gone down to about one thousand. In 1647 it had fallen to about seventy Christians. The rest of the whole city was Islamic. The unoccupied western part of the country of Hungary became part of the Hapsburg Empire. It was called Royal Hungary. But in Budapest itself and to the east, it was under Islamic control.
In 1686, two years after the unsuccessful siege of Buda by the Romans, a renewed campaign was started to enter the Hungarian capital. And this time, the Holy Roman Empire's army was twice as large. In the next few years, almost all of the former Hungarian lands were taken from the Turks. In 1718, the entire Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule and Hungary was then incorporated into the Hapsburg Empire.
Now Budapest is the capital of Hungary. In 1873, Buda and Pest were officially merged with a third part, Ancient Buda, creating the new metropolis of Budapest. So Buda was on one side of the river and Pest was on the other side of the Danube River – two towns finally merged - and was called Budapest. It was in 1873. And the capital was 23% Jewish. Due to the prosperity and the large Jewish community in the city, Budapest was often called the Jewish Mecca and cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Its extensive UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway – the second oldest in the world. The Underground Railway was built in the 1800's. We traveled it back and forth many times. Many of the train stations underneath the ground retain their original appearance. It is really interesting to travel that ancient underground railway. But it is a world heritage site – Budapest – and a beautiful city to look at.
The city is home to the largest synagogue in Europe, the Dahany Street Synagogue. It's the second largest in the world. The synagogue is located in the Jewish district taking up several blocks in central Budapest. Mr. McNeely and I toured the synagogue and it was very interesting. By way of comparison, the Emanu-El Synagogue in New York seats the most people of any synagogue in the world. Emanu-El is the largest, but the Budapest synagogue has the largest volume of any synagogue. In sheer size, it is the biggest synagogue in the world and can hold six thousand people at one time.
Well I might add at this point that the journey to Hungary and Austria to record these two Beyond Today TV programs was done at minimal cost to the Church. Mr. McNeely used his own frequent flyer miles to get there and personal funds for his portion in Hungary. And for the nights in Budapest, we stayed in a dormitory at the Central European University for about $13 a night – almost like staying at a hostel. And we ate at the university cafeteria, it was about $3 for a meal. So it was really done on a shoestring budget. The only real expense was my ticket to get over there with the cameras. God's tithes and offerings are very precious, as you know, and our media staff do their very best each day to squeeze the value out of every penny and to honor the tithes and offerings given to God by our membership, our co-workers and our donors.
What about the king of the South? Budapest, Hungary and much of the southeastern area of Europe was once under its control. And to understand who that might be, we must first have some understanding of the history and the thinking of the people in this region. The original king of the South referred to the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. One key is to realize that the center of the prophecy, of course, is the Holy Land in Jerusalem and the kings refer to powerful leaders who will come from the regions to the north and south of the Holy Land.
A fundamental aspect of Islamic teaching is that Islam must eventually become the dominant religion of the entire world. That's the goal. Islam eventually must become the religion of the entire world. Remember also that the dream of the Arab peoples is for Arab unity. The warring tribes of Arabia were first united by Mohammed through a new religion, Islam. Ummah, or the community of Islam, has been a constant dream through the centuries. For seven hundred and fifty years now, the sons of Ishmael have not been united. Only in the last fifty years have they even been independent of foreign control. The dream is still there, but unfulfilled, to be totally unified – the sons of Ishmael.
For a time after the 1952 revolution in Egypt, President Nasser was inspiration for Arab unity and many thought he would bring it about. More recently, of course, Saddam Hussein thought the same way desiring to unite the Arab world against the United States and Israel. But going back even further, Sudan's Muhammad Ahmad ibn al Sayyid, he lived 1844 to 1885 – hard to say the name – but he was very significant. He proclaimed himself the Islamic messiah, the Mahdi, the divinely guided one who would unite Muslims and defeat the infidels. Well, he failed in his mission, too. But he had greater success at uniting Arabs than the secular leaders have had. We should also note that many Muslims believe that another Mahdi is prophesied to appear in a tumultuous time at the end to restore the Islamic faith to the world and ensure its final victory over all other religions. And I think you are familiar that
the Iranian leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is trying to force the return of the final Mahdi, the final divinely guided one, to force end time events to speed up.
In more recent times, of course, Osama Ben Laden became the spiritual successor of the Sudanese Mahdi and found considerable success in uniting Muslims against the West. So the Arabs have desired unity for a long time and have not been able to put it together properly.
Getting back to scripture going back to Daniel 11, this end time king of the South will rise up to defy, striking out against the king of the North. Whoever the end time king of the South might be, someone will engage in this final conflict against the West, possibly in yet another attempt to bring about the long sought after Arab and Islamic unity. But in doing this, the king of the South will unwittingly set in motion a cascade of events that will lead to unimaginable carnage before Jesus Christ intervenes to put a stop to it. Returning to Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×, we see that the forces of these two end time leaders, the king of the North and the South, will clash. Let's read it again.
Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×- At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack... or as the King James Version says ...push him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.
What is evident is that this end time leader from the South will terrorize the North in such a way as to warrant a major military invasion of the Middle East. From this point on, the king of the South is no longer specifically mentioned in scripture. Whatever happens to him isn't exactly spelled out. When you put two and two together, it appears that the king of the South is totally annihilated, no longer of significance. The same chapter shows that the king of the North, the European centered beast power, will be the victor as he invades the Holy Land and overthrows many countries. Notice verse 41.
Verse 41 - He shall enter the Glorious Land... of course that's the Holy Land, Israel today ...and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon.
Verse 42 - He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
So the king of the North comes all the way down through Israel and into North Africa and Egypt will not escape.
Verse 43 - He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.
There are other prophecies about Egypt finding gold in the end time. But anyway, he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver; and over the precious things of Egypt.
So understand that these Biblical names for people and places may not be precisely identical to where the borders are today, but it's the same general region. Nonetheless, a climactic Mid-East war unfolds between North and South and the North is the victor. It says in verse 42 that Egypt shall not escape. What will happen to Egypt? Egypt is in the news right now, and after Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution toppled the government on January 15th of this year, protests have erupted in other Arab nations now too from Algeria to Yemen, but it is Egypt in particular that has the world's attention right now. But we see this prophecy of one thing that happens to Egypt, and that is that the rulers from Europe come and take over. The hundreds of thousands of protestors in the streets of Cairo are showing frustration about the economy and government corruption, but they don't all share a common view of what the solution is. Will it be anarchy, will it be democracy, will it be military rule or will an Islamic regime emerge like what happened in Iran?
The United States and the rest of the western world has come to depend on Egypt's stability for the 30% of the world's oil that is transported through the Suez Canal - as well as its assurance of peace with Israel. Egypt has been a key player in this, but the peace has come at a high price of about two billion dollars a year in American aid to Egypt – mostly military aid. Who will now control Egypt's vast array of the latest high tech U.S. armaments? Egypt is very, very heavily armed with U.S. materials – hundreds of jet fighters, thousands of tanks – very, very heavily armed is Egypt. If that falls into the wrong hands, that would be very significant.
What lies ahead for Egypt? We do know that the king of the North overthrows the king of the South in the time of the end and Egypt shall not escape. But of particular note as I said, the king of the South is not mentioned again in prophecy until after Christ's return. It appears to have been destroyed by the beast power. But then soon after this, Jesus Christ will return to save humanity from self destruction and will be proclaimed King of all the nations. But look at this ironic twist in Isaiah, chapter 19. It is an ironic twist of end time events recorded by Isaiah. Here's what will really happen to Egypt in the long run. This is after Jesus Christ has returned and established His kingdom now on earth leading from Jerusalem. In Isaiah 19:21 Isaiah 19:21And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yes, they shall vow a vow to the LORD, and perform it.
American King James Version×we see:
Isaiah 19:21 Isaiah 19:21And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yes, they shall vow a vow to the LORD, and perform it.
American King James Version×- Then the LORD will be known to Egypt... the Eternal will be known to Egypt ...and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the LORD and perform it.
The Egyptians become converted to God's way of life.
Verse 22 - The LORD will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the LORD, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.
Verse 23 - In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria... and Assyria is mostly parts of northern Europe. So there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria ...and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians.
They will be friends again. The North and South will be friends again.
Verse 24 - In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land,
Verse 25 - whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance."
So it is encouraging to know that peace will eventually ensue in Europe between northern Europe, the Holy Land area and North Africa. Egypt, Israel and Assyria become brothers in the faith. That's the good news of what's to happen in the Middle East.
But before Jesus Christ intervenes like this in the end time events and restores Israel, Assyria and Egypt as spiritual brothers, there is one more event that happens here. Terrible news headlines become an issue for the king of the North. Let's continue in Daniel 11:44 Daniel 11:44But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
American King James Version×. Talking of the king of the North,
Daniel 11:44 Daniel 11:44But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
American King James Version×- But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.
These actions by the end time king of the North appear to be connected with the fifth trumpet or first woe of Revelation chapter 9 as you will see. The beast of Revelation, also known as the king of the North, appears out of the bottomless pit and so does the force of the first woe. Let's turn to Revelation 9 and you will see what I'm talking about. At the time the book of Revelation was written, the eastern border of the Roman Empire was the Euphrates River. The Euphrates River passes through what is Iraq today. In the end time evens prophesied in the book of Revelation, this river is a significant prophetic marker. Let's go to Revelation 9 and verse 12. Remember that we just read in Daniel 11, verse 44 that the king of the North is going to be troubled by bad news from the east and from the north.
Revelation 9:12 Revelation 9:12One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
American King James Version× - One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.
Verse 13 - Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
Verse 14 - saying to the sixth angel who had the trumPeter.. this is the sixth trumPeter.."Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." So this is to the east of the Holy Land.
Verse 15 - So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.
Verse 16 - Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.
So here we have the sixth trumpet, the second woe just before Christ returns at the seventh trumpet, identified as a massive, two hundred million man army released to kill a third of mankind. Was a third of mankind killed in the II World War? No, no where near it. This is a gigantic battle. Clearly we are talking about major clashes between the western world in the form of the king of the North at this time and a massive army from regions along or beyond the Euphrates River. Do you see a monumental battle raging? Threatened by a major foreign military presence that has invaded North Africa and modern day Israel, this military force combines to fight against it.
We could ask what nations come together to form these vast armies. Two possibilities seem likely in today's geopolitical climate – or a combination maybe of the two. Remember that the presence of non-Islamic forces in the Holy Land, infidels on Islamic ground, have been a source of contention in the region since the time of the Crusades almost one thousand years ago. The presence in the Middle East of forces of the revived Roman Empire - the prophesied beast power, a spiritual successor to the Crusaders – will, no doubt, inflame Islamic feelings once again. It's possible, therefore, it's possible that this massive army is a multinational Islamic force formed from some or all of the Islamic countries along or to the north and east of the Euphrates River. This could be the news that concerns the king of the North, news from the north and east. This would include nations like Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and even participants from India. India has the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. Further to the north and east of the Holy Land are the relatively new Islamic nations which came into existence after the fall of the Soviet Union: Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. These are now Islamic nations as well since the Soviet Union fell. The world Muslim population totals some 1.3 billion people, most of whom are in this general geographic area two thousand miles and beyond the Euphrates River to the east. Another possibility is that these forces might include Russia and China as well - if Russia and China were included. These are two major world powers that often share common interests along with their allies and other nations from the Far East. And additionally, it is possible that all of these forces will come together briefly fearful of increased military might and presence of the king of the North, setting the stage for Armageddon.
Let's go to Revelation 16 and read verse 12 because later as part of the chain of events that follow the sounding of the seventh trumpet, Christ's return, which is mentioned in Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×, we find the Euphrates River mentioned again in Revelation 16:12 Revelation 16:12And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
American King James Version×. So this huge invading two hundred million man army comes across the Euphrates River from the east before Christ returns – it's that time of the sixth trumpet – but then it happens again here in Revelation 16:12 Revelation 16:12And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
American King James Version×after the seventh trumpet is sounded.
Revelation 16:12 Revelation 16:12And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
American King James Version×- Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.
So then there's another battle that happens from the east – who these leaders and forces are isn't explicitly spelled out either – we know only that they come from the east of the Euphrates River. Like the earlier two hundred million man army, it appears this force is also primarily from either the Muslim world or from China and Russia or their allies. Or it could be a combination of all these nations to the east. But talk about monumental, end time events, millions and millions of soldiers doing battle in the area that is today called the Middle East. Revelation 16:13 Revelation 16:13And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
American King James Version×, the next verse:
Verse 13 - And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. You see, you've got Satan, the devil, you've got the beast power and you've got the false church here.
Verse 14 - For they 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.
Verse 15 - "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments... talking of God's saints ... lest he walk naked and they see his shame."
Verse 16 - And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
So you see the three battles we have covered today: the king of the North coming down through the Holy Land into North Africa to fight the king of the South and destroy him; then you've got the two hundred million man army coming from the east to do battle with the king of the North, the beast power; then it happens again – another huge army comes across the Euphrates River to battle in the Holy Land and the beast, the false prophet and the dragon are all involved. This is right before Christ returns.
In the end, it doesn't seem to matter specifically which countries are involved in this destroying world war at which point in time for ultimately Revelation 16:14 Revelation 16:14For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
American King James Version×here tells us that the kings of the whole world will be gathered to the Middle East for a final battle. Everybody. This is a world war. Interestingly enough, the descendents of Ephraim and Manasseh are not mentioned in these times. It appears that the descendants of Jacob have since gone into captivity or are no longer a key player on the world scene at all – gone into captivity for punishment for their sins – a nation that should know better, a nation that should be keeping God's laws.
So it seems likely that all the eastern powers will eventually be engaged at some point. However it plays out, virtually all remaining military forces will be drawn into the final maelstrom of destruction and the earth is filled with woe and Armageddon is then mentioned.
All this maneuvering, destruction and devastation which takes the lives of at least one third of the human race is the prelude to Jesus Christ's second coming. He has to return to save mankind from this final, cataclysmic conflict that otherwise would leave no human survivors. As He said of the time immediately before His return to earth, unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved alive (Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×). Clearly at the time of the end another round of great turmoil involving the king of the South will engulf the Middle East, only this time it will be far worse than anything we have seen before.
Why is this important to you? Why is this important to me? Why have we covered this today? You may be interested in Bible prophecy. You still have a life to lead here with all these challenges and opportunities. You still have to go to work every day, come to Church each week. How does all this relate to you personally? What should you take from this as you lead your daily life? Why do we follow prophecy? Let's turn to 2 Peter, chapter 3, we're going to read verses 10 through 13. I'm going to read from the New International Version. Notice what it says.
2 Peter 3:10 2 Peter 3:10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
American King James Version×– But the day of the Lord will come like a thief... and, of course, the day of the Lord is talking about the end time intervention by God to save humanity from himself, but also to punish the world for its sins. The day of the Lord will come like a thief, the heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. And, as we know, at least a third of man will be destroyed.
Verse 11 – Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You are to live holy and godly lives.
Verse 12 – As you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming, that day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire and the elements will melt in the heat.
Verse 13 – But in keeping with the promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
So we see beyond these cataclysmic wars, beyond these monumental battles for control of the earth. We see beyond these and we look forward to a new heaven and a new earth. This is mentioned in verse 13.
But verse 11 is what I am concentrating on. Since everything is going to be destroyed like this, what kind of person ought you to be? You are to live holy and godly lives. Truly this is the part of Bible prophecy we need to understand - world events are moving to the conclusion of the age. Spiritual deception will cause many to misunderstand what is happening. God wants you and me to know the times we live in and where we are in His plan of salvation so that we will live righteously, repenting of our sins, staying close to God. The reason is not just so that you will have the knowledge of what will happen - it's not just understanding who the king of the North and the king of the South are – but so that you will live a holy and godly life. That is the most important part, not the prophecies themselves.
The Middle East continues to produce events that impact our world. Energy from the region fuels the global economy. Maybe that's why that region has become so important to the king of the North, to Europe. Religious fundamentalism creates tension in the region and in Europe. Bible prophecy shows us the Middle East will be the global center of world attention in the years ahead. While it is the region that has given rise to major world religions, it has also seen its share of conflict through the centuries. Bible prophecy shows very significant incidents that lie in its future and it will trigger the crisis at the end of this age.
The only good news in all of this is that shortly after these future battles we will see God's kingdom finally being established on earth. Keep watching, live a holy and godly life as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming!