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The End-Time Middle East

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The End-Time Middle East

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The End-Time Middle East

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We can see turmoil in the history, as well as in the future, of the Middle East. Events in this region are destined to effect the lives on everyone on earth.

Transcript

To say the least, the events of this year so far in Israel and the Middle East have heightened the general public's awareness of how fragile peace is on this earth. The Middle East is often catapulted to the forefront of news programs around the world. Nations across the globe are affected by what happened in this volatile region. We need to understand what is yet prophesied to happen in the Middle East. Events there are destined to affect the lives of every person on this earth.

A fundamental change has taken place in the Middle East in the last 100 years. The creation of many new nations just within the last 100 years which has vastly complicated the politics of the area and the establishment of one country in particular has led to a cycle of violence and upheaval that is seemingly without end. Yet surprisingly the bible prophesied the establishment of this nation thousands of years ago and predicted the growing conflict that would follow its rebirth.

Before World War I the Middle East was dominated by the Ottoman Empire, the Turks who ruled over all the lands with names that are so commonly familiar to us now. The countries that are now Turkey, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Israel were all ruled by the Ottoman Empire. They also presided over lands in North Africa and Eastern Europe or Southeastern Europe. Within this Empire different peoples lived in relative harmony controlled by the Ottomans. About 40 percent of the Ottoman Empire were Turks and about 40 percent were Arabs and then about 20 percent from a few other nationalities. Now it might have continued this way if it wasn't for World War I. At the onset of the war it was not clear which side the Ottoman Empire would take. Now both the British and the Germans courted the Turks, wanted them on their side but finally the Sultan opted to support the German Kaiser, a fateful decision which would change the region dramatically and bring about many new nations and many war.

One of the nations that eventually came into being was the Jewish state of Israel complicating the geopolitical situation in the region and destined to affect all nations on this earth. What few people realize is this one crucial fact; after 1,900 years the restoration of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East was necessary to fulfill ancient prophecies which we find in the bible but seem very unimportant to most of the world. This region was once a political backwater; no particular major interest or influence to the western powers. But now as you will come to see as we understand this area is destined to become the center of the final global crisis that will usher in cataclysmic events leading humanity to the brink of extinction and then ultimately change our world forever.

Let's look at the astounding story of the future of this crucial region that was laid out thousands of years ago; the story of the end-time Middle East.

So stay with me throughout this sermon because you'll have to follow closely as we go through various passages in scripture as we tackle this important subject.

But first a little more history; there's a major reason that the Middle East is kept in the news. It is the birthplace of the world's three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Too often it is not just being their birthplace but their battlefield with adherence warring against each other for control of territory that they all consider holy. Nowhere are these conflicts more obvious than in the land today called Israel and specifically in Jerusalem.

I visited Jerusalem in 1981. I spent some time in Israel and Egypt and had planned to also visit Jordan but it wasn't considered safe at the time. Now if you've never been to Jerusalem, it's hard to imagine how so much history, religion and culture can collide together and then stand in literal heaps of ruins. Nowhere is this more evident than at the temple mount itself; flashpoint for many conflicts over the centuries. Now the site first came to the attention of Israel's King David. He bought a threshing floor and built an altar on it and decided to set that piece of land aside for the site of the temple of God that would be built by his son, Solomon. The temple survived through various conditions. A replacement was built by Zerubbabel and then it was finally restored again by Herod the Great. That temple in its third form was ultimately leveled to the ground by the Roman General Picus in A.D. 70 so then the temple was no more after A.D. 70.

Then of course later on, Jesus of Nazareth taught, worshipped and confronted the money changers, scribes, Pharisees and other religious authorities in Jerusalem itself right there at the temple. After His death and resurrection, Christianity was born in the shadow of that temple before it was destroyed in A.D.70. Christ's followers continued to worship and teach there for several more decades until legions of Rome crushed the Jewish rebellion and carted away most of the Jewish population that hadn't been killed and then a later Jewish rebellion in 132 to 135 led to a Roman decree that no Jew was to set foot in Jerusalem again under pain of death. So in 135 the Jews were expelled from the area of Jerusalem.

Centuries later in 638 (about 500 or so years later) Muslim Arabs took the city. In 691 Muslims built the Dome of the Rock on that same temple mount enclosing the spot from which Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended to heaven and today Muslims consider this place, (that place) the third most holy site in Islam.

Several more centuries passed before the Crusaders captured Jerusalem, slaughtered Muslim and Jew alike and converted the Dome of the Rock into a church. Their hold on the city lasted less than 100 years before Muslims took control of the city and held it from 1244 until 1917, almost 700 years under Muslim control. It was when the Ottoman Empire lost in World War I that the city came under British domination.

In 1948 the modern state of Israel was born and in 1967 the Israelis had a war which gained control of all of Jerusalem though left the temple mount itself, one small portion under Islamic authority. Now today you can watch Muslims praying at the Dome of the Rock; barely a stones throw away you can see Jews praying at the Western Wall and then Christians praying along the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, just a few hundred yards away. So today once again you see all three major monotheistic religions of this world in conflict over this holy place.

Who will write the next chapter in the history of this troubled city? The final chapters are already written a prophesied century ago in the bible and ominously these prophesies mesh remarkably well with the headlines of today. So let's look at the headlines of tomorrow.

I divided this sermon, "The End-Time Middle East" into seven main areas. First of all number one: "The State of Israel is Prophetic."

What is now called the country or the state of Israel is prophetic. Jerusalem remains the most contested city on earth having fallen to invading forces more than 20 times during recorded history. This one city back and forth invaded and taken over by different forces 20 times. The land to which God sent Abraham some 4,000 years ago lies at the great crossroads; also three continents, and three religions and also three continents come together there.

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 and interesting that we see a long time gap in Daniel's prophecy in Daniel chapter 11.

Let's turn to Daniel chapter 11 here for a moment. We'll be spending a little bit of time in Daniel today as well as some other passages. We see a long time gap in Daniel's prophecy that accurately foretold what would happen in the centuries ahead. So to understand this let's turn to Daniel chapter 11.

Now as background information for you 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 kings of the North and South; between the Ptolemy dynasty of Egypt to the South and the Seleucus-Syria to the North. So the first 35 verses give a very interesting account of what was going to befall that area. As you look back in history you see it was very accurate. The rulers of these great kingdoms were descended from four generals of Alexander the Great who also was foretold in the book of Daniel. Two of the generals that took over from Alexander were the original kings of the North and South. You can read about these first 35 verses in detail in our four color brochure, "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy" and it will take you all the way through that.

The four verses that follow in Daniel 11, verses 36 through 39 appear to jump forward in time. These are not only historical but prophetic to our time today. Verses 32 through 35 appear to concern the faithful Maccabees who would not deny the truth, who would not abandon God's law for pagan Greek ways. Yet at the same time they are dual in nature because you'll see in verse 35 that this group continued to the time of the end meaning that God's faithful people in New Testament times, His church are included in these verses 32 through 35 and it actually covered the time span of about 2,000 years, those few verses. So verses 1 through 35 are very detailed in nature but then 32 through 35 and 36 through 39 jumps ahead and cover 2,000 years very quickly. There's a reason for that. Daniel 11, verse 40 we read:

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.

So verse 40 clearly shows us that the story advances very quickly to the time of the end. Verses 36 through 39 apply to the whole history of the kingdom of the North from the time of the Maccabees, the beginnings of the New Testament church up to the time of the end as verse 35 explains. So you've got 2,000 years of history that aren't detailed very much there and then you've got the time of the end and the king of the South attacking in verse 40.

Who was the king of the North during this period of history? In 65 B.C. Seleucus-Syria, the king of the North was swallowed up by the Roman Empire . Now the Roman Empire then became the king of the North. Verses 36 through 38 as you look at them appear 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 here.

The question is why the time gap in Daniel's prophecy between the ancient world (Daniel 11, verses 1 through 35 with great detail) and the world of today, a period of at least 2,000 years with only sparse and cursory details of events in between. The answer is actually quite simple. For almost 2,000 years there was no Jewish state in the area. No Jewish nation in the Middle East . The bible mostly contains details of history and prophecy as they relate to the people of God, as they relate to Jacob's descendents. The restoration of the Jewish state in 1948 then made the kings of the North and the kings of the South relevant again to impacting the Jewish people of the Promised Land.

End-time prophecy could not be fulfilled without restoration of the Jews to their homeland as we'll see. Although this nation is called Israel, it's actually mostly comprised of the tribe of Judah today although they call it Israel because remember that the ten tribes of the old Northern kingdom known as Israel were taken into captivity by Assyria more then a century before the kingdom of Judah was invaded and these people taken to Babylon. Many of the Jews returned from their captivity but the ten tribes called Israel seemingly disappeared. The bible shows that in time all the tribes of Israel will return to the Promised Land. But at this point only the tribe of Judah ; or at least a portion of it has been restored to its historic home.

In the Old Testament prophetic book of Zechariah, let's turn there. Zechariah, chapter 14 we read that Jerusalem and Judah (of course Judah constituting the modern state of Israel today) are at the center of world conflict immediately before Christ returns. But this prophesied event could not have taken place without the physical restoration of Judah, now named Israel to some extent in the holy land before the end of the age. So in Zechariah 14, we see this prophecy about Christ's second coming and look at it very closely.

Zechariah 14:3 Zechariah 14:3Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
American King James Version×
Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.

Verse 4: And in that day (Here we see a prophecy clearly still for the future) His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.

Verse 5: Then you shall flee through My mountain valley.

So clearly a prophecy for the future.

The preceding verses show (going back to verse 2) that the reason the people need to flee is because Jerusalem will once again be a scene of great turmoil.

Verse 2: For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

So the city will somewhat survive.

Previously in a prophecy of the end-time Day of the Lord, Zechariah 12, we read some other interesting words recorded as words from God.

Zechariah 12:2 Zechariah 12:2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples ( Remember this is an end-time prophecy) when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.

So you see for this prophecy to be fulfilled, Judah needs to be there, at least a portion of it and that has happened now in our modern day world.

Verse 3: And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; (Now we're seeing that right now) all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.

You see; a place of interest by all nations.

Now Judah, who are the Israelis of today and Jerusalem are destined to be at the very center of end-time events, even at the Day of the Lord. The nations that come up against her will be so ideologically and emotionally driven that they won't be able to think straight. We see where we read, the drunkenness that Zechariah refers to. They attack Jerusalem almost in a drunken stupor; they don't even realize what they're doing. It's emotionally driven, it's almost insane.

Now look at the news today. Already some nations and peoples are obsessed with destroying the Jewish homeland. Chants are in the news almost daily from some national leaders about destroying that place; destroying the Jews and those who support them.

Another prophet tells of the fall of end time Israel. Let's go to Hosea chapter 5. Now remember who end-time Israel in prophecy is; Israel was first the descendants of the Northern lost ten tribes. Now the prophet tells of the fall of end-time Israel, the fall of the end-time lost ten tribes and Judah together, apparently even in the same month. An event that has not yet happened, an event that never happened in ancient history; this is something yet to happen. When we read of this alarming prophecy about Judah and Jerusalem but also our great land and our people in Hosea chapter 5, verses 5 and 7. God is condemning Israel and Judah here for repeated idolatry.

Hosea 5:5 Hosea 5:5And the pride of Israel does testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity: Judah also shall fall with them.
American King James Version×
The pride of Israel (This is referring to the lost ten tribes) testifies to his face; therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them.

You see the other ten tribes and Judah; this is also comprised of Benjamin and Levi stumbling together.

Verse 7: They have dealt treacherously with the Lord, for they have begotten pagan children. Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage.

Now a New Moon devouring them would seem to me that they would both (Judah and Israel) fall within a month, within a 30 day period, very quickly. I believe we all understand where the ancient ten tribes of Israel live today.

So this is a good place to begin, establishing that the descendants of Israel must be in possession of the Promised Land for end-time events to be fulfilled at Christ's return because Judah is specifically part of Jerusalem end-time prophecy. So what unfolded after the First World War bought this possibility about as never before in almost 2,000 years.

So now let's move on to point two which I've entitled "The Beast and the King of the North."

So we can now understand more clearly why the struggle between the kings of the North and South resume again at the time of the end, as we read in Daniel 11 chapter 40. So we‘re going to go back to Daniel 11. there is a gap as I explained and as you can read in more detail in our literature of about 2,000 years between Daniel 11:35 Daniel 11:35And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
American King James Version×
and Daniel 11:36 Daniel 11:36And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
American King James Version×
, while the descendants of Jacob no longer inhabited the Promised Land but now they do, so some of these prophesies can now come about. Daniel 11, verse 40, let's read the whole verse.

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 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.

So clearly, at the time of the end another round of great turmoil will engulf the Middle East only this time it will be far worse than anything ever seen before.

The expression here, the king of the North applied anciently to the Seleucus dynasty of Syria, one of Alexander's generals to the North that took over the Seleucus dynasty of Syria. While the king of the South referred to the Ptolemy dynasty in Egypt. But who might these terms refer to now in our time or at the time of the end? Who are the modern day kings of the North and South? Well it's doubtful that they could once again apply directly to just Syria and Egypt because they're now brother Arab countries, and Islamic nations, they're not enemies and also while relatively strong by regional standards neither Egypt or Syria, the original kings of the North and South have the military might to fulfill this particular prophecy.

Now one historical piece to note now as I mentioned earlier is that Rome swallowed up Syria and became the kingdom of the North thereafter; the Roman Empire. But didn't Rome disappear? Didn't the Roman Empire fall? Where is the Roman Empire today? Part of the key to understanding this passage is to realize the center of the prophecy is the holy land in Jerusalem, the historic land given to the children of Israel. So when you're looking at these geographic locations you're talking about to the North of Israel to the South of Israel is how it works.

The kings referred to are powerful leaders who will come from regions to the North and regions to the South and vie for control of the area trampling over Judah in the process. We've already read a couple of passages about Judah being trampled on.

We can read in the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation that another global superpower will arrive at the time of the end of this age, the end of the world as we know it. We find further details of this end time power in Revelation 17. Let's turn to Revelation 17 for a moment. Just as Daniel saw various beasts that represented the dominant powers to come, so the apostle John too saw a vision of another beast that would dominate the world at the very time of the end. Revelation 17 verse 3, here John talks about a vision that he had.

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.

Verse 5: And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Verse 6: And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

So obviously an evil beast. The ten horns referred to here as an angel explained to John later represent ten rulers who received power for one hour (symbolic of just a short time) with a single ruler who is also called the beast. So this beast is made up of ten rulers at the end-time.

Verse 12: And 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.

So you see ten nations coming together giving their authority and support to the beast. Notice verse 14. See the time setting of these very events.

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.

The prophecy then is for the future; that leads right into the return of Jesus Christ to this earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

But these are not the only significant end-time players. A religious leader also comes on the scene symbolizing having two horns like a lamb but who speaks like a dragon and this other beast will play a prominent rule in this end-time union of nations. Let's go back to Revelation 13, verse 11. The beginning of Revelation 13 talks about the beast we just read about in Revelation 17. Revelation 13 and 17 go together in many ways. Right after Revelation 13 talks about this same beast that has ten rulers at the end time, you read in verse 11:

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×
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

See Jesus Christ is the true Lamb of God so this religious leader apparently will claim to be Christian but he is really of Satan the dragon.

The beast referred to in Revelation 17 and then this other beast that is a religious leader here in Revelation 13 are all part of a continuation of the four beasts of Daniel 7. We're going to go back to Daniel 7 here for a moment so stay with me for as you can study on your own, Daniel while in captivity in Babylon recorded a vision of four great beasts in Revelation 7 verse 3. These were gentile empires that would dominate the Middle East and have a major impact on the people of God. The empires were in chronological order: the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great with the kings that followed him including the kings of the North and South, and then the Roman Empire.

Attempts to revive the Roman Empire succeed dramatically at the time of the end. At that time a successor empire is prophesied to restore the European unity that Rome first achieved more than 2,000 years ago. This empire leads right into Christ's return, an establishment then of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Take a look here in Daniel 7 at this final confrontation between God and this evil empire. Daniel records now about this fourth empire, 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; (the Ancient of Days referring to God the Father and listen and imagine in your mind as we read about the Ancient of Days here in 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×
). 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; (that's millions) ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. (millions again) The court was seated and the books were opened.

Verse 11: I watched (said Daniel) then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; (This horn is what we read about in Revelation, this is the blasphemous speaking of one supported by the dragon) 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! (This is a prophecy of the return of Jesus Christ right here) He came to the Ancient of Days and they brought Him near before Him.

So here you've got the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man in the end-time as the religious leader speaks pompous and blasphemous words and is destroyed.

Verse 14: Then to Him (Son of Man) 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.

So it kind of jumped ahead to God's Kingdom being instituted now, right? But we're going to go back for a moment as well.

Now since the fourth beast here described in Daniel 7 existed at the time of Jesus Christ's return, that's what I'm trying to establish. This fourth and final beast exists at the time of Jesus Christ's return and the same is true of the beast John saw in Revelation 17. Both prophesies talk about the same end-time resurrection of this beast, of the fourth beast which became the Roman Empire . The kingdoms of North and South concern successive powers. Rome took over Syria and Rome did indeed fall but the Roman Empire has been revived in Europe in numerous forms over the centuries. If you look through history and as you read Revelation you'll find that one final revival of the Roman Empire is yet to happen. That's what this is all talking about and it's a pompous evil religious-led empire. 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 super power; the same one called the beast in Revelation 17.

Let's go to a third point as we break this up; the second one of course being the beast and the king of the North being the same. The third point is: "The Final King of the South."

To understand who that might be let's look a little bit again at some history and thinking of those people in that region. The original king of the South refers to the Ptolemy dynasty in Egypt from one of Alexander's generals in the South. One key again is to realize that the center of the prophecy is the holy land in Jerusalem. The kings referred to are powerful leaders who will come from regions to the North and the South and vie for control of this region. In Islamic thinking the world is divided into two spheres: dar al-Islam, meaning "the land of Islam," and dar al-Harb, meaning "the land of the unbeliever" or "the land of struggle." There's an interesting quote here from the Koran and it's divided up in various ways (the Dawood translation in Surah 61:9) of the Koran says: Alah "sent for His apostles and that's (referring to Muhammad) with guidance and the true faith, so that he may exalt it above all religions of the earth." So the goal of Islam is to take over the whole world religiously and a fundamental aspect of Islamic teaching is that Islam must eventually become the dominant religion of the entire world. It's almost like a counterfeit to what Christ is doing.

Remember also that the dream of the Arab peoples is for Arab unity. As you look through history you'll see various attempts to unite the Arab people; religiously even. The warring tribes of Arabia were first united by Muhammad through a new religion, Islam. The Ummah, or the community of Islam has been a constant dream throughout the centuries. For 750 years now the sons of Ishmael have not been united. Only in the last 50 years have they even been independent of foreign control; having their own destiny in their hands. The dream is still unfulfilled for this Islamic unity.

For a time, after the 1952 revolution in Egypt, President Nasser was the inspiration for Arab unity and many thought the Egyptian leader was going to bring Arab unity about in the world but it didn't happen. More recently, even the Iraq's Saddam Hussein tried to do the same thing and he bragged about desiring to unite the Arab world against Israel and the United States.

Going back further in time to the l800's, Sudan 's Muhammad Ahmed Ibn el Sayed proclaimed himself the Islamic messiah, (that was in the l800's) the mahdi. He called himself the "divinely guided one" who would unite Muslims and defeat the infidels. He failed in his mission also, 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, or divinely guided one, is yet prophesied to appear in a tumultuous time to restore the Islamic faith and ensure its final victory over all other religions. There is one political national leader today that says he is trying to speak, trying to speed up this event of the "divinely guided one" appearing, the mahdi, in Islamic faith.

In more recent times Osama bin Laden became spiritual successor of the Sudanese mahdi and found considerable success in uniting Muslims against the West.

Now you see Muhammad's followers brought about the defeat of the two great superpowers of Muhammad's day; that was Byzantium and Persia. Osama bin Laden has the same dream to defeat the two great superpowers of his day. Osama bin Laden has desired this. One has already been brought down, the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 and its collapse was due in large part to the Afghan rebels, led by Bin Laden who defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan. So Bin Laden has the goal to destroy the other superpower as well if you read his writings.

Now September 11, 2001 showed how vulnerable the other superpower is today to even terrorism. Repeated warnings from Washington have made it clear that the country remains susceptible to terrorist attacks potentially even more devastating than what happened on September 11 th.

So that this ideology in Islamic world of overcoming all other world religions and of taking over once again.

Getting back to scripture, the end time king of the South then will rise up to defy striking out against the king of the North. So we're going to go back to Daniel 11 again. Whoever the end time king of the South might be, whether a popular figure similar to Osama bin Laden or a political leader like Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser or even like Saddam Hussein tried to be or a religious figure like the Ayatollah Khomeini or even the prophesied mahdi to come, someone will engage in this final conflict against the West, possibly in yet another attempt to bring about long sought Arab and Islamic unity. Whoever this king of the South is he 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.

So we look a little bit more about the king of the South and who that might be, let's look at a fourth section here which I've entitled "A Climactic Mid East War Unfolds."

Let's return as I mentioned to Daniel 11 and verse 40. Let's read verse 40 again and we'll see the forces of these two end-time leaders, the king of the North and South will clash.

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; (Well 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.

The word attack or push is translated from the Hebrew word nagach, which can mean either to push or to attack. It is used of a bull or rams attacking with its horns. Figuratively this means "to war against." The form this push or attack may take isn't spelled out here in verse 40.

What is evident, however, is that this end time leader from the South will attack or terrorize the North in such a way as to warrant a major military invasion of the Middle East. Interestingly enough from this point on in prophecy the king of the South is no longer specifically mentioned in scripture. What happened to him isn't spelled out. But the beast power, the king of the North totally overwhelmed and passes through and then there is no more king of the South mentioned again.

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 of Daniel 11:

Daniel 11:41 Daniel 11:41He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
American King James Version×
He shall also enter the Glorious Land (Referring to the Promised Land) 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 once again, Egypt being one of the original kings of the South.

Verse 43: He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt. (Did you see that story in the news just this week about how they've rediscovered ancient gold again in Egypt? Apparently the ancient Egyptians mined what they thought was all the gold but now in modern technology, there's a whole lot more gold in Egypt that they've now just rediscovering, so it's interesting.) A lso the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. (He'll be in charge).

Now understand that these biblical names of peoples and places may not be precisely identical with today's national borders but the general regions are certainly the same. Nonetheless, what we read about here as point four is that a climactic Mid East war unfolds between North and South and the South is overrun by the beast power.

This leads us into what I've titled part five: "The First Woe, the Second Woe and Armagedden."

What happens next is end-time news headlines from CNN become an issue for the king of the North. I say CNN tongue in cheek; they may not be around any more after all this. 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.
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notice what happens:

Verse 44: But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.

So now, the king of the North, the beast power receives troubling news from the East and the North after overrunning the king of the South. These actions by the end-time king of the North appear to be connected with the fifth trumpet or the first woe of Revelation 9. They are very similar. The beast of Revelation, also known as the king of the North appears out of the bottomless pit in Revelation. The beast appears out of the bottomless pit, so does the first woe. Now at the time the book of Revelation was written, the Eastern border of the Roman Empire was the Euphrates River, so that's why it becomes a significant geographic marker. The end-time events prophesied in the book of Revelation says that this Euphrates River is a significant geographic marker.

Let's turn to Revelation 9, verses 12 through 16. We'll break in where it starts talking about the second woe for the sake of time.

Revelation 9:12 Revelation 9:12One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
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One woe is past. (The first woe was the one that came out of the bottomless pit) 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 trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."

Verse 15: So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year,

(The specific time) were released to kill a third of mankind.

Verse 16: Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million, and I heard the number of them.

See here we have the sixth trumpet, the second woe just before Christ returns with the seventh trumpet, identified as a massive 200 million man army released to kill a third of mankind. Clearly we are talking about major clashes here between the Western world (in the form of the forces of the king of the North) and a massive army from regions along or beyond the Euphrates River, to the East and North of the Euphrates River.

Threatened by a major foreign military presence that has invaded North Africa and of course modern day Israel today, this military force now from the East combines to fight against it.

We ask what nations come together to form these vast armies? Two possibilities seem likely in today's geopolitical climate or a combination of the two.

The presence of non-Islamic forces or infidels on Islamic ground has been a source of contention in the Middle East region since the time of the Crusades almost 1,000 years ago. Now the presence in the Middle East of forces of the revived Roman Empire, the prophesied beast power, and a spiritual successor to the original Crusaders will no doubt inflame Islamic feelings once again to have those Crusaders back, the spiritual successes of the Crusaders in the form of the beast power and the king of the North.

It is possible therefore, 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 would include nations like Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even participants from India which 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 that came into existence after the fall of the Soviet Union; Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhsta , Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The world's Muslim population there totals some 1.3 billion, most of whom are in this general geographic area to the East of the Euphrates.

Another possibility for these forces could include Russia and China, two major world powers that often share common interests, along with their allies and other nations from the Far East. Who knows? A threat to the Persian Gulf oil supplies whether real or imagined could provoke action by these nations. China, with its population of 1.3 billion people could certainly field a massive military force and Russian's weapons technology still makes her a formidable military power.

Additionally it is possible that all these forces could even come together briefly, fearful of the increased military might and presence of the king of the North in the Middle East. Indeed, important defense and economic ties already exist between Russia and China if you're watching the news and some Muslim nations of Central Asia and the Middle East as well.

All this is setting the stage for what is called Armageddon.

Later, as part of the chain of events that follow the sounding of the seventh trumpet where Christ returns 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.
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, we find the Euphrates River mentioned again. So first you've got these 200 million army coming across to attack the king of the North; but then it's mentioned again.

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.
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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 here we see the Euphrates River being dried up so the way of the kings of the East might be prepared.

Who these leaders and forces are not explicitly spelled out either; we know only that they come from East of the Euphrates. Like the earlier 200 million man army, it appears this force is primarily from either the Muslim world or from China and/or Russia and their allies. Or again, it could be a combination of some or all these nations. Whatever, it's a huge conglomeration of military might from the East of the Promised Land once again. Talk about climatic end-time world events. Notice 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.
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now.

Verse 13: And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, (Remember who the dragon was?) out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

Unclean spirits coming out of the beast and false prophet.

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

Then notice verse 15. In this whole sermon, this is where we fit in, o.k.

Verse 15: 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.

Of the whole sermon today this one verse right here, Revelation 16:15 Revelation 16:15Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
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is talking about the people of God and it's a warning to watch because remember what Christ said? He prophesied He would come like a thief in the night; unexpected, so we have to be watching, our garments have to be clean and pure and white and righteous. This right here is the only hope God's people have in this end-time consecration. So this is a warning to us. Notice the end of verse 15, lest he walks naked and they see his shame; lest you are exposed, lest you are caught without your clothes on, lest you perish. So this is a warning right here to God's people, as this great battle is about to begin.

Verse 16: And they gathered them together to the place in Hebrew, Armageddon.

In the end it doesn't seem to matter specifically which countries are involved in this growing 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.
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tells us that the kings of the whole world will be gathered to the Middle East for the final battle. So it seems likely that all of the Eastern powers will eventually be engaged at some point. So however it plays out, you know, Rome, king of the North, thrashing the king of the South, king of the East coming over; basically it ends up being everybody by the time the whole thing is said and done.

Virtually all remaining military forces will be drawn into this final maelstrom of destruction to some degree or another just as it happened in the two great world wars of the 20 th century, world war. So the earth is filled with woe as Revelation says: woe, woe, woe and then Armageddon is mentioned.

This leads us to point six. "Christ's Intervenes to Save Humanity."

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 Christ Himself said at the time immediately preceding His return to earth:

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.
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Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.

Now ironically at His return, the peoples of the world will not automatically accept Him. As we saw earlier in point two in the sermon, the 10 kings allied with the beast in Europe will fight against Him. You can also read about that in Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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.

Now Revelation 16:16 Revelation 16:16And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
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which we just read a moment ago tells us that armies will be gathered to the place in Hebrew called Armageddon. Armageddon is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Har Megiddon, meaning hill or mountain of Megiddo, an ancient town about 55 miles north of Jerusalem. It overlooks the Valley of Jezrell, a large open plain.

Yet contrary to what you might see on the history channel the final battle will not be here at Armageddon. Instead Armageddon is the final staging area for the armies that will fight against Jesus Christ. Notice that they are gathered together at a place called in Hebrew called Armageddon. The battle itself will take place in the Valley of Jehoshaphat near Jerusalem. That's prophesied in Joel chapter 3. Let's just turn there for a moment if you would. Here's where the final battle actually takes place after the armies are gathered together at Armageddon.

Joel 3:1 Joel 3:1For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
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For behold in those days and at that time (Talking about the time of the end) when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,

Verse 2: I will also gather all nations (And so this is talking about the same gathering of nations that we read about earlier coming from the East, the North, all coming for this final battle) and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.

Then verse 2 there's another whole prophecy about what happened to the lost 10 tribes of Israel; it's not a pretty sight. And so now the rest of the world is about to be punished for the way they treated us, our people.

Verse 9: Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.

Notice verse 10, an interesting play on words:

Verse 10: Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, "I am strong."

Verse 11: Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord.

Verse 12: Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.

So the Lord is part of bringing all these nations together for this final judgment for the way they've treated His people, the descendants of Israel.

Jehoshaphat even means Judgment of the Eternal. The Valley of Jehoshaphat is the valley of the Judgment of the Eternal.

Now Revelation 19 describes what happens next:

Revelation 19:11 Revelation 19:11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war.
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Then I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.

Verse 12: His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.

Verse 13: He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called The Word of God.

Of course the Word having dwelt with God since the beginning; He became Jesus Christ.

Verse 16: And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS

AND LORD OF LORDS

So here we see this huge battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, the armies of the earth come together to fight against the Lord at His return and the Lord has a name written on His thigh:

KING OF ALL KINGS

AND LORD OF ALL THE LORDS

And now He has returned.

This leads us to point seven: "Peace at Last"

What we've described up to this point is almost unimaginable and unless you're one of the ones who has his garment clean it won't be a pretty time.

But after so much death and destruction and centuries of war and unrest in the Middle East, (centuries) imagine what a difference the second coming of Jesus Christ will make.

Jews, Christians and Muslims not only have a common spiritual ancestor in Abraham; adherents of all three of those religions expect, in different ways their Messiah.

But only after the true Messiah comes can all three begin to live in true harmony. Devoid of religious differences and finally understanding and appreciating the blood ties that bind them, they're brothers; they will be able to work together under the returned Jesus Christ to resolve their differences now, once and for all.

Described as the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ will establish His government on earth with Jerusalem as His capital.

Micah 4:1 Micah 4:1But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it.
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Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain (Or government) of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, (Top of the other governments, so Jesus Christ's government will be preeminent, be above all other governments) and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it,

Verse 2: Many nations shall come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, (Not just the Jews, many nations) to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth and the word of the Lord from Jerusale .

It will be such a different time to what we see today.

All the children of Abraham – Arab, Jew and Israelite alike, along with all the inhabitants of the entire earth, will then have the opportunity to learn God's truth and receive His gift of salvation; to know the truth, to be offered His Holy Spirit. No longer will they be at war, but they will be allies, cooperating together in a spirit of peace and brotherhood, all acknowledging the true God and living according to His ways, all receiving His blessings. Under Christ's righteous rule, peace not war will break out. You know you hear about wars breaking out, peace will break out in this long troubled land of the Middle East.

Verse 3: He shall judge between many peoples and rebuke strong nations afar off; (If you're not getting the lesson, you'll get the lesson) they shall beat their swords into plowshares, (The opposite of what we read a moment ago in Joel) and their spears into pruning hook; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Verse 4: But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

Terror ravished Jerusalem will be fearful no longer.

Finally beyond the darkness and gloom, after thousands of years of war and travail, mankind will see peace in Jerusalem and throughout the land that God gave to Abraham 4,000 years ago, a peace that will extend across the entire Middle East and then as we read in other prophesies, ultimately fill the entire world. It begins in the Middle East and fills the world.

We've covered a lot of ground today so I really encourage you to pick up and read our church literature on prophecy; right now we have five excellent titles on these subjects. First of course is "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy," which I might mention is being requested like crazy off our web site right now; "The United States & Britain in Bible Prophecy" if you want to know what happens to this country, "You Can Understand Bible Prophecy," "The Book of Revelation Unveiled," which goes into a lot of the beast powers, and "Are We Living in the Time of the End," another popular booklet right now on our web site. So it might be the time to pull them off the shelf and read them again.

In the coming reign of the Messiah, the Christ, the descendants of all three groups, all three monotheistic religions of the world will learn to flourish in cooperation and peace.

Who knows, perhaps at the home office in Jerusalem, Christ will receive a letter from a citizen in a far country similar to this one we received this week:

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been studying the bible on line for quite some time. I can find no fault with the tenants of belief I read on your web site. I have been searching for God's true church for the past 25 years. I hope you understand how frustrating it was to see all the false teachers and preachers of the world. I'm going on 64 years of age and I need to get baptized with water soon. I want to spend the rest of my life living by God's laws and doing His will but I know I can't do it through my own power. I want to be sure that the person who baptizes me is living according to God's laws and has God's Holy Spirit dwelling within. I'd like to meet with one of your ministers soon, that I may make an appointment to be baptized and have hands laid on me so I can receive the Holy Spirit and start working for the Kingdom of God.