Armageddon, The Rapture of the Church, The Second Coming of Christ, The Book of Revelation, The Great Tribulation, The Apocalypse, The Prophets Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and John, World War III, The End of The Age, The Millennium, False Prophets, The Antichrist, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Day of the Lord, The Grapes of Wrath, 666 and The Mark of the Beast. What do these terms have in common? They are all related to the study of Bible prophecy. And very few topics are more misunderstood than Bible Prophecy.
The study of Bible Prophecy is one of the most controversial topics in the Christian Church today. Most Christian Churches ignore or are ignorant of the significance prophecy plays in the Bible. Approximately 30% of the Bible is prophetic in nature. Since the Bible is God's Word and 30% of that Word has to do with prophecy, should not Christians have a significant interest in this area?
When studying Bible Prophecy, it is essential that the various prophecies are understood in their correct context and application. Bible Prophecy deals with the Jew, the Christian and the non-believer. Failure to correctly discern these applications leaves the reader in constant turmoil, unable to resolve Scripture: ... the Church is not Israel and Israel is not the Church. Some of the most confusing prophetic voices today teach that there is no distinction between Israel and the Church, and that the Church today is spiritual Israel and is destined to fulfill the promises of God to that chosen nation.
There is a God in Heaven that reveals secrets ... (Daniel 2:28) The Lord God Himself, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, has ordained prophecy for the expressed purpose of proving He is Who He says He is. In fact, in the Old Testament of the Bible, Moses asked God Whose Name he (Moses) should declare to the Israelites when they ask Who commissioned him to lead them out of Egypt into the land that would later be known as the Land of Israel. God's succinct reply to Moses said it all. Almighty God has spoken and inspired men to write His Word into the collection of Books we now know as the Bible. But how does He prove to the human race that this is His Word and that He is Who He says He is? He foretells the future to His prophets who speak His Word and write it down for future generations before the events take place. This marks the uniqueness of the Bible, as the Only Book that not only claims a Resurrected Savior, but as the Only Book with the ability to accurately foretell the future, authenticating God's stamp of approval
Although a Russian-backed Arab invasion of Israel is foretold in the prophecy of Ezekiel (38, 39) after Israel is restored as a nation (Ezekiel 36, 37) this invasion is not the Battle of Armageddon. While the prophetic language in Ezekiel seems to describe Armageddon in many ways, there are several reasons to differentiate this invasion from the Battle of Armageddon (Prophecy Watch, 212-214). It should be noted that some Bible Prophecy scholars see Ezekiel 38 starting at the mid-point of the Tribulation Period. Either way, by the time Ezekiel 39 comes to pass, it seems Armageddon is the final result of the battles.
This invasion (unsuccessful by the way) may result in the emergence of the Antichrist who arrives on the scene just in time to take credit for the devastating defeat of the Russian-Arabian alliance. If so, the Antichrist would then institute the false peace covenant as the False Messiah of Israel. The Bible clearly indicates that the overwhelming majority of the world is fooled by the Antichrist into believing he is the "messiah", albeit a political one (even and especially Israel!). The term Antichrist doesn't just mean "opposed" to Christ but the name "Antichrist" actually means "instead of" or "counterfeit" Christ. He will seem to embody all of the qualities the non-believing world expects from Jesus Christ but does not represent the true Biblical portrait of Him. The Bible is explicitly clear, the visible Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the Earth occurs at the Battle of Armageddon when He defeats the Antichrist's armies, not just a World War II Axis-style alliance (Revelation 19:11-21). It is quite possible that the world will mistake the Russian-Arabian invasion of Israel as Armageddon and gladly receive the Antichrist as false messiah (oops!) unwittingly ushering in the real Battle of Armageddon a short seven years later.
When Jesus spoke of the Rapture of the Church in Matthew 24:38-39, He noted that it will be a surprise to the non-believing inhabitants of the Earth. The armed invasion of Israel in Ezekiel 38-39 will also be a surprise. Ezekiel 38-39 seems to indicate that Israel will stand alone but with her God in this battle. Henry Kissinger said: "The main aim of any American President is to prevent World War III. Second, that no American President would risk World War III because of territories occupied by Israel. Three (sic), the Russians know this."
Israel knows this as well. Since the early 1970's, Israel has maintained a ready force of fighter-bomber aircraft equipped with nuclear weapons with one primary target in mind: Moscow. Israel can comprehend Old Testament Bible Prophecy too and they know that they will be facing Moscow in the next major prophetic war of Ezekiel 38-39. US-made F-4 Phantom II fighter-bombers were the first assigned with nuclear weapons; they have since been augmented with American-made F-16 Falcon fighter-bombers for the nuclear delivery. A poor man's ICBM …
The tremendous economic problems of Russia, her continued export of advanced weaponry to oil-rich Arab states, the instability / unpredictability of Islam and the Arabs states, the PLO and Hamas' continued terrorist operations and Israel's ongoing expansion into East Jerusalem are all combining to bring Ezekiel 38-39 to pass. Jerusalem is the Burdensome Stone of God.
When is the Battle of Armageddon? The actual date of Armageddon is a hidden mystery of prophecy. Yet it is a temporary mystery because the Day of the Lord, another term for Armageddon, cannot be known and yet can be known. What absurd paradox is this? This is but one of several mysteries God presents us with in Scripture. When Jesus was talking to His disciples, He was speaking on several topics including the End of the Age, Armageddon and the Rapture of the Church. He told them they could not know the day and hour of the Rapture but that they could know the season (Matthew 24:32-35). Jesus is coming two more times, first (invisible to the world) at the Rapture of the Church, as a Thief in the Night (Matthew 24:36-51) and again (visible to the world) at the Battle of Armageddon (Zechariah 14). "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the Day nor the Hour wherein the Son of Man Cometh" (Matthew 25:1-13)
The Day of the Lord, the Battle of Armageddon, cannot be known right now because the Church must first be Raptured so that the Antichrist can be revealed (2nd Thessalonians 2:1-12). After the Antichrist makes a seven-year peace treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15-18) he (the Antichrist) will break the covenant 1,260 days into the "week" of years (Daniel 9:27b,c). Now (the middle of the week of 7 years) wise Jews will know when Christ returns because there are references to 1,290 days and 1,335 days (Daniel 12:11-12). The Battle of Armageddon begins 1,260 days after the Antichrist breaks the false peace agreement with Israel (Armageddon is at the end of the 7 years of the false peace accord). The indication is that the Millennial Reign of Christ begins at the end of the 1,335 days. That God will be dealing uniquely with Israel and not the Church during this period seems to be confirmed in the fact that the Christian Church was not present for the first 483 years of the Decree upon Israel and Jerusalem; therefore it does not follow that the Christian Church will be present for the last 7 years of the Decree. There will, of course, be Jews and non-believing Gentiles converted to Christ during the Tribulation Period.
In the Book of Daniel, the prophet Daniel is told that the mystery of the End Times is sealed up until the Last Days, (Daniel 12:4) and that many people will travel extensively and human knowledge will be dramatically increased (Daniel 12:4). During the first 5900 years of recorded human history from 4000
B.C. to 1900 A.D. men conveyed themselves mainly on horseback. In 1903, the Wright brothers were thrilled when the world's first motorized airplane flew a few hundred feet. Between 1900-1969, in just 69 short years, men developed mass production of automobiles, massive steel passenger ships, refined the airplane and evolved it into the jumbo jet airliner, left the bonds of Earth and orbited the sky, set foot on the Moon 240,000 miles away in the cold vacuum of space, created the television, the computer and the inter-continental nuclear bomb. All in only 69 short years! And yet the optimism for man in the 20th century has been stained by the fact that the major wars claimed 87,000,000 (that's right million) lives while another 83,000,000+ have been lost in the various pogroms, insurrections, etc. The total for the highly-educated 20th century: 170,000,000+ indicating man's intelligence is not capable of breeding true peace. "Watch therefore: for ye know not what Hour your Lord doth Come" (Matthew 24:42)
So we study Bible Prophecy, looking for the Prince of Peace, the King of Israel, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ who will set up a never-ending Kingdom on Earth and True Peace. This Kingdom, of which the first 1,000 years are known as the Millennial Reign of Christ, begins after the Battle of Armageddon. The details of the period known as the Day of the Lord, including the Battle of Armageddon are found in the Apocalypse. The Book of the Bible known as the Apocalypse is actually the Revelation of Jesus Christ, written by the Apostle John on the island of Patmos around 90-95 A.D. The Apostle John is known in evangelical songs and teachings as "John the Revelator". Know this, Armageddon will not take place until seven (7) 360-day years are completed after the false peace pact with Israel is signed by the Antichrist, as foretold in Daniel's prophecy.
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