By Merrill Olson
Not only is the world falling apart but America is rapidly moving into a secular progressive mentality. With it can one observe the downward trend of Christianity becoming outlawed? Only naivety to what is happening will people remain unaffected by the reality taking place.
This trend to outlaw Christianity is evident in every facet of society. Such radicalization is seen in the word “Jesus” or the word “Christ” being outlawed in certain places. People that are called to pray in the public square are not allowed to mention the name Jesus less it offends someone. However, Allah is perfectly acceptable. No longer are the Bible and prayer permitted in the public schools, nor the teaching of biblical creation. The Ten Commandments and Crosses that have stood for decades are being demolished or removed from schools and government places. In fact, private citizens have been forced to remove a Cross from their property because it offends someone.
The examples of Christianity being outlawed are many. We have heard from the news media where businesses have been sued and lost because the owners refused to go against their Christian convictions. On the other hand, Muslims are exempt from any lawsuits for the same type of business. This is pure hypocrisy! However, it is present day America. Christian colleges are being threatened by legislation that would sever their tenets of the faith regarding human sexuality, housing policies, codes of conduct regarding employment and admission standards, and other critical issues as Christian institutions.
The list is extensive regarding the outlawing of Christianity. Only a few examples have been given. Nevertheless, it is very evident that our society is being influenced more and more by secularists who are imposing their anti-God religion on America. There is real hostility growing against people who profess Jesus Christ and stand for biblical morality. However, it should not be a surprise because the Bible says that “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).
The decline of Christianity and the progressive secularization of society are even more evident in the decline of church attendance in America. The non-religious part of the population is growing and churches are losing. Without a true conversion to Christ and biblical teaching and evangelism, this country will become more and more pagan in its thinking. Leaders in all areas and the general populous will follow this pattern.
This seems to fit the words of Jesus: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction [hell], and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life [heaven], and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Simply, heaven is not their destiny.
It has all happened because God’s people have not “contended earnestly for the faith” upon God’s Word (Jude 1:3). Is it too late to start? Contending is critical! Otherwise, Christianity will continue to progress further into becoming outlawed in America!
By Merrill Olson
The prophet warns: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Is. 5:20).
This sounds like present day America even though it was written to the nation of Judah who would eventually fall to God’s judgment under Babylonian captivity. After Israel, the northern kingdom, was taken into Assyrian captivity in 722 B.C., Judah continued to follow the footsteps of sin as Israel.
Therefore, Isaiah warned Judah that judgment was coming not by Assyria but by Babylon, even though it had not yet risen to power. Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (ruled 605-562 B.C.), would capture Jerusalem, destroy the Temple, and carry the people of Judah into captivity in Babylon.
In the context of Isaiah 5:20, the prophet pronounces six indictments introduced by “Woe.” Each of them is much like God would pronounce upon America as He looks at it today. They are: (1) Woe to materialists (5:8-10); (2) Woe to the drunkards (5:11-12); (3) Woe to those who blaspheme God because of their sin and challenge Him (5:18-19); (4) Woe to those who call evil good and good evil (5:20); (5) Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes (5:21); (6) Woe to the drunken bribe takers (5:22-23).
Each one of these denunciations by a holy God fits well into the slide of America into debauchery from its American Christian heritage. It is a heritage that was built upon the pillars of Christianity. Jedediah Morse, an educator and geographer, said in 1799: “Whenever the pillars of Christianity should be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.” Are they falling? What do you think?
Once again, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” In Judah’s day, there were those who led others astray by their own perverted values. Think of people today who are led astray by the godless morals and thinking of many politicians, educators, preachers (2 Cor. 11:13-15), TV personalities and secular media, movie producers, focus groups including religious, etc. You name them! It is not that difficult. Many sins forbidden in Scripture are held up as being “good.” “Darkness” is portrayed as “light” and socially and politically correct.
Tragically, many are portraying Islam as “good” and “Christianity” as “evil.” There is a push today to denounce the name “Jesus” from being mentioned in the public square. Same sex marriage is considered “good.” Millions of babies are still being murdered in their mothers’ wombs as abortion remains legal and this “evil” is considered as “good.”
Is there any hope for America? The only one is if masses turn to Jesus in repentance, but Bible prophecy does not foresee that. What is prophesied is that Jesus will return and the whole world will bow to Him whether they want to or not (Phil. 2:9-11).
By Merrill Olson
Long before the United States of America came into being with its Christian foundation, the Word of God stated: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man [woman] rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2).
This was the thinking and belief of the majority of American’s founders. Tragically, few people realize in our present day that many of these men were devoutly Christian or stood for biblical standards. In fact, those at the time of the American Revolution saw America as an opportunity to bring forth a country based on these values.
For example, John Adams, the Second President (1797-1801), wrote in his diary on February 22, 1756: “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their very law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited …What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
John Quincy Adams, the Sixth President, stressed: “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government and principles of Christianity.” James Madison is often considered the chief architect of the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights. He was a profound Bible student. Even though he became a lawyer and a statesman, he never wavered on his Christian convictions. Many early leaders could likewise be described and quoted.
Therefore, a careful study of American History will reveal, to any critic, the emphasis upon God and the Bible as the sources upon which this country was to be governed.
This founding basis means that no one has to wonder why God has utterly blessed America up to this point in time. So, two very good reasons stand out: First, because of America’s favoritism toward Israel (Genesis 12:2-3); and secondly, because of the beliefs of the America’s Founders. Without a doubt, these two explanations speak loudly to God’s blessings upon the United States of America.
Nevertheless, America is becoming a country that will eventually start experiencing God’s judgment, if it has not already begun. As this nation forgets God and the One upon whom the Founders based their government upon, God will gradually remove His blessing from it. As America turns its back on Israel, as many of its leaders are doing, God’s promise to “curse” it will happen (Genesis 12:3).
Consequently, is America now slowly progressing to a point of no return? Most likely! America is not even mentioned in Scripture. God says, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice; But when a wicked man [woman] rules, the people groan.” As ungodly leaders are voted into places of leadership, the American people will suffer. Think of the countries with corrupt government leadership! The people are suffering.
Is this Bible prophecy being fulfilled? It very much looks like it. When will Jesus return?
No one knows! For us who are saved, our focus must daily be on Him (Heb. 12:1-2).
By Merrill Olson
There is confusion today between these two groups. The news media many times refers to ISIL as the terrorists. President Obama refuses to say ISIS. In any setting in which he speaks about the threat, he always refers to ISIL. Ignorantly, many people accept the term. However, for those who know the difference, they may react in disgust wondering how people, that should know better, refuse to say it like it is.
ISIS simply stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIL refers to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. What is the Levant? It includes the countries of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and the area of southern Turkey. There is a big difference. For instance, Israel and Jordan are not beheading, raping, and killing Christians, Jews, and non-Muslims. These atrocities are occurring under ISIS.
ISIS was founded in 1999 by Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi. He believes that he is the successor to the Prophet Mohammad. Their flag contains two phrases: “There is no god but Alllah” “Mohammad is the messenger of Allah.”
Much violence is happening today in the world with terrorists killing people and ISIS claiming credit for it. On the other hand, the Middle East itself is also unstable economically, politically, socially, religiously, etc. It is a very diverse and complex place that consists of tribal clans, ethnic groups and religious factions. Therefore, this brings forth violence and war that makes it a very volatile place in the world today.
From this unrest has brought forth ISIS with its objective to impose Sharia Law on all humanity and to follow a strict adherence to the Qur’an and Mohammed. Its aim is to establish a social order that implements Islamic law in all areas of life. In doing this, it believes in the concept of Holy War or Jihad as a necessity in accomplishing its goal.
God prophesied centuries ago that this very thing would happen. It goes all the way back to Abraham and the confusion of Sarai (Sarah) with her maid, Hagar, after Hagar became pregnant with Ishmael by Abraham (Gen. 16:1-8).
After Hagar fled into the wilderness of Beersheba, the “Angel of the LORD [the pre-incarnate Christ] appeared to her and said, ‘Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren’” (vv. 11-12).
Ishmael became the father of twelve sons and thus the father of the Arabs (Gen. 25:12-16). The Bible says that “He shall be a wild man….” While we must not apply these traits to every descendant of Ishmael, centuries-long hostility between Jews and Arabs are well-known. Out of this has brought, like ISIS, haters of Jews and Christians.
This violence and hatred is going to continue until the Lord Jesus returns and ends it all (Psalm 2:1-12). Therefore, “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” (v. 12).
By Merrill Olson
God has established an eternal home for all of His redeemed in Christ. He describes it as a place where “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
The apostle John expressed the beginning of the eternal state: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (v. 1).
This will be the fulfillment of what God promised centuries before: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17). This promise is reinforced with the words: “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
The word “new” in Revelation 21:1 and 2 Peter 3:13 is the Greek word “kainos” and not “neos.” Therefore, we can understand clearly what the Bible is saying when it uses the Greek word “kainos” and not “neos.” “Kainos” has to do with “fresh or renewed, made new.” In other words, it is not new to time but new in quality. “Neos” means “young” and has to do with “new in respect to time, that which is recent. “ John and Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, use the word “kainos” meaning “fresh or renewed, made new.”
Therefore, what is God going to do with the present earth to prepare it for the eternal ages? He is going to purge it with fire. The Bible says that the “heavens and earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up…the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12).
God’s Word stresses in graphic language that this entire earth system will be completely purged with fire as God makes preparation for the pure and untainted “new heaven and earth.” This eternal dwelling place of His redeemed will bear no effects or reminders of this present earth.
Heaven and earth will be joined into one eternal realm with the “holy Jerusalem [heavenly city], descending out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:10). This city is huge by divine measurements (v. 16). In other words, it is approximately 1,500 miles high, wide, and long. If you are traveling in an airliner at a height of 33,000 feet, that is a little over 6 miles. But that is nothing compared to this city as it “descends out of heaven from God.” This gigantic city of heaven is brilliant as it glows with the glory of God (vv. 9-26).
One cannot imagine how wonderful heaven is going to be for those saved in Christ. There will be no curse of sin as the eternal ages will be bathed with the splendor of God’s glory. It will be an endless state of utter joy and perfection. Nothing on earth can describe its future reality!
By Merrill Olson
There is going to be a future trial that will surpass all others that have ever taken place. It will occur when every unsaved person, from the beginning of time, will face the courtroom of God at the Great White Throne Judgment. The fearsome picture of it is described in Revelation 20:11-15. This is the most serious and sobering passage in the Bible. It tells of a frightening experience that will take place.
This judgment will be the final one after Satan has been “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” (v. 10). It will be a horrific judgment that will lead all unsaved humanity into the same place (v. 15). No unredeemed person will be exempt for some reason. There will be no grace because it ended at death. There is no salvation beyond the grave. Therefore, there will be no debate regarding anyone’s innocence or guilt. There will be no defense attorneys. Everyone will be guilty before a holy God. They died in their sins without Christ; and thus, all hope is gone.
God’s Word portrays them as “the dead, small and great” (v. 12). These are the mass of unbelievers who face the divine judgment of God. It also includes those depicted by the words “the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them” (v. 13).
At death the souls of all unbelievers enter the realm that Jesus called “Hades” (Luke 16:23). It is a place of “torment” (v. 24) as they await the Great White Throne Judgment. When the day and hour comes for their divine summons, they will be resurrected to stand before an unsympathetic Judge to hear their sentencing. They will have eternal bodies that will never die. Their names are not “written in the Book of Life” (Rev. 20:15). Therefore, they will be “cast into the lake of fire” and punished eternally with no possibility of release. What a horrifying truth!
There is no one without Christ who will escape. Not one person will be spared because of their “good works” (Eph. 2:8-9). People from history will be there. This includes people like Hitler, Stalin, Julius Caesar, and Roman emperors. It also takes in atheists, agnostics, the religious and unconverted church members, including pastors, priests, and popes. The self-righteous will appear. People from false religions will be there such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. The list goes on and on. It does not make any difference whether people are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or whatever, without saving faith in the Lord only divine judgment awaits them.
Who is the Supreme Judge? It is the Lord Jesus Christ! He said, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). He added, “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man” (vv. 26-27). If people reject Christ now, they will appear before Him as their divine Judge.
Salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12). The Bible says, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)
By Merrill Olson
“The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for, lo, his doom is sure, one little word will fell him” – Martin Luther. These are words well spoken for Satan’s “doom is sure.” His future is bleak. His destiny is eternal torment.
During the Millennial Reign of Christ, Satan will be bound for the entire time in the “bottomless pit” (Rev. 20:1-3). He will personally be void of any influence. His own destructive and deceptive forces will be powerless.
Nevertheless, his evil nature will not change after being confined to this long incarceration. When he is released at the end of the Millennium, the Bible says that “he will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog [not the same battle as Ezekiel 38], to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea” (Rev. 20:8).
Who are these people “whose number is as the sand” upon a seashore? This is a figure of speech that Scripture uses to describe a vast and unaccountable multitude of people (Gen. 22:17; Josh. 11:4; 1 Sam. 13:5; Heb. 11:12). When Satan is released, he will bring together all the suppressed human rebellion still left in the universe.
What is interesting about it is that sinful human nature does not change even under a utopia type of living when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9). These conditions will not alter the sad reality of human depravity. Even though Jesus Christ will be ruling from His Kingdom throne, vast numbers will refuse His grace and reject the King of all the earth. Because He will “rule with a rod of iron” and resurrected believers will rule with Him (Rev. 2:26-27; 19:15), unbelievers will not be able to defy Him in any way.
However, when the Millennium ends and Satan is loosed, he will pull together these rebels and “they [will] go up on the breadth of the earth and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city.” This “beloved city” is Jerusalem (Ps. 78:68; 87:1-2), and it is the place of the Messiah’s throne and the center from which He rules (Isa. 24:23). When the attack occurs, there will be an immediate execution by fire. The Bible says that “fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them” (Rev. 20:9). The forces of Satan will be physically killed, and their souls will go into “Hades” (20:13) to await their final sentencing to the eternal “lake of fire” (v. 15), which is hell (Luke 12:5).
Satan will not escape his fate. The Bible says that “the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast [the Antichrist] and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10).
What is interesting about sinful human nature is that it does not need Satan to blame. Even when the devil is bound, mankind will still express corruption and turn against King Jesus. All the evil in the world today comes from human depravity! There is only one solution to it and it is personal salvation through Jesus (Acts 4:12; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 1:7).
By Merrill Olson
In the chronology of the Bible, especially in Revelation, the Millennial Kingdom follows the Second Coming of Christ. The Second Coming is described in Revelation 19:11-21 and the Kingdom in Revelation 20:1-6.
Scripture lists the duration of the Millennium six times (Revelation 20:1-7). Therefore, “the thousand years” is described in such a way that it should not be taken symbolically or allegorically. A straightforward reading of the biblical text is that the earthly kingdom of Christ will exist for the extent of time that God’s Word clearly states. To read into it any other interpretation in order to agree with a particular eschatological framework is to degrade the very Word of God.
There will be four groups of people that will enter the Lord’s Millennial Kingdom. The first are those who are caught up in the Rapture before the Tribulation (1 Thess. 4:13-17). They will come back with the Lord at His Second Coming (Zech. 14:5; Rev. 19:14) and will enter the Kingdom in their resurrected bodies.
The second group will be raised in glorified resurrected bodies at the Second Coming. This will be the Old Testament saints (Dan. 2:2-3; Isa. 26:19-21). The third group resurrected also in glorified bodies at Christ’s Second Coming is the Tribulation saints who died as martyrs in the Tribulation (Rev. 7:9-14; 20:4). The fourth group is the surviving Tribulation saints, the “sheep” that the Lord singled out in His judgment of the nations (Matt. 25:31-46). These believers enter the Millennial Kingdom in their physical bodies and will bear the children that populate the Kingdom. The glorified bodies of the first three groups will not be capable of giving birth.
The Kingdom reign of Christ on this earth will be a glorious time. The Bible says that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9). Can you imagine? Today the world is filled with the knowledge of evil, but in that future day it will be “full of the knowledge of the LORD.”
Many of the blessings of that time are mentioned in Isaiah. For instance:
(1) Righteousness will prevail (11:1-5). As the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, rules this earth, righteousness and justice will prevail. (2) There will be universal peace (2:2-4; 9:6). Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace” and this earth will be filled with peace.
(3) Animals and humans will live in harmony (11:6-9). (4) Food and rain will be plentiful for both people and animals (30:23-25). (5) All physical infirmities and illnesses will be gone (29:18; 33:24). (6) People will dwell in an enhanced and blessed environment (35:1-2, 5-7). (7) Longevity will be greatly increased (65:20). (8) Prosperity will result in joy and gladness (Jer. 31:12-14; Amos 9:13-15). There are many more from Scripture.
However, the blessing for those who presently love Israel is that the Remnant of Israel will possess its promised land (Gen. 15:18-21; 26:3-4; 28:13-14; Psalm 105:8-12). It has been prophesied to be. God is not finished with Israel! Praise God!
By Merrill Olson
After the Second Coming of Christ there is an interval of time that is frequently overlooked before the Lord inaugurates His millennial kingdom. This means that the Millennium does not commence right after the Great Tribulation. This space of time is given in Scripture as a seventy-five-day period.
The Word of God says, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty five days” (Daniel 12:11-12).
It is known from Scripture that the last half of the Tribulation exists for three and a half years or for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. It was in the beginning of these years at the midpoint of the Tribulation “that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up” (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15).
Therefore, “the abomination of desolation” will last for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. However, there is an additional thirty days as given in the one thousand two hundred and ninety days (Daniel 12:11). There is also added another forty-five days in the prophetic timetable when Daniel proclaimed the words “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty five days” (Daniel 12:12).
There are certain events that will take place during this interval of seventy-five days.
It will be during this time when Satan is bound and cast into the “bottomless pit” until the end of the millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:1-3). Another occurrence will be that the false prophet and the Antichrist are cast into “the lake of fire and brimstone” (Rev. 20:10). The devil will join them shortly after the millennium and “they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (v. 10).
On a more glorious note, the Old Testament saints will be resurrected from the dead during this interval (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2) along with the martyred tribulation saints who will “reign with Christ for the thousand years” (Rev. 20:4).
This period of seventy-five days also includes a major judgment that Jesus describes in Matthew 25:31-46. In these verses He explains the judgment of the nations comprised of “sheep and goats” that symbolize the saved and the lost of the Gentiles. They have survived the Great Tribulation and are intermingled and require separation. The “sheep” are the saved people who will enter the Lord’s Millennial Kingdom and the “goats” are the unsaved that will experience the eternal fires of hell (vv. 41, 46). The “sheep” proved their relationship with Jesus by how they reached out to the Jews during the terrible times of the Tribulation as He illustrates in the next verses (vv. 35-40).
There will, also, be a separating judgment of the surviving Jews (Ezekiel 20:34-38). The saved will be in their moral bodies and will bear babies throughout the millennium.
Therefore, as people seek answers, the Bible is God’s divine source!
By Merrill Olson
In regressing back before the Second Coming of Christ (previous article), there will be an all out invasion of Israel that will be a massive northern assault. This attack is prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39. It is still future because it is prophetic Scripture that has never taken place in the history of the world. No warfare has ever come close to it.
This mammoth force will be composed of Russia, Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Libya, and others (Ezekiel 38:1-6). In fact, “Rosh” is most likely modern Russia that is from “the far north” (v. 15) of Israel. “Magog” takes in the former southern Soviet Union republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The northern parts of Afghanistan could be included.
Scripture does name the nations of “Persia [Islamic Republic of Iran 1979], Ethiopia [modern day Sudan], and Libya” (Ezek. 38:5). “Libya” could also include Algeria and Tunisia. The Bible mentions “Gomer” (v. 6) which is modern day Turkey.
The Word of God is predicting a future invasion of Israel by this gigantic force of Muslin nations in collaboration with Russia to obliterate it. This northern military coalition will seek to accomplish their long waited goal and threats to annihilate the Jewish state.
The time for this assault will be when Israel “dwells safely” (v. 8). At that time, the Lord God says of this massive army, “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, have neither bars nor gates’” (vv. 10-11).
When will this point in time come when Israel “dwells safely” in their land? Many Bible scholars believe that it takes place after the Antichrist signs the covenant with the nation of Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27). This will thus bring peace to the Middle East regarding Israel and will last for three and a half years. Therefore, Israel will enjoy a heightened security that they have desired for decades.
Others believe that it is happening right now with Israel’s well-equipped army and effective missile defense system. They also have a terrific air force that is well trained to defend the nation and defeat any attacks against it. In these ways, Israel is at a state where it “dwells safely.” However, is it really dwelling safely?
Even though these are very logical understandings, they may not necessarily be in accord with what is found in Scripture. A biblical perception is that it takes place right after the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:16-17) and before the Antichrist signs the peace agreement with Israel. There seems to be a time period before this signing takes place.
Whenever this battle happens, God will intervene for Israel as Russia and the Muslim nations will be literally destroyed (Ezekiel 38:17-39:16). This will then give opportunity for the Jews to build their long awaited temple as promised in Bible prophecy.
By Merrill Olson
World history is barreling toward a conclusion that has already been foretold in Scripture and ordained by God. Regardless of what the scoffers say (2 Peter 3:3-7), the Lord Jesus Christ will return as He promised (Matt. 24:29-30; Mark 13:24-26; Luke 21:25-28).
No one knows when it will happen. It could be soon or years from now, even centuries. Nevertheless, it will occur because God “is not slack concerning His promise, as some call slackness” (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, the Lord will return.
By the end of the Great Tribulation, the spiritual wretchedness and decay of this world will be like a rotting carcass. The stage will then be set for His Second Coming as the wickedness and rebellion of mankind has exhausted God’s mercy and patience. The Lord Jesus will appear in judgment with “power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30).
The apostle Paul writes that “the Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:7-8).
The book of Revelation (Rev. 19:11-16) pictures Christ coming on a white horse from heaven. He is accompanied by the angels and the saints “clothed in linen, white and clean” (v. 14) in all the glory of heaven. He has a sharp sword in His hand “that with it He should strike the nations” (v. 15). He is, also, “clothed with a robe dipped in blood” (v. 13). This is not the blood He shed on Calvary but that of His enemies as He brings judgment on the world and destroys all the armies that have arrayed themselves “to make war against Him” (v. 19).
Who are these armies? They are the world’s armies that the “demons” (Rev. 16:14) have gathered to “Armageddon” (Rev. 16:16) to fight against the Lord (Rev. 19:19).
Therefore, the formidable and seemingly invincible armed might of the “beast” (Antichrist) with all of his firepower will await the coming of Christ. However, he will be no equal foe for the Lord Jesus for the war will be short lived. The Bible says, “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (v. 20). This final hell is the ultimate destiny of Satan (Rev. 20:10), his angels (demons), and all unredeemed (Matt. 25:41).
What happens to members of the world’s armies? God’s Word says that “the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Rev. 19:21). These scavenger birds (Matt. 24:28) will be used by God to cleanse the land.
The rest of the living mankind will be judged at the “sheep and goat” judgment (Matt. 25:31-46). For us, in Christ: “The LORD is [our] light and [our] salvation” (Ps. 27:1).
By Merrill Olson
A careful study of the Book of Revelation (Rev. 16:12-16) reveals that at the end of the Tribulation the armies of the world will gather in the Middle East to do battle. Their purpose will be to come against the nation of Israel in a final death effort to finally eradicate the Jewish people. The Bible refers to this campaign as “Armageddon.”
Armageddon has become a popular word in our culture. Even movies have been given the name in portraying a terrible, devastating event on the earth. However, there truly will be such an occurrence with destructive results for the world’s armies.
The word appears only once in the Bible, in Revelation 16:16: “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew Armageddon.” This word comes from two Hebrew words, “har Megiddo.” It literally means “Mount Megiddo.”
This is a place in northern Israel called Megiddo. It sits on a raised area that overlooks a huge valley that is known as the Valley of Armageddon, the Valley of Jezreel, or the Plain of Esdraelon. It is approximately 14 miles wide and 35 miles long and forms what was described by Napoleon as “the most natural battlefield of the whole earth.” If a person stands on Mount Carmel overlooking the great plain, the same feelings are clearly felt. I experienced that sense of understanding and agreement.
The gathering of the armies of the world to do battle against each other will appear from a human standpoint that they are assembling on their own. However, it will be the demonic powers that will influence the rulers of each nation to bring their militaries together for the confrontation against each other (Rev. 16:13-14). The demons will emanate from Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet (v. 13). Therefore, the armies will be energized by Satan to rid the Jews from Israel and thwart God’s promises.
Yet, everything will occur according to God’s sovereign plan for it will be a time that is called “that great day of God Almighty” (v. 14) for the armies are like grapes in “the great winepress of the wrath of God” (Rev. 14:19). One of the most vivid descriptions of the brutality and severity of Armageddon are described in Revelation 14:17-20. It will cover approximately 200 miles from Megiddo in the north to Bozrah in the south. The massive extent of the slaughter is described by the amount of blood that is shed (v. 20).
There are different titles and descriptions for Armageddon given throughout Scripture that indicates clearly that this has to do with the wrath of God. Some are: “the great and terrible day of the LORD” (Joel 2:31); “the winepress” and “the harvest” (Joel 3:13); “the day…burning like an oven” (Malachi 4:1); “the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Malachi 4:5); and “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14).
The battle will end with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Rev. 16:15: 19:11-21). The armies of the world, including the Antichrist, will suffer a total, cataclysmic defeat. He will slay them by the sword of His word. To Him and Him alone be glory and praise!