Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] Prophetic events in the Middle East will affect every living person on earth. When those occur, will you be ready?
The final battle for Earth is often called the Battle of Armageddon, the gathering of armies in the Holy Land and those armies are intent on controlling the world. Armageddon, even that name calls up alarm and fear. Said with the right voice it can shake you. And frankly it should. The Bible does talk about a final battle for Earth. Now it's different than most people will imagine. It's not a battle to end life on the Earth but it ends with God's Kingdom, replacing man's kingdoms.
Jesus Christ, the coming King of Earth, has a lot to say to us about that particular event. We look at Christ and understand Him as our King, as our Savior. And He tells us that that moment is important to know, this moment at the conclusion of the age, and the moments leading up to His glorious second coming. Let me give you a quote from a Scripture that is very important and central to this spot that we're talking about here in this program. Christ said in Revelation 16:15, He said, "Behold, I'm coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." Watch. And then He goes on to talk about that gathering into a place called in the Hebrew, Armageddon. In verse 16, that's where we get this term. It's a moment when the armies of the world's nations are gathered in the current land of Israel, at a place called Megiddo. It's in the northern part of Israel, right in the valley of Jezreel. Armies gather there and then they will marched to Jerusalem in a final conflict. And so here in Revelation where I've just quoted, the resurrected Christ tells His disciples, people like you and I, He tells us three things. He says, "I'm coming as a thief, suddenly, unexpectedly."
He says to watch. And that's an extremely important word to understand biblically and in this Scripture with what we're talking about. He says watch and He says, "Keep your clothes, so you are not found naked." I guess we could say, keep your clothes on so you're not found naked. What He's really talking about is you want to be spiritually clothed. That's what He's really saying, awake, understanding. And then He says a third thing, "You are blessed if you watch." What that means is, we should understand, so that we don't get caught asleep and, of course, naked. And Christ will give us understanding. Really, in this one verse in Revelation 16 that I've quoted to you, we have all that one needs to really know about why the Middle East, this region of the world that we are concerned about, hear about on a regular basis, why it matters. It's a question that I raise a lot when I'm teaching and when I'm writing. Those of you that are my students here in this setting here today, you hear me say that phrase a lot. Why does the Middle East matter? Why should we pay attention to this? Let me tell you. It matters because it matters to your relationship with God the Father and Christ His Son. Why does it matter to them? Because of this. Jesus Christ grew up, as you know, in the city of Nazareth. Now let me tell you a little bit of information. The city of Nazareth, the village at the time, looks out over a spot, the very spot where the armies will gather in that Scripture that I just read to you from Revelation 16 in a place called Megiddo. Megiddo is a place within what is a very large open valley called the Valley of Jezreel at the northern part of Israel. Christ grew up in Nazareth. And you can almost imagine Christ going out on the hillside and looking out over this expanse of the Valley of Jezreel knowing that one day armies would gather in that spot to fight Him when He returns to Earth at His glory of second coming. In other words, Christ watched and He thought about that as a child growing up in Nazareth.
It matters to Christ. It should matter to us. Watching and understanding the history, the events, the prophecies that the Bible have about the Middle East are a key element of the spiritual preparedness that we must have for our time. So on this program we're going to talk about two things. We're going to talk about "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy," and we're also going to talk about recent moves that have been taken by the United States and others toward actual peace in the relationships within the Middle East. Now both of these, "The Middle East in the Bible Prophecy" and these recent moves toward peace, they're both elements that for a Christian we need to understand in order to be spiritually awake to the times and understanding this.
So what's happened? Well recent headlines tell us that, in a sense, peace is kind of broken out in the Middle East. There's been some treaties that have been signed between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. And there are probably others that will likely follow. We hear rumors about that. Peace between these nations. This is historic. This is huge. This is big. But what does it mean? And again, why is it important that we pay attention to this? The Middle East is important to anyone who wants to understand the Bible and today's world, to be ignorant of what's taking place over there in so many different ways is to be ignorant of a lot of things in the Bible. Indeed these recent agreements, they are very welcome. They're positive developments at a time, frankly, when there's not a lot of good news to celebrate in the world today in these recent times. Anytime that nations can end hostilities and agree to cooperate, that's great. That's good news. When peace breaks out lives are saved, economies grow, businesses are developed, culture, and civil society develops. In the Middle East we've had more than a generation of war fever. And to see that fever cooled down, well, it gives hope to the young, to the generation coming up, seeds of peace, rather than seeds of hatred and conflict are sown.
These agreements with the State of Israel, as you see here, show a culture and a society that's thriving, that prospers, technically advanced. Israel is an oasis of prosperity in the region of the Middle East today. Any Arab state that chooses to treat Israel as a partner, they're going to benefit from that prosperity. Israeli healthcare has some of the best in the world. The Arab peoples on the street will benefit from access to good hospitals and doctors. War, anger, and hostility that has been there will only prolong the cycles of dysfunction that have plagued the Arab peoples for generations. I've seen some of that up close and firsthand and the futility and the frustration of that. When this peace agreement was signed the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates said this, he said, "We are already witnessing a change of heart in the Middle East, a change that could send hope around the world, a change of heart, a change at the heart.” He said in the Middle East, was that there were complete changes of the heart.
Let's start with the name that has been given to these agreements. They are actually called the Abraham Accords. Named after the biblical patriarch, Abraham who is recognized as the father of three great faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The large historical figures behind all of these religions, Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, everyone were direct descendants of Abraham. That's why Abraham was called the father of the faithful. God said to Abraham at one point in his life, before he became that father of the faithful, He said, "Get out of your country, and go away from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you." So he did. Abraham left, it says. And upon arriving at that land that we call today, Israel, God promised Abraham they would give to his descendants all that he could see. He said to Abraham, "Look, lift up your eyes. Look from the place where you are, look to the North, look to the South, to the East, and to the West. Everything you see I will give to you and to your descendants forever." God made specific promises to Abraham.
He included perpetual title to the land, that land then would be given and passed on to his children. And the book of Genesis, we have a rather complicated story there of the family of Abraham. He and his wife, Sarah, were childless. One day through his maid Hagar, Abraham fathered a child that came to be called Ishmael. He also later through Sarah fathered a child named Isaac. Isaac when he grew up had twin sons Esau and Jacob. And the descendants of that one twin, Esau, intermarried with Ishmael's descendants. And there you have the descendants from those that we call the Arabs today. And they're the sons of Abraham. The modern-day conflict between Israelis, and Palestinians, and other Arab peoples can actually be traced to these stories, these people, right there from the book of Genesis. But the consequences of the intrigue that we read about in the Bible there, it's still with us today. Bitterness, resentment, it grew through the centuries. There's a prophecy in the book of Exodus that foretold endless war between the two branches of Abraham's family that would happen from generation to generation. And what we're seeing today in our headlines and that part of the world is a result of what the Bible talks about. It really is, I think, the greatest family feud in all of history. To name the latest peace agreements, the Abraham Accord, I think it's very appropriate.
So what's led to the current peace and will it be enough to secure lasting peace? We're going to look at that in a moment. And we'll look at what it all means to our spiritual understanding of Bible prophecy. But first I want to make available to our audience today and for those of you that are here today, you are already familiar with this book because I've referenced it to you many times, "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy." It's a study guide that covers prophecies, the many sections of the Bible that you've always wondered about.
The book of Daniel, the book of Revelation, and I use this book to teach students in my classes at Ambassador Bible College. And I take them through the book of Daniel and reference this book, and show them how the path of history into the present time can be understood out of the Bible, and with the help of this study guide. So those of you that are watching this program, if you'd like to kind of look over our shoulders and our prophecy class at Ambassador Bible College, you can do so with this guide that I use with groups here. You want to study this with another group of people, of friends, family, you can get this. It will make a great study guide for you. Teach your family the story of Abraham from Genesis. I use it with my grandchildren, to help them to understand the world that they are growing up in. So get your free copy. Call the number on your screen or go online to beyondtoday.tv.
And I'm going to say something at this point about the Abraham Accords. It's an honorable step. But it will not bring lasting peace to the Middle East. Why do I say that? I say it because the Bible says it won't. Not just me. I'm going to show you some Scriptures in a moment that will prove what I'm saying. Let me take you back to what we quoted in Revelation 16:15. Christ said to watch. He's going to come as a thief. And He said there's a blessing for watching. Again, why is that important? It's important because it matters to Christ. And if it matters to Jesus Christ, your Savior, your soon coming King, then it should matter to us. There was another occasion when Jesus looked over the land. He was coming into the city of Jerusalem. Luke 19 gives us this account. He was coming into Jerusalem. And it says as He drew near to the city, He began to cry. He wept over Jerusalem. And He said, and Luke records it, "If you had known, even you speaking to Jerusalem, especially this, your day, what's happening to you and will happen, the things that make for your peace, but now they're hidden from your eyes," He said. Christ agonized, even in that moment, again, over the land and over the actual city of Jerusalem, knowing that they could have peace by following His teachings, but they were rejecting Him. And history shows us that they suffered for that. Let's look again at the current scene in the Middle East, the Abraham accords, the latest in a long series of efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.
Ever since the State of Israel came into existence in 1948, there have been multiple wars, as Arab states have sought to dislodge the Jewish state. Now some states through the years have made peace agreements already with Israel. Jordan is one, Egypt is another, but others like Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the biggest being Iran have been major holdouts of recognition and peace with Israel. Now of those Iran has probably been the most militant. Iran's efforts to build a nuclear bomb is one of the most destabilizing moves in the entire region. They've said that they would use it against Israel, use it probably against others too. Most understand that a nuclear-armed Iran in the Middle East is unacceptable. It would be a disastrous measure. And so these other nations fear Iran. And that's the point to understand. The point of all of this is fear. Fear is as much a force that is the current driving force behind these Abraham Accords as anything else. Fear drives people together into treaties and into relationships.
But let me tell you something, fear does not create lasting peace. It can drive people and nations together for a while. You see Iran is the enemy of Israel as well as the United Arab Emirates, one of the nations has made an agreement with Israel, and the other Arab states. They don't want to see Iran grow in power and dominate. And so they finally figured out, "Hey, an alliance with Israel is in our interest." And so they line up with the powerful State of Israel, and it benefits them. There's an old saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." And it's a dirty truth of international relationships.
Every nation looks out for its own interests, above all others, alliances, treaties, and friendships. They're historically like that. They can lead to periods of peace and sometimes periods of long peace but in time they break down, other issues come up. There's often issues that are rooted in religion, ethnic, or tribal differences that never really disappear. Fear does not bring lasting peace. I wish I could say that the Abraham Accords will bring enduring peace to the Middle East but I can't say that. I'm glad that they have occurred, these peace treaties, and I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi, and all the other cities and the peoples, but this is not a moment where these nations have beat their swords into plowshares. Quite the opposite.
Part of the agreement that we've seen is that the United States is going to supply F-35 jets as part of the deal. So it's the most sophisticated jet in our arsenal. More weapons of technology will be supplied to counter the threats from Iran and other powers. The result is while peace breaks out, part of the peace is more and better weapons as part of the deal. Well armed armies can keep the peace but inevitably those same weapons will become instruments of national policy leading to war. It's frankly the story of mankind and it will happen again in the Middle East. Weapons of war are still being stockpiled there. There's a prophecy in the book of Joel that foretells the coming day when the nations will be gathered for the battle in the land against Jerusalem. It says, "To proclaim this among the nations, consecrate for war, stir up the mighty man, and let the war come, beat your plowshares into swords," it says, "and your pruning hooks into spears, the very opposite of this picture right here." "Let the weak say," Joel 3 says, "I am a warrior." It's a powerful prophecy for telling armed conflict in the Middle East. There's one more picture, one more piece to understand in today's Middle East.
We're going to look at that in a moment at the Bible's key prophecy, showing what will happen in Jerusalem in the days before Christ's coming and the time ahead of us when religion, politics, and power continue to churn there. We'll come to find out where it will lead. Will another power rise? We're going to look at what Bible prophecy tells us about that and what it means for our spiritual welfare. We're going to look at a very important prophecy from the book of Daniel and Revelation.
But again, before going there, I want to just once again offer the booklet "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy." I talked earlier about this story of Abraham and the family feud there. It was a key understanding to the current problems in the Middle East. We have a whole chapter in this booklet that talks about that in more detail. What this study guide will show you is how religion and ethnic issues are the basis of conflict among modern nations. The Bible shows the missing key. And so this free study guide, "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy," can be yours who are watching online and on television, by going to your screen, calling the number there, or going to beyondtoday.tv.
Now let's look one more time at a prophecy that tells us about Jerusalem and the land. As I said it's the focus of three faiths, as seen in Bible prophecy. Jerusalem has always been a magnet for war. There's going to be one final moment of war that will come. And it will be a war that will bring peace. It will be finally the peace in the land that will end all war. But what we should do is combine two prophetic passages, one from the book of Daniel and one from the book of Revelation that tells us of this advance of armies upon Jerusalem. I've already alluded to it earlier. Jesus foretold this when He said to His followers, "When you see Jerusalem, surrounded by armies, then you will know that your desolation is near."
Many times through the years in history Jerusalem has been surrounded by armies. But there's one event that we have to understand from these prophecies that is yet to occur and to be spiritually awake. Jerusalem stirs passions. It's really as a name, the city of peace, but peace hasn't been there. It's not lived up to its name. All right? So here's what's going to happen. There's going to be an international incident that will involve politics and religion that will ignite a gathering of an army that will come into the State of Israel. It'll be a time of crisis. Somewhere someone will imagine the unimaginable. Maybe it'll be a terror attack, something that will up end the World Order. Maybe it'll be a small event that will eventually trigger a series of larger events and a group of nations are going to come together and move into the Middle East. The Book of Daniel describes it this way beginning in 11:40 when he talks about two powers, one, the king of the South, and one, the king of the North. The king of the South attacks the king of the North and comes against him, it says in Daniel, like a whirlwind with chariots and horsemen, and many ships, and enters into the countries, and overwhelms them and passes through and enters the glorious land. And many countries, Daniel is told, will be overthrown. And it mentions nations such as Eden, Moab, and the people of Amman. That's actually the region of the modern nation of Jordan. It also mentions in this prophecy that the land of Egypt will not escape and that this power that comes out of the North, likely out of Europe or European landmass, will have and attack the treasures of gold, and silver, and the precious things of Egypt, Libya, and the Ethiopians will also follow at His heels. And so these modern nations are mentioned there. Then something else occurs. News from the East and the North troubles this power. And he goes out with great fury to destroy and to annihilate many, and to plant his tent in the palace between the seas of the glorious mountain, and he will come to his end and no one will help them.
So two powers are going to clash in the Middle East. They will rise from the regions to the North and to the East of Jerusalem. A time of trouble is described here unlike any that we've ever seen. Armies moving into Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria. Something that we've only seen from past wars in history. And the fate of the world will be determined in Jerusalem.
Now the book of Revelation adds more detail to this, as I've already begun to quote in Revelation 16 Christ here, at a time when great a power moves are being made and plagues of judgment are being poured out, is a description of what is called the sixth angel. Pours out his plague and the waters of the Euphrates River actually dry up and the kings of the East are prepared, and they began to come. We're told in verse 13, three unclean spirits like frogs will come out of the mouth of the dragon, which is a symbol of Satan, and the false prophet, and the beast. Two powerful figures that are mentioned therein prophecy, a charismatic religious figure, and a political figure. The spirits of demons will perform signs that will bring these leaders, their armies, and the peoples together to what is described as the battle of that great day of God Almighty. And there again, Jesus Christ Himself says, "Behold..." If you look in your Bibles, you'll see that in verse 15, it's red letters. It's the words of Jesus Christ. "Behold, I'm coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." And these armies are gathered together in place of Megiddo, and then they move toward Jerusalem. The final battle for Earth will occur there. How will this happen? Time will tell. Will this be what will then achieve the final piece in the Middle East and for the world? It actually will. It will take one final conflict.
Armageddon, the great battle of the day of God Almighty, big events – big events that we need to understand that frankly everybody wants to know a little bit more about, and novels, and fictional ideas are all put together to try to figure this out. But frankly the Bible is the best source to come to understand. The study guide, "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy" has been prepared to help give us in our hand the keys to understand these complex issues in the Middle East. You can get this free. Call the number on your screen. Go to beyondtoday.tv. Begin to watch, begin to understand these most important issues. Most importantly, get ready spiritually. Christ your Lord has seen the end of the conflict. He saw it from the heights at Nazareth and from the streets of the city of Jerusalem. He's seen the end of it, and He will return in the glory of eternity and replace the warring kingdoms of this world. He will establish the Kingdom of God on this Earth, a kingdom of peace. Pray thy Kingdom come.
[Narrator] Please call for the booklet offered on today's program, "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy." When you hear about disturbing unsettling events in that critical region of the world, you really need to understand its biblical and historical background. Our free Bible study aid, "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy" will help you better comprehend prophesied events, how they will affect your life. Many Bible prophecies focus on the Middle East as the stage for events leading to the second coming of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God on Earth. This booklet, "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy" covers those important prophecies. Order now. Call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. When you order this free study aid, we'll also send you a complimentary one-year subscription to our "Beyond Today" magazine. The "Beyond Today" magazine brings you understanding of today's world and hope for the future. Six times a year you'll read about current world events in light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family and Godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call today to receive your free booklet, "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy" and your free one-year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine. 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.