By John J. Blanchard
July 26, 2014
Good morning, brethren. What is mankind’s destiny? That’s revealed in the opening chapters of the Bible. Mankind was created in the image and likeness of God. Of course, we know God is perfect. He is without sin. He has perfect character. Basically we may be physically alike and God may look something like this in His spiritual body, but He is mainly concerned about character growth. He wants us to become like Him.
Genesis also reveals that man is composed of dirt—minerals, ground stone—reassembled into a living body and given the breath of life by God Himself. Our destiny is to become like Him. That’s what it is basically telling us. We are made to be like Him.
God is building a kingdom. We have often heard about the kingdom of God, and that kingdom of God is going to be over the entire earth. Let’s look at just a couple of Scriptures. It is composed of living stones, which is what human beings are. We will start in the New Testament by going to I Peter chapter 2, and then we will go back to Genesis.
I Peter chapter 2, verse 4: “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’”
Of course, Jesus Christ is that chief cornerstone.
Continuing in I Peter 2, verse 7: “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
We are a holy priesthood and a holy nation. We are a nation, and God being who He is and Jesus Christ being the King, it is a kingdom.
THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD
Now let’s go back to Daniel chapter 2 for an Old Testament reference to this kingdom and how it will be built with that chief cornerstone. We are looking at Daniel chapter 2. We will not read the entire passage about the image that Nebuchadnezzar saw and that was interpreted by Daniel. We want to read enough to gather that this is the kingdom of God that is being spoken of here. We are going to break into the series of Scriptures about this image that Nebuchadnezzar saw.
We are in Daniel 2, verse 34: “You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
This is where we get the idea that mountains represent kingdoms in the Bible. The physical mountains we see on the earth are a physical portrayal of a kingdom reaching up to, in our case, our God.
Let’s look at verse 44 of Daniel 2 just to complete the thought: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
The kingdom of God is a certainty. Eventually it will cover the whole earth. It started with a single stone—Jesus Christ, and He is adding at this time the firstfruits—living stones—to help serve in the kingdom of God. It will eventually be composed of all the living stones that are human beings who repent and accept the Lord Jesus Christ. Man’s destiny is to become part of that mountain, part of that kingdom. The living stones will be melded together to form a beautiful system on the earth with Jesus Christ ruling over it in which all nations and cultures will live in harmony, beginning of course with that thousand year Millennium that’s just ahead. That’s mankind’s destiny.
THE MOUNTAIN OF SATAN
In God’s way and in man’s way stands a horrible kingdom. It is also portrayed as a mountain and range of hills in the Bible, and it is headed by God’s arch enemy Satan. Satan is the tyrant who rules over the human race currently and causes so much suffering. We’re going to look at a few Scriptures about this mountain.
First I want to turn to Matthew chapter 4 in the New Testament. The famous temptation of Christ where Christ defeated Satan, if you remember, took place in part on a great mountain. Read Matthew 4:1-11.
Here we see that Satan is currently a ruler over this whole world symbolized by this mountain. This great mountain is a spiritual mountain. That’s why he took Him up in spirit on to this mountain. There is no single physical mountain from which you can look at all the earth, let alone at all the kingdoms that have been and will be in the nations that have been and will be. That’s what Satan had the power to do. He said, if you worship me, I will just give these to You. You won’t have to suffer and die! But Jesus Christ knew if He fell for that trick, He would then be co-ruler with Satan forever! What a horrible thing to contemplate. Jesus Christ, of course, went ahead with His ministry, did suffer and die for all mankind, and His kingdom is certain. When it rules this earth, Satan’s kingdom will be banished.
Now let’s look at another Old Testament reference to this mountain. Let’s go to Ezekiel. Satan’s kingdom is mentioned here. We are going to Ezekiel chapter 35. We are just going to read verses 1-4. If you read the entire chapter, you will see it speaks of Jesus Christ defeating this horrible mountain that pictures Satan’s kingdom by converting mankind by His shed blood.
Let’s read Ezekiel 35, verse 1: “Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir and prophesy against it, and say to it, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, O Mount Seir, I am against you; I will stretch out My hand against you, and make you most desolate; I shall lay your cities waste, and you shall be desolate. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.’”’”
You can’t have a conversation like that with a physical mountain. We are speaking with a spiritual mountain and range of hills that cover this earth and from which Satan and his demons rule this world. I think Mount Seir would be the highest of his hills, so this spiritual mountain is probably the very mountain that Satan took Jesus Christ on to tempt Him with the kingdoms of the world.
Here we see this Mount Seir is spoken of. If you knew what Mount Seir stood for and what the word meant in Hebrew, you would get the point. Seir (#8165, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) means a shaggy he-goat. Throughout the Bible one of the ways Satan is portrayed is as a he-goat. It also means a satyr or devil. It comes from or is related to the word saar (#8175, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means to storm and to shiver in fear. Satan has certainly made the nations of the world and all mankind shiver in fear long enough. It is time for his kingdom to come down. Today we are going to examine how God is going to do that. We can’t cover every aspect of it. Hopefully we will have future sermons that we can get into more detail. We are going to get the gist of how and why this system has to come down and why it is so important to get some prophecies understood correctly at this very time in history. If you have been watching the news lately, a lot of people are very fearful about what’s going on in the world today.
God intends to level Satan’s spiritual mountains. He knows they have oppressed mankind for 6,000 years now. God the Father knows that His system, starting with His Son Jesus Christ, is designed to tear down that horrible kingdom that causes mankind to shiver in fear and replace it with a benevolent kingdom of God. It will start with the beautiful Millennium just ahead, so we can see what the world would have been like if mankind had not fallen at the Garden of Eden.
CONFLICT OVER DOCTRINE
Indicators in the news today all seem to point to soon-coming fulfillments of Biblical prophecies. These Biblical prophecies are scaring people, and it is because they are not properly understood. We want to bring these together in a way that the three great faiths of the world can understand what God is saying in His Word about the end of the age.
Jerusalem is in the news so much today. We see the rockets flying back and forth and terrorists doing their dirty work. We see people trying to defend themselves on both sides of the border to protect their young ones from harm. Jerusalem is crucial to three great faiths that are upon the earth. There is Judaism, which chronologically was the first one to find Jerusalem as its home. There is Christianity, followed by Islam. Christianity began, of course, 2,000 years ago and Islam about 600 A.D. Jerusalem is the center of worship for these three great faiths. It is very important to all three of these faiths. There are shrines, cathedrals, and mosques and of course the temple mount which are all incredibly important and significant to all these religions.
We also have in that region of the world a lot of ancient hatreds. We saw one of them mentioned right here in Ezekiel 35. There is an ancient hatred between Mount Seir—Satan and his kingdom—and God’s people. Some of these hatreds we see physically in the world today and have been extant for a few thousand years in some cases. We see Arabs against the Jews. We see Christians against the Arabs and Arabs against the Christians. The Islamic faith seems to come at loggerheads. There is a lot of violence taking place.
We also see some Christians who oppose the Jewish state and the Jews. We also see Arabs against Arabs because Islam itself is divided, just like Christianity is divided. There have been many wars fought between Christian denominations. If you were to look at the history of the Middle East, many wars have been fought between Islamic denominations, we could say. To this day, they are affecting what’s going on in the Middle East. Just that alone would make the Middle East a very volatile situation.
On top of that we add geopolitical significance to it because you have oil. The world’s vast oil reserve for a long time that fueled the world’s economy comes pretty much from the Middle East. We are finding more oil in other places, but they are still a significant source of the world’s oil. If that were to be shut off all of a sudden, the world would go into a severe economic downturn.
Oil and the world’s economies are tied to what’s going on in the Middle East. You also have these bitter enemies who sit on top of this oil who are obtaining or who have obtained nuclear weapons. We know Israel and Pakistan have them. We know Iran is working toward it. We know India that is very close to that area and sometimes at war with Pakistan, they have them. We know that India and China don’t get along from time to time, and they both have them. Even though China is not located that close to the Middle East, they have enemies there. More and more nations are getting nuclear weapons.
If you start adding all of this together, it is a very frightening situation. On top of that, there are crucial world waterways on which the world’s commerce and oil depend. There is the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, and the Mediterranean itself. All these waterways are choke points for the world’s oil and then of course that means for the world’s economies. What a volatile mix! Of course nations are fearful about what’s going to happen there.
It is a dreadfully important time to get our doctrines right, because a lot of the conflict in the Middle East is over doctrine. It is over prophetic understanding. It’s over what they think God is saying to them, and they are willing to fight and die for it. This makes the doctrines that are held about Armageddon very important to understand.
The Islamic world believes in Armageddon, as the Christian world does. They believe Armageddon—that great battle at the end of the age—is the next big event to precede the coming of the 12th Imam, the final successor to Mohammed. Their beliefs about Armageddon make war make sense to them, as it does to many Christians.
Many people think we have to get through this terrible Battle of Armageddon, which means annihilation for much of the world in order to get to the good times! Some people who are misunderstanding Scripture, you could even say in some cases, are “not all there” for even contemplating using nuclear weapons. They have to be very cruel and heartless indeed to even consider such a thing, yet some do. From their twisted point of view, this annihilation makes sense because after the annihilation, everything is going to be set in order and be fixed in their mind!
These various religions have their points of view on this. Christians believe something very similar. Islam believes that Mohammed was the last prophet, and the prophet before him was Jesus Christ. They hang on to a lot of the words Jesus Christ said. Therefore, it is very important for us to understand what Jesus Christ meant. Jesus Christ is the one who speaks about Armageddon in the Book of Revelation. That makes the Book of Revelation very important to the Islamic world.
Christianity also feels the doctrine of Armageddon is very important, and Christianity believes the Book of Revelation is all prophetic for the end of the age. Many have come out with various scenarios to explain the Book of Revelation. Of course featured prominently in their scenarios is Armageddon—a vast worldwide destruction. It will be so horrible that you need to be protected in some way to get through it, either by a rapture or a special place of safety. It would have to be some divine help, or else you would perish. Does that really make sense?
If you are a despot or a religious figure who is misunderstanding that doctrine of Armageddon, you could feel it makes sense to have a war of annihilation. But that is not what God intends at all. We need to get this right.
The Jews are caught between the Christians and the Islamic world. They are a little nation state that really brought us the Bible. They are the ones who held fast to give us the Old Testament. They have been persecuted for thousands of years. That little nation state who has the Orthodox Jews among them, as well as around the world, believe in the prophecies. There are a lot of secular Jews who have thrown their hands up and say, who can understand all this stuff? But they believe the Messiah is going to come. When the enemies are really going at it and going after Jerusalem, they believe the Messiah will bring about a huge battle in which He destroys all these physical enemies and restores the kingdom of God. They are looking for a physical kingdom restored by power and might in which many people around the world, of course, would have to perish.
You have these three great religions that are all focused in this area that is so important to the world’s people and the world’s economy. They are all looking at these doctrines in specific ways that are leading to conflict and misunderstanding but with passion. These people feel these things passionately.
Both Christians and Muslims respect the words of Christ. If Christ inspired the Book of Revelation as we said, we need to look there and figure out what’s going on with this Battle of Armageddon. We need to comprehend this correctly and share that information with the world: the Islamic people of the world, the Christians of the world, and the Jews of the world. Indeed everybody in the world needs to learn this because even those in the world who are not Christian, Islamic or Jewish, their fates hang in the balance as well. If there is a nuclear exchange in the Middle East, it doesn’t matter what religion or nation you are of. Whatever nationality or culture you are, you are going to suffer. The whole world’s future hangs in the balance basically on understanding the doctrine about the Battle of Armageddon.
WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
The point of this study is that the three great faiths of the world need to correctly understand the prophecies and then help teach them to everyone else. Specifically they need to understand the Battle of Armageddon.
Let’s start by defining Armageddon. It is assumed it’s a geographical place, but before we jump to conclusions, let’s read the only Scripture in the Bible that says the word Armageddon. Revelation 16, verse 16: “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”
That is the only reference to the word Armageddon in the entire Bible. It is amazing. People have built whole doctrines around that one Scripture. They are doctrines that could cause literally the death of billions of people if not understood properly!
There are two Hebrew words that come together and make up the word Armageddon: har (#2022, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) and megiddow (#4023, Strong’s Concordance, 1995). When you put them together, Armageddon means a symbol or a name that is derived from these two words. That’s what it means. It is a symbol or a name. Keep in mind that it is actually a symbol. That is actually the primary definition.
Let’s look at these two Hebrew words. Har means a mountain or range of hills, sometimes used figuratively. Even in the Old Testament sometimes it was used figuratively. Remember what we said about Mount Seir. There is a range of hills and a mountain over this earth that would love to see people come to blows and die in a horrible war. The word megiddow means rendezvous.
A RANGE OF HILLS AS A RENDEZVOUS
We have these two Hebrew words coming to make up Armageddon which means a mountain or range of hills as a rendezvous. It is a rendezvous with destiny. If you want to title your sermon, that’s what I have titled this one: Armageddon: A Rendezvous with Destiny.
God knew long ago that His kingdom or mountain was going to have a final clash with Satan’s kingdom or mountain. I have a reference here to the World Book Encyclopedia 2004 Edition. “Armageddon: Armageddon is a Greek word taken from the Hebrew Har-Megiddow which probably means Mount Megiddow.”
“In the Bible the Book of Revelation names Armageddon as the place where the rulers of the world will fight the last great battle between good and evil.”
Then it goes on to say, “No Mount Megiddow has been identified.” When I read that, I thought there is no place called Mount Meggidow? There is no mountain called Meggidow? I looked and there isn’t! There is a town in the Old Testament called Megiddo, but if you were to find it on a local map, it would say Tel-Megiddo. Tel-Megiddo means a little hill of ruins. Megiddo was built on a little mound of older ruins called Tel-Megiddo. It is where traveling caravans would rendezvous and meet and move along the old trails in the ancient days. There is no mountain there called Mount Megiddow.
That makes sense now when you understand Mount Seir is a spiritual mountain over the earth and a range of hills that causes the world’s people to shiver in fear. Jesus Christ’s kingdom is a mountain that will cover all the earth, and it’s not going to be a physical super Mount Everest to cover the whole earth! It’s a mountain composed of living stones—human beings—converted to His way of life.
Now we have Satan’s mountain composed of human beings who are deceived and who are listening to him promote warfare, death, and destruction. These are two opposing ways of life. The World Book got it right. It’s a big battle where good overcomes evil. It is not synonymous with death, destruction, nuclear war, or any such thing.
We need to pay attention to that, brethren, because just that one geographical bit of knowledge dispels a lot of the fear about Armageddon. It leads us to ask more questions like: what is it all about then, what’s going on here, why does God mention it so prominently in the Book of Revelation?
There are some prophecies in the Old Testament that the Jews have given us that talk about it. We will look at those and also Revelation 16 in a little more detail. Let’s turn to Zechariah chapter 4. This is an Old Testament prophecy directly related to the subject that we are talking about today. We will read the entire chapter. It’s not that long. We are going to focus on some particular points.
Read Zechariah 4:6.
Continuing in verse 7: “Who are you, O great mountain [notice that]? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! [That’s a flattened mountain.] And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”
Obviously this is a reference to Jesus Christ.
Verse 8: “Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.’”
In other words, the angels of these seven candlesticks.
THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW TESTAMENT
Verse 11 of Zechariah 4: “Then I answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?’ And I further answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?’ Then he answered me and said, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.’ So he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.’”
We need to understand these verses. These anointed ones mean “sons of living oil” who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth. To the right and to the left of Jesus Christ who came 2,000 years ago, you have the Old Testament and the New Testament, the sons of anointed oil—the prophets of the Old Testament. Then you have the twelve apostles and those who followed with the Holy Spirit after them as sons of fresh oil in the New Testament times. They are both shown as being enlightened or illuminated by the oil that feeds the seven golden lamps. Can we find that in Scripture? Of course, we can!
In the Old Testament they had the menorah and in the temple, the lampstands. In the New Testament in Revelation we know that there are seven churches pictured as seven lamps. That’s in Revelation chapter 1. Let’s go to Revelation chapter 1. Keep your finger in Zechariah. We won’t read the whole chapter.
Revelation chapter 1, verse 12: “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire…”
That of course is Jesus Christ.
Now let’s drop down to Revelation 1, verse 20: “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”
There you see the menorah pictured in the Old Testament which the Jews have to this very day in their synagogues. We see in the New Testament the spirit-led Church of God being pictured by seven lampstands and served by seven angels.
This makes Zechariah come alive! Zechariah makes a lot of sense when you apply it to Revelation. Let’s go back to Zechariah 4, verse 3: “Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.”
The prophets of the Old Testament are how we got the Old Testament. It is their words by the inspiration of Jesus Christ. The apostles of the New Testament are how we got the New Testament. We’re not going to get into that whole subject. But the first thing to comment on there when you go to the end of the Book of Revelation, it says it’s finished. You can’t add to this. When anyone writes a prophecy in addition to these, it’s going to be in error. It is going to contain error. I’m not picking on just Islam. There have been a whole bunch of Christian “prophets” who have added their own prophetic scenarios. Today it is very popular to do it about the end of the world and the Battle of Armageddon. They are way off base! You can’t add to these words or let them be diminished. We need to use the Bible to interpret the Bible, as we are doing with Zechariah 4 and the Book of Revelation.
Let’s go to Revelation 11 now. Keep your finger in Zechariah. This first set of Scriptures here in Revelation 11 talks about the two witnesses, which we have discussed in the past, so we will not go into detail there. Let’s look at Revelation 11, verse 3: “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.”
These are those who have the living word of God—the Bible—within them and know how to explain and to teach from God’s word. That is their whole purpose. In Hebrews 4 God says, My word is alive. We won’t read that right now. It’s a living word that is sharper than a two-edged sword, and it dwells within us. Indeed Jesus Christ is called the Word. The Bible is called His word.
Now we see Revelation is definitely tied to this prophecy in Zechariah.
Let’s go back to Revelation 11 for just a moment because I want to get the connection to measuring. I want to start in Revelation 11, verse 1: “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.”
We are not going to go into the 42 months or the 1,260 days at this time, but you can see they are measuring here. They are measuring that spiritual headquarters, you might say, for God’s mountain—His kingdom. It is the spiritual temple of God.
A SPIRITUAL TEMPLE
In Zechariah we saw that Zerubabbel was given a plummet to measure when he was rebuilding the temple after the Babylonian destruction in 586 B.C. Zerubabbel was given the task to lay the foundation. When Zerubabbel and the volunteers went back to rebuild the temple, it never could match the glory of the temple of Solomon. You can read that story in Haggai. But it is interesting God miraculously stayed the hand of Satan from influencing the physical enemies who wanted to destroy and stop the rebuilding of that temple. While Zerubbabel was using his plummet to lay that temple foundation and build it, there was miraculous protection.
Since Christ’s time, Jesus Christ has been building His temple with living stones, which temple we are. You can read that in Hebrews 3 and 4 and Ephesians 2. That temple had to have the cornerstone laid and the foundation of the apostles and the prophets laid. Then being built upon that are the living stones, as we saw in I Peter chapter 2. You can read that in I Corinthians 3. We also have miraculous protection as Christ is building the spiritual temple on a spiritual hill. It is hidden from view, but it is protected. It has been protected, so He can continue to do the work from His first coming up to this very day.
In Zechariah’s time, we have a former fulfillment and a latter fulfillment since Jesus Christ’s first coming. All the time fighting this is Satan’s mountain—his kingdom. He is trying to stop God. Of course, he will fail. We saw in Daniel 2 the prophecy is sure. The kingdom of God will be built.
EUPHRATES: LIVING WATER
Now let’s go back to Revelation 16 and spend some time there. It has a set of Scriptures that has pertinence to this sermon today. Revelation chapter 16, starting in verse 12: “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. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 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. ‘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.’ And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”
You can see now with everything we have said up to this point, there is something much more than just a physical battle going on here. We see reference, first of all, to the Euphrates River drying up. What is this river?
Of course, there is a River Euphrates in the Middle East. It is not necessary to dry that up for a battle. We have had two recent wars there in which armies have crossed over that with modern pontoon bridges in a matter of minutes. Something else is going on here. Christ talks about a river. Keep your marker or finger in Revelation 16. Let’s go to John chapter 4.
In John 4 we are going to break into an interesting event here in the ministry of Christ, but we are not going to read the whole thing. It is about the Samaritan woman at the well. We will break in at verse 5. Read John 4:5-14.
It is a spring of living water. Springs feed rivers. Let’s turn to chapter 7, just over a page. There is another reference to this river.
John 7, verse 37: “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Springs feed rivers, and He said, you can have rivers of living water flowing through you. That’s a reference that ties directly to Revelation 16. But let’s go back to the beginning of the Bible to Genesis 2 for the first mention of the River Euphrates. We’re going back to Genesis chapter 2. There are four rivers that come into the Garden of Eden. Two of them are mentioned in Genesis 2.
Genesis 2, verse 14: “The name of the third river is Hidekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.”
The Euphrates is a very interesting term. Each of these four rivers has a name that is very interesting. We don’t have time to go into all of them. Euphrates is perath (#6578, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) in the Hebrew which means to break forth and rushing. And it comes from and is related to the word para (#6509, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means to bear fruit, literally or figuratively.
We know that the Holy Spirit is a river of living water in us. Then what does it want us to do? We should bear fruit!
Go to Galatians chapter 5. We could read a lot of Scriptures to talk about the fruit we should be bearing as Christians with the Holy Spirit working in us, but let’s just read some of the fruits of the Spirit here in Galatians chapter 5. I will start in Galatians 5, verse 22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Now we see some of the fruits of the Spirit. It is the opposite of war, destruction, killing, torturing, and genocide. It is the opposite of terrorism. The fruits of the Spirit is what we need to counter all of those negatives. You are seeing one mountain and its system against another. This wonderful river of flowing water, the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, helps us to bear fruit. That dried up at the end of the age for some reason. If that dried up, wouldn’t you think that there would be more wars and rumors of wars? Wouldn’t there be less fruits of the Spirit: less forgiveness, less mercy, and less tolerance by religions who supposedly believe in the Bible? Of course it matches! It works.
Now let’s go back to Revelation 16. We saw that river dries up and makes way for the kings of the east. We know Jesus Christ returns from the east. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He ultimately will bring us the Millennium of peace. Let’s continue in verse 13.
FROGS REPRESENT DEMONS
Revelation 16, verse 13: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 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.”
Earlier this year we had a sermon on the false prophet titled De-Mystifying the False Prophet, Part 2 (#287, dated 12/7/13) and on the beast, so we won’t go into detail. If you want to review those or ask for them, we would be glad to send them to you. We can see that this is a very interesting set of Scriptures. I have never run into a frog that actually talked to me before or led me anywhere! These are spirits of demons. It even says that right here, so why do people think this is a physical battle? You have to start looking at spiritual warfare like Ephesians 6 says. Remember we don’t war against physical people. We war against wicked spirits in high places. Some of them are spoken of here as frogs. That sounds crazy, but it’s not.
We know that Satan is pictured as a serpent, and that’s a snake. We know that there are various descriptions of demons looking like hyenas or dogs or other vicious animals. Scorpions are mentioned. Jesus Christ said, you will stomp on scorpions. He didn’t mean you are going to run around stepping on scorpions!
Everything in the physical world has a counterpart in the spiritual world. That is so we can understand the things we can’t see. This is one of those places where frogs are spoken of. We see what comes out of the mouth is what we believe. It is how we talk to people and convey thought. When Jesus Christ speaks to the Holy Spirit in someone and they speak the words like the apostles writing down the epistles and the gospels, it was truth. When Satan speaks, there are lies in there. They can be mixed with a little bit of truth to make them look good, but they are lies.
These are deceiving spirits who bring false signs, it says there. It makes you wonder: if Satan is against the truth and his mountains are against the truth, and Jesus Christ and His river and His mountain is against Satan and his lies, there must be something going on here. When the River Euphrates dries up and there is a lack of patience, compassion, and understanding, hatred can really rile itself up. That is exactly what Satan is doing with what these frogs are saying and doing through people! That is how Satan works. He gives false inspiration, false signs and lying wonders. You can ask for The Times and Seasons Digest No. 8, Signs and Wonders, which explains the true signs and wonders.
Satan is trying to deceive Christianity. He is trying to deceive Islam. He is trying to deceive the Jews. He is trying to create a worldwide conflagration in which he would like to destroy all of mankind. God says, not so fast! That’s not going to happen. I am going to have a Millennium. My prophecy is sure. There will be a kingdom of God. It will be a mountain of God that will cover this whole earth and bring peace to humanity. We have a little bit of time to go through before we get there, but one of the things that is going to help us all calm down and stop slinging arrows and bombs at each other, is understanding these prophecies.
Now let’s look to the Old Testament and try to determine if these frogs have ever been mentioned before. I want to go to Exodus chapter 12. This, of course, is talking about when the Passover was instituted and when God let His people out of ancient Egypt. He gave them their freedom. I want to zero in on verse 12, because we know the Exodus was preceded by the plagues.
Exodus 12, verse 12: “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night [the night of the Passover], and will strike all the first born in the land of Egypt [that was the last of the ten plagues], both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt [notice gods is a little “g”] I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.”
Those ten plagues were attacking not just Egypt. That was just physical people. God can deal with them. But it was an attack on these pagan gods—demons—who were over Egypt, as they are over every nation. Satan is involved everywhere around the world!
I want you to notice something. The last of the ten plagues was the death of the first born, but let’s go back to Exodus chapter 8:1. What is the second plague? Exodus 8, verse 1: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs. So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls. And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants.’”’”
God was mocking one of the gods of Egypt here who looked like frogs! They are mentioned in Revelation, too.
What’s also interesting is, as the Euphrates is a spiritual river that is sacred to God’s people because it pictures the Holy Spirit of God, the Nile was sacred to the Egyptians. God was saying out of your sacred river, I will show you what your gods are. They are actually hurting your people. We are going to bring out hoards of frogs, and you will see who is the Great God here! He says, I am the Lord. I am God, not these frogs—not these demons and the ones you worship. It is a very interesting way to connect the Old Testament to the New Testament.
Now let’s go back to Revelation chapter 16. We will read Revelation 16, 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.”
SPIRIT ARMIES GATHER
People talk about a 200 million-man army or a 300 million-man army or all the armies gathered at Armageddon. This little area in the Middle East could not possibly hold that many people. It is a tiny valley about 14 miles wide by 20 miles long. There is no way you could fit hundreds of millions of troops there with their armor, their tanks, their supplies, and everything they would need to fight a war. It’s physically impossible.
We can see that when you are talking about two spirit encampments such as God’s angels and God’s truth fighting Satan and his demonic angels and their lies, there would be hundreds of millions on each side! Without spiritual vision and a little insight into the Scriptures, you would never even know it’s going on! You can sense it in the people, because Satan is stirring people up to try to fulfil it physically. God says, not so fast! At the end of the age I will teach people the truth. The truth will wipe out the lies. People will lay down their arms. Do you think that’s ludicrous! No, God says it’s going to happen.
Revelation 16:15 is crucial because you are talking about nakedness here. I see our soldiers in Iraq and in Afghanistan and how they are covered with uniforms. I can’t believe they can walk around in them in the heat with body armor and everything that they are wearing and carrying. They are not naked. Neither is the enemy. What is going on here?
Nakedness pictures sin and false doctrine. This is something we need to understand. Spiritual nakedness is what we don’t want. Turn back to Revelation 3. We will be in Revelation for a little while yet.
In Revelation chapter 3 is the message to the last era of the Church, the church that we are all a part of. It is the time that we live in. We are reading Revelation chapter 3, verse 14: “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”’”
The Church at the end of the age is naked. It is preaching destructive heresies. It is preaching hardness of heart. Some Christian denominations are even saying nuke them in the Middle East. Nuke them and get it over with! That’s not Christian. That’s not what God wants. That is showing ourselves to be naked. God is talking about the works and the things we say that clothe us. Go to Revelation 19 to see that spelled out.
Revelation 19, verse 7: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
We know that’s Christ and the Church.
Verse 8: “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
If you want to be clothed, preach and do righteous things. Then you’ll have clothes. When Christ returns as a thief in the night, you won’t be naked. He wasn’t talking about soldiers running around with no uniform on. We have to understand this is spiritual warfare. It’s almost over! Matthew 25 puts it into context with Jesus Christ coming very quickly. It is the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
Matthew chapter 25, beginning in verse 1: “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them…”
Remember the lampstands with the oil feeding the churches and nourishing them? That was in Zechariah 4 and Revelation 11.
Matthew 25, verse 4: “…but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the son of Man is coming.”
If His coming was going to be preceded by massive death, destruction, nuclear war, famines, earthquakes, and pestilences which are all the false signs and lying wonders, who would be surprised? No one would be surprised. God said even My Church will be surprised. Five won’t be ready at all, but they all need to trim their wicks. This is how you let the Bible shine in your life. You do this by what you preach from it and how you live your life. He said, trim your wicks. They all needed to trim their wicks. We all need to get this right. That’s what is so important to get right at this time, so we can help the world see the truth.
Satan’s motivation was to change times and laws. That’s going to be the second sermon in this series. I think I will stop there today and just say that Satan wants to extend his reign. He doesn’t want to lose his power. He wants neither co-reign with Jesus Christ or co-reign with the Church. He does not want to lose his power and neither do the demons.
We are going to have to talk in more detail. It will take another sermon. I can see how much time I have involved here now. Suffice it to say, we need to understand the Battle of Armageddon in order to share the truth with the world and help the world calm down. It needs to chill a little bit! There is no need to get nuclear weapons or biological weapons. There is no need to bludgeon each other’s children.
STOP FIGHTING, STUDY THE BIBLE
The three great faiths need to understand that the Battle of Armageddon cannot be fought in one war with physical weaponry. Guns, bullets, and bombs are useless against Satan and his demons. The solution is not political. It is not economics. It is not diplomatic. And it certainly is not military. The solution is theological. The solution is God’s truth coupled with mercy and forgiveness toward each other.
The three great faiths must sit down together, break the bread of truth, look into the holy Scriptures and get square with them. They need to stop fighting long enough to be taught something for a change, instead of running off in passionate anger to kill each other. We need to be willing to admit our errors. I had to. I used to believe all of this death and destruction stuff, so if it can be done with me, it can be done with anybody. You can unlearn this stuff.
We need to forgive and seek forgiveness. We need to disarm the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet with the truth of God. These three spirit beings and their cohorts have oppressed mankind long enough! It’s time for the kingdom of God to rise over this earth. Armageddon as it has been envisioned by so many would indeed break one of God’s earliest, if not the earliest promise in the Bible in Genesis 8. It is one of His earliest promises.
Turn to Genesis 8:20 for the final Scripture. This is, of course, after the flood when Noah is thanking God for sparing him and his family. I want to read verses 20-22. Genesis 8, verse 20: “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.’”
That’s a promise. There will be no nuclear winter. There will be no vast destruction on the earth. God says, My kingdom will bring the peace.
God will not fail. It is certain. The prophecy that Daniel was taught is absolute. It is certain, and God will succeed. The Battle of Armageddon will be a successful victory at the end of a long war that will set all of mankind free from the tyranny of oppression of Satan and his horrible mountainous kingdom that causes us to shiver and shake in fear.