Armageddon: A Rendezvous with Destiny, Part 2

Good morning, brethren.  The title of today’s sermon is Armageddon:  A Rendezvous With Destiny, Part 2.  If you remember, the part one sermon covered what actually is meant by the word “Armageddon.”  The only place it is used in the entire Bible is in Revelation chapter 16.  We found out that the word Armageddon itself is a combination of two Hebrew words:  har (#2022, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) and megiddow (#4023, Strong’s Concordance, 1995).  Har means a mountain, and megiddow means rendezvous.  In other words, a mountain and mountains of rendezvous.

Armageddon is a rendezvous with destiny, as we learned in that sermon, between good and evil,  with Jesus Christ getting the truth to the whole world to undo the damage and remove the deceptions that Satan has caused with his evil inspiration throughout the world.

Satan has done a masterful job at deceiving the entire world.  I believe we looked at Revelation 12:9, so we won’t turn there at this moment.  We are told in that Scripture that Satan deceives the whole world.  I don’t know why, but we don’t ever seem to grasp the fact that the Scripture says “whole world.”  If you look around the world, every single group, every denomination, and every religion thinks they are except and that they were not deceived.  That’s not what that Scripture says.  The whole world does get deceived including the churches.

The three great faiths that are all located or have their beginnings in the Middle East—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—we noted are terribly confused about the end-time scenario that we call the Battle of Armageddon.  Islam also calls it Armageddon.  Judaism is looking forward to Jesus Christ coming as a conqueror and to take care of all these enemies that have persecuted them for all these thousands of years.

All three of these great faiths were formed basically in the geographic center of the earth.  All including Islam respect, believe it or not, the prophets of the Old Testament.  Islam has a great deal of respect for the Old Testament.  They realize that the Arab people are spoken of there.  They look back to Abraham as their father as well, so they have a tremendous respect for prophecy.  Of course, the prophets wrote prophecy.

All these great faiths expect to play a huge part in end-time cataclysmic events.  Interestingly, each one expects to be victorious.  The Jews expect to be delivered by the Messiah.  The Christians believe that Jesus Christ will come and take care of all other unbelievers.  And whatever denomination you happen to think is correct that you are a part of, you believe will save you, whether in a rapture or some other miraculous form of protection, from the great battle of Armageddon.  The Islamic people believe that they will be delivered when the Mahdi returns, believe it or not, with Jesus Christ.  They battle the Christians and other non-believers, and it really just leaves them standing.

Each of the three great faiths feels that the end time cataclysmic events will take place, and they will be victorious.  However, that puts them all at odds with each other, because the Scriptures and the prophecies as they interpret them would exclude non-believers of what each group believes.  Obviously that makes these other great faiths your enemy.  This has led to a lot of trouble in the Middle East today.

We discussed how this volatile situation is especially dangerous at this time because of modern weaponry.  Many wars have been fought.  Whether it was the crusades or it was when the Arabs stormed out of the Middle East all the way across to Spain and threatened to conquer all of Europe spreading Islam, all these various wars were very serious at the time.  Of course they were huge if you were involved in a war like that, but they did not have the power to end life on earth.  Today to fight a war of that magnitude with the weaponry we have could literally end life on earth!  Hence, you have this belief that somehow God is going to protect whatever group you happen to be a part of in a miraculous way, because no one else is going to survive.

With that backdrop, we have covered that in Part One.  We also discovered that Satan is the driving force behind the evil concept of turning the Battle of Armageddon into a physical battle—a physical battle in which mankind literally would get destroyed.  That’s Satan’s desire.  God’s desire is the opposite.  He wants us to have a Millennium.  He wants this world that we look out at and see the beauty of to be a beautiful world of peace, where people will live in harmony.  It is pretty hard to have an innumerable multitude if everybody is dead except a few people!

Satan’s motivation is what I want to look at first.  Why would he go through all this trouble of trying to deceive mankind to destroy themselves?  There are three reasons that I could note.  First of all he has a tremendous lust for power.  Secondly, he wants to extend his reign.  Third, he wants to avoid punishment.  That is true for his demons as well.

SATAN’S LUST FOR POWER

Satan’s lust for power is well noted in Scripture.  Let’s turn to Matthew chapter 4.  This is the temptation of Christ.  This was a tremendous battle for the future of mankind.  Fortunately, Jesus Christ won!

We will begin in Matthew chapter 4, verse 1:  “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.  Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’  But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’  Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.  For it is written:  “He shall give His angels charge over you,” and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”’  Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”’ Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.”

In Luke this is rendered “in a moment of time.”  He showed him all of the kingdoms of the world, past and present, in a moment of time.

Continuing Matthew 4, verse 9:  “And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’”

This tells us that Satan truly is in charge of the world!  He is god of this world, at this time.  That is god with a little “g”, as I like to say.  He also was in charge at the time when Jesus Christ was here.  He had the authority to say to Christ, if you bow down to me, you can have it all!  You don’t need to die!  You don’t need to suffer!

Verse 10:  “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan!  For it is written “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”’  Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

What would have happened if Jesus Christ bowed down at the feet of Satan?  Satan would have become part of the godhead.  You can only worship God, we are told in the commandments.  We would have, in effect, a trinity:  God the Father, Jesus Christ, and Satan!  Mankind would have had this horrible being as part of the godhead to cause untold suffering forever!  Jesus Christ would have none of it.  He would rather suffer and die for our sins.  That’s the kind of God we have, but that’s the kind of ego Satan has.  His lust for power is insatiable.  Isaiah chapter 14 describes it as well.

Go back to Isaiah chapter 14.  We could go through this whole chapter and see how the king of Babylon is mentioned as an oppressor, and it relates right back to Satan.  We will start where it talks about Lucifer in Isaiah 14, verse 12:  “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!  For you have said in your heart:  ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north…’”

Satan desired to get right up to the throne of God and sit there with Him!  If that should fail, he wants to be on top of the congregation of God.  He wants to rule the Church!

Continuing in verse 14 of Isaiah 14:  “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”

What an incredible ego!  What an incredible lust for power!  That’s the first thing.  Satan has this tremendous lust for power.

SATAN WANTS TO EXTEND HIS REIGN

Secondly, he wants to extend his reign.  Let’s go to Daniel chapter 7.  Daniel chapter 7 gives a lot of information in a very short Scripture.  Daniel 7, verse 25:  “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High…”

You just heard some of those pompous words in Isaiah.

Continuing in verse 25 of Daniel 7:  “…shall persecute the saints of the Most High…”

That is ancient Israel at the time and now the Church after the coming of Christ.

Verse 25:  “…and shall intend to change times and law.  Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.”

He wants to extend his reign by overwhelming the Church.  He is against the Most High with pompous words, which means of course evil words and evil thoughts.  His intent here and his motivation is to change times and law.  Why would he want to change time and law?  Changing time would change the length of his reign.

God set forth 6,000 years for Satan to rule the earth.  That’s why every week we portray the plan of God.  Six days we slave underneath Satan’s system in the world, and on the Sabbath day we are set free, picturing the Millennium.  This 6,000 year reign of Satan will end on time or early.  Many Scriptures indicate somewhat early.  God will cut time short.  Satan wants to extend that.  If possible, he would like to extend it forever!  If Christ had bowed down and worshiped him, he would have extended his reign forever.

To whatever extent he can lengthen his reign, that’s what he wants to do.  That’s his second motivation, to change time.

What he needs to do to change law is to change God’s commandments and the perception of them so that mankind breaks the commandments.  Whether it is setting up of images, worshiping on the wrong day, incorporating false doctrines, or whatever it takes to break God’s commandments and preach it as so in Christianity is what he wants to do.  That would change law, the Ten Commandments, and change time.

God is not going to allow it to happen, obviously.  Just like at the great temptation in Matthew 4, Christ would not allow it to happen.  However, in this case, Jesus Christ and God the Father have to work with mankind through the rest of that 6,000 year period and ultimately win the bride of Christ—the Church—and get ready to replace Satan’s demons.  Christ won, but now He has to win through the Church.  Hence, Satan wants to stop the Church in its tracks!

It says here, he will persecute the saints of the Most High and shall intend to change times and laws, and the saints shall be given into his hand.  Satan persecutes the Church for the time, times, and half a time.  We looked at that and understand that.  It is from the time of Jesus Christ until just before His return, pictured by the day we happened to be meeting here—the Feast of Trumpets.

SATAN WANTS TO AVOID PUNISHMENT

The third motivation Satan has is to avoid punishment.  Criminals don’t like to get caught.  When they get caught, they get remorseful, often not because they are sorry but because they got caught.  They don’t want to be punished.  Satan is the same.  He wants to avoid punishment.

Let’s go back to Matthew chapter 8, verse 28.  This is speaking of Jesus here.  “When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.  And suddenly they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God?  Have You come here to torment us before the time?’”

They were afraid that Jesus Christ came to torment them before the time.  They are facing some sort of torment in the future, and they were afraid that Christ was bringing it early.

Continuing in verse 30 of Matthew 8:  “Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding, so the demons begged Him, saying, ‘If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.’”

We know the end of the story.  The swine rushed off the cliff and fell into the sea.  They went to the bottom of the sea, which literally pictures where the demons come from, in the great abyss.  They were allowed to go back to their home dwelling, you might say, without facing torment at the time.  But that means there is torment ahead.  There is a very unpleasant future for Satan and the demons waiting for them.

We won’t turn to Leviticus 23, but you can make a note in your Scriptures.  It will probably be talked about on the Day of Atonement which will be in a few days.  But in Leviticus 23:26-32 and Leviticus 16:22 it talks about how Satan will be locked away.  That is pictured as a period of time—ten days physically now—after Christ’s return.  For a period of time after Christ’s return the truth has to go out, and Satan’s errors will be negated.  They have to get diminished and wiped off the face of the earth, so that people can understand the truth about Satan’s deception.  Remember he is the deceiver of the entire world.

I believe in Part One we talked about how Mount Seir is the evil mountain of Satan’s kingdom.  You can go look it up.  We know he causes the earth to shake and shiver in fear through his kingdom and realm over the earth.  We won’t go through all that right now.  We don’t have the time, but go back and review Part One if you want to see that.  That kingdom is going to get destroyed and his mountains laid flat.  This earth will see God’s kingdom rise up above it, and a reign of peace will be on the earth for a thousand years which we call the Millennium.

Let’s go to Revelation 20 to see what Satan is afraid of.  It is clearly spoken of here.  Revelation 20, verses 1-2:  “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…”

He is afraid of that!  Just like any criminal who is afraid to go to prison, Satan does not want to go to prison for a thousand years.  He knows after that he gets released for a brief time and then is sentenced to eternity in utter darkness, beyond what we would call the universe—out in total darkness where he can have no influence over humanity or tempt any angels ever again.

That is the future that Satan fears.  He is afraid of the punishment.  That gives him strong motivation.  We have talked about these three motivating factors, but there are severe limitations on how Satan can achieve his goal.  God set those limits.  Really what it comes down to is he has to defeat mankind—everybody!  Everyone has to sin or Satan loses.  Those are the rules of engagement.  He lost to Jesus Christ.  Now the only hope he has is to keep the bride from getting ready.  He has to keep the Church from getting ready, so that Christ can actually bring this Millennium here.  When the bride is ready and the Father says everything is set and He sends Christ back, that’s what institutes all these punishments on Satan and the demons.  If he can keep that pushed off or if he can go beyond the 6,000 years and prove God wrong, he wins.  But he has to do it through mankind.

Satan can’t defeat God in heaven anymore.  He is kicked out of heaven.  He can’t take any more angels.  He has his one-third.  He was cast down to the earth and cannot influence the angels anymore.  The only place he is left to battle God is here on earth, and that is primarily trying to beat the Church.  It is critical when Scripture says in Daniel 7 that the saints are given into his  hands, and for a time he overcomes them.  That is what we are going to see.   We will have come to a critical juncture in history when we see that take place.  It is a better understanding of what is meant by the Battle of Armageddon—the battle between good and evil.

DEFEAT EVIL WITH TRUTH

The only way we can defeat evil is with the truth.  The light of the truth makes Satan flee.  That’s why Christ could send the devil packing with Scripture.  Scripture is light.  He said you shall not tempt the Lord your God.  Get away!  Satan had to flee.  The light of the truth is that powerful.

Let’s go to John chapter 8.  Satan influences mankind with lies and deceit.  We said he deceives the whole world with false dogma, false doctrine.  In John 8, verse 43 Christ is speaking:  “Why do you not understand My speech?”

He is talking to the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

Continuing in verse 43 of John 8:  “Because you are not able to listen to My word.  You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.  But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.”

We see the battle is between the truth and lies.  Unfortunately, the Pharisees believed the lie, and they were against Jesus Christ.  They actually were physically used by Satan which led to Christ’s death.  It was Satan who inspired the whole thing, but he used humankind to do it.  Even suffering on the cross, Jesus Christ did not halt the sacrifice that He was going to become for all of our sins, thus sealing Satan’s fate.  It still all has to take place within that 6,000 year period for God to be correct.

Let’s turn to Revelation 12:9, so we have read this at least once in this sermon.  Let’s back up to Revelation 12, verse 7, so you get the picture that Satan was cast out of heaven and can no longer have effect there.  Revelation 12, verse 7:  “And war broke out in heaven:  Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.  So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.’”

The only way to defeat Satan is to use Christ’s blood when we fall short.  Satan cannot stop us from getting our sins wiped away.  Also we defeat Satan by the testimony—what we say about Jesus Christ.  We have to tell the truth, and the truth defeats Satan’s lies.  Hence, Satan wants to overwhelm the truth conversely with his lies.  That in essence is the Battle of Armageddon at the end of the age.

DRYING UP LIVING WATER

Let’s analyze the Battle of Armageddon by going back to Revelation chapter 16.  We had talked a little bit about the drying up of the Euphrates, but I want to start again for the jumping off point for the sermon today.  Revelation 16, 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.”

There has been a lot of conjecture over the centuries about this river Euphrates drying up and the kings of the east.  We have heard it said it was the Chinese or the Russians or whatever.  That makes no sense, and you will see as we go through this.  The Euphrates River can be crossed in a matter of minutes, as I mentioned in the first sermon, with modern warfare.  I think there are bridges that can span that river and send tanks across in as little as twenty minutes.  You don’t need to dry that river up.

This river Euphrates is a very special river that God is talking about.  The physical Euphrates River is just a type of it.  It fed where the Garden of Eden is from.  We are going to see that in a moment.  Let’s turn to John chapter 4.  If you want to, put your marker in Revelation 16, because we will be coming back to that frequently.

Let’s go to John chapter 4, verse 5:  “So He [Jesus Christ] came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there.  Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.  It was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink.’  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’”

Verse 11 of John 4:  “The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?’  Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.’”

There is a spring of water that flows out of the person if they believe in Jesus Christ.  Let’s turn the page to John chapter 7.  This river is referred to again there.

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.”

Interestingly enough, this takes place on the Last Great Day when the waters of the truth are opened up to all of mankind in a great resurrection!  Everyone will have the river offered to them.

The point is, if we believe in Jesus Christ and receive that Holy Spirit, we have a river of living water flowing through us and out of us!  It is the word of God—the Holy Spirit.  The word is the water.  We can go to Ephesians 5, and we would find there the washing of the water, the word, symbolizes the marriage between Jesus Christ and His bride, and also husband and wife.  We won’t go there today.  It is the water that we wash and we clean with, and it is the water that forms this river of living water.

We can look at some confirmation of this concept from the Old Testament.  Let’s go to Proverbs chapter 16.  It is very interesting.  You can look here and there, and find a little bit with a reference here and a reference there to this river back in the times of the prophets.  We are in Proverbs 16, verse 23:  “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.”

The living water flows from the inside out, so it starts in our heart and our mind.  It gives us wisdom.  Go to chapter 18.

Proverbs 18, verse 4:  “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.”

It tells us right here that the deep waters that come from this river are a limitless supply, if we are tied into the spring that is fed by the Euphrates River.  It goes through us and becomes this wonderful living water!  The deep waters can also be dark, as we will see shortly.

Proverbs chapter 2, verse 6:  “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly…”

Having this knowledge that comes out of our mouth with beautiful words that are sourced from the spring of living water, this river, are wonderful.  We want to keep that spring pure and clean with true doctrines, and that’s where Satan wants to darken that water.  He wants to pollute the water.  We will talk about that in a minute.  That’s how he overwhelms the Church.  It’s not by shooting the Church or killing people.  He could destroy the whole earth, and perhaps if there were no people left, there would be no people for a Millennium.  But it is more important to destroy the truth.  Did He get anywhere killing Christ?  No.  Did he get anywhere killing the twelve apostles other than Judas?  No.  He does not get anywhere when he kills somebody who adheres to the truth for their whole life.  It accomplishes nothing.  Therefore, our enemy truly is his deceitful thoughts that would get us to turn away from the truth or preach false doctrine.

PREACH CAREFULLY

We are responsible to use words very carefully, as you can imagine looking at the Scriptures we just looked at.  When we use doctrine and Scripture and we preach dogma, it had better be right.  Let’s go to Proverbs chapter 15.  There are lots of warnings about that.

Proverbs 15, verse 14:  “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.”

What are we letting flow through us?  Is it wisdom and understanding and the knowledge of God, or foolishness?

Proverbs 15, verse 28:  “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.”

What do you study to answer in righteousness?  You study the Bible.  You have to get your Scriptures right.  Christ quoted the exact correct Scriptures to defeat Satan at the temptation.  We need to know how to do that and do it well.

Proverbs chapter 21, verse 23:  “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”

We avoid a lot of trouble in life if we speak guardedly and make sure we are speaking the truth.  Christ mentioned this in many ways, as we just read a few minutes ago, the Pharisees being proponents of Satan’s lies. That means the things they were telling people were wrong.  You tell lies through your mouth.

Let’s go to Luke chapter 6.  It’s funny the Pharisees thought they were doing God’s will in many ways.  There is a direct parallel to what is going on in the world today.  A lot of people think they are doing God’s will, but they are doing the wrong thing.  That is certainly going on in spades in the Middle East.

Luke chapter 6, verse 43:  “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  For every tree is known by its own fruit.  For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Out of the abundance of the Pharisee’s heart came evil.  This is true with any human being.  When our motivation is right, especially when we are quoting Scripture and doing it correctly, out of our heart comes abundant good.  But conversely, just as the Pharisees made a huge mistake, it can lead to terrible consequences.  If Scripture gets twisted and dogma gets twisted and what is spoken of as doctrine is wrong, it can lead to terrible consequences.

As I mentioned earlier on, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all believe in the Old Testament.  What we see in the news today in the Middle East with ISIS and all these terrorist groups, they claim to do the will of Allah.  They believe in the Old Testament, and they have it twisted up something terrible!  Look at the horrible consequences.  Satan is the one behind that.  These people need to be pitied.  They are going to be horribly embarrassed someday for what they did in the name of God.

We can look in the past and see what Christians have done in The Crusades and in World War II.  Stalin and Hitler were both Catholic, which is Christian supposedly.  Look what they did to the world.  Look what has gone on in the various religious conflicts in Africa, Ireland, and you name it around the world with ethnic cleansing.  It almost always has a religious base whether it’s Christian, Islamic, or in some cases the Jews.  There were some revolts the Jews did that were wrong as well.  Each one has used Scripture to do “the will of God” and found themselves doing something very, very wrong because they misunderstood prophecy.

We need to determine what God is talking about at the end of the age with Armageddon, or we can inadvertently do Satan’s will.  It is not just Islamic extremists who are doing Satan’s will, but you also have some very right wing Christians who are ready to have another crusade, which would be doing Satan’s will.  You see how that is so tricky.  Satan is so masterful at deceiving the whole world.

Let’s go to Matthew chapter 12.  It is speaking again of trees.  Christ often spoke of trees.  Matthew 12, verse 33:  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.  Brood of vipers!  How can you, being evil, speak good things?  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.  But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Could Christ be any clearer?  We had better get it right, especially when we are using words in His name.  We are going to be held accountable for what we say.  If we are preaching and saying we understood what Christ meant and it’s wrong, we are held to account.  Not enough people shake in fear of those type of Scriptures.  I certainly do.  It worries me.  I want to say what’s right.  I don’t always, because none of us are perfect.  That’s why I often ask you, if you think I am making a mistake, tell me.  Let’s fix it, because we want to be as accurate with the Word of God as possible.

We are going to cross reference this with James 3 and go back to Revelation 16.  But let’s go to James chapter 3.  We will read verses 1-3 and then 8-12 just to save a little bit of time.  James 3, verse 1:  “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgement.”

Remember what I said about every word we say that we have to be held account for.

Continuing in James 3, verse 2:  “For we all stumble in many things.  If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”

None of us are perfect, so all of us stumble from time to time in our words.  We just had best not make it a habit and try to get it as right as possible.

Verse 3:  “Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.”

Let’s drop down to verse 8 of James 3:  “But no man can tame the tongue.”

No, we can’t do it by ourselves.  We need God’s help, and we need His forgiveness when we goof up.

Verse 8:  “But no man can tame the tongue.  It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

We fling that poison at each other pretty often!

Verse 9:  “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?”

 

I have a spring on my farm.  I can let my cattle drink there.  It’s good water.  What if one day they could drink it, and they were fine and the next day they drank it, and they died.  The Bible is a spring of good water, and Christ’s river is good water.  Satan wants to mix in some poison all the time and confuse us about doctrine.  He wants us to spew the wrong things.

THE SAINTS ARE OVERCOME

Let’s go to Revelation chapter 16 now that we understand a little bit more about this Euphrates River. We will study a little bit more.  Let’s read Revelation 16, verse 12 once again.  Revelation 16, 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.”

Now you can imagine if Christ’s river were to dry up and the fruits of the Holy Spirit dried up. We understand we are supposed to be bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  You could go to Galatians 5 where it talks about love, joy, peace, understanding, long-suffering, and patience.  Those are the fruits that come from God’s river.  It leads to peace.  If that dried up, you would expect to see something.  You would expect to see division.  You would expect to see hatred and slander.  Out of a spring you are going to get one or the other.  You can’t mix both.  Interestingly enough, if you drop down to verse 13, it tells you how this comes about.

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.”

When the river dries up, that is God’s Holy Spirit.  When God’s river dries up temporarily at the end of the age, Satan’s verbiage comes out.  That’s what it says right there.  God was not talking about drying up a physical river.  There are no demons in the river Euphrates and then frogs coming out of Satan’s mouth waiting for the physical river Euphrates to dry up.  You have to accept the Scriptures for what they are saying and understand.  Let’s cross reference this with Revelation 13.

As we saw in Daniel 7, the saints were overwhelmed for a while.  Revelation 13 tells us the same thing.  Let’s start in Revelation 13, verse 5:  “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.”

This would be the same time as mentioned in Daniel 7.  We are not going to get into that today.

Continue in verse 6 of Revelation 13:  “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.”

Satan is blaspheming God, His tabernacle, His people, and those who dwell in heaven.

Verse 7:   “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.”

It is hard to get any believer in any Christian denomination to accept the fact that they have been deceived.  It is almost impossible!  Satan is so tricky.  He has everyone convinced that everyone else is deceived and not their group.  This is how masterful Satan is.  We are told here that he really overcomes, which means to “gain the victory over.”

Let’s continue in verse 7:  “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them [which means to gain the victory].  And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.  All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Christ says here if anyone has an ear, let him hear what I am trying to say.

Verse 10:  “He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.  Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

The sword is the word of God, but Satan has everybody looking at physical swords and physical warfare.  It is the word of God.  If we wage war incorrectly with the word, the word will be used to slay us.  If we wage war with the sword properly, we gain.  We can eventually turn this thing around, which is what is going to happen.  Christ says here this is the patience.  This is what the saints have to endure.  At the end of the age, Satan overwhelms the Church very briefly.

If you drop down to verse 11, it makes something else a lot clearer when you understand that idea.  Revelation chapter 13, verse 11:  “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.”

The Lamb pictures the Church.  We are called Christ’s sheep.  Jesus Himself is the Lamb of God.  Here you have a lamb who sounds like a dragon!  Remember we are talking about what is being said.

Verse 12:  “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell on it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.  He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell in the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the best, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.”

They are wounded by the false use of Scripture and lived.  They ended up sounding like a dragon even though they were supposed to be lambs!  What’s going on here?  Maybe your Bible, like mine, has a little number one by the word “those” in verse 14.  The margin would explain to you that in the original text, that should be translated “my own people.”  My own people!  My own people fell for the false signs!

It changes the whole idea.  You are not looking for some dark handsome guy born in Italy or somebody else who is going to become the beast or whatever and stamp everybody with a chip or something.  We are realizing that this is talking about God’s people here.  That’s why earlier on it said Satan overwhelms and overcomes the saints when all of a sudden they are saying the wrong things!

At the end of the age we come to the point where the river Euphrates dried up, and the wrong knowledge is being spewed out in the name of God.  It is happening, like I said, with the Islamic extremists who use God’s Old Testament to spew out false doctrine.  It is used by Christianity who is looking for God to come and destroy everything except their particular group.  Satan has us believing these terrible things.  That’s what the Bible tells us here.

What we are seeing here is that Armageddon is the battle between good and evil, between truth and lies.  It is not a physical battle, but there are physical ramifications, as we can see in the Middle East.  When people believe false doctrine, they will do almost anything in God’s name!  We are seeing horrendous things done in God’s name, and they really think they are going to get a wonderful reward for this!  That’s how deceived they are.

The point is, out of God’s river comes peace, the fruit of the Spirit, and eventually a Millennium.  Out of Satan’s river come these frogs—the false doctrines that literally overwhelm the world and lead men to the violence and the evil that we see taking place.  In previous times when a war did something destructive, it would end, people would be exhausted, and they would rebuild their nations.  Today if Satan could have it go to the full extent, which God will not allow, there would be nothing left!  The earth would be a cinder.  God is not going to let that happen.  The truth will win at the end of the age, and the evil will flee.

Evil will flee just like when Satan fled Jesus Christ when He put the light of the truth on what he was doing at the temptation.  Satan had to take off!  When more people learn the truth about Armageddon and understand the prophecies of God, Satan’s power diminishes and diminishes.  Just to use an example, what if the leader of ISIS learned the truth next week?  Satan would lose a lot of power!  I don’t think that is necessarily going to happen, not early on, but when Jesus comes back, he will have no choice.  Before that time we need to get to the little people.

If you have a horrible leader like a Hitler, but none of the troops want to do what he says and they are willing to lay down their lives for their fellow man rather than to follow error, he has no power.  The dragon who is working in Hitler would have no power because Satan’s limitation is that he must work through human beings.  If human beings don’t cooperate but follow the truth of God, Satan has no power.  He cannot drop nuclear bombs by himself.  He can only motivate and move people to do it.

The truth of God is that powerful!  We saw what Jesus Christ did with it at the temptation.  Now the Church has to do it at the end of the age, but we have to clean things up.  We need to trim our wicks.  False doctrine is behind all the troubles we see in the Middle East and indeed most of the troubles around the world.

FALSE SIGNS

Now let’s continue in Revelation chapter 16.  We will re-read verse 13 and continue on.  Revelation chapter 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.”

In other words, they are directed by the mouth of the beast Satan, the false prophet.  These frogs are demons as it says in verse 14.

Verse 14:  “For they are spirits of demons…”

It is perfectly clear here.

Continuing in verse 14:  “…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.”

These frogs have a job to do.  They have come from the mouth of Satan at his instruction, and they are promoting false doctrine.  They are moving the world, from Satan’s point of view, hopefully toward ultimate destruction!  God is not going to allow it to happen.  We are told here in the New King James Version they are doing it by performing false signs.  The King James Version says “working miracles.”

Let’s look at the words by definition “performing” or “working” and “signs,” “miracles.”  Performing is poieo (#4160, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which is to make or do, so they make or do something.  Keep in mind who is making and doing this.  It is the frogs.  It’s the demons.  It is not people, because we keep getting told somebody is going to come and perform signs.  It is not a body or a human being.  It’s a frog.  It’s a demon moving people in the world to do things.

“Signs” is semeion (#4592, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means an indication, especially a ceremonial or supernatural indicator.  These frogs are moving things to happen that look supernatural.  This word semeion comes from semaino (#4591, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means a mark to indicate or to specify.

From a Christian’s point of view, they see things happening in the Middle East and they say these are all signs of the end!  These are signs.  I have read this and seen it on the news when people who are in the know are interviewed report that the jihadists say, follow this new leader of ISIS because what’s taking place is a miracle!  The only way we could do all of this is a miracle showing that Allah is on our side.  For them it is a fulfillment of prophecy, and Christians are looking at it as a fulfillment of prophecy.  But are those really the signs?  Is a physical war in the Middle East a sign of the end, of Armageddon?

The first clue that that’s going to be wrong is that the demons are making these signs happen.  Demons are not going to tell you the truth!  They are going to make the signs be false signs and lying wonders.  It’s humans who erroneously misinterpret those signs as coming from God.

Let’s cross reference other places where the word “semeion” is used.  Go back to Matthew chapter 24 which are commonly used Scriptures for the end of the world.  Go to Matthew chapter 24, verse 24, and then we will back up closer to the beginning.  Matthew 24, verse 24:  “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand.”

Christ warned us beforehand that this would happen.  The word “signs” here is semeion, false signs.  It is the same word as what we saw in Revelation 16.

Now let’s back up to verse 1 of Matthew 24.  Matthew 24, verse 1:  “Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.  And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things?  Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’”

We know that happened in 70 A.D.

Continuing in verse 3 of Matthew 24:  “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be?  And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’  And Jesus answered and said to them:  ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many.’”

WHAT THE SIGNS ARE NOT

And here’s what those deceptions will be.

Verse 6:  “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

We have been going through these birth pangs and beginnings of sorrows for a long time, ever since Christ uttered these words.

Christ was saying, don’t be deceived by what they say in My name about wars and rumors of wars.  Every time there has been a calamity on earth since these words were written, they have said it’s Armageddon and the end of the age!  It is no different today.  It is still wrong.  They were false signs then, and they are false signs today.  We covered that in our booklet The Times and Seasons Digest No. 8, Signs and Wonders.  We did a sermon recently about seeking the signs and wonders.  God gives us signs to watch for, but they are not wars and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilences.  They are things to do with the Church and how His holy days are advancing.

SATAN IN THE TEMPLE

Let’s go to II Thessalonians chapter 2.  It is another set of Scriptures commonly used referring to the end of the age.  In II Thessalonians chapter 2, we will start in verse 1 to get in context that he is speaking about Christ’s return at the end of the age.

II Thessalonians 2, verse 1:  “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled…”

How many times have we been shaken in mind or troubled since these words were written?

Continuing in verse 2:  “…either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

That is the Church that is overcome for a very short time by Satan who is free to preach his message of false signs and lying wonders.  That’s what the Scripture says because the Church is the temple of God.  We have proven that many times.

Verse 5:  “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?  And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.”

The restraining one is Jesus Christ.  We know that in Revelation 3 he steps out of the Church for a little while.  Then He is on the outside knocking to let us open the door to Him.  He knows what is going to happen.  He inspired prophecy.  He has not left us.  He is not gone.  He is right next to us.  We need to let Him in and help us trim our wicks and get things straight.

Verse 7 of II Thessalonians 2:  “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”

It is capitalized because it is speaking of Christ.

Verse 8:  “And then the lawless one…”

It should say the “wicked” one.  It says “lawless” one if you have the New King James Version.

Verse 8:  “And the lawless one [wicked one] will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one [as stated in the New King James Version and “wicked” one as stated in the King James Version] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders…”

This is semaino, semeion.  He has gotten into the temple of God showing himself that he is god with false signs and lying wonders that Christ said to be careful of.  These can deceive even the elect.  At the end of the age, this did indeed occur.

Verse 10:  “…and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…”

Around the world, whether it’s jihadist extremists or Christian extremists or people that think God is going to fry the whole earth except for their group, they follow the lie!  They have let it come in.  God is telling us here what to do about it.  Love the truth, and Satan will flee.  The delusions will be gone.  With that we can be ready as the bride of Christ to usher in a Millennium.  The world can be prepared to get rid of these errors that lead to so much suffering.

Keep remembering it is the demons behind the signs.  It is not some human being somewhere doing some strange miracles.  The miracle is that these demonic beings can get and move human beings to do their will thinking they are doing God’s will!  There is the miracle.  It is working, but its days are numbered.  Because when people learn the truth, this is going to stop. It is going to start stopping, I think, very soon.

We have these false signs and lying wonders, and they are promoted left and right around the world.  Now we have had the Left Behind Series that has sold many millions of copies all about how the world is going to get fried except for a few believers.  Now there is a movie on the same theme that is coming out.  There have been books, movies, TV programs, and even games all based on the idea that Armageddon is going to wipe out just about everybody on the planet.  God says, not so fast!  I created the earth, and it is good.  It is beautiful.  I love My birds.  I love My trees.  I love human beings.  They are made in My image.

We are going to correct this, and we are going to have a beautiful Millennium.  We just have to get rid of Satan and get rid of his deceptions and his lies.

Now let’s go back to Revelation chapter 16 once again.  It is speaking of Christ’s return here.  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.”

A RENDEZVOUS BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL

False doctrines getting spewed by whomever lead to nakedness.  We are not talking about physical nakedness.  We are spiritually naked. We don’t have our clothes on—our righteous garments.  God is going to use this nakedness of believing false doctrines and spewing them to lead to the great rendezvous between good and evil.

Satan has fallen for God’s trap.  He is pulling out all the stops at the end of the age to fool mankind one more time, hopefully getting us to destroy the whole earth.  He is going to fail and fail miserably. If you go to verse 16, you can see this nakedness that leads to shame, which ties right into the Battle of Armageddon.

Verse 16 of Revelation 16:  “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”

This means the rendezvous between the mountains—Satan’s mountains and God’s mountains, Satan’s kingdom and God’s kingdom.

BRING BACK THE TRUTH

Go back a few pages to Revelation chapter 3.  We have a few more Scriptures, and then we will be done.  This is speaking of our time to the Church today.  Christ says this in Revelation 3, verse 17:  “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—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”

When we come to see these beautiful truths of God and understand the Battle of Armageddon, we are literally purchasing garments.  We are covering up our nakedness.  We are no longer promoting a selfish doctrine that says we are going to be okay, it is everybody else who deserves to die!  We will be protected somewhere.  Whether it is a rapture or a place of safety, we will be okay.

When we get rid of that selfish doctrine and we start talking about the truth, shining the light on Satan’s lies, he will flee just like he did at Christ’s temptation.  Shine the light of the truth of the Scriptures on Satan’s lies, and he will flee.  It is beautiful!  It is wonderful!

Christ warns that if you don’t let Him anoint your eyes and if you don’t get some clean garments, He is going to take you by surprise.  It shouldn’t happen to the Church. We shouldn’t be surprised by the return of Christ.  Let’s go to Luke chapter 12.  Christ said something very interesting here.  We can see how that could happen now.

In Luke 12, verse 35 Christ says:  “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning [how we portray the Bible]; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.  Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.  Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.  And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Satan has broken into God’s house.  It is very temporary.  When you understand what is going on, you can battle him and let Christ back in.  Satan has to leave.  All this is going to happen and lead up to Jesus Christ’s return, so that a lot of people who thought they had it right are going to say, what!  We were waiting for nuclear war!  We were waiting for this to happen and for the Dome of the Rock to come down!  We were waiting for all these physical signs.  What are you doing back here, Jesus Christ!  He will say, I told you I would come at an hour when you least expect.

Literally the whole of these three great faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—are all looking for huge warfare and battles at the end of the age!  Therefore, they are all looking for these physical signs to happen before the Savior comes, the Messiah comes, or the Mahdi comes.  When it doesn’t happen the way they thought, they are going to be shocked.  But those who have the Holy Spirit should understand at the end of the age, so they can preach and teach others.  They need this information to help at this very critical time in history.  We can help the world understand what the Battle of Armageddon really is.

Let’s go back to Mark chapter 13 for our final Scripture.  Mark 13, verse 32:  “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.  It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.  Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.  And what I say to you, I say to all:  Watch!”

We are supposed to be guarding the door.  We are supposed to be understanding the truth and sharing the truth of God and not letting Satan into the house.  Once we find ourselves in the situation where we are at the end of the age, we know that Satan really has broken down the house of God.  Now it is incumbent upon us to kick him back out and get the truth shining back into our lives.  We need to trim our wicks and get the Bible spoken of correctly.

Christ also knew that would happen, and He is behind it.  The river will begin to flow again.  The truth will flow.  We could go back to Ezekiel around chapter 47 where it talks about this river flowing and eventually covering the whole earth!  In the Millennium it will.

It has to start somewhere.  It is like it starts when it is the bleakest hour.  When the river has dried up and Satan seems to be having his way, he literally will be trapped.  He will have tempted the Church of God and gotten the Church to fall, basically, when it no longer understands which end is up.  Once that gets turned around by Jesus Christ, Satan literally has his back against the wall.  We could go back to II Thessalonians to read about that.  When it is revealed who he is and what he has done, you are literally right there and so close to Christ’s return!

The Battle of Armageddon has been perhaps Satan’s greatest deception because he even temporarily deceives God’s people, as we read.  God’s truth will set us free.  If we have ears to hear what the Spirit says to the churches, we can join in this Battle of Armageddon, which will be fought right along with the angels when Michael stands up and helps us.  The truth will literally overwhelm Satan’s lies, and the bride of Christ can look forward to a fine reward and the return of our Savior Jesus Christ.

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