John J. Blanchard
May 9, 2015 (listen to audio)
Good morning, brethren. This is next in the series that we have been doing on hate and the Book of Revelation. The last time, if you recall, we spoke about the word tribulation and what God means when He mentions tribulation in the Bible. Today we are going to continue in that line, and we are going to talk about Armageddon.
What does God mean when He says Armageddon? When human beings say the Battle of Armageddon, we all know what we are thinking about. The images that come to mind are of this horrible huge battle. Some people say it would involve hundreds of millions and other people say billions of people—an enormous battle that literally leaves the earth a mess.
Armageddon is so fearful to contemplate that people in the past have actually dropped dead at the millennial change, not so much with our most recent one (although Y2K had a lot of people scared). Apparently when the year flipped to 1,000, people thought they were on the verge of the end of the world and Armageddon. From the historical records that I read, there were people actually dropping dead in the churches. They were in the churches at midnight trying to appeal to God not to allow it to happen, and some people just could not take the anxiety.
Today we still have a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear associated with Armageddon. For centuries biblical scholars have been warning about it. Theologians have been warning and speaking about it. Many treatises and books and booklets have been written about it. In our time eschatology—which is the study of the end of the world—is at fever pitch, because there are so many things that can be broadcast today and exemplify what people think it will be like. Every time there is a battle in Iraq or somewhere, you can conjure up, this is nothing compared to Armageddon, but just look at that destruction! Or you can see the old film footage from World War II and the tremendous carnage. You can say, that was 60 million people dying. Can you imagine if 90% of the world were to die! People can conjure up these terrible visions.
Making it all the worse is technology, because you can view it, whether they are movies, games, or TV programs with end-of-the world themes. You can see images portrayed that are made by Hollywood or whatever that look very real. Special effects are very real. We are all surrounded with too much information about the end of the age and Armageddon.
I think there is a good reason for people to be at fever pitch and worried, because when they do look around, there is a lot of bad news. It is not isolated anymore. Something that takes place half way around the world is on your TV screen instantly. I remember in 2001 when the towers fell in New York City, it was shown on television before the second tower ever fell down. Actually when the first one was still standing, people were on their cell phones capturing the planes flying into the buildings. All that was broadcast instantly, so of course people were afraid. That news would have taken months to travel around the world just a century ago or two centuries ago. Many places around the world would have never even heard of it. Nowadays a cyclone or an earthquake or a terrorist act is broadcast around the world immediately.
People are also fearful of the spread of nuclear weapons and what nuclear war could do. We have seen what two bombs dropped at the end of World War II did, so of course they are afraid of nuclear war. Of course they are afraid of disease. Now when a disease like Ebola pops up in a very remote part of the world, it’s only one plane ride away from your country or your city.
People are reading the articles about climate change that the world is warming up. The coastlines around the world could be flooded in a few years or a century. There is a debate about how serious it is, but people are nervous.
There is a constant drum beat of bad economic news around the world. People are concerned about their retirement, about their economy, about their jobs, and their nation. They are concerned about whether they would be able to get out of the next depression. The last big depression led to World War II. They are very concerned about what could happen if there is an economic catastrophe around the world.
Every night you see portrayed on your television programs or on your smart device terrorist acts around the world. Some of them are terribly gruesome. There are vestiges of age-old hatreds that have existed in some cases thousands of years, and they are back like barbaric times! We say, this is amazing! Maybe it is biblical. Maybe this is the end of the world. Of course, governments seem unable to handle it. I just read in the USA Today, yesterday’s paper, on the front page where one official in the American government said we cannot keep up with ISIS in our own country. They are realizing there are cells and individuals which are kind of salted across the country. They say we can’t keep up with these people because they are so isolated. They act alone, even though they are getting instructions from their authority figures. They don’t know how to deal with it. People are understandably nervous.
FEEDING THE FEAR
The question is: does any of this relate to end-time prophecy as written in our Bibles?
Technology feeds the fear. Technology should be used to allay the fear, if all we have to fear is fear itself, like FDR said. God is in control, and we have a benevolent loving God. But there is a steady stream of authority figures putting out programs and books, and there has been a whole string of books in the last number of years. It started in the 70’s with the book Late Great Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey. Today we have The Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye. After the Bible, it is probably the most commonly purchased set of books on the planet. We have the Jerusalem Countdown by Mr. Hagee and The Coming Four Blood Moons by Mr. Hagee, which he says are all a sign of a terrible cataclysm which is about to occur because of God’s wrath. There is another book called The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn.
I don’t want to go into all these things, but there is a plethora of information out there by people who are supposedly in the know about God’s word. They are putting out this information in novel form or factual form or a treatise on prophecy itself. They are very, very scary. Then you couple that with what Hollywood is doing. I mentioned earlier they have the special effects, but there is a whole genre that really is end of the age. It can be about zombies or vampires or other end-of-the-world themes like Armageddon itself. Or there are the Hunger Games or people who survive revolutions or survive blackouts that go around the world. They all have the theme that evil is on the verge of taking over, and everything is about to collapse. There will only be a few survivors. Biblically speaking, many of the people whom I have read their literature indicate 90% to 95% of all life on earth is about to perish. That does not square with a loving God. It should trouble people.
Why would God destroy so many billions of people that He has created in His image and likeness? Of course there is sin everywhere. Of course people are doing wrong things. But Christ died for our sins, and most of the world still does not understand or appreciate Christ’s sacrifice.
There is an avalanche of horrible things that are communicated to people today, and it’s very hard to stay positive, uplifting, happy, and cheerful. I am most concerned about those who are embarking on life now—young people, little children, high school children, and young adults. The future must look awfully bleak. That’s why I think there is a big problem with suicide and depression. One doctor that I know personally told me that over half of his patients are on some sort of antidepressant. An astounding number of young people are on antidepressants.
We live in a depressed society, but is it no wonder with all this bad news and portrayals of all these horrible things that are about to happen? It is a natural consequence. It is demoralizing to people. Yet the gospel is supposed to be good news—good news from God the Father and Jesus Christ for mankind.
You look around, and you see people responding to this news. Even if they are not depressed, they are trying to do something they think they need to do to prepare for the hard times. You see hoarding. You see what they call preppers. You see extremism—extreme activity. People are resorting to preparedness in a way that really could lead to a lot of trouble. They are arming themselves and preparing for the worst, which really is only bringing out the selfishness in people. It’s bringing out their hypocrisies, because they end up pointing at another culture, another religion, or another race and say they are the problem. If we got rid of them, we wouldn’t have the problem. Unfortunately, they are pointing at them, and they are saying the same thing, so you have these armed camps growing. This is a direct result of all this bad news and fear mongering. It is the opposite of what Jesus Christ said to love your neighbor and treat your neighbor as yourself.
Could all this negativity be the result of misunderstood biblical prophecy? Yes, it can. We have been talking about this in the last few weeks. It can, and it is.
CHRIST WILL COME UNEXPECTEDLY
Everyone is expecting about the same thing. When I say everyone, that is a generalization. There are humanists who think there can’t be a God, and it’s all crazy. But they are fearful of what people are doing in the name of God. I generally say everyone is afraid, but they are afraid of the same thing. Whether they believe God is going to destroy the earth or virtually kill almost everybody, or there will be some big war that’s going to do it that God has to intervene and stop, it’s still going to result in death, carnage and destruction around the world. They are all basically expecting the same scenario. They tweak it here or change it a little bit there, but it’s very similar. That’s what Christ said. He said, something is going to happen that you do not expect. I look at it and say, if everyone is expecting doom, gloom, death, and destruction, and Christ said it will happen in a way you don’t expect, we need to start rethinking things. You can look at His words on that subject. I want to start in Matthew chapter 24. We won’t read all of Matthew 24. It is probably the most quoted end-of-the world Scriptures, but we will look at it from time to time here. Our main focus today is going to be Armageddon.
Matthew 24, verse 36: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
This is a response to the disciples asking Him, what is the sign of Your coming and the end of the age? He said, no one knows. Only My Father knows. That means Jesus Christ didn’t even know.
Dropping down to verse 44 of Matthew 24: “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
He says, you don’t expect it. They were all looking for a tremendous cataclysm back in their day. These words are written for the benefit of us today as well.
Christ says this in verse 45 of the same chapter: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?”
This is an explanation of the Scriptures. This food in due season is the explanation of the word of God.
Continuing in verse 46 of Matthew 24: “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Let me ask you a question. If you saw massive death and starvation around the world, nuclear bombs going off in various places, nearly all our cities destroyed, disease epidemics sweeping the planet so that maybe only a tenth of humanity is left, would you be expecting Jesus Christ to return? I think even the skeptics would be expecting it. But Christ says here, I am coming when you least expect it. Logic would tell you it can’t end that way, or else Christ would be wrong.
We need to figure out what indeed is the message for the end of the age, and we can’t cover the whole thing today. There is much that we have written and spoken of from God’s word that clearly explains what the signs and wonders are, but we are going to see what one sign isn’t—Armageddon—in just a moment.
WHAT THE SIGNS ARE NOT
Now let’s go back to the beginning of Matthew chapter 24 when Christ is asked those two questions and what His initial response is to those two questions.
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.’”
Obviously it is some cataclysm that He is speaking of here.
Verse 3: “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?’ Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.’”
He doesn’t tell them right away what the signs will be. He says, I am going to tell you what to watch for, so you are not deceived. He goes on to explain in verse 5.
Verse 5 of Matthew 24: “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”
Here is how they will do it.
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.”
Over the last 2,000 years have we not had many earthquakes and many disease epidemics? Some of them were horrible like the Black Plague in Europe in the Dark Ages. We have had lots of wars. Some wars in the last century were so terrible that people really thought it was the end of the world. World War II resulted in the deaths of sixty million people. People were afraid each of these times over the last 2,000 years thinking the end of the world was upon them, just like they did in the year 1,000 when the first millennium after Christ had ended. People were sure at the stroke of midnight that all these cataclysms would happen, and they didn’t.
We are making the same mistake today! That means Christ’s words were helpful and accurate to people for the last 2,000 years, if they would have read and listened. Don’t be deceived by talk of wars and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes and pestilence.
Mark chapter 13 relates the Olivet Prophecy, too, but it says something a little differently, so let’s go to Mark chapter 13, verse 3: “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately…”
We see the names of four disciples who were specifically asking those two questions.
Verse 4: “‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?’ And Jesus, answering them, began to say: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am He,” and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.’”
He is speaking of the end of the age and not the end of the world.
Everyone who has pointed to some physical calamity on this earth as a sign of the end was wrong by these very words of Jesus Christ. It is a mistake. When I look at the information out there that is flooding the earth with bad news pointing to the sign of the end of the world, it’s wrong. It has created false expectations.
Turn to Luke chapter 21 where it is still talking about the Olivet Prophecy. In Mark Christ said, do not be troubled. Here He says, do not be terrified, and the point of terror is to terrify people. When people are terrified, they are not listening to the Scriptures. Let’s read it.
Luke chapter 21, verse 7: “So they asked Him saying, ‘Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?’ And He said: ‘Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am He,” and “The time has drawn near.” Therefore do not go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified…’”
As we mentioned last week, Christ said, I bring you peace. He brings peace and not terror. There is a being who brings terror, and he strikes fear into people’s hearts around the world, whether they are Christian, Islamic, or whatever. That is Satan, a spirit being.
Let’s determine what God means when He says Armageddon. There is only one place in any religious book that I know of that has the word Armageddon in it. And I am speaking of books that are looked at as the word of God, whether it’s the Bible or the Quran or another religious writing from another faith. There is only one place that I know of, and I’ll stand corrected if someone finds another place, and that’s in Revelation chapter 16. We are going to read the set of Scriptures here that details and talks about the end of the age and Armageddon.
ARMAGEDDON APPEARS ONLY ONCE IN THE BIBLE
Let’s go to Revelation chapter 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. 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.”
They have gathered in the place called Armageddon in the Hebrew. What started or initiated the whole passage here? The topic is spirit beings. Let’s go through these Scriptures. They don’t talk about huge armies. It doesn’t talk about nuclear war. It doesn’t talk about disease. It talks about evil spirits proceeding from the mouth of the chief of the evil spirits and his chief cohort. This passage is describing the greatest spiritual battle the earth has ever seen since Jesus Christ and Satan had it out in Matthew 4. Let’s go back to His example and how He fought Satan the devil. We are going to Matthew chapter 4.
DEFEATING SATAN WITH TRUTH
Matthew chapter 4, beginning in 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.”’”
Jesus Christ did not take out a sword, or like today it would be a pistol or a gun. He said, we have to deal with the word of God here.
Continuing in verse 5 of Matthew 4: “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.”’”
He is quoting Scripture back to the devil. He didn’t do anything physical like, watch Me, I can go to the top of that pinnacle and jump off! You won’t hurt Me! You don’t fall for Satan’s tricks that are physical. This is spiritual battle here.
Verse 8: “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ 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.”
Scripture defeated Satan’s lies. Jesus Christ did nothing physical to defeat Satan. Had He done any of those physical things, Satan would have won this huge battle. The worst would have been if He had bowed down to Satan. Satan would have become part of the God-head, which is what he has always wanted, because if God worships you, you must be God.
That was the greatest battle ever fought. Now the battle at the end of the age for the soul, you might say, of the world is the second greatest battle. But because Christ won this battle and then went on to live a perfect life and die for our sins, we have a chance at winning this last battle. Satan has pulled out all the stops to deceive mankind. Like Revelation 12:9 says, he deceives the whole world. He certainly has the whole world deceived about what is going to happen during the tribulation and Armageddon.
This battle that we saw Jesus Christ fight was about truth versus lie, about Scripture versus twisted Scripture, and it was about how you use Scripture as the sword of God to defeat the enemy. Christ was using the sword as an example for us. We need to use the word of God. That is what we are doing with this sermon. We are using the word of God to defeat Satan’s deceptions. That’s how good always defeats evil. Guns and bombs don’t defeat evil. You can get rid of a tyrant at the time or a bad army, but there is always another one to follow, so you’re never done! When these battles are over and the end of the age has come and Christ has returned, these battles and these wars will be finally done! We will have gotten rid of the deception. We will have gotten rid of the deceiver and the lies that lead mankind down these crazy paths that he goes, to their own destruction.
At the end of the age there is this other great battle that we mentioned—the Battle of Armageddon. That is the body of Christ facing off with Satan and his two cohorts there—the false prophet and the beast. These are three spirit beings.
You may read some of these novels or some of these books that look for some dark-haired person of a certain nationality, or someone of a certain religion to come along and be the beast or the false prophet. That is Satan tricking the world with false doctrine again! To have evil spirits come out of your mouth and you be the dragon, you can’t be human! The same goes for the false prophet sending out evil spirits from his mouth, you can’t be human. These are commanding generals in Satan’s army with Satan the dragon being the chief one over those armies. They are sending out at their command demons to harm the world. We will talk about that in a minute.
This is about truth versus lies, the correct use of Scripture versus the twisted Scripture, and how to properly use the sword of God. We need to wield it in such a way as to undo these lies and deceptions and defang the devil, as they say. Let’s examine some key aspects of this Battle of Armageddon.
THE HOLY SPIRIT DRIES UP
We are going back to Revelation chapter 16 now. We will start again in Revelation 16:12. Let’s analyze each of these Scriptures. “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.”
What happens here? The River Euphrates dries up. You can request the article we published called The River of Time. You will see that the Euphrates River is speaking of the river that swells up into a converted Christian and becomes springs of living water. At the end of the age in God’s Church the Holy Spirit itself isn’t flowing out of people correctly for a time, hence all these false doctrines. Keep your finger in Revelation 16, because we will be coming back to it. Let’s go to John chapter 4, and you will see what I mean.
In John chapter 4 we are breaking into the story of Christ meeting the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. John chapter 4, verse 13: “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.’”
That’s the water we are talking about. It is a spring of water that flows through us and can give us everlasting life.
Go over a few pages to John chapter 7. We will see what He was talking about in John chapter 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.”
What is this river, and what does it do? Euphrates means euphoric, happy. You can go back and check those definitions in Genesis chapter 2, as we have done in the past. It is the river that flowed into the Garden of Eden. The Euphrates means euphoric. The fruits of the Holy Spirit bring joy, peace, love, and understanding between human begins. This is the river that is supposed to flow through Christians. But when we condemn other peoples, that river dries up. When we slander each other or when we use fearful explanations of what God is not going to do but what you think He is going to do, that terrifies mankind. When that happens, that river dries up.
People start acting out of fear and trepidation, and not out of love and concern. People start arming themselves to defend themselves. People become preppers, or their hearts fail them from fear. That is doing harm. That is not bringing people peace. That causes that river to dry up. This leads to a big battle—the final battle that includes the kings of the east. Jesus Christ will come out of the east as King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the final battle that will reveal Satan for what he is and what he has done to the human race.
LIES FROM DEMONS
Now let’s go back to 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.”
You have three unclean spirits that come out with a message at the direction of the dragon—Satan—and the beast and the false prophet. They come out with a message from their mouth. Obviously, if the Euphrates has dried up, the fruits of the Spirit have dried up, the wisdom and knowledge in Revelation from Jesus Christ has dried up, of course we are unprepared to battle the deceptions. That’s what is being talked about here. Go on to verse 14, and you will see what I mean.
Verse 14 of Revelation 16: “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.”
These spirits are performing signs. “Performing” really means working or doing. Signs comes from the Greek word semeion (#4592, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), which we will define for you in just a moment. It is part of false signs and lying wonders.
The demons are doing things and moving people to think and believe the wrong things. When we have the false doctrines and we don’t have any truth to compare it to because you can’t find it, we can easily be deceived. Amos says there will be a famine of the word at the end of the age.
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.”
We are talking about Jesus Christ coming at a time you least expect, like He said earlier in the gospels. We must be aware of what the true signs and wonders are, or else He will come at an hour we least expect. He will catch us in unrepentant sin. Like we saw the servants preaching falsehood in His name and beating up on each other, He said you will be shamed when I return and catch you doing what you shouldn’t have been doing and what you shouldn’t have been saying. It was not food in due season, and it was not My message. It was a terrifying message for the world that stirred people up to actually do what Satan wants—kill people, hate people, divide people, bring out selfishness and self-righteousness in individuals.
Verse 16: “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”
We are talking about the final test of the body of Christ before Christ’s return. How are we going to handle deception? How are we going to show the world the truth, and will be willing to do so? We need to show them how to understand the true signs and wonders instead of the false signs and wonders. That’s what Christ was warning in Matthew 24—false signs and wonders.
Keep your marker in Revelation, and let’s go back to Matthew 24. We read verses 3-7 where it says, do not be deceived by wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilence. Then in verses 23-24 he says, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 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.”
Each generation of Christians knew beforehand these words, but at the end of the age we have fallen big time for a deception that Jesus Christ warned us would be brought about by false signs and lying wonders. It is exactly what we were warned about in Revelation chapter 16.
These false signs and lying wonders are emanating through Christians, for the most part. I mentioned last week and previously that Islam also respects the words of Jesus Christ, so they are mixed up about the end of the age and Armageddon as well.
Let’s go to II Thessalonians for another reference to this time at the end of the age. In II Thessalonians chapter 2 I am going to read quite a bit of this chapter just to get the surrounding Scriptures, so we can grasp it better. 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…”
They are the same words that Christ was using in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.
Continuing in II Thessalonians 2, verse 2: “…either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.”
If we had been listening to this Scripture for the last 2,000 years, a lot of people would not have gone to their grave terribly afraid of what God was about to do. They would have lived a peaceful life and gotten along a lot better with other people.
THE DEVIL IN THE TEMPLE
Verse 3: “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…”
The son of perdition is not a human man. If he is alive at the end of the age and Judas was described as having the son of perdition enter him, you are talking about a spirit being here. Satan is the son of perdition. That means “son of destruction,” by the way. That’s what he preaches. That’s what he espouses, and that’s what he wants. He wants mankind to destroy himself.
Verse 4: “…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.”
The temple of God is the body of Christ—the Church—as read in Ephesians 2, Hebrews 3 and 4. It’s the Church. Somehow at the end of the age when that River Euphrates dries up, it makes the Church weak. We will probably do another sermon just on that at some point in the future. It makes the Church so weak that the Church is espousing false signs and lying wonders without realizing it. They are being deceived, obviously.
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. 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.”
“He” is capitalized because Jesus Christ restrains Satan until the end of the age when He moves out of the way, drying up that river. You can go to Revelation 3 where He steps out of the Church. He is on the outside knocking on the door. He has not left us or abandoned us. While this mystery of lawlessness was at work during in the apostles’ time and is at work at the end of the age just before Christ returns, it has to be a spirit being. No one can live for 2,000 years as a physical being.
Verse 8 of II Thessalonians 2: “And then the [wicked one] lawless one [as stated in the New King James] 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 [wicked one in the King James Version] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders [the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet], and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
It’s the truth that defeats the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. It’s the truth that will set people free around the world from being deceived and hating their fellowman.
Verse 11: “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…”
God leaves people who are full of hatred and who twist God’s word to their own devices and their own delusions. We see it on the news every night. People are deluded into beheading other people. We see people who call themselves Christians. I have even heard some of them say, we need to nuke them—kill them all! As I have said, you could kill every person on this planet who is against you that you think is evil, and Satan would have another generation right behind them! You never win this war ultimately by killing people. It’s with the truth of God that we can win.
Verse 12: “…that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
It is up to us to believe the truth. Prove it in the word of God, believe it, live it, teach it, share it. That’s what preserves our lives, and that’s what will preserve the world. That’s what will take all this hatred, put it away, and defang the devil. If the devil can’t get us to hate each other, he has no power! He has no power if he can’t get us to hate and kill and lie and deceive. If we say, no, I’m not going to do that, he has no power, and neither do the false prophet and the beast.
The beast is in charge of hatred and war. That’s why he is called a “beast.” We could go back to Daniel and look at all those things. That’s what drives mankind to hatred and war. The false prophet’s job is to twist Scripture and promote lies and deception. Those three beings are working together to destroy the human race and to try to defeat God. They do it with false signs and lying wonders.
I said I would define those words for you. “Signs” is semeion (#4592, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means a mark to indicate or signify. “Wonders” is the Greek word teras (#5059, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means prodigy or omen. Putting those two together, therefore false markers or omens to indicate or signify Christ’s return are the deceptions. Christ said, don’t be deceived by wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilence. Anybody who points to one of those as a sign of Christ’s return is making a very serious mistake and scaring mankind. In some cases, they are encouraging mankind to hateful and very corrosive behavior between human beings. They are dividing human beings and taking away peace from the earth. It is taking away joy and taking away all the things the Holy Spirit wants to give us: love, joy, peace, long-suffering. That’s why these deceptions are so dangerous.
Christ is coming to stop all the things like wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilence. He is not going to bring about the worst war that there ever was and kill everybody and start again. He could have done that a long time ago as He did in Noah’s time. At Noah’s time He said, I will never destroy the earth again! Read it for yourself in Genesis 8. Yet, people think He is going to do it again.
ARMAGEDDON IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Armageddon is spiritual warfare. It is a spiritual battle, and it is the battle over what is the truth—false signs and lying wonders or the true signs and the true wonders. It is a battle over God’s Scripture and how to use it correctly, specifically prophetic Scripture. We saw that in Revelation.
Let’s go back to Revelation as we are getting ready to close. Revelation chapter 13, verse 15: “He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”
It’s a power of words—false doctrines. One of these times in the near future we will go through this set of Scriptures so we understand this, but rest assured it backs up everything we have said today so far. That battle is what’s spoken of. Let’s go back to Revelation 16 for one last time.
In Revelation 16, verse 15 once again we read, “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.”
It’s a war over words and the use of God’s Scriptures causing and leading people to sin. That’s what causes spiritual nakedness. We could go back to Revelation 3, and Laodicea is proclaimed by Jesus Christ to be poor, blind, wretched, naked, and miserable. We are naked and we are miserable. We are unhappy with that message. The world is unhappy with that message. The gospel is supposed to be “good news,” happy news, and wonderful news!
Christ said, watch because I come at an hour you least expect. Watch lest you be found naked and full of shame. Let’s not be duped by false signs and lying wonders. Let’s not support those messages.
When Christ gathers His people to preach the truth and tear down Satan’s strongholds of false doctrine, that’s called the battle of Armageddon. It will be the second greatest spiritual battle ever fought. Let’s define Armageddon. It comes from two Hebrew words. When you put them together in the Greek, Armageddon means a symbol or name. It’s a symbol. God says this is symbolic of what I am about to do. It comes from two Hebrew words: the prefix har, (#2022, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) meaning a mountain or range of hills, from harar (#2042, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) to loom up a mountain. Megiddon (#4023, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) means rendezvous. Armageddon means a rendezvous with destiny over which mountain will stand. Satan took Christ up on top of the mountain and said, I will show you all the kingdoms of the world. Luke even says, all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. In other words, for all the time that mankind has been around.
Satan said, I am in charge of all this. I am the god of this world. I will give it to You if You worship me! Jesus Christ wouldn’t do it. He battled Him with the truth. Armageddon is when the world realizes the truth, because there are enough Christians to stand up and proclaim it. They show the correct use of Scripture, prophecy in particular, and take away Satan’s power and the beast and the false prophet’s power, so that they can no longer deceive mankind.
A RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY
Armageddon means a rendezvous with destiny, because Satan’s mountain will be lowered. His range of hills—his little demons that are over the top of the earth right now deceiving mankind —will be lowered, as it says in Ephesians 6. They will be lowered. As we see in Daniel chapter 2, God’s mountain will start with a single stone—Jesus Christ. It will rise over the whole earth. That’s what Armageddon is about.
It is the same spiritual mountain at which Jesus Christ fought Satan, and Jesus Christ’s body—the Church—will fight there again. It’s a spiritual mountain. We will speak the truth. An innumerable multitude will understand the truth. As we saw in the previous study on this subject, it is an innumerable multitude that will wash their robes in the blood of Christ, which means they have to survive.
If you want to look up that spiritual mountain, it is in Luke 4:1-8. Satan said, I will show You all these kingdoms in a moment of time, and I will give them to You. You don’t have to die on the cross. I will give them to You. Let me be god with You! Christ said, get out of here! He went on to die for all of us. He gave us the word of God, the truth, so that we can get rid of these deceptions. We can weaken and defang the devil, so that he has no more power over the human race, but we have to do it with truth: truth versus lies.
There is much more we could say about this, but until I can speak to you again next time, you can go to our website. Request The Times and Seasons Digests 8, 9, and 11. Digest No. 8 is Signs and Wonders. No. 9 is What Do You Mean Tribulation? Digest No. 11 is Mountains Shall Rise and Mountains Shall Fall, which describes what I just told you.
Suffice it to say, Satan’s mountain is surely going to fall, and Christ’s mountain surely will rise. It will happen when you are not ready if you don’t understand the truth, so look it up for yourself. Understand the truth, and no longer be swayed by deceptions that come from the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet.