Monthly Archives: September 2014

SERIES: LIVING ON THE EDGE OF ETERNITY: Road Signs To Armageddon

Revelation 19:11-21 (KJV) 11  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12   His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17  And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18  That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19  And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21  And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

I heard of a young man who was learning to fly a single engine airplane. He had taken all of the instruction and it was time now to land it. The instructor said to him, “Are you ready to go down?” He said, “Let’s do it.” So the plane began to descend toward the ground. The instructor looked over at the young man and he was so cool and calm, not nervous, his palms not sweaty, not biting his lip. The instructor thought this boy would make a great pilot. He’s not nervous at all. He seems to be cool as a cucumber. So the plane descended, and suddenly it hit the ground with a thud, bounced fifty feet in the air, hit, bounced again, and finally came to a stop off the runway. The instructor said, “Son, I have been teaching flying for a long time. I believe that is the worst landing I have ever seen a student pilot do.” He said, “Me? I thought you were landing the airplane!” I think a lot of times we wonder who is in control of this crazy world. Friend, there is a God and He is in control, no matter what you think.

Anybody with an ounce of intelligence can look around, read the newspaper, and see what is happening. We see the storm clouds gathering. The dynamite has been laid, the fuse is in place, the match is struck, and we all know that we are running out of time. A battle called the Battle of Armageddon is rushing upon us.

Revelation 19:11. The Apostle John is having a vision of the future, and he said, “And I saw heaven opened and, behold, a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth [that is, the man on the white horse] goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

This is a picture of Armageddon. Armageddon literally means Mount of Megiddo. I have been there and looked out at that battlefield that Napoleon said, “This is the world’s greatest natural battlefield.” It’s actually a vast valley with three mountains. If you look to the north, you can see Mount Carmel. If you look again in front of you, you will see Mount Tabor. And then off to the left you will see Mount Gilboa. In this valley you will see the valley that is known as the Valley of Jezreel. It is a natural battlefield. Many battles have been fought there. Napoleon fought there. Titus, the Roman general, fought there. Pompey fought there. Richard the Lionhearted fought there. Nebuchadnezzar fought there. Rameses fought there. Great battles have already been fought there. The land is soaked and drenched with blood. Why?

Because it is an ancient crossroads. It’s the place where trade caravans would go back and forth. Whoever controlled Megiddo controlled the land, the trade, and the commerce of that day. The Bible says that one day the last Great War will be fought there. It will be the war that will end all wars and the final war of all time.

What we have here in Revelation 19 is only a snapshot of a panorama that began earlier in our study of the Book of the Revelation, so we are going to go back and catch up and then come back again to this snapshot. We are going to get a look at the big picture today as we see these Road signs or Mile Markers if you will on the road to Armageddon.

Number one: The detailed prophecies that predict Armageddon. There are many prophecies that come in great detail and tell us that we are headed toward Armageddon.

Revelation 16:16: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” There is something that is gathering the people toward Armageddon. May I mention several Road Signs that tell us that we are living in the last days?

Number one: We find Israel back in the land. One more time, after eighteen centuries, Israel is back in her land. These prophecies could not take place without Israel back in the land. A nation was born in a day on May 14-15, 1948. The Republic of Israel was formed. We see Israel back in the land and we see the hostilities of many nations being turned against her.

Number two: There is today in our world a reunified Europe. We call it the Common Market. Now you can travel from nation to nation in Europe without a passport. You can spend one common dollar called the Euro. The Bible has prophesied that the Old Roman Empire would be reconstituted. Friend, we are seeing that take place in our day and in our age. Europe now is becoming dominant in commerce, in the military, and in the political. Europe is situated, obviously, between the East and the West. It is natural when you think about it. World influence is moving gradually, but inexorably, toward Europe. It is out of Europe that the antichrist will come. And then we see a coming one-world government. Have you noticed the move toward globalism? You will hear it more and more about a one-world conference.

I was reading about a song that children now are being taught in classrooms. I want you to listen to this song. “Come young citizens of the world. We are one. We are one.

Come young citizens of the world. We are one. We are one. We have one hope, we have one dream, and with one voice we sing. Peace, prosperity and love for all mankind.” Doesn’t that sound sweet? If you put these lyrics to the right melody and rhythm and let the children sing it, it sounds so wonderful. But let me tell you it is quite ominous if you will go back to Genesis 11:6. We will find the same song was being sung at the Tower of Babel. “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they began to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do.”

Babel is the beginning of the Babylonian Empire and the beginning of Babylonious religion. We see today a great move toward globalism. Why? Because of terrorism. People say that we have to come together as one force to overcome terrorism so there will be no terrorist to fight anyone else. This move is so strong that today there is a great effort to remove the very phrase “A.D.” from dating. We say a certain date and then we put A.D., Anno Domini, the year of our Lord. That is, from the time that Jesus Christ was born it has been thus and many years, days, centuries, whatever. But now that term is being replaced by “C.E.” You will see this more and more. C.E. means Common Era. That is, we are going to have all things in common. It is not just the Christian era. It is not just the year of Our Lord. It is a Common Era. We see globalism.

Number three: We see the former Soviet Republics and the Arab nations gathering strength, coming together, combining against Israel. The Bible prophesies that this will happen in Ezekiel 37, 38, and 39. We see the kings of the East gathering strength. We see Red China with her militant forces. The apostle John saw an army of two hundred million coming from across the Euphrates. People used to laugh when they would read that because they would say, “How could John prophesy such a thing? There were not two hundred million people on earth, so far as we know, when the Book of the Revelation was written.” I have in my clippings a news article from Time Magazine, May 03, 1971.

Mao Tse-Tung said, “We can now field an army of two hundred million,” the exact number that the Book of the Revelation prophesied. All of these things, friend, are in the mix. They are coming together.

“Pastor Rick, are you setting a date for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ?” No. As I have told you before, He could have come again anytime from the time He ascended. Early Christians, those people who were living in Bible times, were looking for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Rapture, and well they should be, but these signs will intensify and all the more we should be looking for the Lord Jesus Christ. You go out to the mall. It’s probably late summer, early fall. You will see some Christmas decorations beginning to appear. That’s an amazing thing because Christmas is nowhere near. When you see those Christmas decorations, what does that mean? Does it mean that Christmas is coming? No, it means Thanksgiving is coming. When you see these signs that tell us about Armageddon, does that mean that Armageddon is coming? No, it means the rapture is coming. It means that we are very, very close to the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Number two: The demonic passions that provoke Armageddon. Revelation 16:13: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils…” Remember that every time you see the word devils you may read demons. There is one devil but many demons. “They are the spirits of demons, working miracles, which go forth unto 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 come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” That is, you get read. When Jesus comes at the rapture, you’d better be ready. He is coming as a thief in the night. Notice verse 16: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

Did you know that Satan is itching for a fight with God? Can you imagine that? He is sending out his envoys, his demons, saying, “Get the nations ready, mesmerize these monarchs, manipulate these kings, and bring them to Armageddon.” We are going to find out who is who and what is what. We are going to find out who has the ultimate power. “How could Satan be so stupid?” Friend, he is brilliantly stupid. He is hideously beautiful. You have to learn this about Satan. His wisdom is warped and corrupted.

He is thinking that he is going to have a showdown at Megiddo with the very Son of God.

We see dark, devilish, demonic, malevolent powers working in the world today. You will never understand what is happening in today’s society, in the news, and with diplomatic negotiations if you don’t understand that behind it all, standing in the shadows, is Satan. People say to me, “Do you believe in the conspiratorial theory of history?” I do, but the little conspiracies that many people talk about are lightweight. I am talking about a conspiracy that goes beyond anything that you may have imagined. It is devilish. Let me give you some Scriptures.

Matthew 24:24. Jesus said, talking about the end-times, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

You say, “Well, I am smart enough that the devil wouldn’t deceive me.” You know why he won’t deceive you? The only reason he can’t deceive you is because of the supernatural power of God that protects you. If you have brought your own intellect to the thing, you would go under. Satan has such unbelievable persuasive power he will make you think up is down, good is bad, and white is black. He will deceive. That’s what Jesus said. “… if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect.”

Second Peter 2:1: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” That is talking about Armageddon.

First Timothy 4:1: “Now the spirit speaketh expressly that, in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons.” Satan is going to have a heyday in the last days deceiving people.

Mark 13:22: “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, the very elect.” One of these days, Satan is going to perform a miracle before your eyes, and you will say, “You know what? Pastor Rick’s teaching and preaching was not so, because I saw with my own eyes a glorious sign and wonder. No one could do this but God.” Jesus said that Satan would deceive the very elect if it were possible.

You’d better get a lock on the Word of God, did you know that? Don’t you bring your intellect, don’t you bring your intuition to this thing. You bring the Word of God.

Second Thessalonians 2:11, speaking of the antichrist and his work, “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” You’re going to see the demon forces of this world working with Satan’s new religion of Neopaganism, the amalgamation of the corrupt sons of old Adam. They are going to come together with demonic power to deceive the nations of the world.

Number three: The determined people that plot Armageddon. Who are these people that are going to come against our Lord? Look in Revelation 17:12: “And the ten horns which thou sawest [a horn is a symbol of power in the Book of the Revelation] are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” When the Bible uses the term “one hour,” it doesn’t mean sixty minutes. It is talking about a time, like Jesus said to the people who crucified him, “This is your hour; my hour is not yet come.”

He wasn’t saying that you have sixty minutes and then I will. “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. [The beast is the antichrist] And these shall make war with the Lamb [this is Armageddon], and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and they are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” This is the army that’s following the Lamb when He comes on the white horse, those who are saved, called, chosen and faithful.

I want you to see is that there is a confederacy of ten kings or kingdoms that will follow the beast. These are the cores of the armies that make up the contingent that comes against Christ at Armageddon. They are seduced by demons and led to Armageddon. They have pledged their allegiance to the beast. They receive no power as kings. They receive power as kings one hour with the beast. They have one mind and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. Why will they do that? They will see their mighty beast and his glorious power so they themselves will be drunk with power. They will be intoxicated with pride, and they will be deceived by the devil.

These are the determined peoples that plot Armageddon. There is coming a coalition in the last days of ten nations made up of the old Roman Empire, the reunified Europe.

Number four: The devilish pride that precipitates Armageddon. Satan has his pride wounded. His balloon is pricked. Satan has always wanted to be worshipped. In the Book of the Revelation he is called the dragon, and his ambition has always been to be like the Most High. Finally, he gains this worship. Revelation 13:4: “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast…” The dragon says to the antichrist, “I will pour my power into you if you get the world to worship me. It looks like it is happening. “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast; and they worshipped the beast [that is, the antichrist], saying, Who is like unto the beast and who is able to make war with him?” Do you see how arrogant he is? Do you see how arrogant they are? “And there was given unto him a mouth [that is, to the beast] a mouth speaking great things…” He will be an incredible orator. He will have such persuasion that little children will speak his name with reverence, men will gladly die for him, and women will worship at his shrine. He has a mouth, “… speaking great things and blasphemies, and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” That is three and a half years, the last three and a half years of the great tribulation. Something happens in the middle of this three and a half years. “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”

What is this? After three and a half years of the great tribulation, which will be seven years, this beast is going to give the ultimate blasphemy. Do you know what the ultimate blasphemy will be? He will move into the temple of God and declare that he himself is God. He has been a little bit suave. He has been a little careful in the first part of the great tribulation. He has been gathering his strength. He has been unifying the world. The temple is now rebuilt in Jerusalem. Now is his golden moment. He strides into the temple and says, “You built this temple to worship God. You have been looking for God. Do you want to see God? Do you want to know who God is? I am God.” He will declare himself to be God. This is the ultimate blasphemy.

What is going to happen? The Jews are going to look at him and say, “You two-legged devil, you are not God.” Their darling beast has deceived them. They know that he is not God now. The scales fall from their eyes and they see the arrogant pride that made the devil the devil. Notice in verse 7: “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and overcome them: and power was to given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” Why would he make war with the saints? Because they will no longer worship him. They will not bow to the beast. This is what Jesus taught also.

Matthew 24. Jesus is talking about that time, and He talks about something that He calls the abomination of desolation. That is, the abomination that makes desolate. He is talking about the time when the beast will sit in the temple showing himself that he is God. Daniel prophesied it, and Jesus talked about it. Mathew 24:15: “When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place…” That is, when you see this abominable person who will desolate the temple, when you see him stand in the holy place——and what is the holy place? It is where the Shekinah glory of God dwelt in the Old Testament temple. It is where the Ark of the Covenant was. But now you see this image to the beast in the holy place. “… whosoever readeth, let him understand, Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains; Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house; Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! [That is, to those who have nursing babies]. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day; For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Jesus said that. Jesus said there is coming a quintessential time of unmitigated horror and evil. When does it begin? When this beast, this abomination of desolation, moves into the holy place and declares that he is God. At that time, the honeymoon will be over. No longer will the sons and daughters of Abraham worship their darling beast, as they have been deceived. Satan’s pride will be wounded, his balloon pricked, and his rage intensified. Armageddon will be his vengeance on those who have refused to bow and worship him. That is what is going to bring this thing to such a climax.

Why this bloody war? Why Armageddon? Because the nations of the world are gathered together against Jerusalem. Antichrist is going to say, “I am going to solve this problem once and for all.” His hatred will be immense. His blasphemies will be horrible as he says that he is God. He will now seek to decimate those who will not worship him.

Number five: The devastating plagues that precede Armageddon. Not only is Satan’s pride wounded, but also his plagues come upon them in these last three and a half years. Revelation 16:8: “And the fourth angel poured out his vial [his bowl] upon the sun, and the power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.” You talk about global warming! “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues; and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast [that doesn’t mean his posterior. It means his throne], and the kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues in pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”

They are writhing in pain. The party is over. This one, who is sitting on the throne and showing himself that he is God, learns that he cannot even control the forces of nature and everything is going upside down on him. Revelation 18:8: “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”

The kingdom of the beast is unraveling before his eyes. Not only has his pride been wounded but now he is insane with rage. That’s why he has come against the Lord. By the way, when these plagues come you would think the people of this world would repent, wouldn’t you? You would think that they would turn to God. But they don’t.

They blaspheme God. They gnash their teeth against God. That’s what the Scripture says here. “They gnawed their tongues for pain and blasphemed the God of heaven.” They shake their fist in the face of God, and say, “God, who do you think you are? You can’t do this to us.”

Did you know that if you say that any calamity is a judgment of God, the people get angry with you? They don’t like the idea of a God of judgment. As I have told you before, if the Supreme Court of the United States could vote on it, they would outlaw hell as cruel and unusual punishment. The Bible says that evil men understand not judgment. Do you think that pain and judgment and plagues are going to bring men to God? It will not. It will not. Do you think they are crying out for mercy in hell? No. Do you know what they are doing in hell? They are cursing God. They are gnashing their teeth against God. They hate God. In perpetuity they will hate God. If the love of God does not bring you to your knees, punishment won’t. Punishment is coming. God is a righteous and a just God.

The same sun that melts the ice hardens the clay. These hearts will be hardened. Pharaoh in the Old Testament, who is type and picture of antichrist, hardened his heart more and more.

Number six: The divine power that predominates Armageddon. Revelation 19:11. John says, “And I saw heaven opened and, behold, a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

His eyes were as flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Now I want you to see the scene. The antichrist gnawing his tongue in pain, blaspheming God, his pride wounded. Demonic spirits have a confederacy of ten nations. They have come together now. They are going to move against Jerusalem once and for all, and what they call the Jewish problem is going to be settled. Here he has contingence of all of these nations—not all of the people of all of the nations, but all of the nations represented there. They are bivouacking there in this great valley of Jezreel, between these three mountains, getting ready to move to the South, getting ready to move against Jerusalem. And there they are with their tanks, their guns, their napalm, their lasers, their jets, their rockets, and all their gas and their poison and whatever is in the mind of this insane man. The beast is finally coming to eradicate God’s ancient people. It’s going to look pretty dark.

Suddenly, there is an invasion from outer space. Here comes a white horse. Symbolism—yes, but Jesus is riding a white horse. The snow-white steed is a symbol of a conquering general, of victory. He is followed by wave after wave and rank after rank of armies, and all of them not dressed in battle fatigue, not carrying weapons, but robed in white. And what is the white? It is the righteousness of saints. And the Lord Jesus comes riding upon that horse, and out of His mouth there goes a sharp two-edged sword. What is that sword? It is the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12: “For the Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword.” It is the sword that He uses to smite the nations.

The antichrist may have all of his weapons of war, but the Bible says that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. He speaks. Have you ever thought of the power of the voice of our Lord? How did this universe come into existence? He spake. The Bible says by the Word of God the worlds were framed. He spoke and universes came from His fingertips. He spoke it all into existence. Oh, the power of His Word, of that mighty sword.

I remember reading in the Bible where there was a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was asleep on the fantail of that ship. They woke Him up and they said, “Master, don’t you care if we perish?” Jesus spoke and that raging sea became as calm as a milk pond on a moonlit night, and those waves lay at His feet like whipped puppies. He spoke.

We see it so often in the Passion Plays where the armies, led by the High Priest and others, are coming to take Jesus. Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He arises. His disciples have been asleep. Here comes that army led by Judas, who is a type, a picture, of the antichrist. Jesus says, “Who are you looking for?” “Jesus of Nazareth, that’s who we are looking for.” He says, “I am He.” Literally, He uses the word “I AM,” one of the greatest words for deity in the Bible. “You are looking, I AM.” And the Bible says they fell down like dead men. They collapsed with just the sound of His voice. Then He allows them to get up again because it a part of the plan of God.

When Jesus comes in power and great glory at the Battle of the Armageddon, how is the battle going to be won? By the sword that goes out of His mouth. The armies who are riding with Him in white linen don’t have any guns or any weapons. Our Master speaks!

John Phillips, says, “Probably it would just be two words, “Drop dead!” The One who spoke them into existence will speak them into oblivion.

Don’t ever be at war with God. An eloquent black preacher said one time; “Your arms are too short to box with God. Don’t ever be at war with God.”

I am telling you that the time is coming soon and very soon when 777 will take care of 666, and the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. The saints have prayed through the ages, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Are you at peace with God or are you at war with God? Jesus made peace through the blood of His cross. You can sign a peace treaty with the Prince of Peace. You can be in league with the Lord if you will say yes to Calvary.

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