PREPARING FOR THE END-TIMES

I have never witnessed such potential disaster ahead as the evil going on in Iraq, the battle between Hamas and Israel, North Korea and Iran, the South China Sea situation, Ebola outbreak in Africa, rioting, earthquakes, draughts and flooding plus economic indebtedness and financial distress world-wide. Is God trying to get our attention as written in Haggai 2:7 – “I will shake all nations,”

I believe the present skirmish between Hamas and Israel is in preparation for what is to come. Israel is being tested to determine its defenses. Previously, I read that Iran and Russia have become allies for the first time in history, I have become concerned. As I have studied Ezekiel chapters 36 through 39 it sounds like a war against Israel could breakout before too long. Should that happen Scripture says that God will destroy the armies and everyone will know that it was a ‘God Thing’. When that occurs there will be millions repenting of their sins and turning to Christ for salvation and eternal life with God, even though for a short time. Then there will be a great deception coming from Satan.

Are our churches ready to handle the tremendous overflow? Will there be enough knowledgeable Christians to teach what is happening and why it is happening? I think not! Thus it is my desire to point out why we must begin preparing for we have no idea how far into the future this event could happen.

It seems that Russia is tied up with its conflict with Ukraine. If you follow current events between Russian and Iran you may be aware that Moscow has aggressively pursued political, economic and military ties to Iran in defiance of U.S. and European protests. They have authorized the sale of nuclear technology to Iran. They are in the process of training approximately 1,000 Iranian nuclear scientists and approved a billion-dollar arms deal with the latest high-tech arms and air defense systems.

Until March 21, 1935 Iran was called Persia. The Russians had always hated the Iranians and the Iranians hated the Russians. Many believed the Bible was full of errors, as the two would never form an alliance against Israel or anyone else.

Why should this concern us in Las Vegas? Let’s begin with Ezekiel 36:8 – 10 – ‘”But you, 0 mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”‘ Also Ezekiel 36:24 – 28 – “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be my people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel starts with the return of the Jews on May 14, 1948. It started with a population of 806,000 and now surpasses seven million. In the Holy Land, deserts are blooming again after centuries of neglect, exporting fruit, vegetables and flowers just as the Bible said would happen. This should come as no shock that Ezekiel chapter 36 has been fulfilled. Throughout history God has forewarned His believers in advance of future events He deems prophecy of utmost importance. Any student of the Bible could give thousands of illustrations where God has foretold the future. We read in Luke 12:54 – 56 – “He said to the crowd: ‘when you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?'”

Before the war that will be led by Russia and Iran against Israel begins there must be a time of calm and the Jews must accumulate significant wealth. Drilling deep below the seas off Israel’s coast, foreign energy companies are discovering gas estimated at five trillion cubic feet of proven reserves. They also believe to have found upward of a billion barrels of oil. Is Israel like Iraq sitting on enormous oil reserves? As we get into the war, Scripture will tell us the world’s armies would meet to fight for the spoils. Isaiah 45:3 – “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Some believe the Bible indicates Israel will find one of the world’s largest oil and gas fields before the Messiah returns.

At this particular time, we may find it hard to believe but, some think Iraq could emerge as an oil superpower rivaling Sandi Arabia. Iraq will someday see a political and economic renaissance unparalleled in the history of the world. The people of Iraq will experience a level of personal and national wealth and power that no one would ever dreamed possible with what is going on now. In Revelation 18 the city of Babylon is described as a great city and a center of extravagant luxury. However, Scripture is very clear that Iraq could one day be the headquarters for the Antichrist who will set up his base in Babylon. That is when another war will be against Israel at Armageddon. If this is all true, it appears there will be a number of years before the end-time.

As we begin to discuss the War of Gog and Magog many interpret Gog to mean the Czar or head of Russia and Magog Russia. Ezekiel 38:8 -“After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations.

We know that Magog is a country due north of Israel. It could be Syria, Turkey, Ukraine or, as we believe, Russia. It is believed that Magog was a man that settled in Russia told in Genesis 10:I – 3 -“This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood. The Japhethites, the sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.” Based on historical evidence and Jewish scholars we conclude that Magog is Russia.

God tells us He will cause (Magog) Russia and (Persia) Iran to invade Israel. Ezekiel 38:4 -“I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army- horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them your brandishing their swords.” Scripture continues with Ezekiel 38:9 – “You and all your troops and the many nations (we believe ten nations) with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.”

American intelligent sources state that Putin has ordered a 40% increase in Russia’s defense budget, including new fighter aircraft, new rockets and two new army divisions. Iranian past President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that he believes the end of the world is only a few years away. He also said that he believes the way to hasten the arrival of the Islamic messiah is to unleash an apocalyptic holy war against Christians and Jews. Thus, he has vowed to annihilate the U.S. and Israel and was preparing their military to accomplish just that.

Let us look at what Ezekiel reveals in verses 38:2 – 6 – “Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops-the many nations with you.” We believe Cush to be Ethiopia. Put can be Libya. Gomer can be either Turkey or Germany but believe it is Turkey. Beth Togarmah could be countries under the old USSR. Some believe it includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

As this massive army approach Israel we read Ezekiel 39:2 & 4 -“I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals.” The mountains of Israel are on the border with Syria, Lebanon and northern Jordan or the Golan Heights. Since the Russian-Iranian coalition described by Ezekiel is coming from the north we might expect Syria and Lebanon to participate. Russia is described as the leader of the newly formed army with Iran being mentioned as an equal. The other nations are predominantly Islamic or have high percentages of Muslim citizens.

Based on information from Ezekiel, Russia’s influence will continue to increase among the Islamic world and decrease against NATO as the war against Israel nears. Putin has been co-operating and supporting almost every middle-eastern Islamic nation to the detriment of the United Nations and the U.S.’s resolve to boycott Iran and force the closing of its nuclear facilities. Despite international efforts to isolate Palestine’s Hamas party, Putin is supporting them. Putin has aggressively and systematic built alliances with the countries specifically cited in Ezekiel 38 & 39. We need to watch as efforts intensify as to the time of Ezekiel’s vision comes to fulfillment.

This is not the first time Russia has tried to strike Israel. They were on the brink of war in 1973 when the U.S. mobilized forces to counteract any attack the Russians planned on Israel. It was well known that the Soviet Union had supplied all of the ammunition, intelligence and military training to help the Arab and Islamic coalition destroy Israel. It happened once before in 1967 war. Under President Lyndon Johnson we kept Russia from launching forces against Israel.

As we now look at what transpires during the War of Gog and Magog and how the nations of the world will be affected. Ezekiel 38:9 -“You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.” Nowhere does Scripture indicate any nation assists Israel against the massive army as it approaches. We see Israel standing alone on the brink of extinction as many predict another holocaust.

It is possible from Scripture that Israel could launch a massive, preemptive nuclear strike against Moscow, Tehran, Damascus, Tripoli and other enemy cites despite the fact that Russia would unleash her nuclear missiles leaving no one standing on either side. The intelligence Ezekiel provides clearly indicates that God himself will go to war on behalf of Israel and against her enemies, with devastating results as we read in Ezekiel 38:18 – 20 – “This is what will happen in that day: ‘When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground.” It is difficult to understand what it means that all people will tremble at my presence. But know what happens to the Russian-Iranian armies. Ezekiel 38:22 – “I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him.” It appears they may experience another Sodom and Gomorrah hailstorm. The devastation will be immense according to Ezekiel 39:12 -“For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land.”

Ezekiel’s prophecy raises many questions. Will all of Russia be supernaturally destroyed? How about the other nations? We understand Ezekiel to write that the devastation will be like something the world has never witnessed before. Undoubtedly it will bring to an end their political and spiritual systems. There have been times in history when God has used supernatural means to shake up and wake up people to have a personal relationship with Him. I Timothy 2:3 & 4 tells us -“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” Again in 2 Peter 3:9 -“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Some believe widespread atheism and secularism will change overnight in the Jewish world in light of the supernatural protection of Israel. We shall also see an unprecedented resurgence of religious expression among Israelis and among Jews worldwide. Many Jews will become united around rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:2 – “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills and all nations will stream to it.” Daniel, Micah, Paul, John and Christ confirm this. Security experts now believe that the Temple Mount is the most dangerous square mile on the planet.

The war of which Ezekiel wrote will precede the appearing of the Messiah’s return to earth the second time. Matthew 23:39 -“For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” Until the church and the Jewish people turn to Christ in dramatic numbers and get excited about His Second Coming. Jesus said he would delay His return.

The War of Gog and Magog will bring about a shattering of radical Islam that will trigger a spiritual crisis for Muslims around the world. As they see the hand of God defending Israel, their faith will be shaken. Muslims will hear Christians explaining what happened and why. I asked near the beginning why we should be concerned in Las Vegas. Think of the response the church will encounter? Acts 2:17 & 18 – 1n the last days, God says,’ I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy your young men will see visions; your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy.'”

One of the most dramatic stories unfolding in the Middle East that you won’t read in the main stream press is the explosion of Christianity inside Iran. In 1979 a survey of Christian Demographic Trends reported about 500 Muslims who had converted to Christ. Today they estimate approximately 220,000. It is believed after the destruction of the Russian and Iranian armies churches will be overflowing around the world as masses turn to Jesus Christ and the church for wisdom and comfort amid such cataclysmic events.

Ezekiel’s war is not the end it is only the beginning. This will lead to the rise of the Antichrist and a seven-year period described in the Book of Revelation as the worst seven years in the history of mankind. The Antichrist will want to take over all of the oil-rich countries of the Middle East. However, the nations of Asia will desire these countries just as much. We then proceed to the Battle of Armageddon with Israel again the center of attention.

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