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ISIS, Armageddon, Earth’s Last Battle and You

Mark Finley

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Mark Finley

Assistant to President for Evangelism at the General Conference

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  • March 7, 2015
    11:15 AM
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Let's pray together as we open God's word. My topic today is ISIS, Armageddon, and end time events.

 

Let's pray - Father in heaven, we pray that as we open your Word, as we do some very serious Bible study this morning that you do much more than fill our heads with facts but you fill our hearts with a new commitment to Jesus. May that reality take place in each of our lives where we need to make changes - speak to us, move upon our hearts, help this not to be a common ordinary meeting but may the spirit of God come down. May we be touched here. We pray thee in Christ's name Amen.

 

As you watch the news of the horrible tragedies have been taking place in the Middle East particularly in Iraq and Syria with ISIS, have you wondered about the meaning of those events in the Middle East? Have you ask yourself the question - what does this all mean in the light as a prophetic scenario? ISIS is moving very swiftly across Iraq and Syria; in fact, so swiftly, that it surprise to Western observers, certainly of surprise to the American government. We just weren't prepared for what's happened. Tens of thousands are now held in the grip of ISIS. Cities that once were under Iraqi domination; cities like Mosul to Crete have fallen to the grip of ISIS.

 

And ISIS stated intention, in their literature, on their web pages, on their YouTube videos, is to establish something called the caliphate. Now if you're not familiar with the Islamic terms, you may wonder, what is the Caliphate? A caliphate is a society based on Islamic law. You see, the ISIS mentality. Any society based on any other law is an illegitimate society and a government based on any other form of government whether that be democracy, whether it be dictatorship, whether it be socialism, that is illegitimate. The only righteous government, according to the ISIS theology, is a government based on caliphate which is a government based on Islamic law.

 

We in the West have become familiar with scenes like jihadi John. This Kuwaiti-born Londoner speaking with a British accent who has slain so many journalists. We have seen him in his black suit and we've seen these journalists dressed in their orange jump suits. We've seen the knife at their throat as they have been executed. Probably one of the more horrible executions that have taken place recently is an execution in Libya of 21 Christians on one scene as they have knelt on the shores of the Mediterranean. And as their throats have been slit and they've been killed.

 

In December of 2014, the New York Times published a ‘confidential comments’ by Major General Michael K. Nagata. He is the special operations commander for the United States in the Middle East. Now he said, “We have hardly begun to figure out the Islamic states appeal” and then he made this interesting comment, he says, “we have not defeated the idea of ISIS. We don't even understand the idea.”

What is it that motivates ISIS? Why is it that tens of thousands of young people from throughout the Middle East have joined that cause? And why is it that hundreds of young people from the United States in the West have joined that cause? Thousands of new recruits are joining this religious holy war every single month. What motivates them? What is actually behind ISIS movement?” What thought process guides its leaders and is there more than meets the eye here?

 

Recently, Graham Wood, who is a reputed journalist, wrote an insightful article in The Atlantic Monthly and it gives us a real fresh perspective on the ISIS movement and helps us to understand them. And this is what Graham Wood said. He said, “The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs among them that it [ISIS] is a key agent of the coming apocalypse.” Now when I read that it caught my attention. ISIS, a key agent of the coming apocalypse? Now the word apocalypse simply means the end of the world. What is ISIS mentality? How does it see itself as a key agent of the coming end of the world? What is its thinking process and how does this fit in to the larger prophetic scenario of the Book of Revelation?

 

Now nearly all of the Islamic states’ decisions adhere to what it cause and this is on its billboards, its license plates, and its coins. They call it the prophetic methodology. And here is what ISIS believes: ISIS staunchly believes that they have a role to play in ushering in the coming of a new Messianic Kingdom. Why is it that those 21 Christians were slain on the banks of the Mediterranean and their blood was allowed to go into the Mediterranean right across from the world in Libya? Why is it that ISIS magazine is called Dabiq – D-a-b-i-q. Here's why - the ISIS followers, in this brand of Islam, believes that the final battle between good and evil will be fought in a Syrian city called Dabiq. They believed that the armies of the West will be led by the Pope of Rome. This is their theology and they believe that the Pope of Rome and his armies will come down across Europe to Dabiq, that they believe that the armies of Rome are the infidels, that they have to be slain at any cost to establish the new Messianic Kingdom. They believe that when the armies of Rome get to Dabiq, that the forces of righteousness under ISIS will meet there, that the armies of Rome will apparently succeed and they will slay all of the ISIS forces except 5,000, that these 5,000 ISIS will be driven back to Jerusalem. And there Mahdi will appear. Mahdi is the messiah, the redeemer. And Mahdi, the messiah, will come. He will lead the armies of ISIS to defeat all of the infidels. Righteousness will shine through the world and the glorious kingdom of Islam will reign through the entire world. That's what they believe. That's what drives them. That's what motivates hundreds and thousands of young people to join the cause because they believe that they are joining a righteous cause that will slay all infidels and that righteousness and peace will reign under the Islamic cause. How does this all fit in the Book of Revelation?

 

Let's take our Bibles. We’ll gonna do some serious Bible study and we're going to look at ISIS, Armageddon, Earth's last war, and you and me and how we fit into that.

 

First we're going to look at seven key facts about in Time Events. Seven key facts about in Time Events.

Fact no. 1. Revelation does discuss a final conflict before it between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Revelation Chapter 12, we’ll look at three passages in the Book of Revelation. Fact number one - truth and error at times are very, very close. Revelation does discuss a final conflict between the force of good and the force of evil. Certainly, not the prophetic scenario that ISIS describes, but it does describe that final conflict.

 

Fact no. 1. Revelation 12 verse 17 – “And the dragon (who's the dragon, everybody? Satan) was enraged (what's enraged mean? angry) with the woman (the church) and went to make war with the rest of her offspring (or the remnant) which keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. So Revelation clearly outlines - there will be a final conflict between the force of good and the force of evil - that the devil and the forces of hell will be marshaled against faithful believers of God.

 

Revelation Chapter 17. Three passages on this final war. Revelation chapter 17 verse 12 and onward – “And the ten horns (that are the 10 united kingdoms in the end times) which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; (I'm reading from Revelation 17 verse 12) but receive authority for one hour (a short period of time) with the beast.” So the beast - the religious powers of the earth are united with the political powers - verse twelve. These are of one mind. So the political powers, the economic powers, the religious powers are united with one mind. They will give their power and authority to the beast. Verse 14. “They will (notice this expression again) make war with the lamb and the lamb will overcome them for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings those that are with him are called chosen and faithful.”

 

So again, in Revelation chapter 12 verse 17 you have this expression “make war.” Revelation chapter 17 verse 14 - this expression “make war.” Again, you have these two opposing forces -the forces of righteousness, the forces of evil.

 

So, Revelation chapter 19. Now notice the language in Revelation 12, Revelation 17 and Revelation 19, it’s the same. Revelation 19 verse 12, verse 11. “I saw heaven opened, behold a white horse; and he who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” We'll study this more as we go on.

 

But here is Fact no. 1 in the Book of Revelation. It jumps out at you in three dimensions. There will be a final conflict between righteousness and wickedness. A final conflict between good and evil and Christ is the victor in that conflict. That's incredibly good news, isn't it? The incredible good news is that in the Book of Revelation it's not all about beasts, it's not of all about mystic symbols, it's not all about dragons, it's about a final war between good and evil and Christ will triumph in that war.

 

Fact no. 2, the central issue in the final conflict is worship. Now Fact no. 1, there will be a final war between good and evil. Fact no. 2 - the central issue in this final conflict is worship.

 

Let's look at our Bibles in Revelation 14 verse 7. Revelation 14 verse 7. We're laying out the broad strokes. Revelation 14 verse 7. Notice what it says. “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His coming is come and worship Him who made (what?) heaven, earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

 

So in Revelation 14:7, you have true worship. Revelation 14:9, you have false worship. “Then a third angel followed them saying with a loud voice if anyone worships (what?) the beast. So Revelation 14:7 says worship the Creator. Revelation 14:9 says do not worship the beast. Revelation 14 verse 12 says what? “Here is the patience of the saints: here are those that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

 

Now, follow me closely. Those that worship the Creator are those that keep the commandments of what God and do not worship the beast. So two facts we've studied so far. Fact no. 1 - there will be a universal conflict at the time of the end. This is not a political conflict. Fact no. 2 - it is a conflict over true and false what? Worship - one group worships the Creator and the other group worships the beast.

 

Now, Fact no. 3 - this will not be something done in a corner but it will be universal. Look at Revelation 14 verse 6. “And I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those that dwell upon the earth, to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people,”

 

So what have we seen in our first three facts? Fact no. 1 -there will be a universal conflict and in end time. And that they'll be two forces - the issue will be over worship - the forces of hell will be marshaled against the forces of righteousness to destroy them. Christ will triumph. But this will be something universal to the ends of the earth.

 

Now let's look at that Fact. No. 4 - the Battle of Armageddon. And we'll gonna spend most of our time studying that this morning. What is the battle of Armageddon? Where will the battle of Armageddon be forth? What relationship to ISIS has to that battle of Armageddon? And why might this be happening in the Middle East?

 

Fact no. 4 - the Battle of Armageddon climaxes human history at the end of the seven last plagues. Now it actually commences in the sixth plaque. So we me if you're going to start understand Armageddon, one must understand Fact no. 5 - the five plagues that precede it. So Fact no. 4 is the battle of Armageddon will climax human history.

 

Fact 5 is – if you gonna understand Armageddon, you have to understand the seven last plagues.

 

So, we’ll gonna take our Bibles and look at some surprising truths in the seven last plagues. Come to Armageddon in the sixth plague and try to unpack that for you this morning and see how that relates to what's happening right now in our world. So we're going to Revelation chapter 15 and then we're going to look at Revelation chapter 16.

 

Revelation 15 – “I saw another sign (verse 1) in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them the wrath of God is complete.” Why are these called the seven last plagues? Were there any plagues before this ever in the Bible? Egypt. How many were in Egypt. Ten. Why ten in Egypt and seven here? The first three plagues in Egypt fell on the entire land; the last seven fell on the Egyptians. So here, the seven last plagues - none of them fall upon God's people. They only fall on the presence of evil. So let let’s talk about the seven last plaque. Notice it says, “For in them the wrath of God is complete.” What is the wrath of God in the Bible? Is God just venting out anger and does God says, ‘I'm gonna get those people’? The wrath of God, in the Bible, are the judgments of God. So the seven last plagues are the judgments of God on those that have rebelled against His law, turned their back on His truth, and oppressed and persecuted His people. So they are the natural logical judgments of God on evil. It is not that God is ever any less loving. But you know the Bible says “whatsoever a man or woman soweth, that shall they also (what?) Reap.” So there's a lot of sowing and reaping and when one turns from God and lives a life independent from God, there are certain fruits of God's judgment that they reap. And so the seven last plagues are the judgments of God.

 

Now let's go and look at those plagues with new eyes. Where do you find the love of God in the seven last plagues and where do you find righteousness through faith in Christ in the seven plagues and what message might the seven last plagues have for you and me today.

 

Revelation Chapter 16 verse 2. We will never understand Armageddon until we understand the plagues so we're going to Revelation 16 verse 2. “So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.” So the first plague is this plague of boils from head to toe. Can you think of the ten plagues in Egypt where there are any plagues in Egypt that were plagues of boils? Where there? So, there was a boil plague in Egypt too, wasn't there? Let's go back and think about that plague. Why do you think God? Let me ask the question in another way - where is the place in Egypt arbitrary? Did God just have or did God have something behind each plague? Did God have a plan even in the type of plague? Why do you think God would have a plague of boils on the Egyptians? The Egyptians for centuries had physically beaten and afflicted the bodies of the Israelites. So the physical plague of the boils was in response to the physical oppression upon the Israelites. Now, who receives the plague of the loathsome, noisome sore and the boils according to verse 2? Who does that? Look in your Bible, I want you to see. Those that worship the beast. And what did the enforcers of the mark of the beast do to believers? What did they do to them? They imprisoned them. They physically persecuted them.

 

So what does the first plague say? All physical security is in Jesus Christ. There is no physical security outside of Jesus Christ because those enforcers of the mark of the beast said, “if you do not take the mark of the beast, we will physically persecute you.” So some people take the mark of the beast because they don't want to be physically persecuted but there is a deeper message in the plaques and what does it say? - All physical security is in Christ.

 

Can you think of anybody in the Bible that had boils from head to toe? - Job. What lesson was God trying to teach him? - That all physical security was where? They are in Christ.

 

Take your Bible and turn to the book of Corinthians. Take your Bible enter into the book of Corinthians, there may be deeper lessons in the plagues and we've seen before. The plagues are not some arbitrary judgments, but there is, there's an appeal here in the plagues. 2 Corinthians chapter 4. In the sickness of our life, in the suffering of our life, God wants to teach us now that all physical security is in Christ so that we do not sell out our faith cheap for physical security at end time. 2 Corinthians chapter 4. You're looking there at verse 7. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,  that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; we are persecuted, but we're not what everybody? - forsaken. We are cast down, but we are not what? – destroyed always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus Christ that the life of Christ also may be manifest in our body.” Verse 16 – “Therefore we do not lose heart because the outward man is perishing. The inward person is being renewed day by day.”

 

What is the message of the first plague in the Book of Revelation? When you are physically oppressed, when the body is raging with disease, trust Jesus Christ because all physical security is in Christ.

 

Second plague - Revelation chapter 16. Revelation the 16th chapter verse 2. “The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea and it became as the blood of the dead man and every living thing died in the sea.” Was this a similar plague to Egypt? Did the rivers and waters become blood? And what happened? - Egypt went through economic disaster. What would happen today if anything like this second plague happen? What if the rivers and waters - what if the sea became like the blood of a dead man? What if every living thing died in it? What would - what would that do to the economy of the world? What would it do to the transportation of oil for example? What would it do to the transportation of goods and food? There would be absolute economic disaster. So those who enforce the mark of the beast say, “Look, if you want to you want to eat, take the mark of the beast.” But upon those who receive the mark of the beast there's absolute economic disaster. But for God's people, “our bread and water are what? - Sure. Our bread and water is sure. God says all true economic security is in Christ. You get down to the third plague. Rivers and waters become blood and notice why it becomes blood. The rivers and waters in the second place the sea becomes what? But why does it become blood? The Bible tells you, it says - verse 6. “They've shed the blood of saints and martyrs; therefore I have given them blood to drink.” So, what did they say? They say – okay, you want physical security, take the mark of the beast; you want economic security, take the mark of the beast; you want to protect your life, take the mark of the beast. What does the first plague say? - All physical security is in Christ. What does the second plague say? - All economic security is in Christ.

 

What is the third plague say? Our life is hid with God in Christ. For the Christian, the loss of our life is but a small thing because Jesus is the living Christ has given to us eternal life and one day we can live with him forever. See the plagues have deeper meaning than simply reading them on the surface. There is a spiritual appeal. Verse 8 – “the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and power was given him to scorch with fire.” Now notice verse 9, it's a key to understanding verse 8. “and the men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of the God who had power over these plagues; they did not repent and give Him glory.”

 

The word glory where do you find the word glory in the Book of Revelation 14 chapter? – 14:6. “Fear God and give glory to Him.” Why? Because the obvious judgment is come and do what? - worship Him who made heaven and earth. Who's the one that made heaven and earth? Who is he? - God. What's another name we call the one who made heaven and earth? Jesus. But He's a maker, so He must be a creator. You've got it now. So, He is the Creator. Okay. So worship the Creator. So I give God glory by worshipping the Creator. Has the Creator has a special day? What that’s call? - The Sabbath. So when I come to worship on Sabbath, I'm giving God glory by worshipping Him as the - what everybody? - Creator. But there will be a mark of the beast enforced calling men and women to worship the sun in object to worshipping the Creator. And so the fourth plague says - all true worship is in Christ and the object of their worship is the sun scorching them.

 

Are you with me so far? Are you with me so far?

 

So every plaque, economic security, physical security in Christ; economic security in Christ; life in Christ. All true worship - in Christ, not the beast.

 

Verse 10 – “Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast and his kingdom became full of darkness. They looked for the beast kingdom to be full of light but it was only full of what? – Darkness.“ There is no light in error. There is only light in what? – Truth. Jesus said I am the light of the world. So the fifth plague is darkness on the seat of the beast which they look for light but the only light - Psalm 119 verse 105 – “thy Word is a what? - light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path.” A light unto my way.

 

So what is the fifth plaque saying? Find light, find truth in God's Word, not in the traditions of man.

 

So we now come to verse 12 – “the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates and its water was dried up so that the way from the kings of the East might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits come out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, out of the mouth of the false prophet. They’re spirits of demons like frogs they go out to the kings of the whole earth and to the whole world to gather them to the great day of the battle of God Almighty. Behold, I'm coming as a thief. Blessed is He that watcheth and keepeth his garments… And they were gathered together into a place called in Hebrew tongue as Armageddon.”

 

What does all this mean? Well, let's go back and take it phrase by phrase. Verse 12 – “sixth angel pours out his bowl in the great river Euphrates.” The great river Euphrates ran through the center of Babylon. And do you remember back in the Old Testament how Babylon fell. We know that both from the book of Isaiah and also from discoveries in archaeology particularly the Cyrus Cylinder which is an archaeological discovery that records just how Cyrus overthrow Babylon. Cyrus came from the east. He was the king of the east. Now why does it say kings of the east? Because Media and Persia overthrew Babylon and Cyrus was the chief king over the kings of Media and Persia. Cyrus came from the east when up to the north and attacked Babylon. The river Euphrates ran through the center of Babylon. The river Euphrates was the life source of Babylon. It gave it a constant water supply. The Babylonians had a 20-year food supply. When the Persians surrounded Babylon, the Babylonians went up on the wall and threw food over to them and said, “Hey, I think you guys would like a sandwich. You look hungry out there. We have twenty years of food supply in the city.” Cyrus knew that he had to attack that city so that's what he did. Upstream he dug irrigation ditches. He drained the river Euphrates until it was dry. Babylon had double gates, it had a gate here that the river Euphrates flowed under and it had gates along the side of the river. The night that Cyrus and his forces attacked, the Babylonians were having a drunken feast. Wine, music, they have drunk. What does Cyrus do? He diverts the river so it goes up - so the river dries. He marches thousands of troops down a dry riverbed under the gates. The gates along the river were left open because of the fact that everybody was at that feast. Cyrus attacked them and overthrew them in one night. What was the river Euphrates? It was the life source or support system for ancient Babylon.

 

When you come to Revelation you have spiritual Babylon. What in Revelation do waters represent? Take your Bible and turn to Revelation 17 and look there at Revelation the 17th chapter and we're looking at Revelation 17. And what do waters represent here in Revelation, the 17th chapter. Can anybody find it for me? – Peoples ... Where do you find that? - verse 15. Let's read it together. “And he said to me, the waters which you saw were the harlot sits (that’s Babylon) are what? – Peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues. So just as the river Euphrates supported and gave life to Babylon, so according to the Bible, the nations, the politicians, the economists, the thousands of the world that supports spiritual Babylon or the beast power are symbolized as waters.

 

So what has happened? What has happened up until this point? There has been a great movement to achieve world peace. With the Middle East falling apart and ISIS gaining power, a coalition forces form. That coalition says, “We have to stamp out this evil.” As this coalition is formed, there are those that say, “Look, we're not winning this battle and we won't win a battle in the Middle East or any other place until we have God's favor.” So things get so bad economically. Things get so bad politically. There are so many natural disasters that are knocking the world apart, that the world is led to its knees to form a superpower coalition. And the idea is wait a minute. We have to have a common day of worship to bring everybody together. That's the only way we can achieve this. That's the only way we can achieve this. And those that don't go along they really are not loyal. They're really not patriotic. They're really not, in any way, going to assist in solving the dilemmas of the world. As that scenario takes place, laws are passed to enforce worship against God's commandment-keeping people. There is a political, religious, economic power block that's formed according to Revelation.

 

 

It appears that the world will be brought to peace but what happens. It's not brought to peace. First, every human being has a chance to make a decision. Every person has that opportunity to side for or against Christ. Every single one. For or against the truth; for or against the commandments of God. Every person. Once everybody has made that decision, the decree goes forth – “he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; he that is evil, let him be evil still; he that is unholy, let him be unholy still.” Everybody's made their decision. Now these plagues begin to fall. What do you think would happen if there were a religious, political, economic power block and there is all this unity taking place? - This idea that we're ushering in a new millennium a kingdom of peace - This idea that righteousness will reign and prevail. What do you think would happen if all that idea were promoted but the economy fell apart, there are natural disasters, there’s was war everywhere, and then the plagues began to fall. What do you think would happen? The support for that would be what withdrawn, wouldn't it? The symbolic river Euphrates that supported ancient Babylon representing all of the peoples that support spiritual Babylon would dry up. Precisely.

 

Now let's continue to read – “the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the river Euphrates. Its water was dried up. Why? - That the kings of the east might be prepared.” Kings of the east - I wonder what that talking about? Cyrus came from the east to overthrow Babylon, to let God's people go free. What is Armageddon? The final conflict between good and evil where the forces of hell martial to destroy the righteous but the kings of the east. Who are they? – the kings of the east? Cyrus attacked Babylon and overthrew it as a deliverer as a type of Christ, the Redeemer.

 

Take your Bible and turn to Matthew chapter 24 verse 27. Matthew chapter 24 verse 27. Who are these kings of the east? Matthew 24 verse 27 - Jesus describes nation rising against nation. He describes false Christ. He describes false prophets. He describes lawlessness. He describes the Gospel going to the ends of the earth. Matthew chapter 24 verse 27 and notice what Scripture says here: “For as lightning comes from the (what?) east and flashes to the west; so also the coming of the Son of Man be.” The ‘kings coming from the sun rising’ or ‘the kings of the east’ are no other the Jesus Christ coming with all His angels in a final descent from heaven in a pinnacle of glory to deliver His people from the oppressor of this world at end time.

 

Now, go back to Revelation chapter 19. Revelation chapter 19. It looks like the powers of hell are gonna triumph; it looks like the powers of evil are going to be victorious; it looks like God's people have no way out around or through. Revelation the 19th chapter, verse 11 - “I saw the heaven open and behold a white horse and he who sat on him was called faithful and true in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire and on his head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and his name was the Word of God. And the armies of heaven clothed with fine linen white and clean followed him. Now out of his mouth goes a sharp sword with it he should strike (what?) the nations. He himself will rule with a rod of iron.”

 

There will be no political, economic, religious power block that rules forever. Our God's going to rule forever. He himself treads the wine press with the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Did we read about the wrath of the mighty God - the judgments of God - the seven last plagues? We sure did.

 

Now notice, he has on his robe and on his thigh a name written. What is it everybody? - King of (what?) kings and Lord of lords. So the kings of the east represent Jesus Christ with the angels coming from the east to deliver His people at end time.

 

Back to Revelation chapter 16. Revelation 16. We are now in the sixth plague - an economic, political, religious, power block has been formed. That is being crushed.

 

We've discovered in the first plaque - all physical security is where? - In Christ. Second plague - all economic security is where? - In Christ. Third plague - our life is with God in Christ. Fourth plaque – all true worship is in Christ, the Creator. Fifth plague – all true light is in Christ.

 

Sixth plague - the kings of the east come to deliver God's people. So Satan sees that that's going to happen. Now, there's an interesting expression in verse 12, it says, “That the way of the kings of the east might be prepared” - might be prepared. So it gives you the impression that Euphrates dries up, that is the support system for ancient Babylon. There's confusion, chaos everywhere. But it's not that Christ comes immediately. What happens next? - Verse 13. “I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth, of the beast, and on the mouth of the false prophet.” Are there three messages in Revelation 14? These are the three messages of (what?) truth. But here are three messages that come out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. In other words, three messages that come from paganism - Three messages that come from Romanism - Three messages that come from false religion. Here are the messages: what are these messages? They are messages that this is the last chance to gather together a confederation to bring world peace.

 

Now there is something interesting here too. It says they come out of the mouth like what? “I saw three...like (what?) - frogs.” Now you can have many definitions of frogs; but here is the point. This is the sixth plague - where there are any plagues in Egypt like frogs? Yes. See, you always have to let the Bible do what? - explain itself. Explain itself. What plague were the frogs? They went the second plague. Why sixth and seventh – you know the plagues don't always line up. I wanna show you something interesting. It will take a few extra minutes but no extra charge. J Okay.

 

Book of Exodus. Book of Exodus. We're going to go to the Book of Exodus. You’re going to look at the plagues there because I want you to see something - Exodus the eighth chapter. If you haven't seen this before, this is very fascinating. Exodus, the eighth chapter. Exodus chapter 8 - this is the second plague – you’re dealing with the frogs. Moses was with the pharaoh and he says, “Let my people go because I'm to bring frogs from the river.” Frogs are unclean and they come up. But notice what happens in verses 5 and 6 in Exodus 8. “Then the Lord spoke to Moses and said to Aaron, stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, over the pond and cause frogs to go up in the land of Egypt. Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt and frogs came up now.” Verse 7 – it is an interesting one. “And the magicians did so with their enchantments and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.” The frogs that were brought up by the magicians were the last deception on Pharaoh to convince him not to let the people of Israel go. So the frogs represented the last deception of spiritualism. So, it is exactly what's happening here. This in Revelation 16 is the last deception of spiritualism – signs, wonders, miracles that are worked by the devil in a time of political, economic, religious crisis when the plagues are falling to bring the last deception.  This is last Confederation to destroy God's people.

 

So you see what's happening. The coalition of economic, political and religious could not deliver. It couldn't bring what it said - peace and so there's chaos everywhere. So what is the devil do? He has his last deception to deceive political, religious leaders by false miracles. The sick are apparently healed. There’s all kind of miracles that are taking place but notice what the Bible says now. It says, “It’s to prepare the whole world for the great day of the battle of God Almighty.”

 

Then Jesus says to you, to me “Behold, I'm coming as a thief. Blessed is He that watcheth and keepeth his garments lest they walk naked and see his shame.” Incidentally, and don't miss this point. Many of our evangelical friends believe that God's people do not live through the trip time of tribulation. They believe that they are raptured before the tribulation. What sense would it make for Jesus to say in verse 15 after sixth plagues are poured out I am coming as a thief, if he already came as a thief at the beginning of the rapture to deliver His people. That would make absolutely no sense at all, right?

 

But here's what He says. See, we are living in a time of cross-less Christianity. “Oh just, it's a feel good Christianity.” “So just serve Jesus and you have this warm feeling in your heart and an electrical impulse with your spine; you just serve Jesus and you’ll gonna be healthy and wealthy and the money is going to just flow in and everything is going to be wonderful.” We're living in a time of softies to going Christianity. But the Bible presents something else; it presents a people who are on their knees praying, a people who are studying the Word, a people who are transformed by God's grace, a people that trust God through the plagues, and never give up. If you can't trust God through the hard times in your life right now, how you're going to trust in the future. If you can't trust God in the economic difficulties, in the marriage difficulties, if you can't trust God right now in the physical difficulties in your life when things go wrong, if you can't trust God now, how are you ever going to trust Him in the future? But this is the faith that Revelation is leading us to - a deep abiding trust in God.

 

Now notice, “He gathered them to the place in the Hebrew tongue called Armageddon.” Now Armageddon comes from two Hebrew words – har meaning mountain and Megiddon. Mountain of slaughter is what the word means. What happened? It was there that Deborah and Barak defeated all the forces of hell. They were in the valley of Megiddo. The forces of hell were going to come upon, all the wicked we're going to destroy Debra and Barak; but God brought reinforcements to them at the last minute and they were delivered. What is Armageddon? It is a universal conflict between the forces of good in the forces of evil over worship. And it is - that all of the evil forces are empowered and it appears that the righteous can never win just like right now it appears in your life when the devil attacks you that you can never win. But thank God we have a Ruler that has never lost a battle. Thank God the victorious Christ has His hand on His children today and He will have His hand on His children at end time. Thank God that we can know for certain that victory is ours in Christ.

 

Seven facts - here they are:

Fact no. 1 - Revelation discusses a final conflict between good and evil.

Fact no. 2 - The central issue in that conflict is worship.

Fact no. 3 - Every human being will have a chance to decide.

Fact no. 4 - The battle of Armageddon climaxes human history.

Fact no. 5 - To understand Armageddon, you have to understand the five plagues that precede it. They are the judgments of God upon those that have spurned His love, rejected His law and persecuted His people.

Fact no. 6 -Revelation symbols describing Armageddon are the key to understanding Earth's last war. The river Euphrates drying up is simply the support system of Babylon that falls apart. The three unclean spirits represent the demonic forces of hell - The final attempt to deceive.

And here's Fact no. 7 - the seventh angel is going to sound the death notice of Satan.

 

Look at v17. It says, and the seventh angel poured out his vial upon the air. A loud voice came, there are hail storms that fall and what happens there? The wicked are destroyed and the righteous are redeemed.

 

Now a few closing thoughts, what does all these have to do with ISIS? I think it has three things to do.

 

First, ISIS represents Satan's counterfeit in the Muslim world before the genuine gospel penetrates. See Isis says there's going to be a war between good and evil. ISIS says that the infidels from the west have to be defeated. ISIS says that Mahdi the Messiah is going to return. When you think about that, not the methods that ISIS is using which are horrible, terrible; but when you think about that theology that's not so much far off is it? Will there be a war between good and evil? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Will there be will Mahdi -will Jesus come?

 

So here's, what I believe and I think it's substantiated in God's word. False revival always comes before genuine revival because the devil knows and here's what I believe. The devil knows the genuine revival is going to come to the Middle East - that tens of thousands of Muslims are going to accept Christ and be saved. So this is what he is doing right now. He is creating the false in ISIS before the genuine penetration of the gospel. I could tell you stories about visions in dreams that a Muslim leaders are having right now, about discussions that we as Adventists leaders have had with Muslim leaders, about the coming of Jesus Christ. What is happening is amazing.

 

Three points about ISIS.

 

First, this false revival that's taking place in Islam among ISIS is preliminary to a genuine revival.

Secondly, could it be that God is allowing the horror of ISIS, the terrible murder, the brutality as horrible as it is, could it be that God is allowing that because he wants honest Muslims to see the folly of all that and turn to Jesus Christ?

 

Thirdly, there's one third thing. Take your Bible and turn to Revelation 12. When I've watched the slayings, when I've watched the beheadings, I have been impressed with this thought - Evil is horrible. I mean to take an innocent person and put them in a cage and burn them is horrible. To take innocent people and slit their throats because they have a different ideology is horrible. But could it be that God is allowing this to reveal how bad evil and Satan is. How wicked Satan is. Notice Revelation 12 - it's very interesting. If you look at Revelation, the twelfth chapter of the twelfth verse. “Therefore rejoice O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea for the devil has come down to you having (what?) great wrath because he knows he is a short time.” The shorter the time that the devil has the more evil and wicked the world will become. The shorter the time - so when I see the wickedness around us in our world; when I see the wanton killing in our world; when I see terrorism and murder at our doorsteps; when I see the slaying and the horror of it all. What I say is - the devil is fighting viciously because the devil knows that he has a short time and soon Jesus Christ is to come.

 

We often talk about “Christ won't come ‘til the Gospel goes to the world.” That's true. But listen to this reference in the book - Christian Experience and Teaching page 186 - With unerring accuracy, the Infinite One (who is the Infinite One? – God) still keeps an account with all the nations while His mercy is tendered with calls to repentance. This account will remain open but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of wrath commences, the amount is closed, the account is closed, divine patience ceases, there is no more pleading for mercy in their behalf. In other words, what is this saying, it is saying that there is a depth of evil that God isn't going to let the world go to any more, that God is going to say, “gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, it's closing time. That is enough.” God is going to say – “the human race is going too far. It's time to close all human history.” And He will come as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

 

The most important thing is for you and me to recognize that this is not business as usual. This is not pleasures as usual. This is a critical time in human history and Jesus is saying to us, it's time to get ready. It's really time to get ready. Is there anything in your life that's not in harmony with God's will? Some habit, some idea, some thought process? Is this something God has been convicting you about with the Holy Spirit? This is the time to say “Jesus I'm not fiddling around with faith. This is not some plaything. It's not some game. But my eternal destiny is at stake.” The world is confused, doesn't know where it's headed, doesn't know where it's going. We look at the world through the eyes of the Book of Revelation and recognize that Jesus Christ is going to come again. Would it not be a tragedy that we share this message with others and we ourselves are lost? Would it not be the height of tragedy to miss out on the greatest event in the history of the world the coming of Christ?

 

Let's kneel while we can and pray the Lord to move in our own hearts. The great incredible good news is that the door of mercy is open. The incredible good news is we're on the knife edge of the kingdom and that Jesus is soon to come.

 

Our Father in heaven. We've studied your book today and it's spoken to us. We have seen today that there is really no security at all outside of Christ, that the world can't offer us security, that our jobs can't offer us security, they can be gone tomorrow. Some natural disaster can sweep away our homes, our money in the bank can be gone, all our As can be gone, our retirement accounts can be gone. Everything is just swept away so quickly. But we are so thankful that our life can be hidden Christ and God, that He is our security. He is the one that we trust. He is the one whose heart beats with our heart, that there's nothing more important to you Father than are being saved in your kingdom. And when the world does not know, what's going on we know what's going on. We thank you, that by your grace and through your power, you will take us through the Final Crisis. We thank you that by your grace and through your power, you'll enable us to stand firm when the whole world's falling apart and we thank you that we can look beyond the storm for the coming of Jesus. We can look beyond the crisis to the Christ. Father, move upon our hearts. Help us to have our hand in your hand to live with you from time through all eternity. Thank you that every single one of us can be saved in your kingdom and not one man one woman one boy one girl here need be lost. Thank you that heaven has made ample provision to save us in Christ's name. Amen.

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Hi! I’m Mark Finley. And for the last forty five years, my wife Tinnie and I have traveled the world sharing Jesus. One of the great joys of our life is to see laypeople catching new fish, and know what Christ can do for them, discover the gifts that God has given them, and get actively involved in service. And that's one of the reasons why at this stage of our life, we want to give our life to training young people, to training laypeople and really impacting pastors as well with the principles of God's kingdom and share very practical things on how to witness. We have a dream and that dream is to build lay training pastoral evangelistic Center and church in a new area where we don’t have any church in Northern Virginia in Dominion Valley – Haymarket, Virginia. And we see that training center and that church has been an opportunity for us to train laypeople, to train pastors, to train young people. Our plan is to have four to seven day retreats, will serve people food at our church, we will - they’ll be housed in the area, and they can of course keep their regular jobs. They’ll come for four to seven days. There’ll be different curriculums at different times of the year. Everything from how to do health ministries, how to conduct cooking schools, how to do stress management workshops, how to reach out to the community, how to give Bible studies, how to answer objections, how to hold evangelistic meetings. We’ll train some elders in lay preaching, how preach on Sabbath morning. In addition to that, we will train pastors, elders, laypeople in the whole art of teaching the Bible, teaching Sabbath school. So we see this project as incredibly exciting. We have already purchased the property but we have not built the lay training center yet and the church. And there will be a church and lay training center together.

 

I really want to do that. Of course, funding is always a challenge but we believe that God is gonna provide. If God puts it in your heart if the Holy Spirit touches your mind if you really desire to make a difference and make a financial contribution to us, if you have questions about our lay training center, I want you to e-mail me at finleym@gc.adventist.org. That’s finleym@gc.adventist.org. Now please don't e-mail me and ask me a lot of Bible questions because I can't answer thousands and thousands of questions, but if you want to make a financial contribution to the lay training center and the church, you just email me. If you want more information, I’ll tell you how to do that. And if God puts it in your heart, we know that you will be richly blessed.

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